Hell Avoidance 2.0
God may be all-seeing, all-knowing, and carry a temper which is more than a tad tempestuous at times – but any child intent on enjoying life will find a way around a parent’s rules, no matter how strict. And Orthodox Jews are no exception.
Those of you who have watched the masterpiece that is Bill Maher’s Religulous will already be aware of Rabbi Shmuel Strauss, an Orthodox Jew whose company – the Institute for Science and Halacha – he describes as:
A unique research and development institution interfacing between Halacha modern technology and science
(Read: Exploiting loopholes in scripture and hoping God doesn’t notice)
The Institute’s ingenious gadgets play a crucial role in accomodating those who wish to live in the 21st Century while still being constrained by ancient Jewish law. Need to make a phonecall on Shabbat, but don’t fancy the eternity of damnation and hellfire* which normally ensues? Then invest in a $300 Shabbat Phone: instead of buttons, it has twelve holes with a black rod sticking out of one. The phone is designed so that the circuits are constantly attempting to dial each number, but there is a mechanism in place which interferes with those circuits. When you stick the black rod in the number you want to dial, it
interferes with the interference and you actually dial that number without transgression
In other words, instead of dialling a number, you rescue an oppressed number using a stick and it thanks you by dialling itself. Take that, God!
Now, this is all great news for Jews who aren’t quite ready to cast off their shackles and sexy hats, but have started to have an inkling that maybe it would be nice to live their own lives occasionally. But it left one glaring question unanswered: “What if I want to use this new-fangled interweb thing?” Browsing the web is all but forbidden to Orthodox Jews, who may not use search engines due to the risk of being exposed to a breast or two – not to mention far greater evils like sites advertising televisions or pork sausages.
Well their days of dilemma are now over thanks to the newest name in overbearing internet censorship: Koogle, the kosher search engine.
As the Telegraph reported, Koogle
…omits religiously objectionable material, and has gained approval from Orthodox Rabbis. The search engine links to Israeli news and shopping sites but the results are filtered to exclude items deemed unsuitable.
My searches for ‘MediaWatchWatch’, ‘Atheism’ and ‘pork’ all came up empty, but there are some good links to hats. Just don’t use it on Saturday as the site will crash, although I’m sure Rabbi Shmuel Strauss is already designing a workaround.
(On a related note, if you’d like to peruse the catalogue of ‘Contraptions That Let You Do Naughty Deeds Without An Omnipresent And Omniscient Deity Noticing’, email email@example.com – I’ve already sent in my request for a Shabbatmobile. ^^, )
At the time of writing God has not interjected in the production or use of the aforementioned devices, so presumably He either hasn’t noticed or doesn’t exist.* – I have been informed that Jews do not believe in Hellfire and Damnation, and that their motive for engaging in such strange behaviour is actually to detach themselves from reality until they are so far from it that they are on an equal plane of rationality as their God. As it has been suggested I did not show adequate respect to the Jewish faith, I hereby apologise and wish to take this opportunity to thank Judaism for its crucial rule in fighting Swine Flu. ((Please click on the link, it’s hilarious! deeply moving))