Assaf Wohl
Photo: Shai Vaknin
'Religious overdose can turn one into a zombie'
Photo: AP

In praise of ‘Jewish amateurs’

Assaf Wohl slams ‘over-consumption’ of religious laws, lauds Jewish moderation

This week, I heard a debate on the radio. Someone argues that coffee is in fact healthy. Following discussion by debate participants, it was agreed that everything is a question of dosage. However, there is one thing around here whose unrestrained consumption is in fact supported by many: Religious laws.


Some believe that any kind of exaggeration pertaining to the consumption of religious and faith is a praiseworthy matter. They believe that the more obsessive you are, the more you “invest” in religion. Hence, they believe that you would do well to stay away from all those Jewish “amateurs,” find a woman who invests like you do, and together raise as many such kids.


However, it doesn’t work. Those whose senses had not been blurred by a religious overdose realize that something is wrong here. Too many historical examples unequivocally show that faith is a dangerous substance. An overdose takes away an individual’s ability to make decisions and think critically. At times, faith turns one into a zombie, who adheres to the will of the person who managed to convince him that he knows better.


However, faith does not stem from some kind of objective truth. It results from education or personal-psychological needs. Hence, inhaling it is not recommended.


And here I turn to all those “”amateurs” “formerly religious,” “tradition lovers” and all other such people; those who perceive Judaism as a lifestyle, rather than a strict dogmatic code that requires blind and absolute compliance. You didn’t fight with riot police because of bones? You don’t use a special Shabbat keyboard for your computer? You didn’t agree to be executed because you were told to sit next to a Moroccan girl? You’re amateurs, but don’t worry about it too much. You’ll have other opportunities to salvage Israel.


For the time being, have fun with religion; indeed, some people are convinced that Judaism can be likened to heavy duty Stravinsky symphonies or bombastic Wagner operas, yet we know that there is also Bossa Nova- and Reggae-style Judaism. Being “amateurish” merely proves that you keep things in proportion.


פרסום ראשון: 06.29.10, 11:06
 new comment
This will delete your current comment