I just finished reading an article about an easyJet flight that only served pork products in its meals on a recent flight. I am sure that this has happened many times in the past but this time it was bound to be noticed, the flight was from Tel Aviv to London. To their credit, easyJet introduced a kosher menu back in November but this latest incident proves just how uncommitted the company is to understanding their clients and ensuring that they have a physically and spiritually safe flight. I am sure there were many tightly held children on that plane and many passengers queasy from the festering smell.
In the end, I am left thinking about the trials of navigating in the non-Jewish world. In a society that marks their calendars with Christian holidays (and, sometimes, one day for Passover and Chanukah), how can we expect goyim to understand some of the most basic Halachah such as the laws of Kashrut?
Those of us in the galus tend to forget the fact that we live in a society that is not our own. We are the ones seen as “weirdos” and “fanatics”. We are the minority. We are seen as the ones that can’t accept society the way it is with its focus on money, physicality, and intellectual numbness. And, you know what, I can’t and I won’t accept the way things are. I can’t embrace a Christian agnostic society that rules with a greedy hand, a lustful heart, and a closed mind; a society that will adapt and adopt any practice that would ensure their survival and maintain their way of life.
Now, I am not saying I’m a perfect Jew. I’m not saying that anyone is perfect. But there is a difference between Jews content living in darkness and those constantly searching for light and making their way closer and closer to Hashem. I am trying to find my way; I am trying to find my way into the light. Little by little, I am changing my ways to become a better Jew.
I have a long way to go and I have a lot to learn but I am making progress. I am not content with the world I live in, the world that surrounds me, the world that marginalizes me and my views. But, I must change myself before I can change the world around me; we must change our world in order to change the world.
We, as Jews, must live by a different set of rules. To live in this world we must embrace the mitzvoth and we must turn to Hashem, not celebrities, for answers and guidance. We can’t accept societal ignorance about who we are; we need to proudly proclaim that we are Jews and be willing to shoulder the burdens that brings. We can’t compromise the foundations of our faith no matter what the consequences.
Rabbi Chaim Coffman makes a very simple yet complex statement in his book “Braintree to Jerusalem” when he speaks with those interested in converting to Judaism, “If a non-Jew would come up to you and say bow down to this guy… or I will blow your head off, you have to be willing to die!”
Granted, this is the heaviest of our burdens but it is a price that many have had to pay and with everything going on in the Middle East and anti-Semitism on the rise in the west, it is not out of the realm of possibility. This is a reality that all Jews must face. Whether you were born Jewish or you are a Jew by choice, you must be willing to accept the fact that there are people in this world that, if you don’t adopt their beliefs, they will kill you. Many people are will to live as Jews but are you will to die as a Jew?