Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Ignore it like it's pork

I asked Erica if she had seen that woman's story in the NYT this Sunday about OCD manifesting as religious observance. I've been saying for years now that Judaism is a great religion for the obsessive compulsive.

I remember reading about one of the Talmudic rabbis -- I can't remember who -- who had a hole in the wall just above his commode. I remember the rationale as:
An evil spirit would be more eager to beset a prominent rabbi than a normal man,
but someone else’s presence with you would warded it off,
but it's indecent to have someone watch you go to the bathroom.
So he bored a hole so his wife could put her hand on his head while he was sitting down without worry of accidentally seeing anything.

My mom used to always tell us how, when she was a kid, she thought flatware grew out of the ground. My grandparents had someone come in to help around the house when the kids were young, but she didn't know from keeping kosher and would wash all the silverware together. To clean something, you can use fire to burn away the treif, but you can bury it in the earth for however many days if you can't burn it. Mom would walk by and see silverware sticking out of the ground...

[ Listening to: "What Cool Breezes Do" - Digable Planets ]

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