Sunday, December 11, 2011

What a Week! OU OKs Buying Coffee at McDonald's (But Don't Sit Down); Love Songs Are Forbidden; Adam Sandler Poster Defaced


It's been a mixed week for anyone who lives according to the latest rabbinic pronouncements. Here's the bottom line:

PERMITTED:
- Buying coffee at McDonald's rest stops (as long as you don't sit down)

FORBIDDEN:
- Listening to popular love songs
- Looking at photos of Adam Sandler in drag

Now for the details:

The Orthodox Union published an article on its web site last week declaring that it is permissible to buy a cup of coffee on the road at non-kosher rest stops, specifically mentioning McDonald's, arguably the ultimate in non-kosher establishments.

Citing a talmudic argument in the Gemara Avoda Zara (page 31b) that one may not drink beer (a common beverage) in a non-Jewish establishment because it can lead to intermarriage, the article, citing leading poskim (rabbinic decisors) Rabbi Yisroel Belsky and Rabbi Herschel Schachter, says that coffee today is similar to beer in talmudic times.  Just as there was a requirement then to take the beer back to their house before drinking, now a traveler should drink the McDonald's coffee in the car or while sitting in a public rest stop seat, because drinking it at a restaurant table might lead someone watching to come to the incorrect conclusion that he or she was about to eat a meal there.

So McDonald's coffee is OK to drink in your car, but when you turn on the radio, you'd better not tune in a station that plays popular love songs if you are a follower of Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu of Safed, Israel.

A blog that we follow, Tzvee's Talmudic Blog, called our attention to an article in Kipa, an Israeli Orthodox Hebrew web site that reports on Rabbi Eliyahu's declaration last week:
The Rav of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, rules against listening to songs or music that are about romance. In a responsum to be published this weekend in 'Small World', Rabbi Eliyahu claims that these kinds of popular songs do not deal with love, but with passions and obscenities.

In a personal attack on the singers and poets of today, Rabbi Eliyahu claims that "Those who read the biography of these singers are seeing that most of them have never experienced true love, but mostly lust. They can not sustain a relationship with a woman for more than three days, weeks or months. They never heard of mutual trust. "

Rabbi Eliyahu says that, "You should not be confused. They call it love - because they just do not know any better." In practice, Rabbi Eliyahu explained that those singers "really sing songs of praise to our coarsest senses," and so he rules that "It is forbidden to drift through their songs after these low feelings."
Meanwhile, in Israel, posters for the new movie Jack and Jill, with Adam Sandler playing both a twin brother and his sister in a comedy that the critics were not kind to, were defaced by a someone who blacked out the image of Sandler in drag. While we can't trace the vandalism to a specific rabbinic directive, it's symptomatic of a trend among the haredi population to advocate the removal of all images of women in public places.

We wrote about this trend in 2009 when billboards of models were being defaced in B'nei B'rak. But this time we're not sure whether the person who defaced the movie poster did so because of religious sensibilities or because he couldn't bear to look at a feminine version of Adam Sandler. 

Here's the trailer for the movie. Judge for yourself.

(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS:  THE VIDEO MAY NOT BE VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY ON SOME COMPUTERS AND TABLETS.  YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)