On “Right” to Discriminate – Jewish Law was never progressive!

Adam Smith, the ISL, RCIT section in Israel/Occupied Palestine, 11.05.2023

Two recent proposals – allowing the Rabbinical courts to meditate in new areas (outside of existing Kashrut and Family law), such as employment and rental law(as long as it is on a “voluntary” basis – another capitalist lie), as well as a “right to discriminate” based on religious rights, have shined a light on the role of the Halacha(Jewish Law).

Firstly, the communist opposition to organized religion is based on the fact that every organized religion has a lot of private property which it uses by its own directive, rather than a democratic decision around land use. In addition, for the vast majority of history, save for a few brief occasions, organized religion has been a tool to promote the ideology of the upper class, and has consistently sided with the ruling class. For example, many religions teach that rich and poor people are equal, or that rich people can “wash” their image by buying indulgences/donating to the local prayer house.

Traditional jewish law is extremely cultish and chauvinistic/homophobic. Let’s look at some aspects of it. It is also at many times based on deceit.

  1. Sechar Batala – For example, religious judges are not allowed to receive money for their services, and so are Rabbis, especially for events on Saturday. The solution? Pay them “sechar batala” – “unemployment wages” as you are “hiring” them for the entire week, and they are just “voluntary” needed for those couple hours. The rationale is that he had something else to do during that time, so the payment is for him to be unemployed during those hours(and he will voluntarily choose to use those hours for your needs…). It is obvious that once it is a person’s main job, he might not even have a pretend job to fall back to. [1]
  2. Eruv. According to Jewish law, on Saturday it is illegal to carry large things or walk far, so there is a bypass, another Jewish “patent”, to put a string around the area(as large as half of Manhattan[2]) so it will be considered one block and therefore those activities will be allowed. [3]
  3. Shabbos Goy – Many things are forbidden on Saturday, such as using electricity or lighting a fire, or even riding a bicycle or playing a musical instrument. For some creature comforts, before the days of home automation, one should hint, but not ask directly, a non-jew to turn the heat on, by for example, saying that it is cold in the room.[4] This is very condenesting and insulting, as one can imagine. And if the non-jew does not get the message, it is permitted to ask directly. 

A similar issue is about using the elevator on Shabbat. So the solution is an elevator which stops at every level! If living in a non-jewish area, there is a debate whether one can ask a non-jew to press those buttons for oneself.

In a roundabout way, it is easier to observe the Shabbat outside Israel as many of the things can be delegated to non-Jews. For example, there is no need to use special generators, as the electricity outside Israel is not generated on Saturday using the labor of Jews. Or riding the metro system on Saturday(of which the author has personally seen orthodox Jews do on Saturday in Vienna). [5] [6][7]

  1. Passover sale – as Leavened goods are not allowed on Passover, the solution is to temporarily sell them to a non-jews for a symbolic price, and buy them from him at the end of the holiday. It is obvious again that this is not a real sale.
  2. Snat Smita – Jewish law mandates every 7 years, a year of rest for the land. This is from the times of Jewish society being an agricultural one, and before improvement in fertilizers. Nowadays, not working 1/7 of the years is going to lead to bankruptcy. The more orthodox jews in Israel buy food from Arab places for that year, an approach that is more honest in my opinion than that of the religious zionist, who do the following: They do a similar sale of the lands, as described in the paragraph above. However, it is forbidden to sell Jewish owned land in Israel to non-Jews according to the Halacha(Jewish law). The answer of the Rabbis is that a fictitious sale is allowed! [8]
  3. Court Witness –  Jewish women witness counts as half as valuable as a men’s, while non jewish account for zero. In a case that there is only the witness of a non-Jew, a court can use another demeaning tactic, to bring a jew to say that he heard the non-Jew say such as such. [9]
  4. Orthodox Judaism has a very hard time to reform its laws because of a concept of “Yeridata Hadorot ” (e.g each generation is less righteous than the previous one), which is why laws can just be extended, but never repealed formally. For example, riding a bicycle is forbidden on Saturday, because it is an extension of another law.

The following example illustrates even better the level of absurdity reached by this system. One of the prototypes of work forbidden on the sabbath is harvesting. This is stretched, by analogy, to a ban on break­ing a branch off a tree. Hence, riding a horse (or any other animal) is forbidden, as a hedge against the temptation to break a branch off a tree for flogging the beast. It is useless to argue that you have a ready-made whip, or that you intend to ride where there are no trees. What is forbidden remains forbidden forever. It can, however, be stretched and made stricter: in modern times, riding a bicycle on the sabbath has been forbidden, because it is analogous to riding a horse.” [10]

Conversely, a law cannot really be formally repealed, so bypasses are created. Of course, there is a class component in deciding which laws are bypassed and which are not. The two main social ones that are bypassed are Prosveul(debt relief) and the ban on lending money with interest(using a Heiter Isska-permission to lend money with interest – what is actually said in the jewish contract is that both sides share the loss, but let’s say the present day courts have danced around the issue[11]).

  1. Not treating gentiles on saturday – unless gentiles said is rich and will cause problems for jews, in which case Jews are allowed to lie and fake a reason as to not raise the wrath of the gentiles(if they will think that they can get away with it). This is more of the Rambam and other middle ages approach, the more modern Rabbis do allow it.
  2. Anti black racism: Maimondes has written some very racist things on black people, for example, as well as others, attributing unattractiveness and other bad traits to Blacks[12] [13] [14] [15]. Also, when Jews published the Talmud in a censored version, they replaced the attacks on christians with attacks on blacks(kushiates) gambling on Christian censor’s racism. There are also earlier roots to this, the story of Noa’s sons(sham, ham, yefet story, after the flood, ham(literally brown in Hebrew) got drunk and did bad things) as justification for slavery in Christian world as well, as well as justifying anti-Black racism in the Jewish world.
  3. Misogyny & Homophobia: Women are seen in marriage contracts as property that moves from the father to the husband. The rabbinical courts also treat women as unreliable, and put restrictions on them that don’t apply to men(such as no dating while the divorce is pending, while a man is allowed to). 

In earlier instance of misogyny can be seen in the Biblical story of Enan, who didn’t want to go along with the makeshift social program that brothers will take care of their brother’s widows(and in material terms, keep the “property” – the women in the family) in case a brother is killed in a war. So he refused to have a child and he was killed. From his story, comes the Hebrew word for masturbation and the Christian attitude that masturbation is a sin.

Homosexulaity is also illegal according to Judaism, to be treated with the death penalty(but not lesbism, as “women minds are lighter” according to the ancient jewish wise men, in a chauvinist twist). The material reason for this is that homosexual couples don’t reproduce and give birth to children.

Reform jews are not much better, as they, for example, will not read out loud the bad parts, but they will not create new versions of the text. In addition, reform jews tend to support Israel, and one of their demands is the right for women to pray in the Wailing Wall, a place that was created by bulldozing Muslims homes, historically had very little religious value for Jews and is being used to justify the oppression of the Palestinians. The main demand of the reform Jews is to have a seat at the oppressors table, not to join hands with the oppressed! True, there are also anti-Zionist reform Jews, but then again there are also anti-Zionist orthodox Jews.

The truth is that Ben Gurian, a complete secularist, gave the ultra-Orthodox a partial exemption from going to the army, a monopoly of Kashrut and marriages, as well as the closing down of public transport on Shabbat. The reason for this is that the (orthodox )Jew religion provides Zionism with a good gatekeeper, building on old racism and xenophobia, as well as a religious rationale for having “ownership” over the land of Israel. This is why the separation of religion and state in Israel is a liberal pipedream.

We call for:

An end to all religious chauvinism and Jewish supremacy!

Separation of state and religion- abolition of Rabbinical authorities!

Repeal of the Law of (Jewish) Return!

For a free and red Palestine from the river to the sea!


[1] https://www.daat.ac.il/encyclopedia/value.asp?id1=2731

[2] https://www.npr.org/2019/05/13/721551785/a-fishing-line-encircles-manhattan-protecting-sanctity-of-sabbath

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eruv

[4] https://www.anumuseum.org.il/blog-items/shabbos-goy-rescue/

[5] https://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/12331/riding-the-subway-on-shabbat

[6] https://www.yeshiva.co/ask/5356

[7] https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ask-the-expert-public-transit-on-shabbat/

[8] Jewish History, Jewish Religion The Weight of Three Thousand Years Israel Shahak https://yplus.ps/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Shahak-Israel-Jewish-History-Jewish-Religion-The-Weight-of-Three-Thousand-Years.pdf

[9] https://matzpen.org/english/1981-10-10/the-jewish-religion-and-its-attitude-to-non-jews-appendix-israel-shahak/

[10] https://matzpen.org/english/1981-07-10/the-jewish-religion-and-its-attitude-to-non-jews-part-2-israel-shahak/

[11] https://www.bhol.co.il/news/756241

[12] https://www.thetorah.com/article/black-people-in-jewish-tradition-eliminating-racism-requires-honesty

[13] The Image of the Black in Jewish Culture https://www.jstor.org/stable/1455673


[15] Blacks and Jews in American Folklore NATHAN HURVITZ

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