Ritual Purity vs. Human Beings

If there’s one thing the whole Agriprocessors scandal taught me, it’s that for many of the Orthodox or very Orthodox set, ritual purity must be upheld at all costs, even at the expense of other human beings.

With this in mind, while it’s very disheartening and very disappointing, it comes as no surprise that the Israeli Deputy Health Minister (a member of very rational Agudat Israel) wants the “swine flu” to be renamed the Mexican flu.

This reference to the flu maybe coming from a treif animal, of course, is very upsetting to the ultra-Orthodox constituency. If we have to propagate a meme that it’s being spread from illegal immigrants and further dehumanize them as carriers of plague in order to maintain sensibilities and ritual purity, then so be it. After all, it’s not like Jews have ever been accused wrongly of spreading disease and sickness ourselves.

Is this really how some of us think we should treat our fellow people, all created in God’s image? Again, in light of all the Agriprocessors scandals, I suppose I know the answer to that. I also know who ought to know better but apparently don’t.

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4 Responses

  1. I don’t even understand how calling a flu “swine flu” could be considered offensive. Is there some obscure kashrut provision that forbids acknowledging that pigs exist and can be sources of disease?

  2. Bizarre. It is an excuse for racism. There is nothing halachic about it.

  3. When I first heard, I figured it was so that people who don’t eat pork wouldn’t dismiss the need for precautions. A reasonable theory, but apparently not what happened.

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