New York Times Mocks God! and the Bible! During Passover! And Easter!
On the eve of Passover, on Good Friday, The New York Times published an opinion piece on God, the Bible and Passover. This would not be noteworthy except for the fact that the piece mocked all three.
The two titles of the piece (one in the print edition and one for the Times' digital edition) will give you a good idea of the tenor of the piece: "Let's pass over God" and "In this time of war, I propose we give up God."
The column was written by Shalom Auslander, a Jew who is bitter over his ultra-Orthodox upbringing in Brooklyn. He is also the author of a similarly bitter book titled "Foreskin's Lament."
Here are some of the column's highlights:
Auslander begins his column with a brief explanation of the name "Passover" -- God passed over the homes of the Israelites on His way through Egypt, slaying all firstborns. The author follows that introduction with a proposal: "In this time of war and violence, of oppression and suffering, I propose we pass over something else: God."
He then proceeds to depict the rabbi at his yeshiva as a sadist who reveled in the suffering of the Egyptians, "young and old, innocent and guilty." This rabbi, he claimed, even told his yeshiva class that during the first plague -- which caused the waters of Egypt to turn into blood -- "Mothers nursing their babies...found their breast milk had turned to blood."
Auslander then adds: "'Yay!' my classmates cheered."
They were learning to be sadists like their rabbi.
As it happens, having studied in a yeshiva until the age of 19, having written three volumes of a five-volume commentary on the Torah ("The Rational Bible") and most recently having written the bestselling Haggadah in America (according to Amazon), "The Rational Passover Haggadah," I know a fair amount about this subject.
I never heard a Jew say that Egyptian mothers' milk turned into blood. I'm not accusing Auslander of lying, but if what he wrote is true, it is highly irresponsible to represent something so bizarre as normative Jewish teaching.