Monday, March 3, 2014

Chillul HaShem on the road

Judgmental rant coming, I apologize.

I know that people are in a rush, and therefore they allow themselves, at times, a bit of sloppiness on the road. A slow roll through a Stop sign; going through a light on the yellow-turning-red; pretending you arrived at the four-way stop before another car that's waiting at the intersection. I've done some of that too, unfortunately. But if you are going to do it, let it be rare, and not a policy, for the sake of everyone's safety.

And if you are going to brand your car as Jewish-owned by posting a magnet proclaiming that your child attends a Jewish school, then you really might think twice before driving this way.

Driving home behind you the other day as you rolled right through three Stop signs, and took a light that was red before you entered the intersection, and chattered away on your cell phone the entire time, I could only wonder what other drivers were thinking. Even if you really can do all of this without endangering anyone, and even if you think that the halachic recognition of dina d'malchuta [the law of the land] doesn't apply to traffic laws, surely you will admit the chillul HaShem [desecration of Gd's Name] involved?

Not to mention - what sort of general manners, and driving manners, do you think that this child, student at a Jewish school, is learning from you?


  1. I'm not sure how closely drivers (besides yourself) are looking at school-identifying magnets, if it's any comfort. And even if they are, think about it: if you see a car with a Jesus fish driving erratically, does it color your opinion of the entire Christian community?

  2. Tesyaa-
    It could just be me, certainly. However:
    1. If I saw multiple be-fished cars doing this, I probably would make a judgment;
    2. The gemara itself voices concern for this. I didn't make this a serious text post, but for example: The sages harshly criticize a Torah scholar who walks around with stained clothing, for the reputation he develops for Torah.