Kashrus, Mel, & Hidden Insanity

posted by Shlomo
September, 2006

Whenever I overhear Mel Gibson pontificating on religious subjects or speak about his faith, I am always amazed at how many pretty women he is seen with in photographs, holding a beer while laughing, and hugging these sometimes scantily-clad beauties quite closely. One would imagine that a guy like Mel Gibson, while living in a world surrounded by the decadence, wealth, and the power that comes with such notoriety would find it difficult, nigh impossible in fact, to maintain serious religious convictions.

It is a world where marketing meets hedonism. I expect that many religious-minded folks in and around Hollywood do manage to resist temptation and yet, other than the Scientologists, so few of these people ever gain notoriety for their religious beliefs. Some would wonder why that is. The question comes to me because I come from a world very different than that of Christianity, and when I do make observations of other religions and people, I still tend to filter it through the Orthodox Jewish perspective.

We have to, however, be careful not to judge Mel Gibson or devout Christians in general, from the standards of the Orthodox Jewish world-outlook. For starters, in Christianity, other than the major rules concerning overt sexual conduct i.e. adultery, homosexuality, etc., the general laws concerning social contacts are few. Even the most devout of Christians never have to worry about keeping Kosher, dressing and behaving modestly, or a host of other social prohibitions that limit the amount of contact and, in addition, alter one' s appearance and behavior to the point of seeming other-worldly, impolite, or even strange to the world around them.

A Christian is never required to cover up his wine when he invites a Hindu over for dinner. Unlike Judaism, Christianity doesn´t tell you how to tie your shoes, what hand to wipe your ass with, or to immediately step off an elevator should you end up alone in it with a female who is not a close blood relation. If Reb Chaim Lefkowitz were living in Malibu and associating with a bevy of beautiful women among the rich and famous, we might place him under some suspicion for having too many non-Jewish contacts.

Mel Gibson doesn´t have that problem because he isn´t required to wear his religion outwardly in the same manner that we Jews are. The nutcase can walk around believing anything he wants and, from his normal behavior, none would be the wiser as to what he is really going on inside his head.

Now someone out there may already be wondering why I chose to include keeping Kosher among the other social restrictions. The Torah tells us that the laws of Kosher are among the laws that have no rational explanation, much like the laws governing certain garments. In Jewish schools we are taught that King Solomon may have figured it out the riddle, or that Elijah the prophet, upon his return to announce the Messianic Era, will then answer all the legal and theological quandaries for us. I don´t think it´s all that complicated. Keeping kosher was never meant as a dietary restriction per se. The limiting of dietary options serves to control travel and social contact outside the bounds of one´s tribe. By prohibiting three-quarters of what the neighboring tribes and peoples were consuming daily, Moses sought to further insulate and isolate the children of Israel from outside influence. Moses did not really care what you ate, but was more concerned with whom you shared your meals. Christians don´t generally have such restrictions and their culinary tastes, much like their social etiquettes, don´t set them apart from any one else.

This is why Christian religious loonies like Mel Gibson remain unnoticed for so long.

That is until, of course, they are emboldened enough to produce high-budget religious-themed films or attempt to salvage waning careers with excursions into a ministry of some sort. Then, inevitably, there are the chosen few who get piss-drunk, drive way over the speed limit, and imagine themselves as persecuted by members of a crack squad of mercenary Hadassah members in league with Zionist controlled police agencies. Just a little paranoid aren't we, Mel? (Though nowhere as paranoid as the Jew who leaps from an elevator because he has to share it with a non-Jewish woman for thirty seconds as if she is somehow, in that short time period, going to find him so irresistible that she would rape him in the elevator. Who does the Chasid think he is? Mel Gibson?)

Considering recent events, I think that ‘Thunderdome´ would have been a lot funnier (I thought the whole thing was funny) had Mel Gibson been required to fight Alan Dershowitz, but I guess that´s why no one asks for my input on screenplays (or parodies) anymore. (My money is on Dershowitz, but only if his character is played by Woody Allen.) I am currently working on “Lethal Weapon V’ which, starring the same idiots as the first four sequels, involves Mel, Danny, and Joe fighting off Mosad-trained Ninja Chasidim diamond cutters. In the climax, Mel has a dream vision of a Yiddish-only Jesus, and due to Mel´s inability to understand, he slips into a drunken hysteria and murders his partner. This script will probably be rejected for being too realistic.

I´m looking for investors.

Shlomo lives in Detroit.
Raised in Brooklyn NYC, he received an Orthodox/Chasidic Jewish education. He attended college, earning two relatively useless post graduate degrees. He became nonreligious at age 29 ,and found 'piece' of mind. He says, "I am often saddened by humanity's lack of foresight." His blogsite can be found at http://sentimentalheretic.blogspot.com/ where this essay originally resides.

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