I always try to find a positive outcome whenever I see things in the news that make Torah observant Judaism seem less than an ideal lifestyle. In the media, yesterday, I was saddened to hear about a group of senior yeshiva high school students who were escorted off an airplane. They were taken off the plane for not following federal laws regarding the use cell phones on airplanes.
Many papers, news agencies, and CNN covered this story. Why? Because, like it or not, an observant Jew is always in the spotlight. It is part and parcel of our National mission to represent the will and sanctification of Hashem’s name.
I have been on planes when people are still checking email or playing Angry Birds despite the announcement to turn off all electronic devices. In essence, if you don’t follow this rule prior to take off, you are delaying the flight, which affects everyone on the flight.
It is those times that we wrongly think that our own rights/needs supersedes the rights/needs of others what leads us astray. [You can tweet that]
As mentioned in this blog, written in articles, taught in yeshivos/day schools (hopefully) people are either givers or takers, as taught by Rav Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler zt’l. Throughout life you are one or the other. Unless you are living isolated in a cave or on an island by yourself, people are watching you and making judgements and assumptions based on your actions.
Just last week, I was pulled over by a police officer because he thought I was driving while using a handheld device. It turned out, as he saw, that I was holding a chewy granola bar. However, I was extremely polite to him because I was representing our people.
I can only guess that yesterday’s news was because we, well at least I , needed to be reminded of this plane truth (pun intended).