Readers will recall the post about the Orthodox Jew of the ‘kohen’ variety who wrapped himself up in a thick plastic bag in order to prevent himself from becoming ‘ritually impure’ by flying over cemeteries. There were many questions raised by me and in the comments about how this was supposed to work.
We may have an answer because Jerry Coyne also wrote about it and in his comments there was someone who claimed to be a kohen and gave reasons for this weird behavior.
Go over and read the full explanation. It is a hilarious example of convoluted reasoning that only religion can produce. I am going to flag just one thing.
Since, for a time, all planes departing Israel’s only international airport flew over a huge cemetery directly West of the airport it was a certainty that Kohanim on the plane would be “exposed” to this impurity.
All that said, as a Kohen myself, I certainly do not do this when I fly from Israel as it true with most Kohanim. There are two reasons, first the government ceded to requests to change the flight path, so that most of the time flights do not go over the cemetery. Second, and more import to me, there’s a general concept that, when possible, Jews shouldn’t do things that make Judaism look foolish.
So we have the government of Israel changing flight plans in order to accommodate what can only be described as crackpot beliefs! And I thought that the Sri Lankan government changing the time zone (scroll down to the Post Script) to accommodate Buddhist crackpot beliefs represented the height of idiocy. They clearly have strong competition from the government of Israel for the title of the most laughable pandering to religion.
As for not doing things that “make Judaism look foolish”, that ship has long sailed for all religions. Their ritualistic practices are all patently foolish, not seeming so only to the similarly indoctrinated.