The Chassid Shoteh - the Pious Fools of the World

rasta construction worker - hard hat

More than 1800 years ago, Jewish sages had a name for a person who ignores his own safety and endangers the lives of others merely to foolishly comply with Jewish law: a destroyer of the world. This chassid shoteh (pious fool) was not simply a danger to his community or village or even his country, but to the whole world. Such a characterization is no light thing.

Persian and Babylonian kings were not even so named, they were merely destroyers of small regions of the Earth. Even the Romans who destroyed the Second Temple were not described as destroyers of the world. The Rabbis recognized that there was nothing so evil, so vile, so destructive as the pious fool.

Pious idiots can be found not just among Jews. Recall my article on Muslim women eating spaghetti.

Now let us consider the photo above right. This Rasta is a pious fool. Rather than comply with OSHA regulations requiring the wearing of hard hats [1910.135(a)(1)], this moron piously follows the injunctions laid down in Leviticus 21:5 prohibiting the cutting of one's hair.

Of course, even if a brick did fall on this moron's head, it is unlikely to lower his IQ. You are probably wondering why an employer would allow such nonsense. If you don't already know, most employers lose when it comes to religious accommodations. I gave a few examples in my article Do Not Hire Muslims of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling against employers when religion is involved.

To be fair, not everyone in the Rastafari movement believes that religious rules should trump safety. Certainly dreads should be cut if there is a possibility they may get caught in machinery.

OK, so pious fools may be a danger to themselves, but why would Jewish scholars call them "destroyers of the world?"

Well, imagine a world where a man cannot save a drowning woman for modesty sake. Or young girls are not allowed to leave a burning building because they ran out without their veils on. Or patients who are prohibited from taking a certain medicine because their holy book proscribes it or are forced to take a dangerous medicine because their holy book prescribes it. Or prepubescent girls forced into marriage because their religious laws allow it. Or young boys forced to whip themselves using a bundle of chains with sharp curved blades attached (a zanjeer).

Or as some call such a world: Islam. Such a world is on the path to destruction.

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