February 13, 2006

by Andrew Silow-Carroll
Adoshem Ish Milchama

My reaction to the Danish cartoon crisis:

Perhaps the most confounding reaction comes from various Muslim spokesmen and apologists, who insist that the riots are an aberration and that Islam is a “religion of peace.” You know what? It’s not. Islam is not a religion of peace. Right now it’s a religion of conflict, and conquest, and the violent suppression of individual rights in the name of God.

How do I know this? Because Judaism is not a religion of peace either. Neither is Christianity, or Hinduism, or Zoroastrianism. All of these great faiths are rich, complex, and ancient, and each speaks in a multitude of voices. Some of those voices, I admit, are more peaceful than others. Sometimes they honor God as one who makes peace and seeks harmony among all humanity. Sometimes that same God is in a less peaceful mood and seeks absolute victory over those who would deny Him. Or Her. Or Them. Sometimes the voices prescribe civil disobedience in the face of tyranny. And sometimes they glorify violent revolution for the glory of the One True God.

I've taken heat from Reby Yudel for denigrating Zoroastrianism. But you know my theory on free speech: The brave journalist doesn't flinch from the truth about a religion, especially when that religion has about 200,000 adherents and almost zero capability of mounting a violent reaction.


According to Rabbi Munk in The World of Prayer, the Zoroastrian rulers of Babylon in the 3rd & 4th centuries prohibited the recitation of the Sh'ma -- because of its recognition of a singular deity. They used to send spies into synagogues on Shabbat, to make sure Jews did not recite the Sh'ma.

This is why we instituted the Sh'ma in the K'dusha of Mussaf, when the spies had already left the synagogue.

This is also why people who leave the shul right after Shachrit to hit the kiddush table are suspected Zoroastrians.

Posted by: Yori yanover at February 13, 2006 11:56 AM

You know what they say about Zoroastrians -- you can marry them, but the first time you fight she's going to call you a dirty Shma-sayer.

Posted by: Silow-Carroll at February 13, 2006 12:10 PM

Just for the record, I keep on confusing Zoroastrians and Rastafarians. I don't know why.

Posted by: Jordan Hirsch at February 13, 2006 5:30 PM
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