Since President Trump and his entourage left the US for Saudi Arabia, the religious world has been “up in arms.”
No one knows the identity of the rabbi who permitted Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner to fly in an airplane on Shabbat. No one knows if they actually asked a rabbi, or if they decided that it was fine on their own.
But more than that, no one should care.
Read that line again: No one should care.
There are things we should all care about: If the world is a safe place, if society is conducive to emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy children who can grow up to be emotionally, mentally, and physically healthy adults. We need to care about ensuring the next generation knows how to treat each other with care, with kindness.
We need to make sure violent crime – including terrorism – is down to zero.
Heck, we need to make sure Israel doesn’t end up a safe haven for sexual predators.
And we definitely need to make sure the government does not strip parents – fathers or mothers, divorced or married – of guardianship of their children, and of a relationship with their children.
But these are all things which pertain to what Jewish law calls “bein adam lechaveiro” – between one person and another.
Jared and Ivanka keeping Shabbat is what’s termed “bein adam lemakom” – between a person and G-d.
It’s not our business. Period. End of story.
But what really gets to me is that the same people who judge Ivanka and Jared’s Jewishness and level of religiosity, are the same people who often call those who disagree with them “judgemental” and tell those around them not to gossip or slander.
I’m not a rabbi (and I don’t know if a rabbi would agree with my thought processes), but if a plane is like a boat, then being on the plane is fine, but getting off and on during Shabbat is not.
I’m not a rabbi, but Ivanka and Jared seem to be crucial to Trump’s decision-making abilities, and we needed Trump to make good decisions here, in hopes that no one will get killed in an Iran strike or in continued terror attacks.
It’s easy to see why a rabbi would say Ivanka and Jared must travel, that it’s pikuach nefesh (literally, saving lives) for not just themselves, but dozens, if not hundreds, of other Jews.
It’s easy to see why a rabbi would class Ivanka and Jared as “krovei malchut” (literally, the relatives of royalty, who are afforded unique lenience in Jewish law).
And it’s also, unfortunately, easy to see why the rabbi in question would not want his name known.
Ultimately, I don’t know what the rabbi based his ruling on, or if they even asked a rabbi.
All I know is that it’s none of my business, and it makes sense that there’s a way to allow Jared and Ivanka to fly on Air Force One over the course of Shabbat.
If Ivanka and Jared’s flight is what caused Trump not to mention the two-state solution, if their presence is what made him angry enough to openly call out against Muslim(!!!) terrorism – then in my personal opinion, it’s worth it, and we owe them an apology and a debt of gratitude.
Of course, as Aslan says, “no one can know what would have been.” So, we’ll never know if we owe them anything or not.
And maybe, just maybe, we owe them decent treatment no matter what.