Shas and the Geek

What a reality show based on the political party may look like.

Since God-fearing folk are not allowed to become addicted to television, certainly not to frivolous programs such as "Big Brother" or the abominable "Beauty and the Geek," the Yosef rabbinical dynasty has come up with pretty good alternatives for this audience. The Yosefs grasped that people want to see competition - contestants knocked out, do-or-die battles. This is what sets hearts afire nowadays. Is there anything wrong with that? We exist for such stuff.

The weekly appearances by our great pious teacher, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, in front of the faithful throng awaiting his next provocation - against Arabs, the secular, the evildoers who work in the state's courts (on whom it is absolutely forbidden to rely, at the risk of losing your place in the next world ) - are prime-time quality. They are genuine entertainment.

The son, Rabbi Yaakov Yosef, recently came in first in the reality program "The Discrimination Affair at the Immanuel girls' school." Where do things stand today, not so many months after the outcry that wrought both secular and religious citizens, including those who don't have a clue where Immanuel is? The prima donna, Yosef Junior, got tired before things were over, claimed "they are threatening my life" and dropped the parents whose children were subject to discrimination. The moment no entertainer from the House of Yosef was in the field, the controversy lost its sex appeal and its ratings dropped. That's just the way it is. When reality contests end, that's it; it's best to move on to the next competition.

Last week was the turn of another of Rabbi Ovadia's sons to flex his muscles, as a producer of a reality program for the black-skullcap faithful. Avraham Yosef, or if you please, our great pious teacher Rabbi Avraham Yosef, thought about what people consider fun, and reasoned that there's no cause for undo seriousness during this drought year. The secular have "Beauty and the Geek"? Then let's take the geek in our ranks and put out a contract on him, and see where that takes us.

That's how the current episode of "Shas and the Geek" got started. The geek is a rabbi who is relatively liberal, relatively "cultured" and relatively "humanistic" - Rabbi (and MK ) Chaim Amsellem, who recently went astray and burst his britches, showing he thinks himself superior to the Shas faithful. With rank arrogance, this brownnosed geek denounced the parasitism of Torah scholars, and made other statements the secular love to hear. Amsellem the Geek! He ought to take one to the teeth, this Amsellem the Geek!

It bears mention that our great pious teacher Rabbi Avraham Yosef is a careful man, so he worked with considerable subtlety. He gave an interview to a Haredi radio station, Kol Hai, and, without naming names, hinted that among us there is someone responsible for the drought Israel is now witnessing. And that this is all well known, for did not Maimonides say that on account of the Geeks, God locks the gates of heaven?

Here lies double-the-money entertainment potential. For the average secularite, we are witnessing an exquisitely perfect performance of religious primitivism. For in the 21st century, what idiot really believes rain does or does not come due to internal intrigues in Shas? Secondly, there is cause to ponder whether the Almighty's logic is so mangled that He has decided to punish collectively the whole country due to one man, this fellow Amsellem.

But even for Shas followers, who sincerely believe in capricious divine intervention via natural events and disasters, there is a question here. From this point on, they can, just like their secular brethren who enjoy programs like "Big Brother," watch the skies on one side of the screen and Amsellem on the other half, and track the competition. Who will be eliminated, and who will get to the next round? The drought or Amsellem?

Should there continue to be no rain, that would be a portent indicating that this Amsellem fellow is really a major problem in the cosmos. Thus, one of two things would have to occur: He would have to be ousted, or, alternatively, he might be left on the set of Big Brother, where he can make mischief. However, if the rain should suddenly pour down, without Amsellem being eliminated, what would that say about God? It would prove one, long-suspected, truth: that God is weak-willed, a softy, a liberal humanist who doesn't keep his word; that he is, in short, a Geek! God the Geek! Let God the Geek get one in the teeth!