Thursday, August 04, 2011

Rav Sherlow vs. Orange Ramadan Deal

On Monday, I posted about the Orange Ramadan deal.

The following was sent to me early this morning; Rav Yuval Sherlow was asked about Jews signing up for the Orange Ramadan deal in 2009, and his answer is as follows:
שלום וברכה

אני מבין שהשאלה היא כבר לא רלוונטית. לדעתי רישום היהודים הוא מעשה לא ישר, וזאת משתי סיבות: הן כלפי חברת אורנג´ והתחזות שווא, והן כלפי שמייא בנכונות להזדהות עם דת אחרת עבור כסף. מעבר לכך, האם זו לא מידה של רדיפת בצע מכוערת

כל טוב
Shalom and Greetings

I understand that your question is no longer relevant [Jameel: Orange stopped the special Ramadan deal in 2009, after tens of thousands of Israeli Jews signed up for the Ramadan special, partly due to posts on the Muqata blog]. In my opinion, Jews signing up [for the Ramadan deal] is not righteous for two reasons. Once towards the Orange company for misrepresentation [as Arabs?], and secondly towards heaven [G-d] for willingness to associate oneself with another religion for money. More so, isn't this the character trait of greed?

All the best.
I find R' Sherlow's reply perplexing. The Orange company offers "sectarian" deals -- and by law, despite the sectarian deal, it is still open to all citizens of Israel. Otherwise, Orange would be breaking the law. No one is posing as an Arab or a Ramadan-observing person in order to get the special Ramadan. Orange doesn't ask "If you are a Ramadan observing Muslim, and are fasting this month, please press 7." They don't ask because they are not allowed to ask, by law.
I'm sure that Arabs also sign up for special Chanuka deals (if there happen to be any).

No one is masquerading as an Arab to get the "Ramadan" special, or associating with a religion for money. Your simply taking advantage of an offer, from an Arabic language menu from the Orange company.

I think R' Sherlow is reading far too much into an advertising gimmick.

Greed is cheating on taxes, not paying VAT, and theft from the government. Taking advantage of a consumer opportunity (like double coupons, internet special savings codes, free shipping, or this Orange Ramadan special) is simply fair consumerism.

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Rafi (S) said...

I can understand his point that there is a feeling that you are "beating the system" when you use the deal and therefore it could be argued that it is not tzadikut to do so. However using his logic you wouldn't be able to go to Christmas sales if you're not a Christian... So what is it that makes you feel like you're stealing when you use the Ramadan deal?

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

- You can't shop on memorial day if you don't remember fallen soldiers.

- You can't buy in a Yesh Ramat Beit Shemesh if you aren't Chareidi.

I'm sure everyone could add dozens of examples.

Ariel said...

Hi Jameel. I agree with you on this one and not with Rav Sherlo.

However, I would urge you to contact Rav Sherlo and give him a link to what you wrote. Unlike many other Zionist rabbis today, Rav Sherlo respects criticism and often changes his mind. (This happened to me once when I replied to a teshuvah of his that really reflected lack of familiarity with the issue.)

Furthermore, Rav Sherlo (unlike too many other rabbis) in no way sees his opinion as one that you need to accept if it doesn't make sense to you. So take it easy... :-)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Hi Ariel -

Thanks for the idea...I will try to email him. I don't think my reaction to R' Sherlow was disrespectful...and I hope I was taking it easy.

Thanks again!



Gee a Moron said...

Why does Orange offer such a deal (or a Chanukah deal or free calls erev Pesach, etc.)? Not because they want to promote the religion but to:
- get their name into people's minds
- to persuade a few to switch over to them because they have great promotions
- to get those who might not otherwise send many SMSes into a new habit

After all, teenagers excepted, who has time to send 2,000 SMSes in a month? Most of the freebies will go to waste but I don't care. It's just a good consumer promotion so I take it.

josh said...

Many communication companies have specials right before the Rosh Hashana and Pesach. These are open to all consumers even the African illegals.

BBJ said...

Yeah, I think this is just a holiday special, and one is not normally required to celebrate the holiday in order to get the special.

David said...

I agree with Rav Sherlow.
Of course "legally" you have a right to get the benefit. But something can be legal but wrong or immoral.
There is a commandment - ועשית הישר והטוב בעיני השם
That applies to deeds that are not included in other laws - a Jew is commanded to be "yashar" even in cases where there is no stealing involved.
It is clear Orange intended this benefit to be for Muslims who are celebrating Ramadan. They do not expect non-muslims to take advantage of it. This is clear from the fact that they did not advertise it to that public and that the recording is in Arabic. Exploiting this is legal - but not yashar.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

David: Yashar?! If anything its ILLEGAL for Orange to offer a sectoral offer.

In Israel today, if you want to only hire Jews, its illegal (or advertise, "Avoda Ivrit"). If there is forced affirmative action in Israel, then there's no reason why everyone can't take advantage of an offer like this.

David said...

Yes, as I said before - it is perfectly legal for you to take advantage of it - and it is illegal for them to prevent you from taking advantage of it. Nevertheless you know very well what their intentions are - which is exactly why you got so excited about it;-) Your little hafgana is against the hypocrisy of the laws, the courts and the leftist hypocrites. But Orange is not at fault for the laws, the courts and the hypocrites. It is therefore not yashar towards Orange (and no, the fact that the mobile operators cheat us is not a justification for not being yashar with them).

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