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Ultra orthodox Jews still today form hedges for instance: Israel’s major airline, El Al, recently rejected a plea by ultra-orthodox Jews with a priestly heritage to fly inside body bags. Why would someone want to do this? Ritual law states that a priest who enters cemetery becomes religiously "unclean." A ruling by a prominent rabbi declared that flying over a cemetery was the same as entering it. He suggested body bags as a means of maintaining separation, but abandoned the idea when told by airline security that it would be unsafe. Orthodox priests can now avoid pollution by flying late at night, as the noise levels require night flights to follow an alternate route which doesn’t pass above the cemetery.

This type of behaviour sounds bizarre to Western ears, but it harks all the way back to the time of Jesus. The Pharisees too went to great extremes to ensure they observed the Law of Moses. The goal was to be totally committed to God’s will.

There’s one thing for certain - orthodox Jews stand out! According to the Old Testament, purity laws such as these made Israel stand out, identified Israel as God’s people. Jesus declared that God’s will is no longer focused on ritual purity, but purity of character. We should be marked by our love, grace, forgiveness, etc, and as committed to developing such character as the ultra-orthodox Jew is to ritual purity.

source: reported by reuters.com,