Recently our sons took us to see The Book Of Mormon for our anniversary. It's from the creators of the delightfully raunchy South Park; the cartoon that never tires of belittling all beliefs. Though some of the song titles were too filthy to mention, it was all done in the spirit of fun. The audience even gave a standing ovation.
Although the play was a devilish parody on the Mormon religion, I was shocked that the Mormon Organization actually placed three ads in the Playbill. My favorite caption was, "YOU'VE SEEN THE PLAY..NOW READ THE BOOK." It was great that they were able to laugh at themselves.
This made me think about how many religions follow ridiculous rules. For example, my friend just told me some traditions within the more observant sector of our religion that I wasn't familiar with. According to a Jewish Orthodox community on the East Coast, when a young bride and groom marry, the groom's family is responsible for a list of items called FLOPS. This stands for Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, Photographer, and Sheytl (wig(s) for the bride).
All Jewish Orthodox married women are required to cover their heads with scarves, hats or wigs. As explained in The New Joys of Yiddish, "The rabbis decreed that once married, a woman's hair, her well-known crowning beauty, should not be visible lest it distract men from prayer or study."
Wigs can be very costly, and it doesn't make sense why the groom's parents should have to pay for them. These rules are so impractical, because in most cases the marriages are arranged at a young age. Thus, these kids could use the FLOPS funds for food, and a place to raise their six to twelve children.
To add to the absurdity, another popular tradition in this community is to buy your future daughter-in-law a diamond tennis bracelet, and a fine watch for your son-in-law. You may not see the bling under her long sleeved blouse, but at least the groom will know when it's time to put his book down and procreate. Sounds like all the makings of the next Broadway hit.
*A repost from 2013.