Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Scoop on the Kohen in the Bag Urban Legend

Query (by a friend of mine) to Cyprus Air:

According to this article, the events described occurred on a flight from Cyprus to Tel Aviv, presumably on March 23 or March 24, 2013.

As I see that your airline is the only servicing this route, I am writing to ask if you have any additional information about this incident and whether you can confirm that this did occur on your flight.

Response from Cyprus Air:

Dear Mr. ...

Incident below did not occur on any Cyprus Airways flight.

Niki Michael 
Customer Relations Section
Marketing Services

tel  +357 - 22 - 39 62 98 fax  +357 - 22 - 66 33 98 email  NMichael@CyprusAir.com


  1. Your friend is an idiot. If he'd bothered reading the very report he forwarded he would have seen that his assumption that it was on Cyprus Air is completely unfounded.

  2. http://www.kikarhashabat.co.il/%D7%97%D7%A8%D7%93%D7%99-%D7%91%D7%9E%D7%98%D7%95%D7%A1-%D7%9E%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%A1%D7%94-%D7%91%D7%A9%D7%A7%D7%99%D7%AA-%D7%A0%D7%99%D7%99%D7%9C%D7%95%D7%9F.html

  3. It is not nice to call people you do not know "idiots."

  4. Here's the text from that link.

    "However, because US President Barak Obama was just concluding his visit to Israel, Israeli skies were closed to commercial traffic, and their flight was redirected to Cyprus, where the men spent Shabbat."

  5. Still, that doesn't clarify what flight the bag-man was allegedly taking. All the article says, in Hebrew or English, is that they returned to Israel after Shabbat. But did the same plane that they were taking from England to Israel stay in Cyprus over Shabbat? Or did it go on its merry way, leaving the Israel passengers to get a flight home on Cyprus Air?

  6. It says that the men spent Shabbat in Cyprus. How much more explicit need that be?

    Presumably, the plane took off after the Obama delay, and those who were not concerned about Shabbat remained on board and those who were concerned stayed in Cyprus, from where they departed on a different flight Motzaei Shabbat.

  7. Even if it did occur on a Cyprus Airways flight, there's no reason that anyone within the company (besides the flight crew) would necessarily have known about it. There were no reports of complaints or disruptions to the flight. It was "news" within the Jewish world, but that's about it.

  8. Someone who wants to put doubt about someone being machmir might certainly be an idiot.

    The man in the bag was interviewed and it turns out he is a decorated ex-soldier and baal tshuva and received this psak from his rav.

  9. It is remarkable to assert that an issue that found its way to the New York Daily News is only news within the Jewish world!

    It is never polite to call a fellow human being an idiot. We all too often verbally stumble in this area, but presumably one has time to compose one's thoughts before committing them to paper or screen.

    We do not know that the man in the bag was interviewed, because the interview was "anonymous."

    I do not think it reasonable, in this day and age, to assume that such an event occurred with no independent corroboration or verification, much less and meaningful investigative reporting of an item that originally occurred on a reddit site that militantly promotes atheism!

  10. YGB - The first part of my statement still stands. And I might also point out that your "friend" who posed the question to the airline is also, so far, anonymous.

    There's also the possibility that they are aware that it occurred, but feel it is better to deny it. If confronted by passengers' testimony, they could always claim that no one in the company was notified about it.

  11. If the bag is effective against tumah, doesn't the wearer need a source of breathing air?