I Want My Head & Shoulders

Airline security ad absurdum

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Comments (45)

(45) Anonymous, January 28, 2008 11:09 PM

I usually learn much from the Rabbi's videos and enjoy them, so I was suprised at this one. I'm just as peeved at not being able to take certain things in my carry on, and some of the restrictions seem a bit too much, but this IS for OUR safety. Could it be done differently? Maybe, but the monetary cost would be prohibitive.

The USA has much to learn from Israeli security people, who are trained to ask questions and evaluate our answers and body language. But this requires better personel who deserve better pay. So I think the best we can expect is what we are getting, even tho' I am just as angry as the Rabbi, when I can't take my yogurt or water (I fill it at the water fountain after security) or crochet needles (I found plastic ones that work!!).

I think we should direct our anger at the Arab terrorists who are really responsible for all this inconvenience to the innocent public! I hope this is counted along with all the much more terrible sins of murder and mayhem they have performed, so that G-d will see fit to stop them, "soon and in our days"....I'm suprised the Rabbi doesn't realize the airlines are just trying to save their business, and the fault really lies with the terrorists. Rabbi Salomon, with all due respect, maybe you are showing "displaced" anger that rightfully should be directed at those resha'im (evil ones)? What we suffer in the airports is nothing compared to the suffering of those who have lost loved ones to the terrorists. Stay focused on what's important, please.

(44) Bucinka, January 19, 2008 9:16 PM

No Marc, we're not more secure

Marc, you're one of the people about whom Ben Franklin sais, "Those who would give up some permanent liberty to achieve a little temporary security deserve neither liberty nor security." TSA's procedures, have violated millions of people's civil liberties and caught exactly zero terrorists. Besides, you must realize terrorists won't repeat their actions. They're too smart for that. My pet peeve is having to take my shoes off (I fly at least two times a week). I just know they're watching us on al-Jazeera laughing their tuchases off. "Oops they're on to the shoe thing," theyre most likely saying. "We gotta try something else."

I am sorry I started writing this before I saw Rosen's comment. Rosen, you've got it down 100%.

(43) Eva, January 14, 2008 10:05 AM


When traveling through Europe the security there would put the water bottle in a machine that determined that it was water and would let us pass with it, simple and logical. Security in the US has lost its common sense and should get it back.

(42) Diana Bronson, January 14, 2008 6:41 AM

Why does Rabbi Salomon want to wash his hair on the plane?

Just wondered why you feel the need to take shampoo on the plane? I can understand the need for mouthwash and deodorant, but shampoo? Didn't know that airlines carried such good washing facilities to justify this!

(41) Marc, January 13, 2008 10:47 PM

I'm Speechless

Whether one likes it or not, we live in a different world now. How would Rabbi Salomon feel if we stopped with all the protocol and somebody actually did succeed performing chemistry mid-air that exploded an airplane. This video left a bad taste in my mouth . . . it was almost as if Rabbi Salomon is asking to be an airplane hit by terrorists. Shame on him for picking this as a topic. I thought Jewish law requires us to put our lives and safety first. I guess Rabbi Salomon sees it differently. What am I missing here?

(40) Anonymous, January 13, 2008 9:30 AM

tomato juice

my friend took a small check-thru bag and decided to take it on the plane as carry-on. there were 6 cans of tomato juice, 3 in each zip pocket. security found 3 and took them away and the other 3 (in another pocket) passed security. Are they doing a job or what. What a waste. Israel has no problem with passengers taking 2 liter bottles of water on the plane.

(39) Anonymous, January 13, 2008 1:26 AM

what's the problem with shampoo and mouthwash

You just have to put your shampoo and mouthwas in your suitcase, and not in your hand luggage. what is the big deal?

(38) Anonymous, January 12, 2008 5:48 PM

Go Conservative-Supported Racial Profiling!

Any Democrats reading this will disagree with me strongly, but who is it who is blowing up planes? Not little old ladies who needed 40 minutes to get their shoes on in the first place! But picking out people who look suspicious (and yes, some innocents would suffer! and no, I don't want to be one of them, but I think I'd rather that than everyone suffer every time!) we might become guilty of discrimination...and to avoid THAT at ALL COSTS, we inconvenience everyone else....every time!

Let's wake up to WHO is causing all the trouble, and stop trying to be so "understanding" of the "Islamists" who just DON'T think the way Westerners do. When the authorities (and the rest of us) finally realize that, we will all be alot better off!

Happy Flying, Everyone!

(37) Levi, January 11, 2008 1:09 PM

We need smarter security

I do not think we are more secure in having my toddlers "randomly" checked. Israeli security is done SMART - by trained personnel asking questions and studying each traveler's response... I agree that America's version of "security" is not worth the hassle it is causing.

(36) Yoni, January 11, 2008 11:55 AM


When I'm flying I'm so hyped up and excited about the trip that I don't get to worried about my shampoo and cologne bottle. But since you say you fly a lot you probably don't have that same level of excitement and therefore you are annoyed at the security system. I understand that, but even still I have to disagree.

You say "Experts agree that performing chemistry in an airplane bathroom is really very unlikely to produce any serious explosives…" The key word here is "unlikely". For the sake of security and that an explosion MAY happen and kill innocent lives, don't you think it's worth your shampoo and deodorant?

To that you say "In terms of box cutters which were used in 9/11, of course that should be prohibited, but you can make a pointed object out of almost anything…" Are you trying to say that since security doesn't confiscate everything they shouldn't confiscate some things? Every day, the homeland security is taking steps to further improve their security systems. And in the future I'm sure there will be more things one is not allowed to bring along on the plane.
Of course the system is not perfect, but they are doing everything they (the security professionals) think is necessary and we do owe them a great deal of hakaros hatov.

With all due respect, I don't think this is a case of TIRCHA (inconvenience) zibura, but rather a (aid) SORCHEI zibura.

(35) Fred, January 11, 2008 9:36 AM


This was kind of like a gentle Andy Rooney rant. I wasn't remotely convinced that the airline security system is inconsistent with the Talmud. All I'm convinced of is that Rabbi Salomon finds it annoying. So what? Where's the Jewish content here, folks?

(34) Russell, January 10, 2008 7:25 PM

The point got lost in your rant

I enjoy watching your videos and come here as often as I can to see what you have to say. I was a little disappointed with this one, but realized I took what you were saying as a rant. I get your point, but I don't agree with the analogy.

If you don't like the security at airports, don't fly. You mentioned the trains and the boats in which passengers are not subjected to vigorous, "inconvenient" searches, and if you want to travel (remember last week's message -- wants vs. needs), then you can go by rail or sea.

Keep in mind that the security measures are a good thing. You may not agree with the current methods, the time it takes to go through the checkpoints, or the items for which they search, but the reason behind it is a good one. Let's bear in mind that airlines want their passengers safe and happy -- they're not the bad guys here. You mentioned all the methods that can be used to fashion a weapon, and you're right: we can't cover all our bases. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't cover any of them. Taking no steps to prevent disaster would be a much more inconvenient reality than spending an extra few minutes in a line.

(33) marc, January 9, 2008 9:20 PM


maybe i'm not one to argue cause i dont travel to much- but i think that we are alot better off with tight security than without- but i do hear your point rabbi- certain things can be eleminated!

(32) aliza, January 9, 2008 8:45 PM

missing the point

I think some people have missed the point. Or, at least what I believe R' Salomon's point to be. It's not that there shouldn't be *any* security at airports, it's that the type of security checks american airports inflict on passengers is ridiculous. Having flown to and from Israel many times, I have been pulled aside and questionned, I have been lightly scrutinized, I have been questionned about fellow passengers, and I have been asked just a few questions and then sent through. I have never had to take my shoes off and walk barefoot on a disgusting floor with no place to sit to put my shoes back on. I have never had my (expensive) kosher yogurt confiscated because it's a "liquid." I've never had to throw out an entire bottle of water that I just bought in one of their stores - receipt included. I've never been asked to uncover my hair or take off my overshirt. I've also never security bark at me, ordering me to take off my shoes. These are all things that have happened to me at american airports.

I fly a lot and american security is just a joke. I'll take 2 hours' pre-flight airport arrival in Israel over 2 hours at any US airport.

(31) tracy, January 9, 2008 5:16 PM

rabbi's got a point

I also am fed up with the sham of "homeland security." I can take many bottles of 3oz liquids. "But you can't mix them in a larger container," says the security official. hmmm... yet they sell liter and larger sizes of water not 20 feet within the security gates. how is that preventing anything?
as it goes for the 911 terrorists, there were no chemicals, no guns, just their bodies and the knowledge of the planes to crash them. as far as that reasoning goes, we should ban all people from riding the air planes...
something to think about....

(30) A. M., January 9, 2008 1:23 PM

American vs. Israeli security

I've read the comments about the Americans receiving training from the Israelis....so why is it that the Israelis don't bother with a lot of this. I am allowed to take any amount of fluids on Israeli flights and have to go through only basic security checks. And they're considered the world experts. They do rely a lot on their agents' ability to pick up on potential problems by screening the passengers. They receive extensive training in these areas (reading eyes, body language, psychology etc.) and are very successful at it.

(29) Anonymous, January 9, 2008 11:56 AM

its questionable

yes it may seem like there are a lot of new security procedures but a saying comes to my mind "better safe then sorry" and yes some times things can get out of hand on things like this but thats whats great about a democracy there are checks and balances where we get to voice our opinion and point out what we think should be fixed but You also must look at it from the air lines point of view when some thing chas va shalom happens who do people blame every one blames the lack of security the question is raised was there anything we could have done more to prevent such a thing from happening and before all this new security was the answer of yes this and that could have been set up too prevent it and the same thing comes with being a frum jew do we stop going to shul because its tedious do we stop keeping halacha because its tedious what about passover cleaning for chametz do we stop cleaning because its... and the list goes on and on the point is that the government deturmins whats they think is good for us and when we feel that its not thats the moment when we make our voices heard now is the time with the up coming presidential elections now is the time to make our thoughts and feelings known

(28) Anonymous, January 9, 2008 8:58 AM

the truth is

The truth is, they could have anything loaded in the cargo, so what is the big deal with our carry on. This trip they swabbed my daughter's stroller to see if it had been in contact with explosives. I want safe passage as much as anyone, but it is a monetary waste and provides a false sense of security.

(27) Charnie, January 9, 2008 8:30 AM

If it's important enough to Israeli security

then it makes sense to me. They're the pros, after all. USA Homeland Security would be nothing without the training they've received from Israel. So let's be a little inconvenienced. Our lives are well worth it.
Actually, I found this position quite surprising from you, Rabbi. I kept waiting for there to be a punchline.

(26) Anonymous, January 9, 2008 8:29 AM

I agree but i disagree

In some point, you are right. But they are only doing all the security for you and me. Its like the mitzvot, they are many fences that the rabbis established just for us not to sin. Its not for them, its for us.
I think that sometimes they make it a little bit to ridiculous, like if you got three X in youre bording pass you have to pass thru and Extra security. That is a random thing, but the normal security is recuired.. I dont want to ofend you jas v shalom, but when someone says that something is bad, that person has to come with a answer before complaining. Tell us what is the answer or the tikun to youre complain and maybe we can do somehting.

(25) Barack, January 8, 2008 7:52 PM

The "expert" returns

Hmm why does he not work with the home intelligence, I'm sure they'll appriciate his expertise. People should not comment on realms outside the fields of their competency if they wish to retain any credibility

(24) Chana, January 8, 2008 7:16 PM

One arrogant Rabbi,

Dear Rabbi Salomon,
So you are bothered by all the rules and regulations with regard to airport security? You are inconvenienced when you cannot take your mouthwash or shampoo in your luggage with you to your destination and you feel that all these restrictions are "over-the-top" and such measures should be abolished?
Since when do YOU think you can make such arrogant statements?
Airport security is very needed and not at all "over-the-top" May I remind you of the Pan-Am explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland, in which hundreds of innocent people lost their lives?
We all know that "something" came aboard in Frankfurt/Main airport which should not have been there........
I for one put up with the "inconveniences" at check-in time and I gladly oblige....for the sake of all of us to be able to travel safely and I try not to grumble about it or feel that I am above the law and that rules do not apply to me.
I have flown all over this world and never pack shampoo etc. I use local products, available at my destination.
Try it next time and stop being annoyed at check-in time; it is bad for your heart!

(23) Joanne S, January 8, 2008 7:09 PM

Keep Head On Shoulders

No need to get worked up into a lather -- I agree with feiv - you don't need full sized shampoo and deodorant on board. Too many people are trying not to have to check their luggage, and they are contributing to the long waits going through security. And I would rather have to take my shoes off (I wear slip-ons) if it makes it harder for one crazy terrorist to board a plane with a shoe bomb or chemicals or weapons. It's the consistancy and lack of profiling that makes it effective -- some mishuganah might (G-d forbid) plant a bomb on her baby or child. Get over it.

(22) Carmin Rosenthal, January 8, 2008 5:04 PM

Rabbi, I love you, but... I have to ask, what is airport security like in Israel?
May G-D always bless you.

Warm regards

(21) Anonymous, January 8, 2008 4:27 PM

we are at fault

I think Americans "like" all the security. It makes them feel as though we have it all under control....no one is gonna get us now!!!!! Of course we live as though there was no 911....maybe, even if it is a "tearcha", it is good for us to be a bit bothered in the name of security. We need to know....it's not if, but when.

(20) Andras Bereny, January 8, 2008 4:11 PM

Lives are threatened

Lives are threatened. So there is no choice here unfortunately. Of course security is annoying. A lot less though then falling out of the sky due to a terror suicide attack.

(19) gittel, January 8, 2008 3:23 PM

meesage to Rabbi Salomon

I don`t totally agree with you about shampoo and toothpaste...and rather agree with "TIRCHEH D`TZIBURAH" in these days of fear of terrorism at airports!Sorry! Kol Tuv...Gittel north-east England

(18) Merav, aka The Cat Lady, January 8, 2008 1:16 PM

American security is a joke.

American security is a joke. Removing our shoes because of the shoe bomber.

It would be just as easy to fashion the exact same type of bomb on other article of clothing, so why single out shoes?

Why can I take 3 3oz containers of something, but not 1 9 oz of the same stuff? It doesn't make sense from a security viewpoint.

Now EL-AL's security in Israel is real and quite frankly less annoying.

They spend a few minutes talking to the traveler and make a judgment if the person may or may not be a risk and needs farther scrutiny.

All bags going under the plane get X-rayed in front of the owner and if something looks suspicious, such as the huge tubs of Dead Sea mud I had in each of my suitcases, it is hand checked. They ask a few questions. It takes about 2 minutes and it's done.

(17) Mike Husar, January 8, 2008 12:14 PM

Fingernail clippers

I more than agree with the Rabbi: I have a problem with them confiscating my tiny fingernail clippers. I defy anyone to mortally wound anyone with a fingernail clipper!

(16) David Pressler, January 8, 2008 12:08 PM

Airline Security

I'm beginning to doubt that any of you have ever been to Israel, let alone fly El-Al. Security is Security and it's NEVER too much. Even a 1% chance is a number that cannot be tolerated given the number of flights criss-crossing the US and the world. You can do the calculation if you want. I, for one, do NOT care and I fly a lot, too. I might add that I don't think the good rabbi would take it lightly if a security expert tried to teach him Torah. I strongly recommend that the rabbi leave security to the domain experts and confine his comments to issues of Judaica. Being a leader in a community often means expressing support for the regulatory agencies and their policies, not working against them.

(15) Hillel, January 8, 2008 11:51 AM

Sense of Security

I agree, airport security efforts are extreme. There are psychologic benefits though, depending on your threshold for Tircha D'tzibura.

(14) ross, January 8, 2008 11:50 AM

Let's sue anyway.

We live in a country where everything is everybody else's fault, and lawsuits flow like water. If something extremely outlandish would happen (like a crazy person spiking the captain's coffee with shampoo, let's say, causing him to pass out and the plane to take a nose dive), the airlines would be sued to the heavens for not taking the proper precautions. So they cover themselves (with loads of coverings) hoping they won't be blamed for anything. That's why we are the sheep. BAA.

(13) Freda, January 8, 2008 11:05 AM

When Political Correctness trumps reason

Rabbi Salomon, you are absolutely correct. The Transportation Security Administration displays no common sense. We flew to Israel with my 85-year-old mother-in-law. In JFK, TSA made her take off her shoes (she needed help to take them off), get out of her wheelchair, and walk (assisted) through the metal detector. She was very upset that she was forced to walk in stocking-feet. She was raised to never walk in socks (it's a sign of mourning). She was yelling "this is against my religion! I demand to see the supervisor!" The supervisor appeared, ready to do battle with this frail, elderly woman. I had to calm him down and tell him not to take her "attack on security procedures" personally!! It was beyond ridiculous!
At Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, they (gasp) profile. An old women who can't walk on her own is not viewed and treated as a threat. Security lines move quickly, we can keep our shoes on and I even got to keep my water bottle!!

(12) Tzilia Sacharow, January 8, 2008 10:59 AM

careful best

Dear Yaakov,
After 2 years of kliving in Jerusalem, I have becomed accustomed to having my handbag searched at every restaurant and store door. I thank the security guards and the checkers at the airports. After all, I am entering the shop or the plane not them.
Our insane government has just released over 400 arab terrorists, and at the same time taking the security men off the busses. Are they out of their minds. Bus bombings weren't so far in the past and it's the guards who have helped to protect us..and now another 400 experts are free. To tell the truth, for the first time, I am afraid to get on the busses, yet I do...
Lives are worth annoyances..come with me to see some victims of terror and their families and you will stop complaining

(11) Yaron Salmen again., January 8, 2008 8:56 AM


I really think that the reactions of the people here are quite unbelievable...have you all succumbed to fear? Havent you read about the real threats in america? Fema concentration camps? Civil inmate labour being used for the military?
Thats what the cost is of fear. Overreacting is exactly what the terrorists want you to do. A nation in turmoil will have no real defenses against infiltration and terrorist attacks. Schism in the American people will not help Israel one wit. The American government committing atrocities will only further the cause of the Jihadists. Please stop this irrational fear; for we have a country to defend...preferably from REAL enemies.

(10) Michal, January 8, 2008 8:39 AM

This time I disagree with you, Rabbi Salomon

I am glad about all these annoying things you complain about. I know, when they are strict with me, then they are just as strikt with a wouldabe terrorist. It surely is boring for them too. What is so bad, when you put the things wich are so important for you, into you misvada? No, this time nothing to think about.

(9) Michael, January 8, 2008 8:31 AM

Not too far - the wrong direction

I understand and share the rabbi's extreme frustration with airline security - I actually avoid flying as much as possible because of it. The only problem with his formulation is the claim that it goes "too far." Going "too far" implies that it continuing going in the same direction - that it makes us super-secure when we only need to be secure. But in fact, the endless humiliations do not buy an ounce of extra security. Internal TSA audits show that screeners miss the majority of weapons put through during tests, possibly because they are so busy looking for shampoo and trying to decide if a toenail clipper is a weapon.

If Judaism stands for anything, it stands for unblinkered rational thought. If a rule can not be justified (What, exactly, do you believe I will do with my shampoo?), it should be abolished. But fat chance that will happen given the political costs of appearing soft on security - even if relaxing a rule enhances real security.

(8) Yaron Salmen, January 8, 2008 8:07 AM

Security terrorism.

I think you are very right, Rabbi, this over the top security is actually doing the job of the terrorists; they are inspiring more fear into people than the actual terrorism would incite.
But ofcourse thats the role of terrorism; to make people fear more than they need to, to unglue the security of people...We have enough REAL fear to hurdle, as a people.
I think we should not let our fear rule our common sense.
And Harry Pearle, what makes you think that American authorities' security measures are anything more than an overreaction? Havent the american authorities in retrospect overreacted to almost every so-called threat to security? Or are you one who thinks that authority in itself is from G*d?
Anyway, fear stops our rational thought so lets not succumb to it....

(7) David, January 8, 2008 8:05 AM

ranting lashon hara is a disappointment

whinining without compassion or suggesting improvement is hardly tikkun olam. I have a friend who trains airport security in Dallas. Rabbi Salomon's appraisal of the risks is both arrogrant and ignorant. "I want to take my deodorant on the plane" is the moral equivalent of "I want to have bourbon or cooaine whenever." This is a huge elevation of ego beyond social good. It's very disappointing.

(6) Harry Pearle, January 7, 2008 7:47 PM

Security Measures Nne of Our Business

I greatly appreciate the Rabbi's comments. However, I feel that security measures are up to the autorities. I would rather they went overboard on security. It is a difficult, tedious job, not knowing what to look for.

Are we not told to build fences around roofs? We do not live charmed lives, free from harm. Are we forgetting 9/11? Are we not told to make fences around the Torah, as well?

On my first trip to Israel, I started to cry as we landed. I was pulled out and interrogated by the IDF. They were there doing their jobs to protect us all, back in 1978. I applaude the job that Homeland Security is doing to protect us, here.

(5) Paul, January 7, 2008 7:28 PM

Airline security excesses

Political correctness is a major culprit for the excessive security measures at the airport. Because profiling of a few is prohibited, everyone else is inconvenienced and actually placed in more danger. By not concentrating our security resources on the most likely trouble areas, we waste those resources and give the advantage to the terrorists.
For those of you who think that profiling is "racist", please consider this. If you are male or young, the police pay more attention to you because men are usually more dangerous than women, and young people are usually more dangerous than old people. It is completely sensible to do this and no one objects. The same approach should be used with those who fit terrorist profiles.

(4) feiv, January 7, 2008 3:28 PM

head and shoulders?

why do you need shampoo on a plane?

(3) Anonymous, January 7, 2008 12:58 PM

it's not worth getting worked up about

Why fight something that is for the public's good and doesn't really do us any harm? Yes, they may seem ridiculous, inconvenient, time consuming, but would you not give anything (however irrational it may seem) to have a safe flight to your destination? They are done in the name of security and for our benefit- whether or not we feel that it's justified. I really don't feel that this is one of the things G-d wants us to be passionate about. Let's put our strengths towards other goals.

(2) Chana Manusharov, January 7, 2008 12:27 PM


The US airline security checks - absolutely ridiuculous and unjustified.
As someone who travels with children, which is a hassle in and of itself, I must say security has become one of the modern day stone idols, to whom even the innocent children and infants must be submitted. This has gone well beyond the inconvinience - it's infringing on personal privacy, dignity and peace of mind, for the sake of WHAT???

(1) Rosen, January 7, 2008 6:55 AM

security vs. civil liberties

It's amazing that security is so concerned about every inch of one's person that it is most likely a violation of the US Constitution's 4th amendment rights to searches and seizures. As Ben Franklin famously said, "To sacrifice liberty for a sense of security deserves neither." So, why sweat the small stuff in the name of security, particularly with any random chemicals in shampoo, soda, baby formulas, etc.?...While the US is still trying to make security orderly, Israel is much more organized with security such as at Ben Gurion airport, among other places for checkpoints. Now, if someone were to stand up against the tedious security search, they would most likely be arrested, so it's better to discuss it in a letter to one's congressman and senators. Perhaps these security organizations we have such as the TSA, Dept. of Homeland Security, etc. are unconstitutional!


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