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Old 07-15-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Long Island
1,713 posts, read 1,385,836 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
I totally relate to this. I think these things are the reason so many Jews have a hard time with being observant...much of it seems superfluous. So we throw the whole thing away because there is no in-between. This is the one issue that keeps my husband from conversion. He knows that as a convert he would be making a commitment to abide by these things that he sees as irrelevant. And he takes his word very seriously. I, OTOH, don't feel as compelled to worry about the traditions because I don't have to make any commitment in order to be let "in the club."
Most of the converts I know have gone through the same thing. It's often a very conflicted road.

Quote:
What I want is a visionary, intelligent rabbi who takes G-d and Torah seriously, and is actively looking for a way to be observant in modernity.
I think that's what the vast majority of us want as well.
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Old 07-15-2013, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Maybe we'll be lucky enough to see it in our lifetime. However, we should keep in mind that any time changes are made that seem for the better you always lose something that you didn't anticipate. There is no perfect place.
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Old 07-15-2013, 11:33 AM
 
3,951 posts, read 3,339,069 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
What I want is a visionary, intelligent rabbi who takes G-d and Torah seriously, and is actively looking for a way to be observant in modernity.
The Torah is a timeless document. Whether a halacha was practiced by the Jews in the midbar 3300 years ago, or by me and Iwish today, the reasons for performing these mitzvos are as current and relevant today as they were 3300 years ago.

There is not one of the 613 mitzvos we Jews hold by in our current times that we do simply because we've always done them. Every single one of the 613 has relevance in our lives here in the year 5773. To think otherwise is a opportunity for a Jew to get closer to Hashem.
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Old 07-16-2013, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
2,438 posts, read 4,223,639 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pegotty View Post
even fringe groups like Reconstruction and Renewal...whatever that is. :-)
Renewal:

https://www.aleph.org/
"Looking for a joyful, creative, deeply spiritual and relevant approach to Judaism?
Yearning for meaningful learning rooted in Torah and tradition, Kabbalah and Hasidism combined with a modern consciousness that is politically progressive, egalitarian and environmentally aware? Hoping for a community that embraces singles, GLBT people and interfaith families?
The Judaism you've longed for has arrived!
Jewish renewal is a worldwide, transdenominational movement grounded in Judaism’s prophetic and mystical traditions.
Jewish renewal carries forward Judaism’s perpetual process of renewal.
Jewish renewal seeks to bring creativity, relevance, joy, and an all embracing awareness to spiritual practice, as a path to healing our hearts and finding balance and wholeness—tikkun halev.
Jewish renewal acts to fully include all Jews and to respect all peoples.
Jewish renewal helps to heal the world by promoting justice, freedom, responsibility, caring for all life and the earth that sustains all life —tikkun olam.

Jewish Renewal - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Jewish Renewal brings kabbalistic and Hasidic theory and practice into a non-Orthodox, egalitarian framework, a phenomenon sometimes referred to as neo-Hasidism. Like Hasidic Jews, Renewal Jews often add to traditional worship ecstatic practices such as meditation, chant and dance. In augmenting Jewish ritual, some Renewal Jews borrow freely and openly from Buddhism, Sufism and other faiths."

Reconstructionist:

Jewish Reconstructionist Movement
"Reconstructionist Jews see the Torah as the Jewish people's response to God's presence in the world (and not God's gift to us). That is to say, the Jews wrote the Torah. But that is not to say that the Torah is merely a human creation. It is a response to the sacred. It is an attempt to convince an entire people to view everyday life in a sacred way. [...] Reconstructionist Jews retain the traditional language of Jewish prayer, but not the obvious understanding of its meaning and function. Rather, we understand prayer to help us perform the task of awakening. We need to awaken ourselves to the miracle that is life and to the obligations that inhere in that life. We believe that we are the primary respondents to our own prayers, and that we need prayer to remind us of the Godly values behind our benevolent actions in the world. [...] Reconstructionist Judaism teaches that the mitzvot are our own invention. Mitzvot are our particularly Jewish ways of responding to the universal God. We perceive God as demanding sacredness in general, and the Jewish mitzvot are our people's way of bringing that universal sacredness to the minutiae of daily life in our own specifically Jewish context. In this system, God does not choose the Jews to be performers of the commandments. Rather, the Jews choose to be called by God by means of a vast network of sacred acts (mitzvot)..."

Reconstructionist Judaism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"There is substantial theological diversity within the movement. Halakha, the collective body of Jewish laws, customs and traditions, is not considered binding, but is treated as a valuable cultural remnant that should be upheld unless there is reason for the contrary. The movement emphasizes positive views toward modernism, and has an approach to Jewish custom which aims toward communal decision making through a process of education and distillation of values from traditional Jewish sources."
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Old 07-18-2013, 11:31 AM
 
3,951 posts, read 3,339,069 times
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Quote:
In this week's parsha, the Torah says: "Do not add to or subtract from the mitzvot." (Deut. 4:2)

Take the example of driving on Shabbat. Nobody disputes that igniting a combustion engine violates the verse in the Torah: "You shall light no fire on Shabbat." (Exodus 35:2)

But, the argument goes, isn't it better to have people driving to the synagogue than staying home? Isn't this an appropriate exception to Jewish law? Surely God would approve!
Shraga's Weekly Parshat V'etchanan: Don't Add or Subtract

I think this article sums up one of the fundamental differences between Conservative and Orthodox. Driving on Shabbos...
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Old 07-19-2013, 03:14 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theflipflop View Post
Shraga's Weekly Parshat V'etchanan: Don't Add or Subtract

I think this article sums up one of the fundamental differences between Conservative and Orthodox. Driving on Shabbos...
I guess I just don't get how separating dairy and poultry (among many other things) is not adding to the commandments. The commandment is not to cook a kid in it's mothers milk. Chickens don't make milk. Why is that prohibited?
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Old 07-20-2013, 10:06 PM
 
864 posts, read 733,457 times
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Quote:
I guess I just don't get how separating dairy and poultry (among many other things) is not adding to the commandments. The commandment is not to cook a kid in it's mothers milk. Chickens don't make milk. Why is that prohibited?
You are right. Cooking a kid in its mother's milk is the Torah prohibition. As a precaution, the Rabbis have placed a fence, to abstain from mixing any milk and meat. When studying Halacha (Jewish law), one must be careful to differentiate between a Torah prohibition, a Rabbinical prohibition, and a custom. To study it otherwise is a violation of the prohibition to neither add or subtract. One must know that difference so that in a time of emergency, one should rather violate a custom before a Rabbinical prohibition and a Rabbinical prohibition before a Torah prohibition.

When the serpent challenged Eve in the garden of Eden as to why she wouldn't taste the fruit of the Eitz Hadas (Tree of Knowledge) she answered that G-d forbade them to 'TOUCH' it, when in fact G-d only forbade Adam and Eve to eat it. The serpent pushed her towards the tree, proving to her that touching it, in fact, did not cause her any harm. This led her to partake of the fruit. Why didn't Eve know that only eating was forbidden? Because Adam, in his desire to keep her away from the tree, transmitted G-d's command with the addition of "forbidden touching." Adam should've taught Eve that G-d forbade eating and, as an added precaution, he (Adam) forbade her from even touching the tree. His flaw in the transmission of G-d's commandment became their undoing.
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Old 07-21-2013, 05:15 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,689,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post
You are right. Cooking a kid in its mother's milk is the Torah prohibition. As a precaution, the Rabbis have placed a fence, to abstain from mixing any milk and meat. When studying Halacha (Jewish law), one must be careful to differentiate between a Torah prohibition, a Rabbinical prohibition, and a custom. To study it otherwise is a violation of the prohibition to neither add or subtract. One must know that difference so that in a time of emergency, one should rather violate a custom before a Rabbinical prohibition and a Rabbinical prohibition before a Torah prohibition.

When the serpent challenged Eve in the garden of Eden as to why she wouldn't taste the fruit of the Eitz Hadas (Tree of Knowledge) she answered that G-d forbade them to 'TOUCH' it, when in fact G-d only forbade Adam and Eve to eat it. The serpent pushed her towards the tree, proving to her that touching it, in fact, did not cause her any harm. This led her to partake of the fruit. Why didn't Eve know that only eating was forbidden? Because Adam, in his desire to keep her away from the tree, transmitted G-d's command with the addition of "forbidden touching." Adam should've taught Eve that G-d forbade eating and, as an added precaution, he (Adam) forbade her from even touching the tree. His flaw in the transmission of G-d's commandment became their undoing.
So how does not mixing meat and poultry make it easier to not mix meat and milk?
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:51 AM
 
Location: small Southern town balabusta
1,133 posts, read 1,431,904 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iwishiwerethin View Post

When the serpent challenged Eve in the garden of Eden as to why she wouldn't taste the fruit of the Eitz Hadas (Tree of Knowledge) she answered that G-d forbade them to 'TOUCH' it, when in fact G-d only forbade Adam and Eve to eat it. The serpent pushed her towards the tree, proving to her that touching it, in fact, did not cause her any harm. This led her to partake of the fruit. Why didn't Eve know that only eating was forbidden? Because Adam, in his desire to keep her away from the tree, transmitted G-d's command with the addition of "forbidden touching." Adam should've taught Eve that G-d forbade eating and, as an added precaution, he (Adam) forbade her from even touching the tree. His flaw in the transmission of G-d's commandment became their undoing.
Wow. What a powerful allegory. Something about this made me finally understand when I read this. Thank you.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
2,538 posts, read 4,689,905 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1+1=5 View Post
Wow. What a powerful allegory. Something about this made me finally understand when I read this. Thank you.
yes, I can understand why not touching something that you aren't supposed to eat would be a good thing. There is no good reason to touch a ham sandwich. The temptation (if you like that kind of thing) could be difficult. But many of the other fences seem unreasonable. I think these things are what keep many non-observant Jews from willing to be observant. Honestly, when I was reading through the steps to making a kitchen kosher, I found it a little overwhelming, but I am willing to take those steps to be a part of a community. However, my husband is not. And he doesn't see any reason to separate milk and meat. And he doesn't require our kids to do it, because he doesn't. If it was just beef/lamb, etc he could probably be convinced to make that jump, but the excessive rules make it too much of a jump for him. Of course, he is not Jewish, but my kids are, so it matters, especially since we have boys.

I think these "fences" are a stumbling block for those who might otherwise be observant. Like I said before, I think it is high time that we removed these things as mandatory...strip everything down to just the Torah commandments and go from there. If individuals want to put fences around themselves to keep from accidentally committing a sin, no problem at all. But the fact is that most Jews are not observant and I personally think this is the reason.
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