Friday, June 17, 2005

Creative Customs

My response to the Wolf to how and why Judaism has any meaning if the foundations are not factually true:

If we can turn some of the best things of Judaism and find new and independent reasons for perpetuating them then we don't need Mattan Torah or God commanding them to be done.

You think people in America celebrate Christmas and Holloween because of religious reasons? Some do. But the rest?

A common custom of Shavuous is to eat milchik meals. You could go through three dozen people in shul and not come upon one who knew why.

There is value in Judaism. And many aspects of it can and will survive even when the original reasons fall. As Judaism is today very few rituals are carried on as they were originally meant. Reconstructionist Judaism is really just a movement along these same lines.


Vilda Chaya said...

I like blintzes and cheesecake.

Are you talking about empty Judaism or taking what we've got and making up new meaning?

Like for yom kippur, you could say, I fast because it is good for the body to take a break and I like a day of self-reflection. Or you could fast because other Jews fast and you want to feel close to Jews now and Jews who have past. Maybe some combination?

Orthoprax said...


An empty Judaism? Chas veshalom. No, but a remolding of the old to be appropriate in the new.

Wouldn't it be more meaningful to fast on Yom Kippur if the purpose was so that you could feel, for just a day, how it is to be hungry. To really appreciate what we have and to not take it for granted? We hunger as a protest to the world which has such hunger in it to drive us to fix the problems which plagues mankind.

We can take the day to take stock of our own behavior and note places which need repair and refurbishment.

Yom Kippur was about a day to repent and absolve our sins and improve our behavior. That message can still apply even if it wasn't ordered by our Creator.

There is plenty of meaning to give to our actions that are valid outside the sphere of strict religious law.