Tag Archives: observance

Why am I Observant?

I don’t feel like I have to, I’m not afraid of what will happen to me if I don’t, it’s not because my soul was commanded at Har Sinai (maybe it’s just me but I have no personal memory of the event, just a communal one) and it’s not because it makes more sense than other faiths (which it may or may not).
It’s because I choose to be part of the historical phenomena called – The Jewish People. Call me naive, but I have come to Trust The System (or, TTS as I’ve come to call it). The miraculous system that has sustained thousands of years, with all its ups and downs, molding and creating a better society and a better world; a world with moral absolutes, a world that abhors violence and cherishes kindness, a world of rules and laws that strive for morality and aspire to the divine. That is the kind of system I choose to be part of to the extent of my ability. Sometimes I do a better job at participating and contributing to this endless process and sometimes not as much but, why am I observant – because I choose to be part of the most significant system I know of.(207)

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Filed under Halacha, Theology

People don’t follow Halacha because of God

Ask any 3 observant people what they mean when they say “God” and you’ll get 3 different answers. Even so, they’re all leading observant lives. This leads me to understand that it is not theology that causes people to follow Halacha. All theology – Jewish, non Jewish, different streams within Judaism – can be understood and logically defended. Meaning, it is something else that causes people to follow Halacha and that is that they choose to take upon themselves a certain way of life for all kinds of reasons: they want to be part of a generational continuum, it fills their lives with direction, it’s what they’re familiar with, they don’t want to get smote by lightning, they want to be told what to do, they want to be part of a community, or whatever. The important thing in this idea is that it is all a choice. That becomes even truer in today’s day and age when people have the ability to choose what they want, when they want, how they want with little consequence other than the choice itself. And all these myriad of choices make up the phenomena which is The Jewish People which seems to be the point of it all. The only question is – to what degree do I choose to participate and take part. (218)

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Filed under God, Halacha