Reform Judaism: Can we have Mesorah without Halacha?

There are, I’m sure, many Reform Jews who love G-d and who feel a deep connection to Judaism. However, Reform Judaism as a whole operates by the belief that Halacha is not binding, and doesn’t need to be obeyed. Most Reform Jews claim that their “brand” of Judaism mixes mesorah and modern day innovation, and that Orthodox Judaism is not suited to the 21st century.

Firstly, I don’t really believe in the reform/conservative/orthodox thing. We’re all Jews, no matter what Shul we attend or what level of kosher we keep. But so many people insist upon putting themselves in a box, that it’s really hard not to end up using these terms.

Secondly, this aside, I disagree with the Reform viewpoint. Mesorah means tradition, and having been involved in both reform and orthodox Judaism, I can safely say there’s far more tradition in Orthodoxy. And I have to say it- you can’t have traditional Judaism if you don’t embrace the laws. When you live in a country, you abide by it’s constitution. And while you’re alive, you’re living on G-d’s earth, so surely you should abide by His laws, as well?

I do think innovation is something we can embrace, though. Many modern day Rabbis are combining science and Torah, and tolerance in the Orthodox community is growing each day. When people speak about innovation, they tend to forget something important- the most innovative ideas and morals, those that we live by today, all come from Judaism. From the Torah and Talmud. Ending world hunger, emancipating women- these are Torah ideas.

Judaism always has been innovative- we don’t need to abandon G-d’s laws to accept modernity into our lives.

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