Orthodox Dislike the Reform Label

At the risk of insulting my readers; I am going to write why Orthodox don’t like the labels of Reform and Conservative.

The most important thing you should understand above all: the Orthodox do not like the labeling all together. In the ideal world there are no labels. It is the labels that have caused much misinformation and the rise of Reform.

Let me explain. Judaism is a 4000 year old belief system that was given to the children of Avraham, Isaac and Jacob and given the Torah on Mount Sinai by Moses. The Torah, and the oral law was passed down from Moses to the elders and on through history. (You can read all about it in Pirkei Avot {Ethics of our Father} in the first chapter.)

Since even the time of the desert from Korah on till today (including the Sadducees, Essenes, Karaites) there have been movements who want to deny the oral law and “modernize” the Torah. (Included in this; can also be the Christian movement – but in actuality it never really comprised of Jews). Eventually, these groups left the Jewish people. Reform and Conservative, humanist and Reconstructionist will follow the same path.

One reason, because they will have stretched the meaning of what is a Jew.  The definition will be so changed from the original meaning  there will be no reason to call it Judaism.  It will become a religion outside of the Jewish people; like the many splinter groups before.

The second reason, even though Reform (and I’m sure Conservative will follow like they usually do just later) has changed the law of who is a Jew.  No longer is it passed maternally only, but now, Reform also include paternally transmitted Judaism. (Reform changed because they saw they were losing the battle to intermarriage.)

Conversion has also been tampered.  (A convert by Orthodox standards cannot be accepted if the only purpose is to marry a Jew. A convert must take on a commitment to keep the laws of the Torah.) Basically anyone who feels like a Jew can be a Jew.  (The cardiac Judaism).

Yet in spite of all these attempts to bolster their numbers they are losing to:

  • non interest,
  • intermarriage and
  • self-hatred.

The Torah promises; there can only be 4 generations of “going off the path”, before there is no connection at all.

The Orthodox don’t like labels: Judaism is for everyone who is Jewish. The wealth of learning, the beauty of family life, the rich holidays is meant to be given to all Jews. Yet Reform and Conservative (and all the rest) come and say; “we have changed the laws – choose what you want from the Torah – otherwise you are exempt” (doesn’t Christianity say about the same.) Reform Jews think they are not obligated to anything. Reform Jews think that Shabbes, Kosher, Family Laws, Not eating Chometz on Pesach, and on and on are arbitrary.

You are being lied to. The halachos were given to us to keep and they keep us. (Only the Orthodox has survived the 4000 year history.) By giving water down Judaism a label; fools people into thinking they are part of something different; which is a fallacy. They have stolen your heritage.

Reform Judaism believes in only one mitzvah – tikkun olam. Tikum Olam is a very beautiful mitzvah and very appealing to Jews. But one; it is not the only mitzvot that defines a Jew. Two; what makes a Jewish person different from any other righteous gentile who helps fix the world? Nothing. Thank G-d there are many wonderful gentiles; as there are many wonderful Jews helping others. So what makes you uniquely Jewish? When Reform Jewish youth realize that that pretty Christian or Muslim co-ed is involved helping people – why shouldn’t he/she marry her/him?

Reform Judaism doesn’t have an answer. Orthodoxy; really the Jewish way does. We are part of even a bigger and more beautiful life. We have history, family, ideals, that affect every part of our lives from the moment we get up until we die.

A story: Before the war, there were 2 men who grew up together in yeshiva and were captured by either the Germans or Soviets and somehow they both survived and made their way to Israel. They lost track of each other until many years later.

One, who we will call Sam; gave up on his faith. He moved to Tel Aviv got married had two sons and lived well. The other Baruch moved unknowingly nearby in Bnei Brak. His life was also typical for a typical Ultra-orthodox lifestyle; marriage, lots of kids and then grandchildren.

They met. Baruch invited Sam to join him for Shabbes. Sam declined saying a whole Shabbos would be too much for him to absorb. (He remembered that he wasn’t allowed to drive over) but he lived close enough – he would walk over. But Sam didn’t show up.

Baruch called Sam up after Shabbos went out and asked what happened. Sam explained; “I was coming over. I got to the border of Tel Aviv and Bnei Brak. Then I saw the streams of people. Parents were out with their many children. The Grandparents were out with their grandchildren. Children played with each other. I couldn’t walk anymore. I turned around.”

He continued, “I knew after the war I was probably giving up on my ‘olam habah’ (the world to come) but I didn’t realize I gave up on my ‘olam hazeh’ (this world) too.”

Be a Jew. Just a Jew. If you don’t want to keep the laws; don’t. That is your choice. But know that you have chosen that choice. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the laws were not meant for you.

 

 

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