Friday, February 16, 2007

Why even attempt to folllow the rules?

I was reading a message board discussing whether or not women should wear Tefilin. The message board has a wide variety of opinions, and some women who posted were downright hostile to women who do not. However, someone posted the following response, which I think is an excellent point for all people who like to take religions and smudge them so they are more comfortable:
A relevent question in response is: Should non-Jews and minors wear Tefilin? After all they are all in the same category: Individuals not required by the Halacha to don them. Once outside the boundaries of Jewish Law, actually anything goes. It's the Wild West. There is no need to question rules or what is appropriate when you may make up whatever your imagination wants: One may choose to colorize the T'filin, for example, and die the straps something other than model-T black. Open the boxes and insert one's favorite mantra instead.
There are so many models for this: The Passover Seder has more versions than there are Reform rabbis; look at the dozens of catalogues of women's tallitot and kippot; Messianic Jews add a cross to their worship. Why not?
It can be fun to create your own belief system and religion based loosely on someone else's fixed standard. But please, just as a modification of Mozart or Rembrant is not the original real thing, so this is not Judaism. It should properly be called 'a practice loosely based on Judaism' in the interest of honesty and clarity...
For this reason those who don Tefilin, who are not required to do so, are essentially hypocritical: they violate the very text for which they perport reverence, endorsement and allegiance...
This melts away when one decides that one belongs to a different faith altogether, in which case the parchment in the Tefilin is no more than a parchment and not an applicable edict. And that's ok.

No comments: