Changes in Jewish Law are needed, in order and possible, if only the rabbis specialized in Jewish Law had the guts – many have suggested.
Yet, building Halachah is not a democratic process, so public pressure will not help – one would say. Just imagine demonstrations to leading scientists that they must apply the Laws of Science differently. That wouldn’t be Science anymore if they did, would it? Or maybe it would? It would be if bias has crept into Science.
Supposedly, Jewish Law and (mm) Natural Science are objective and cannot be adjusted to taste and opinion. Well, actually, they are not as much ‘objective’ as popular science and self-styled Jewish authorities want you to believe – they are both very much – based on the Word of G-d, respectively on Reality – nevertheless still works of men (!).
The main reason why rabbis do not change Jewish Law (Halachah) is not that they can’t, not because they’re scared to be labeled not-Orthodox-enough, not because they are overworked, but because they simply don’t care enough and the public lets them get away with it.
Why do we have a Commandment for men to marry and for Jews in the Diaspora to make aliyah? Because they often don’t feel they need to. For the same reason, we are commanded to not stand aside while our fellow’s blood is shed (Leviticus 19:16): because most people don’t feel a need to help others, even not when they appear to be in mortal danger!
So many more would have died if heroes would not have protected Jews during WW II. The daughters of Tz’lofchad (transliterated as it should be) would have gotten nothing if they wouldn’t have opened their mouths. We would have all died in the desert if Moses had not interceded for us. Lot would never have made it safely out of Sodom if Abraham wouldn’t have cared. And the Flood would never have happened if No’ach would have protested society with belief in people to repent.
Some examples that introduction of new Halachah is highly overdue:
- Being sour-faced in public is strictly unkosher.
- Texting on Shabbat is fine.
- Homosexuality is only forbidden for heterosexual men.
- Consuming bio-industry animal produce cannot be strictly kosher.
- Someone who gives a child a cigarette is a murderer and must pay the child for all sickness and lost income from cigarette addiction.
- Facilitating adoption (and if needed, conversion of the child) for all Jews ready to parent.
- A party without mechitzah and alcohol-free zone is unkosher.
- We need more stringencies of laws between people.
- We need new Halachah on: Gentiles (they are Holy too, many must be won over and maintained as our allies), Women (on visibility, they can be rabbis too) and femininity (relationships and life events), The goals and goodness of sex, Preventing arrogant, nasty and powerful people always winning from humble, friendly and simple people, Combating racism, The State of Israel (religious coercion being unkosher, cleansing Judaism from Diaspora-time assimilation, beginning to progress to learning the Jerusalem Talmud), Looking at life afresh (no more rut rehearsing of the texts of our Prayers and the Torah text), Secular and Atheist Jews (acknowledging them as our teachers, when they are showing more morality and care for other people, animals and nature than we do), Traditional Jews (honoring them), and Potential Converts not ready for Halachah.
- It is unkosher to be less decent than the Gentile consensus.
- All singles in a community must be invited for every festive meal.
- Philosophizing is not subjected to Halachah.
- More hours on entertainment than on activism is forbidden.
- We frown upon eating meat like a dog (limitless).
- Jews who promote hatred for Gentles will be suspected of being poor parents.
- Intermarriage is not forbidden because it’s an inferior relationship but because a Jew’s commitment to perpetuate Judaism should be so passionate that s/he only wants a Jewish partner who’s equally committed.
- Politicians criticizing others in order to gain popularity, instead of simply promoting themselves, must be deemed worse than liars.
- Jewish and Gentile Anti-Zionists should be considered idolaters.
- To urge every woman not to seclude herself with a man unless her own spouse, and especially so with Jewish public men – #metoo.
- Jews whose dishonesty became public knowledge must ask forgiveness in public for enabling desecration.
- Parents must ask forgiveness from their grown sons for the circumcision done without their consent but for their good.
- Halachah must not conflict with solid facts, science and reality (who steps into an elevator but rejects evolution is a hypocrite).
- Rabbis must rule not from a love for Judaism or perfectionism but for Jews and people in general and with mildness and wisdom try to get ultimately the highest number of Jews love real Judaism.
Many of these points could be developed into a lecture (series).
So many examples from just two days of brainstorming! Something obviously is very wrong.
There are exceptional Orthodox rabbis who say revolutionary things but they are all sooo n-i-c-e. We only hear powerful ones when they feel justified to attack and abuse homosexuals, female rabbis or dinosaurs.
I feel frustrated that they can hold us hostage (as long as we want to be Orthodox) while they have no clue what our lives are all about.
Israel was not able to win any of its wars, but fought them anyway – and won. Sometimes we need to do the impossible to get results.
Many things in life only changed, when people got angry and stopped being overly nice. That is an unpleasant historical truth.
We’ve been too complacent, too nice and too patient with the rabbinic authorities who simply don’t care enough. Anger is almost always a sign of haven forgotten one’s place and G-d’s Supervision. But G-d also gave us righteous indignation, to use when the situation is desperate.
Let’s start demonstrations and chant to the rabbis: You don’t care, do you?! You don’t care, do you?! You don’t care, do you?!