Only two countries in the world don’t have a constitution. Great Britain doesn’t have one because they agree on everything basic. The Jewish State doesn’t have one because basically, we don’t agree on anything.
Some have suggested that the text of the Five Books of Moses should and could be Israel’s Basic Law. Well, it can’t. Even not when ultra-Orthodox Jews would get the absolute majority in the Jewish State.
To consider the text of the Torah separate from the Talmud and the rest of the Oral Law is a Christian misrepresentation of Judaism. Israel’s yearly Bible Quiz is utterly un-Jewish and has been won by Gentiles.
There are three historic reasons how one could consider the Written Law text detached from the Oral Law. First, there was a centuries-long (and counting) Christian demonization of the Talmud. Also, translations fitting children’s stories with simple morals and no deeper logic became more popular than the plain Torah text. And, last but not least, myriads of hints at deeper meanings became hidden from the general public too.
It adds insult to injury to suggest that such a flat Torah ‘understanding’ would be Divine and therefore infallibly and immutable to live by. Jewish Law can’t be simply changed at will, but there are kosher mechanisms to update it. The Talmud already explains that Jewish Law is not in Heaven. It must be explained, adjusted, and executed on the ground in real-time.
Maimonides is probably our top legislator. But alas, the Oral Law was written down to guard it against getting lost under all the prosecutions.
Originally, the Oral Law was meant to stay flexible. Now it’s stiffened. The gravest example is that no change came with the emergence of a new halachic state in the era of (Hearing) the Footsteps of the Messiah (Already). Jewish Law should be updated to reflect our new national situation but our rabbis have largely been too terrified to answer that challenge. (Exceptions: Chief Rabbis Goren and Uziel and others.)
A simplistic Torah summary (G^d forbid) could never guide our lives. It’s utterly remote from the Jewish Tradition, an insult to the real Torah text, and would belittle the complexities we all face every day in our lives.
In an earlier post, I have tried to depict the importance of both Jewish Law and Democracy for proper national and inter-personal functioning.