These are questions that may or may not get frequently asked, but have been asked through my site. I’m only using other people’s questions they’ve actually asked, and not just looking for talking points.
Why do (Orthodox) Jews care so much about little details rather than the important stuff?
Most people who ask this question are really not asking me a question. Usually, they are just telling me that there’s something wrong with (Orthodox) Jews and that they focus too much on meaningless rituals rather than the important broader picture. Still, it’s a great question even if most of the people asking it have already answered it for themselves.
Judaism differs from many other religions because of its legalistic nature. This goes back all the way to the very roots of Judaism 3,300 years ago, when the Torah became the Constitution of the Jewish people. Unlike the way it is read today, as a universalistic document of ethical wisdom and nice stories, it was always understood by the Jews to be a legal document specific to our culture. While Judaism is rich with tradition, ethics, and spirituality, it is the rules that seem to define us Jews. Even Jews who are largely unaffiliated tend to define the religiosity by what people do and not what they believe. It doesn’t even seem to matter what the other faith the other person is. Ever find yourself asking a Christian after they tell you they’re religious “How often do you go to Church”? It’s ingrained…