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To: elcid1970
This Gentile has been studying Jewish dietary laws ever since I joined a Jewish-Christian dialogue group wherein the Conservative and Orthodox said simply that the Law is the Law when it comes to food. The Reform folks said that Kashrut was G-d’s way of providing for His people by specifying safe food preparation before the advent of modern antisepsis.

It is important not to believe all that you are told. This is not the position of Reform, though anyone who studies the Kosher laws notes that this encourages a very healthy diet and the inspections required by someone knowledgable were very very helpful in a day and age when bacteria were not understood. There is a deep and beautiful practicality to most of the Jewish Laws and Practices. Some of the Laws are impractical or odd, and finally some are nothing short of insane.

Nevertheless, Reform is to Orthodox Judaism as Protestantism is to Catholicism. With many of the same sorts of calumnies and bitter recriminations. This is not new, it is old as old. The Hasids look at the "Orthodox" as lapsed into depravity just as the Orthodox say the same about the Reform. The Reform movement in America was begun in Cincinnati, OH but this was just a response to the Haskala movement that swept through Europe that was a response to the ugliness that grew out of the competition between the Hasidim and the Mitnagdim in the Pale and attempting to respond to the rise of the Enlightenment that had swept Europe. This was the wave of science and reason that gave birth to America just the same.

Folks would say, that it was the fences that created the problems especially for the Mitnagdim. In Kosher and in many other places in Jewish practice the Rabbi's declared normal activities as unfit because they resembled prohibited activities. This is the idea of building "fences around the Torah" and there is deep wisdom in the practice, but at the same time, the implementation gets to looking insane and silly as thin films of near hypocrisy become necessary to be "completely" observant or life comes to a screeching halt. The concept of "Sacred" meaning "separate" is deeply encouraged by these practices and this separation was thought to be the cause of Jewish persecution over the years and thus folks were looking for a different way, Worse, Orthodox shuls had become a zone of disengagement for most common Jews who wished to live a life and not be a Rabbi.

All of this isn't unique to Judaism. In fact, of the worlds major religions, Judaism sets the individual on an equal plain as any other Jew. For example the old saw, "Nine Rabbis does not a Minion make, but Ten Cobblers do."

In Reform, the Rabbi's are teachers but they are not supposed to be Community leaders in the fashion of an Orthodox or Hasid Rabbi. Instead Reform looks to the individual to find their own practice, and this extreme "libertarian" view is the author of the strength and the weaknesses of the Reform movement. Most importantly, somewhere "Libertarian" morphed in to "Liberal/Progressive" and here in lies the problem and state of affairs that the Reform Movement confronts as they have been invaded from within just the same as all of Academia and shoved to the Left.

But, these things are always in transition, and the pendulum can swing both ways. The Book of Daniel is also instructive. One of my Reform colleagues asserted that it encourages vegetarianism based upon Daniel’s culinary challenge to the king.

Kosher practice encourages heavy reliance on vegetarian foods because of the convenience of being Parve and not needing any Kosher supervision to be eaten and enjoyed, except you still have to double check the salad dressing and those nasty "bacon bits" that like to show up once in a while. I wouldn't look to Daniel for Kosher instruction though.

A coworker who took up Orthodox observance told me that yes, an hygienic kitchen makes ptomaine unlikely, but following kashrut brings one closer to the L-rd.

My daughter attends Liberty University, of all places, and she had discussion boards to do and the question of what does the Bible say about food was the topic. My daughter tried to explain Kosher and the meaning behind it.. and the Christian kids could care less.. until their profession said they would have all gotten a better grade if they had listened to my Daughter.

19 posted on 02/28/2011 4:37:43 PM PST by dalight
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To: dalight; elcid1970

dalight gave you a good answer. Were I to summarize it, I’d suggest you need to look to places other than simply physical health in understanding dietary laws.


20 posted on 02/28/2011 5:13:37 PM PST by SJackson (In wine there is wisdom, In beer there is freedom, In water there is bacteria.)
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