On my long drive back to Montreal yesterday my mind travelled a lot, as it generally does. But it kept coming back to one central thought. How is the Judaism that we practice today similar / different to the Judaism that Moshe brought with him from his time on Mount Sinai? If Moshe were to show up at any of the religious Jewish communities today, or on Shabbat or a holiday, would he recognize this as the same Judaism he adhered to millennia ago?
There has been so much emphasis by different factions on chumras (stringencies) in various different areas. Tzniut, kashrut, mikvah observance etc. Yes, there have always been 613 mitzvot, and we cannot keep them all these days because we have no Bet HaMikdash. But the ones that we can keep – do we keep them to the right levels? In the right way? In the right spirit?
One of my favourite lines to say is that Moshe’s sister Miriam did not wear panty hose in the desert. She didn’t. She was probably dressed extremely modestly, but I bet she wore sandals. These days sandals with bare feet are scandalous, apparently. This is but one example.
So, folks, what do you think? Would Moshe recognize our Judaism?