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The Right to Swing My Posuk

…might end where your level of observance begins. Or it might just be a continuation.

I have been heartened – honestly, sincerely, truly delighted, by the responses to my post about observing Mitzvot. Why? Because more than one person has stated (either here or on the URJ Blog where it was reposted) that I was wrong when I said:

Of course, this analogy can only go so far on a single tank of metaphorical gas. Traffic laws are enforced by humans, and ultimately affect others in a very direct way. Kashrut is not “enforced” by anyone – you don’t get a treif ticket if you chow down on a shrimp egg roll. Nor is there any impact on the people around us for our own dietary observances, or lack thereof.

My point (that our choice not to observe mitzvot did not threaten or impact those around us) was soundly rebutted by readers several readers:

“[This] is 100% NOT what the Torah tells us. Each Jew is responsible for the other. […] We share common history, common experiences, and a common Source. Our souls are carved from the same stock. […] Jews care. It is part of who we are.”

Or from another perspective…

“Not so. As just one example, my friend who couldn’t care less about kashrut is impacted by her husband’s insistence on a kosher home.”

Whether you come from the perspective that yes, Cayin, we *are* our brothers’ keepers (a point my daughter made years ago at her Bat Mitzvah) or that those close to us must adapt to our choices even when they are seemingly personal, it’s obvious that my original analogy about how we observe mitzvot holds more than ever. Now there are passengers in the car!

Which makes me realize I’ve just metaphored myself face to face with the famous midrash Vayikra Rabah 4:6. (“Oooh! Hey everyone, look at me being cleve… oops. Nope. Never mind.”)

In any case, I continue to be grateful to everyone who is reading, and commenting, and participating in this journey.


About EdibleTorah

The EdibleTorah is dedicated to building vibrant Jewish communities by helping people set up their own Potluck Shabbat experience with family and friends.

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