Jewish life is not lived in a vacuum or without a community of reference and a Torah life needs to be lived in community and in accordance to standards. The tradition helps to flesh out how Torah life is to be lived. You can not live a Jewish life in the modern world without a tradition to explain it’s living, in contrast to the words of the Protestant Reformers, you cannot live Judaism, “sola scriptura”, with only the Torah.
For example, the Shema says to bind the words of God on your arm and forehead, to inscribe them on the doorposts of homes and to wear tzitzit on the four corners of your garments. Yet the Torah itself does not prescribe how to do these commandments. Yet Jewish tradition has developed tefillin, mezuzot and the talit/talit katan as the prescribed ways of observing these divine commandments.
So much of Jewish life is based in tradition and even observed by the “non-tradition” people, including wearing kipot, lighting Shabbat candles, lighting Hanukkah candles, Purim carnivals, the Kiddush, HaMotzi (and for the most part the whole system of berakhot), the Passover seder (as a formal service) and the Siddur itself. You can’t get away from the tradition that makes for living a Jewish life and walking the Torah.
And for the detractors out there a word, in a mature Messianic Judaism that this blog espouses, the observance of Jewish life within the tradition is not “for show” or “to be accepted by the Jewish community”, but is an earnest way of observing God’s commandments and being faithful to the covenant that God made at Sinai with Am Israel.
The Torah is the way of life for all Jews and as a Messianic Judaism, the observing of the Torah is of prime importance because it is a vital act of love for God and a demonstration of our following of our righteous Messiah, Yeshua and the 3,000 years of Jewish tradition guides in the “how to” of a Torah life.
So then for the building of a mature Messianic Judaism, we must respect Jewish tradition, the very tradition that helps us live out the Torah in our lives each day.
May you find new ways to honor God and walk in His Torah today…