Monday, December 28, 2009

Ideological Mapping

by Luke Skyhopper

Orthopraxy has been established as an already existing, but not completely defined entity.
Numerous Jews with different relationship's towards "The Derech" might identify with the term Orthoprax, but what does this term really mean?

The standard definition, as briefly touched upon above, is Orthodoxy in practice. Many of us Jews keep the practices (to varying extant), but yet do not maintain all of the required assortment of beliefs.

As has been debated endlessly and established by bloggers with the likes of Dov Bear, XGH and countless others, the Torah was probably not wholly written by Moshe and presented in its entirety at Sinai, much of the history contained therein is likely skewed etc etc. On the whole Orthodox Judaism as a remotely rational system of beliefs, crumbles under the weight of modern scientific scrutiny.

With that said, many of us who acknowledge these issues will still continue to remain part of the established Orthodox Community (running the gamut from Chassidishe to LWMO). We will, for various reasons, maintain practices rooted in our Orthodox upbringing. That is not to say that we continue to be 100% halachic. Far from it, but then again, do all openly Orthodox Jews follow the Torah to its fullest extent?

Let me make an example of myself. I personally will eat anything as long as I can reasonably ascertain that it contains no significant non-Kosher animal product. I am certainly not Shomer Negia, read banned books, sometimes violate Shabbat in private.

By the same token I refuse to eat non-Kosher meat, and will not violate the Shabbos in public. I acknowledge that my spiritual roots stem from Orthodox Judaism. I have no desire to become secular, nor live an inside-outside paradox, what does that make me?

Orthoprax Judaism is less about practice or belief, which conceivably it could hold an endless variety, but rather it is about allegiance and origins. We are not Conservadox because we do not find our roots stemming from Conservative Jewish culture, nor are we Conservative simply because we do not come from that background.

Orthoprax Jews find their origins in the Heimishe atmosphere of their Orthodox experiences, (not that I wish for it to become unwelcoming to anyone else) and as such derieve the flavor from there. My own vision of Orthopraxy is parallel to Chulent in that we seek to preserve the great smell and taste of the food, without it's unpopular side effects.

I guess to a certain degree this would be Anarcho-Judaism. No rules would be etched in stone, and everyone is free to practice what they please free of social pressures. In essence, a gathering of INDIVIDUALS held together by a common ancestry and sweet tooth.

Do I know for certain that it is completely viable? No, but what the heck.

1 comment:

Dunking Rachel said...

I just found your blog...very interesting...I come to this from a very...VERY different place...

I am a Jew By Choice...married to a man who would describe himself as a traditional/observant agnostic jew....

I now am living what I guess I would describe as a conservadox life…
My husband and I are observant, yet not fundamentalist in any version of the concept… (I think my husband comes along for the ride! long as I take care of all kitchen a bedroom ….but we could NEVER be a part of an orthodox community because of the very things you have outlined on this blog……
We too are outsiders, perhaps there is another way to conceptualize it…what ever that “ it” is….you are clear that you are not and never will be conservative because of your orthodox background, we are conservative because, well because that is where we can be with the least amount of issues.... …..perhaps there is room for something else…something new?