As part of my summer fellowship, we've been discussing the limits and definitions of change within the Orthodox world. What should change? What shouldn't? Why do certain laws adapt to the times we live in, while others are stuck in their original textual form?
It's important for me to realize that I don't have the answer, I don't know what is allowed to be changed or not changed in Halacha. I do question daily, however, what God wants from his people living in a modern world. As far as the world as a whole, change is key. Change is part of life- growing, evolving, opening new chapters and finishing old ones. Communities evolve, culture evolves, society evolves, towns, cities, countries, all grow to meet the new standards and change the way of life. So why can't the Jewish/Orthodox community? Why do we and many of our leaders insist on being stuck in the 20th century while the world moves into the 21st?
Having grown up in an Orthodox mind frame, I understand and believe that the Jewish community puts up boundaries and avoids change in order to weed out the perceived "bad" from the world around them. However, there is no form of clear definition as to what constitutes good and bad in the world around us. I'm not talking just about sexuality, but women's rights and slavery and all these things that the Torah seems to be clear on, but don't make any sense in a modern context. Again, I never advocate for change of existent Torah law. But that doesn't mean progress and growth and slow change can not occur. It can, and the Torah can be brought into the 21st century, like I honestly believe God meant for it to.
I know i suddenly seem lie a radical liberal, but I hate to be put in any sort of box.I don't subscribe to changing the Torah, but I do believe in questioning it, and ensuring that everything we have stuck to for 2000+ years is what we were meant to stick to, and not just small practices that became strict rules that became rigid laws and unchanging mindsets. There are many things that can change. Stay tuned for "Change, part ii".