Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Why Have Jewish Customs?

Kosofsky offers the following reasons why we have Jewish customs:

"1.  To make a 'fence around the law,' for those who know it and for those who may violate it inadvertently; 
2.  To keep one involved in the faith through its rituals and to keep one from falling into bad habits or indifference; 
3.  To instill a sense of community and inhibit assimilation, which is warned against in several passages of the Torah; 
4.  To glorify the commandments in ways that go beyond the basic requirements, such as the making of certain foods or lavish ceremonial objects for the home or synagogue; 
5.  To provide a mechanism by which Jewish law may be applied and updated," 
(pg. 1 of The Book of Customs by Kosofsky)

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