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Thought for the Day: Sea Lion Is Not a Species of Lion and Reform Judaism Is Not...

I once met the Clevelander Rebbi.  In our brief exchange, the Rebbi asked me where I went to yeshiva.  It wasn't the time and place to open the can of worms that is my history, so I simply said I was a ba'al t'shuva and didn't go to yeshiva.  He got a wistful look in his eyes and said, "Ah... I wish I could be a ba'al t'shuvah!"  His words and expression made a big impression on me, and I have always felt badly about lying like that (small and white as the lie may have been).

Today I correct that by becoming a ba'al t'shuva (in one thing; baby steps, you know).  As much as I strive to be not be subtle, apparently I was too subtle in describing how different Reform Judaism.  A quite reasonable challenge to my proposal that one can determine how far religions differ simply by counting up the number of fundamental principles on which they disagree.  The challenge was: "According to that line of reasoning, a fish missing only its heart is more like an eagle than a parakeet missing its heart, brain, and kidneys!"

I was careful to refer to "Reform Judaism" and "Christianity" and not "Reform Jews" and "Christians".  I did not, however, make that point explicitly.  A movement/philosophy/religion is really nothing more than its fundamental principles.  I therefore stand by my assertion that any reasonable criteria that would classify Christianity and Judaism different religions, will also classify Reform Judaism and Torah Judaism as two different religions.  Moreover, any reasonable classification of religions in general is more likely to group Christianity with Torah Judaism than Reform Judaism with Torah Judaism.

I specified "reasonable" classification scheme, because the criteria "has the word Judaism in its name", obviously violates that assertion.  On the other hand, that's not a reasonable criteria.  The people who named Reform Judaism wanted to obfuscate the differences and present themselves as kosher.  Like a pig that presents cloven hooves to the world, but internally does nothing kosher.

As far as the fish and birds... that's why we encourage Jews who are both members of the Reform religion to marry each other.  Even though the lack of mikvah use is going to involve them in one of the most severe penalties the Torah decrees (kareis -- spiritual excision), while a Jew with a goya is a much lower level of issur.  None the less, they are the same (spiritual) species.

I believe I have correctly the subtlety issue.


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