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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q18.2.4 TOC Q18.3.2 >

Question 18.3.1:
Reform's Position On...The authority of Torah?

Answer:

The 1937 Columbus Platform of Reform Jewry (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/columbus.html) expressed the position that Torah results from the relationship between G-d and the Jewish people. The records of our earliest confrontations are uniquely important to us. Lawgivers and prophets, historians and poets gave us a heritage whose study is a religious imperative and whose practice is our chief means to holiness. Rabbis and teachers, philosophers and mystics, gifted Jews in every age amplified the Torah tradition. For millennia, the creation of the Torah has not ceased and Jewish creativity in our time is adding to the chain of tradition.

The platform went on to say that G-d is revealed not only in the majesty, beauty and orderliness of nature, but also in the vision and moral striving of the human spirit. Revelation is a continuous process, confined to no one group and to no one age. Yet, the people of Israel, through its prophets and sages, achieved unique insight in the realm of religious truth. The Torah, both written and oral, enshrines Israel's ever-growing consciousness of G-d and of the moral law. It preserves the historical precedents, sanctions and norms of Jewish life, and seeks to mold it in the patterns of goodness and of holiness. Being products of historical processes, certain of its laws have lost their binding force with the passing of the conditions that called them forth. But as a repository of permanent spiritual ideals, the Torah remains the dynamic source of life of Israel. Each age has the obligation to adapt the teachings of the Torah to its basic needs in consonance with the genius of Judaism

This position is echoed again in the current (1999) statement of principles (http://www.ccarnet.org/platforms/principles.html), which says:


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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