Why Keep Jewish Traditions and Customs?
Tradition is a serious subject to our Jewish people, yet the heart of tradition is frequently misunderstood.
Tradition, or “Halacha” as it is often called, are the specifically expressed means and guides on how to carry out the literal and spiritual commandments. For example it is a biblical commandment to write the words of G-d’s commandments on our doorposts (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). The tradition/Halacha from the Rabbis tells us how, by affixing a Mezuzah on our doorposts. This is one reason we keep our Jewish traditions in our services, celebrations and observances. Without these traditions, we would lose much understanding on how to carry out many of the Biblical mandates in a historically and spiritually correct manner.
Tradition also keeps us connected with our Jewish people all over the world. The value of tradition becomes evident when we are given a clear insight to the Scriptures, as well as the culture and life of our people. The danger comes when we allow tradition to become more than what it should, and then allow it to become legalistic. Lev HaShem keeps a balance of enjoying tradition and observance out of Grace. It’s not that we have too, it’s that we’re free to.