“The claim that harder standards are more authentic is Jewishly invalid”

The claim that harder standards are more authentic is Jewishly invalid. “Fences” around the world are designed to keep the community from sinning, and not to define the elite as most legitimate spokesmen (women do not speak in this culture) Nadab and Abihu invented an invalid standard—they raised the fire on the altar, and were destroyed for their sin. The Torah believes that one may not add and not subtract from the law. The job of the new enactments is to sanctify but not parochialize the Jewish people.  …

When higher standards are invoked, we are talking about parochial standards and social control. This tendency is easily corrected by requiring a public discussion of legal principle and activating the courage to be modern and Orthodox with religious and intellectual integrity. Beware of those who tell others to be modest; they often make claims that are unjustifiably immodest. In order to speak to the Left that is leaving Jewish life, Orthodoxy must become right with God and distinguish between what God said as recorded in the canon with people who claim, like the wicked, to know the mind of God or the purpose [telos] of the law. Those who preach the telos of God’s law are in fact invoking God to empower them to tell us to obey them. Maimonides identified this phenomenon not as modesty, but as idolatry (Laws of Idolatry 1:1-2).

Rabbi Alan Yuter, “The Low Down on the Height of the Mechitsa: A Modern Orthodox Reading”, UTJ Viewpoints (6 July 2007) [http://viewpoints.utj.org/?p=63]