A manual of Jewish belief (a guide to real Judaism) for the thinking individual.
Copyright © 1977 by R' Avi Shafran
[Web Page Last Revised: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 02:34 PM ]
Chapter 18. Jewish "Denominations"
Judaism has been plagued ever since the return from the Babylonian Exile by the formation of various deviationist groups and heretical sects. In the period of the Second Temple first there were the Samaritans, followed in succession by the Hellenists, the Sadducees and ultimately by the early Christians. In the Middle Ages there came the Karaites.
All of these sects sooner or later vanished from the scene and today we know of them only from the history books. Real Judaism has survived.
In modern times something called "Reform Judaism" has appeared on the scene first in Germany then in America. More recently, came a less radical, more wishy-washy imitation pretentiously, and misleadingly calling itself "Conservative Judaism". And, since religious "denominations" have this crazy habit of splitting up into pieces, there is now the "Reconstructionist Movement" in between for those who can't make up their minds whether to go "Reform" or "Conservative".
These new "denominations" operate on the principle of "tell a guy whatever he does is right and he'll love you forever." In their eagerness to cater to the desire of the ignorant masses to have their Judaism without being burdened by its rules, these religions have abolished the hard-to-keep or inconvenient laws including those which they deem no longer feasible sociologically, retaining the esthetically more acceptable ceremonies and modes of worship.
Besides tailoring the commandments of Torah to fit the passing moods of the time, they espouse philosophies contrary to the principles of Judaism. They deny the divine origin of the Torah, they reject the eventual resurrection of the dead, to mention just a few heresies of these organizations. The spokesmen of these splinter groups by their heretical philosophies qualify for the infamous titles of min and apikoros. As defined in chapter 15, any born or converted Jew who denies any of the basic tenets of Judaism is a min or apikoros.
These man-made "religions" are the most destructive forces in the history of the Jewish people and all those who seek to spread their noxious heresies are mesisim, instigators whose aim is to lead astray the masses. They are the followers of Korach, the Sadducees and the Karaites. And just as these ancient-day "reform" movements vanished from the stage of Jewish history, so too will their modern heirs fall, as will eventually all evil.
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