Friday, April 10, 2009

Change Agents

According to an article at, matzo (crackers to us Gentiles) had been prepared by hand for thousands of years according to strict regulations. In the 19th century the process was mechanized, and for decades the Jewish community was split over the acceptability of such a process. As the article puts it:
But changes to 3,000-year-old religious traditions never go smoothly, and Singer's invention became a hot-button issue for 19th century Jewish authorities. In 1959, a well-known Ukrainian rabbi named Solomon Kluger published an angry manifesto against machine-made matzo, while his brother-in-law, Rabbi Joseph Saul Nathanson, published a defense. Jewish communities around the world weighed in on the issue — arguing that handmade matzo provided kneading jobs for the poor; that the machine made matzo cheap enough that poor people could afford it; that the mitzvah, or good deed, of eating matzo was ruined if a machine was used; that the machine made it easier to abide by the 18-minute rule. These discussions were not resolved quickly — and in some Orthodox communities, not at all.
I think that much of the present controversy over "change agents" in the church may be of a similar nature.

Granted, some changes are indeed actual changes to Biblical practices, and should be shunned. But I suspect many are simply changes to traditions.

Are we defending Biblical practices, or are we defending human traditions, or are we simply resistant to change?

(And go watch the Matzah video - - it's fun!)

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