The current Judaism is an aberration. Rabbis introduced its most prominent concept, that of the fence around the law, when the Jews went into the Exile. The gentile influence suddenly became great, the option of purifying oneself in the Temple was absent, and so the rabbis developed an immense body of legislation to protect against inadvertent prohibition of the Torah. It is possible that 99 percent of today’s Jewish regulations are those of the fence, of protecting the law, rather than of the law itself. A secular comparison would be this: a law prohibits murder, but the layers of fence prohibit the buying of weapons, the handling of weapons, looking at weapons, going to the movies where weapons are shown, and eventually passing near the movie theaters. By then, everyone has forgotten that the law sensibly sought to ban murder; people avoid passing by the movie theater but murder their compatriots with axes.

The Exile has ended. Jews have witnessed a string of miracles: salvation from the Holocaust, establishment of a state, victory in all our wars, the Temple Mount falling into our hands, and Jewish economic and social influence in the world peaking. Not all Jews returned to Zion, but that’s a familiar problem. Most Jews remained in Egypt during the Exodus, and most Jews remained in Babylon when Nehemiah showed us that the Exile had ended.
from ultra-Orthodox Judaism to Jewish fundamentalism
To adhere to the fence law is to renounce the divine plan made clear to us. Jews have been taken back to Zion, and now have to revive the true Judaism of the Holy Land. We need to build the Temple and conduct purification ceremonies to absolve us of inadvertent violations. We need to wash the foreign influence out of the Holy Land so that Jews can walk our country freely without isolating ourselves from the community. Jewish ritual isolation, havdala, means we’re “the people who shall dwell alone.” We already dwell alone—or rather, we were given the option of expelling the foreigners and having the country to ourselves. Havdala ends at Israel’s borders.

The rabbinical legislation was hugely beneficial when Jews lived among gentiles, but it is counterproductive now. We didn’t eat chicken with cheese lest the onlookers imagine it is beef with milk. In the state of our own, the basic kosher laws of the Torah should be enforced so that no one imagines such a violation, and the fence (that is, extending the meat-milk prohibition to chicken) would become superfluous. It becomes irrelevant whether bread and wine were produced and sold by Jews, as in the Jewish state their consumption cannot lead to intermingling and assimilation. The kosher food laws in the Jewish state would revert back to the meaningful.

The entire Israel is one eruv, a community with a degree of common ownership. All Jewish citizens of Israel jointly possess the country on the divine mandate, and therefore Jewish Israel is properly considered one eruv—especially now that we wall ourselves away from the Arabs with a separation barrier. A Jewish Israel—an eruv—would have no restrictions on the movement of people and goods on Shabbat.

But most religious Jews prefer living with the Exile Judaism even in the Land of Israel. They wait for the Messiah to bring them the Third Temple from heaven instead of building it themselves from scratch—as King Solomon and Ezra did—and creatively solving the resulting theological ambiguities as the Maccabees did. Religious Jews isolate themselves in the neighborhoods instead of expanding Judaism over the entire country. In practical terms, there is no difference between the Jews of Mea Shearim in Jerusalem and Boro Park in Brooklyn. Their religious practices are the same even though the Judaism of the Holy Land and the Exile are vastly different.

Religious Jews shamefully concentrate on technicalities, however important, rather than on the big issues. I find it scandalous when religious parties in the Knesset scream over the court’s refusal to fine a handful of establishments which sold leavened bread on Pesach in Jerusalem, but stay in the government which admits to negotiating the giveaway of Jerusalem to Arabs and has actually abandoned the Temple Mount to Muslims. In one reformer’s words, “Hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin [which the Torah does not require], but neglected the weightier matters of the law.” He saw correctly that many religious Jews concentrate on the easy rites of superfluous observance instead of dealing with the really hard issues of core Judaism. It is obscene for a religious Jew in Jerusalem to wrap his kitchen with foil on Pesach to avoid microscopic crumbs of leavened bread, while his Knesset representatives do nothing about the daily shelling of Shderot.

Paganism is contagious. Once a nation allows some traces of paganism in, it erodes the religion with ever-increasing speed. The last few centuries saw a tremendous spike in truly pagan rites among Jews, from the reinstated pagan sacrifice of roosters (kaparot) to blowing kisses to mezuzah, to superstitious maintenance of “milk” and “meat” dish sets. Many rites have profound meaning, such as putting the right shoe on first (because Jews always start with right things, the loving-kindness) and lacing the left shoe first (to practice restraint in tying, withholding, punishing). However profound, however, a rite remains a rite. Hellenistic pagans undoubtedly ventured profound ethical, theological, and moral explanations of worshipping Zeus. The Torah painfully expunges the least traces of paganism from sacrifices and other rites which the Hebrew crowd was used to but which were given an entirely new meaning in Judaism. Just think of it: the altar was made of earth, and later of unhewn stones, so that Jews wouldn’t adorn it in the familiar pagan fashion; but Torah scrolls are given silver crowns. We laughed at those who kiss statues and icons—only to see Jews kissing the Torah scrolls.

Superstition is a belief that trivial things affect the divine will. And so many religious Jews carefully choose salt and lipstick “kosher for Pesach,” and say blessings after successfully visiting the latrine or seeing lightning—but the immense desecration of the Holy Land by foreigners and Jewish traitors is of no immediate concern to them.

For centuries, Jews poured a fifth glass of wine during the Pesach dinner, but left it untouched for the Prophet Eliyahu. The previous four glasses signify fulfillment of the divine promises given during the Exodus, but the fifth one refers to his promise to bring us into the Land of Israel. There was no other promise involved, whether of the Temple, Messiah, or a decent government—that’s our responsibility to do. In 1947, God brought us into the land that he promised to Abraham, and did so with great fanfare, but I may be the only Jew who drinks the fifth glass.

Paganism is a theological system which places rites and symbols between men and their Creator. The Jews who speed-mumble standardized prayers three times a day, every single day, who plead for return to Zion instead of buying an air ticket there, who wait for the Messiah instead of voting for Kahane, or Marzel, or even Feiglin, who supplicate for the Temple instead of building it—they surely have some big obstacle in the way of their communication with God.