I was not at Sinai, but there was certainly a Sinai event. Surely someone in that generation would have cracked at some point. One of them would have caved in and said it was a hoax, or they made it up to tell their kids for a bedtime story. Indeed whether the number be 100,000 or three million in that event, it is irrelevant.
The point is that if it were not so, someone would have admitted to by now. Can one really perpetuate a lie for multiple millennia? Shall we suppose for a moment that it is a lie? The lie would have to be one that could not be checked. (To be clear: I am referring to checking about a peoplehood, not a religion)
Yet that is the point here isn’t it? We can check. We have archeology, we have carbon dating, and we have Yeshivas, Dead Sea Scrolls, museums and documentation of Rabbis with their lineage. This has been recorded in a popular experiment and study which was done by a Rabbi Kelemen in the early 2000’s http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/mesora/
What are we then today? Are we not still a “mixed multitude?” Are we homogenized with no uniqueness, are we all following and practicing Judaism the same?
Hell no- and that is indeed very Jewish!
We all know what Ashkenazi, Sephardic and Mizrahi mean. We know the difference between Eastern European and Central European. We know there were/are Yemenite Jews, Iraqi Jews, Persian Jews, African Jews, etcetera.
And what of sectarianism? Bah. It is a religious Western invention at best. I know, you are thinking – but there were Sadducees, Pharisees and Essences… So what?
The surviving form of “religious” Judaism is Rabbinic Judaism and contained in Rabbinic Judaism are the four arms of this tree branch. Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist. So what? It is all Torah, G-d and Israel, right?
So what? Within the nationalities, cultures, and religious sects I have just mentioned, what else are we?
“Mixed multitude”- This means men, women, children, elderly, disabled, diseased, straight, gay, transgender, hermaphrodites, liberal, conservative, rich, poor, middle class, educated, super educated, non-educated, fat, skinny, tall, short, ugly, pretty, ordinary… Jewish. “Mixed multitude.”
Today I charge you with a task: Treat all Jews THE SAME. Show no preference, no difference in your manner of treatment. We are all Jews. A Jew is a Jew is a mother fucking Jew. Now be a good Jew and realize that if all our ancestors stood at Sinai- that means the “mixed multitude” came in every imaginable instance, circumstance, color, language, culture, gender and political stance. Every Jew was given the Torah and it is the responsibility for every Jew to understand this. There is no Pope in Judaism; the onus is on each and every one of us. Embrace the “mixed multitude” that we represent and be a good Jew.
Sure we are about community, but we are equally about individuality and expression. Sure we have tradition and it is very ancient indeed. However, do not scold, judge nor dictate to any Jew how he or she may or may not choose to express their Jewishness. Embrace your fellow Jew. That is all.