Whether one believes or not that God wrote or dictated a collection of books, the TaNaKh, the Bible is, still Israel’s greatest creation and contribution to humanity.
Because the TaNaKh forms the backbone of Jewish culture, Israel defines itself in terms of a book.
This “book” (in fact it is a collection of 24 books) cannot be read, it has to be studied. The TaNaKh purposefully brings up subjects that can be interpreted in different ways.
Talking about the subjects the TaNaKh raises, we are obliged to think.
The enduring power of the TaNaKh is not that it teaches us to think about a diversity of subjects but that it teaches us to thinking about subjects that generate knowledge about ourselves and the world we live in.
Not surprisingly the Talmud states that “the study of Torah is by itself equal in importance to all the other mitzvot (commandments) combined (M Pei-ah 1: 1).”
Thus, “The study of the Torah is a duty incumbent on every Israelite from childhood on (Deut. 5: 1; Deut. 6: 6-8; Deut. 11: 18-19).”
The TaNaKh invites to be understood in different ways and, so, there is plenty of room for different forms of Judaism.
What it is not possible is to claim that an understanding of life not framed by the concepts and values of the TaNaKh, is a form of Judaism.
Jewish textual illiteracy is thus, inexcusable.
In the 21st century what the TaNaKh says is understood very differently from how Jews understood it ten centuries ago. But, it is the same TaNaKh, it is the same message.
Maybe the message is richer because in accumulating experiences and learning, humanity is able to see more angles, more complexities, more shades than previous generations.
Humanity, nor knowledge are statics. Never it is “once for all.” Only laziness and ignorance can claim that understanding doesn’t change.