Why is Jewish ritual so complicated?

Rise. Take three steps backwards – one with each of the first three words in Hebrew. Take three steps forward with each of the next three words in Hebrew. Bend your knee with the word “Blessed,” bow with the word “You” and stand up straight with the word “God.” Continue singing words of prayer, bowing at the allotted times, rising at the allotted times, carefully pronouncing each word – all the while racing through prayers and melodies, like familiar paths through a corn maze, which never seems exactly the same twice. Affirm relationship with God. Choose your theologically preferred language about the messianic era. Call forth a blessing for rain or dew in the Holy Land, depending on the time of year. Make requests of God – if it’s not Shabbat, when God also needs rest. Pray silently, filling just the right amount of time with prayers of the heart. Return to communal prayer with melodious aspirations for peace. Oh yes – and do all this while wearing a prayer shawl and/or phylacteries, if it is the designated day and time of day, and is your custom. All of this in hopes of resembling the angels and mirroring an anthropomorphic human projection of a God who might also don these sacred objects.

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