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- All the many, many details 8 answers
I've read a number of Mi Yodeya questions because they come up in the sidebar of other Stack Exchange sites. They're often very interesting. I am impressed by the commitment the posters have to (for want of a better phrase) getting things right. (I'm thinking mostly about the halakhic discussions—such as this one, the importance of which is not immediately clear to someone outside the tradition; I do see that there are other historical or more narrowly theological posts as well.)
My question is, what is the motivation for an observant Jew to do these things? Is the important thing to be obedient? (And does that have a further significance?) Are you trying to appease God, or cooperate with God? Do individuals (or communities) perceive themselves as working toward a broader historical purpose?
I appreciate your patience; I'm sure as an outsider I've phrased these questions in awkward ways.
Edit: The question is not whether obedience is a good or bad thing in itself, but what motivates individuals or communities to make or find authoritative (if that is the right word) judgments about specific and unforeseen situations, for instance the person concerned about triggering a security camera on the Sabbath. (An alternative might be to say, “There's nothing in our tradition about security cameras, so I won't worry about it.”) Cultures avoid ambiguity to greater or lesser degrees; is that what's going on here? Or is there a religious sense that it's important to get the details right? (which would entail a belief that the Deity really, really cares about attention to detail) If it's religious, does that tie into any broader theological point?