Lovely article, thanks, Dan Foster. :-) I agree with so much of it.
On a minor, note, though, here’s something to ponder — something I never considered until just a few months ago when Ken Wilson pointed it out to me. Did you know the Pharisees of Jesus’s day became the spiritual force that evolved into Rabbinical Judaism after the destruction of the second temple?
Those laws about laws that you write about became part of the Talmud, of which there are actually two traditions.
I’m sure it’s true that many Pharisees of Jesus’s time were too obsessed with rules for the sake of rules, but if we can trust the Talmudic traditions, many were much more interested in the spirit of the law and the deeper meanings behind the human spiritual connection with the Divine.
The Talmudic traditions are important reasons most Jews today are not literalist and rule-obsessed, but spiritual and focused on love and justice. The Pharisees deserve much of the credit for that. They get a bum rap sometimes in the Christian tradition.