I believe, you believe, we all believe. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this column. Yet not all believers necessarily practice every one of the observances that are part of our belief system. We subscribe to the ideology. We don’t necessarily advocate moving the goalposts. But not all of us are quite ready to put into practice all those wonderful ideals.

What is the underlying argument that allows us the luxury of that rationalization? One which, in a moment of frankness, we might admit is somewhat inconsistent with our own stated beliefs?

I get the impression that the subconscious criticism of the traditions we have not yet embraced is that they are out of touch with contemporary society. We happily accept those practices we identify with, but pronounce the others “old-fashioned,” obsolete and out of step with the modern world.

So, some will argue that in an age of government inspection and accepted hygiene standards, the kosher dietary laws are obsolete. Others will claim that if G‑d really intended man to walk on Shabbos, Henry Ford would never have invented the automobile. (A Jewish humorist who had a fear of flying once said that if G‑d intended man to fly, surely He would have made it easier to get to the airport!) And still others contend that today our sexual mores can be determined only by consensus, and that as long as it’s consenting adults, who cares what people are doing in their bedrooms?

For many of us, the laws of the Torah feel every bit of their 3,300 years. Are we really and truly expected to adhere to this ancient code, so out of touch with the modern reality?

So, let’s think about it. Are we suggesting that G‑d, who gave us these laws in the first place, had them in mind only for those poor Israelites traipsing through the Sinai desert? Is He so myopic that He cannot see beyond His Jewish nose? As a rabbi once told an atheist, “The god you don’t believe in, I don’t believe in either.”

Unless we accept that G‑d could have seen the world of the 21st century, I would refuse to believe in Him too. A real G‑d sees past, present and future, and is equally as comfortable in our day as He was in the days of Moses. And the promised land of California is no more challenging to His credentials than ancient Canaan.

This week’s Parshah tells us, “The Ark of the Covenant of G‑d journeyed before them” (Numbers 10:33). Rashi interprets this to mean that the Ark—which housed the Tablets inscribed with the Ten commandments—would miraculously prepare the groundwork for their future encampments.

What this is also telling us is that the Torah (as embodied by the Tablets) is way ahead of the game. It goes before us. It is not only timeless; it is ahead of its time.

I can think of so many values and lifestyles which have become trendy now, which Torah has been encouraging for centuries.

A recent Time magazine cover story focused on young moms who are putting successful careers on hold in order to stay home and nurture their children when they need them most. From the beginning, Torah exempted women from timebound mitzvahs like tefillin or thrice-daily prayers, so that they could fulfill the more important mitzvah of raising the next generation.

The Jewish tradition of sitting shiva when one loses a family member is today recognized by psychologists of all faiths and cultures as being excellent bereavement therapy. When Jacob cooked lentils for his father, Isaac, it was because Isaac was a mourner sitting shiva for Abraham.

Whereas a generation ago women spurned mikvah as demeaning, today’s woman is embracing it as a supreme acknowledgment of her sexuality and as the most beautiful spiritual experience available. But there were mikvahs in Masada, in Jerusalem during the Temple era, and long before.

And the phenomenon of a society in search of spirituality, with celebrities and pop icons studying the Kabbalah, serves only to validate the teachings of Jewish mysticism, which are indeed of ancient days.

Bellbottoms have come and gone, and come back again, and will soon recede until another season comes. Paisley ties were once compulsory, but today are verboten. Fads and fashions come and go, but G‑dly values, the morals of menschlichkeit and the mitzvahs of Torah, are not behind the times. If anything, they are ahead of the times.

As He is beyond time, so are His commandments. If they appear to our mortal eyes as anachronistic, then that is our challenge: to relate Torah to our own realities, and to shape our lives according to its standard. He intended it for us and our world, so obviously it can be done.