“Indeed, all Jews who are preoccupied with fashioning a Jewish life have a stake in understanding the Halakhah. Regardless of their definition, secular or religious, all forms of contemporary Jewish life must arise out of a confrontation with the past. Whether one lives in harmony with tradition or in tension with it, one must contend with that tradition. Comprehending the Halakhah is necessary for a Jewish life, whether one seeks to follow Jewish law or depart from it.”
From Women and Jewish Law, by Rachel Biale.
I had a conversation recently in which someone asked me why I was interested in converting to Judaism instead of just studying it if my intentions were to live mostly secularly. My response had been that if something is yours, it is yours to follow or to fuck with. This excerpt speaks to part of what I meant.