Sunday, August 30, 2015

Torah for Non-Jews

Regarding the teaching of Torah to non-Jews, here are some of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's guidelines - reprinted from Chabad Talk

Encouraging Gentiles to Study Torah for Its Own Sake

In the Messianic era: “The sole occupation of the entire world”—Gentiles as well—“will only be to know G–d ... ‘As the waters cover the sea.’” This means that the “knowledge of G–d”—knowledge and comprehension—will envelop and conceal the existence of Gentiles until it becomes their entire being. Thus, [in order to prepare for this state of existence] some parallel to this must exist even now, by the Torah—in a comprehensible form—being found amongst Gentiles as well.

The Talmud states:

From where do we know that even a Gentile who occupies himself with Torah [related to the Noahide Code] is comparable to the High Priest? It is written, “That the man should keep them and live by them.” It does not speak of Priests, Levites, or Israelites, but of “the man.” You have thus learned that even a Gentile who occupies himself in Torah study is like a High Priest. The dictum that “A Gentile who occupies himself in Torah study deserves [divinely-imposed] death, as it is written, ‘The Torah that Moses commanded us is an inheritance’—an inheritance for us, and not for them” does not contradict this. For, “In that case [where Gentiles are encouraged to study Torah], it is referring to their seven [wide-ranging categories of] Mitzvot.” [Rashi explains that] “They occupy themselves with the laws of those seven Mitzvot to become expert in them.”

Seven Laws of Noah

Gentiles should not only study Torah related to the Noahide Code for the purpose of knowing how to act, i.e., as a preparation and means for observing their Mitzvot. Rather, they are obligated to study Torah for its own sake. (The reason that this was not counted among their Mitzvot is that “positive Mitzvot were not counted [among the seven general Noahide laws],” just as the Mitzvah to give charity was not counted. )

It emerges that when Jews influence Gentiles to study Torah (in “their seven Mitzvot”), this is a fitting preparation for the fulfillment of the prophecy: “The sole occupation of the entire world”—Gentiles as well—“will only be to know G–d,” for several reasons:

When Jews influence Gentiles “to undertake the Mitzvot in which Noah’s descendants were commanded,” this refines the limbs of the body with which they perform these seven Mitzvot.

When Jews influence Gentiles to study the legal aspects of the Noahide Code to enable them to perform their Mitzvot, this refines the aspect of the mind that is related to the limbs of the body with which these Mitzvot are performed.

When Jews influence Gentiles to study Torah (in the laws of “their seven Mitzvot”) for the purpose of Torah study alone (not in order to know how to act, but in order to thoroughly understand the area of Torah relevant to them for its own sake), this refines the non-Jew’s faculty of intellect, by permeating it with comprehension of Torah. This is a fitting preparation for the era when “The sole occupation of the entire world will only be to know G–d”—knowledge of G–d for its own sake, and for no other purpose.

Furthermore, even the concept of “Keter [the Crown of] Torah” applies to Gentiles. This means that Torah [related to the Noahide Code] encompasses the non-Jew’s entire being. This resembles the prophecy that “[The earth will be filled with the knowledge of G–d] as the waters cover the sea.”

In the Sifri it is written: “The Crown of Torah is laid out so that the world’s inhabitants will not have reason to present a challenge [to G–d] ... the Crown of Torah is laid out for all the world’s inhabitants.” The simple meaning of the expression “inhabitants of the world” is a reference to Gentiles. In this case it is saying that Gentiles might come forward with a claim that they are entitled to receive the “Crown of Torah” in connection “their Mitzvot.” To this the response is given that “it is laid out for all the world’s inhabitants,” i.e., they can indeed attain the level of the “Crown of Torah” as well.

Based upon the above, even the prophecy that “The earth”—referring to all Gentiles—“will be filled with the knowledge of G–d as the waters cover the sea” has a parallel in the efforts of the Jewish people during the era of exile. We accomplish this by influencing Gentiles to study Torah related to the Noahide Code in a manner of the “Crown of Torah,” such that this study encompasses and permeates their entire being. This is similar to the prophecy: “The sole occupation of the entire world will only be to know G–d ... ‘As the waters cover the sea.’”

Hitva’aduyot 5745, Vol. 3, pp. 1838-1839.

Independent Value of Gentiles’ Torah Study 
Gentiles should study Torah related to their Mitzvot, for they must study the details of their Mitzvot in order to be able to put them into practice. It may be said that their obligation to study the Noahide Code is not merely a “preparation for a Mitzvah,” but an obligation in its own right.

The reason for this is that along with the duty to adhere to the Noahide Code, they are obligated to keep these Mitzvot in a regular, natural manner, which necessitates previous study of the specific laws related to these Mitzvot. Thus, this study is not merely a “preparation for a Mitzvah,” but one of the Mitzvot in their own right, for otherwise [the Noahide Code] cannot be observed. Thus, this study has the halachic status of Torah study.

Hitva’aduyot 5749, Vol. 2, p. 447. cf. Likutei Sichot, Vol. 14, pp. 38-39

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

1. This is regarding gentiles sans agenda, but not a missionary Trojan horse who are trying to destroy Jewish neshamot.

2. In general, there is a halachic question regarding the order of importance of mitzvot for a man who is engaged in the mitzva of limud Torah. Maybe someone knows the halacha regarding the order of bitul Torah and teaching gentiles the Noachide laws. I don't know the answer, I'm just asking the question.

Elisheva

Anonymous said...

Not re this post, but a previous one that you took down.

Regarding lashon harah and the public sphere, if I'm not mistaken not all information publicly available is considered "bereshut harabim" for the purpose of lashon hara. I think it depends on how it became publicly available. I don't know definitively, but probably as someone who runs a blog, probably worth checking with a rav.

Elisheva

Anonymous said...

Agree with Elisheva. At this time in history, where most Jews are alienated from Torah and it is encumbent for us to try to do as much kiruv as possible for the Jews; not for the non-Jews. Believe that gentiles who are searching for meaning will come to the Jews to learn what his role is and then it is proper to teach him the 7 Laws of Noach; otherwise, it is entering into dangerous territory in an era of Jewish assimilation and with the rise of 'love' missionizing on the part of the Xtian world, not knowing whether these gentiles are infiltrators or are sincere. Going out to the world to find those who will accept the Noahide Law is not proper, especially at this time. They will seek us out if they are sincere. Going out to the world should be to find Jews that need to return and do teshuvah.

annie said...

Thank you, Devorah... Such a timely posting. We are noahides, trying to find our way in the world. Just recently we read a statement from Rambam that the gentile who studies Torah is liable to the death penalty... this is a question that for us that needs an answer. This article helps us to understand more...

Does the gentile actually... "die" to his old ways when studying Torah, and therefore becomes a new person? Is this the TRUE being born again? not going the avodah zara way of believing this, but in studying the True Torah, and the 7 mitzvots for the non Jew, does he then become a new person... inside? Looking at HaShem a whole new way, life a whole new way, interacting with his world and people and even animals... a whole NEW way? Is this what Rambam is meaning? We die to the old ways and go back to the Original Way... the One Hashem required of us in the beginning? Those 7 Laws for us ???

Thank you for posting this... We ARE crying out for Truth of what is required of us, and what is allowed for us as well... it IS the Time we are crying... take us back to Jerusalem, Teach us His Ways... the Way we are to learn...

Thank you...

Devorah said...

Thank you. I usually try to follow advice from Nava [Dreaming of Moshiach] - ''if in doubt, leave it out''. Sometimes I slip up.

Devorah said...

I don't have answers for you Annie, I don't know. I published those guidelines above because it clarified some things for me as well.

mindy sullivan said...

RE:annie-
The Rambam is referring to studying the parts of Torah that are not pertinent to a Noachide. The Rebbe actually addresses your question in the paragraph heading "the Talmud states" above.

Good luck in your studies!



Devorah said...

Elisheva, I am old enough to personally remember the days when the Lubavitcher Rebbe was promoting the publicizing of the 7 Laws of Noah to gentiles. Business cards were printed up with the Seven Laws and distributed to many people. Some of those people subsequently began to learn the Noahide Laws and leave their pagan religions.

It is now 21 years since the Rebbe's passing in 1994, and these days it seems that confusion reigns.

I am sticking with the Rebbe's guidelines and encourage any non-Jew who does not worship any kind of idol, to learn the Seven Laws of Noah and to live by them, in preparation for the coming of Moshiach, may it be speedily in our days.

Anonymous said...

Yes! We have a brain (and a heart) nevertheless!
Ed

Devorah said...

Hi Ed - we do not always understand the reasons why the Torah commands us to do, or not do, certain things. When the Torah specifically says that non-Jews should stick to the study of the 7 laws and not venture further into the entire Torah, it is for a reason. That reason may not be clear to us, but nevertheless we always follow the Torah instructions, as it is the blueprint of Creation written by The Creator.
Going above and beyond the Torah's guidelines is not recommended, even if a person thinks he can try anyway. And even if someone decided to learn parts of the Torah that were forbidden to him, he would probably not fully comprehend it, or would become confused, or interpret it wrongly. No man can ever outsmart Hashem, and the Torah will always be right.

Anonymous said...

BS"D

For starters get a copy of the new Universal Garden of Emuna: http://www.breslev.co.il/store/books/spirituality_and_faith/the_universal_garden_of_emuna.aspx?id=16146&language=english

Emuna is the mitzvah upon which the entire Torah stands and is the first Noachide commandment as well.

The problem is if the Jews don't teach the Gentiles the correct path the other side will quickly fill the void, as has happened throughout history.

One of the main tasks of Moshiach is to lead the world (all nations) to the Truth of G-d .

Many former xtians got weaned of the j.c. stumbling block after connecting with "Emuna" because the fundamental principles therein contradict the basic precepts of xtianity.

A person would then need to seek out a proper spiritual guide firmly rooted in Halacha and with a love of humanity and an uncompromising commitment to Hashem and His Torah for further questions.

-a Yid

Devorah said...

Thanks for that, I have not read that book so cannot comment on it, but I totally agree with you when you say ''The problem is if the Jews don't teach the Gentiles the correct path the other side will quickly fill the void, as has happened throughout history.''

Ronnie Rendel said...

Very timely Devorah. Any thoughts abut what's happening at Devash's site palmtreeofdevorah? I have been a long time fan for her blog and comments on other blogs, but feel under attack recently. Is this post a response to her challenge asking where it says you should "proselytize to the nations" as she says? I don't call advancing the 7 Niahide laws prostel;yzing, just using her quote.

Devorah said...

I have long been looking for answers to this question, due to inadvertently getting caught up in another rabbi's version of ''Torah for the nations''. I am sticking with the Lubavitcher Rebbe's guidelines above.

As it says: ''before Moshiach .there are no leaders''. That is why I prefer to look to the gedolim from previous generations for answers.

Devorah said...

The Lubavitcher Rebbe always stressed that the Noahide Laws must be publicized to the nations, but of course that does not mean we go into churches, or anywhere else there are idols.
But as Devash points out, the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and this is not a topic I am qualified to give an opinion on, hence the blog post above - which I blogged mainly to clarify things for myself.

10rainbow said...

G-d bless.
i believe there are many who have heard of HR Yitzchak Ginsburgh. if, i repeat , if i am not mistaken he was a student or closely associated with the rebbe and has a remarkable outreach to noahides, amongst them, myself. for almost 23 years HR is my family 's R, Teacher and spiritual guide.
this is from his site re noahides. its up to shirat devorah, to pass this if it is within the rules and regulations of her blog. there is absolute no ill feelings if she, as the owner of this blog, decides not to publish this.

http://www.inner.org/nonjews/pope.htm
this is a part of the above:
Sweet Singer of Israel, “Man’s steps are established by G-d, and He desires his path” (Psalms 37:23).

True for every detail of every private person’s life, this becomes immensely more significant for those whose lives have proven to be of crucial influence on the overall history of mankind. Here, too, there is both the individual’s revealed, conscious intention and the hidden dimension, which is revealed only to G-d, as He wondrously directs the fate of the world that He created for His glory.

Maimonides (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, chapter 11) writes that Jesus of Nazareth imagined that he was the messiah. He tried to actualize this, but failed. Instead of redeeming Israel and the entire world, he caused Israel to be slain by the sword, their remnant to be scattered and humiliated, the Torah to be altered, and the majority of the world to be deceived and serve a god other than G-d.

Maimonides continues:

Nevertheless, the intent of the Creator of the world is not within the power of man to comprehend, for [to paraphrase Isaiah 55:8] His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts. [Ultimately,] all the deeds of Jesus of Nazareth and that and that of the other, will only serve to pave the way for the coming of the Messiah and for the improvement of the entire world, [motivating the nations] to serve G-d together, as it is written [Zephaniah 3:9], “For I shall then make the peoples pure of speech so that they will all call upon the Name of G-d and serve Him with one purpose.”

How will this come about? [As a result of these religions,] the entire world has already become filled with talk of the Messiah, as well as of the Torah and the commandments. These matters have been spread among many [formerly] spiritually insensitive nations, who discuss these matters as well as the various commandments of the Torah. Some of them [i.e. the Christians] say: These commandments were true, but are not in force in the present age; they are not applicable for all time. Others [i.e. the Moslems] say: Implied in the commandments are hidden concepts that cannot be understood simply; the messiah has already come and revealed them.

[The stage is thus set so that] when the true Messianic king will arise and prove successful, his [position becoming] exalted and uplifted, they will all return and realize that their ancestors endowed them with a false heritage; their prophets and ancestors caused them to err.

http://www.inner.org/category/noahide

thanks,

Anonymous said...

Here is an interesting link regarding the current discussion:

http://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/shiur.asp?id=14572

Anonymous said...

From- "The Torah’s Instructions to Non-Jews—The Laws of Bnei Noach
Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff"

http://www.yeshiva.co/

"The Gemara states that a gentile is not permitted to study Torah (Sanhedrin 59a). One opinion of the Gemara explains that the Torah belongs to the Jewish people and by studying Torah the gentile is "stealing" Jewish property. However, there are many exceptions to this ruling. Firstly, a gentile may study all the halachos applicable to observing his mitzvos (Meiri). Rambam rules that it is a mitzvah to teach a non-Jew the halachos of offering korbanos if he intends to bring them (Rambam, Maasei HaKorbanos 19:16). According to the Rama’s opinion that a non-Jew must observe the Torah’s civil laws, the gentile may study all the intricate laws of Choshen Mishpat. Furthermore, since a non-Jew is permitted to observe other mitzvos of the Torah (other than those mentioned above), some opinions contend that he may learn the laws of those mitzvos in order to observe them correctly (Meiri, Sanhedrin 58b).

There is a dispute among poskim whether one may teach a non-Jew Torah if the non-Jew is planning to convert. The Meiri (Sanhedrin 58b) and Maharsha (Shabbos 31a s.v. amar lei mikra) rule that it is permitted, whereas Rabbi Akiva Eiger forbids it (Shu"t #41). Others permit teaching Nevi’im and Kesuvim to non-Jews (Shiltei HaGibborim, Avodah Zarah 20a, quoting Ohr Zarua) and other poskim permit teaching a non-Jew about miracles that the Jews experienced (Shu"t Melamed Leho’il Yoreh Deah #77).

Incidentally, Rav Moshe Feinstein rules that one is permitted to teach Torah to Jews while a non-Jew is listening (Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 2:132). For this reason, he permits conducting a seder with a gentile in attendance."

Anonymous said...

This site also includes relevant discussion of the topic:

http://judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/20403/am-i-liable-to-be-stoned-for-my-devotion-to-hashem-and-the-jewish-people

Devorah said...

10 Rainbow: I published it but I am not sure whether Rabbi Ginzburgh is actually communicating the Rebbe's instructions or has made some up of his own.

10rainbow said...

devorah, i tried to send 3 times, i am not sure if its repeated, if it is, please excuse me for it.
HR Ginsburgh ecourages questions and he has in his site a special place for noahides. i have not heard any orth rabbi disagree with his guidance. even if they do not know him, they have definitely heard of him.
R Avraham Greenbaum of azamra.org has weekly torah lessons one for jews and one for noahides on the same parsha. in the noahies one the parts that are meant only for jews, perhaps like the temple offerings, laws of the kohen etc are left out. if i am not mistaken he is the first to start bible lessons from Joshua to the end. every sunday he has live classes for over an hour where we can participate and type questions. now off late i cant participate but i receive his lessons. there are noahides all over the world participating in his live class. www.azamra.org

Devash said...

Annie, no, this is not a proper understanding of the Rambam's words. A "death penalty" applies to one who has committed a crime. It's not an allusion to "rebirth".

Also, it says there that it is a death penalty "at the hands of Heaven", meaning Hashem will judge that person. Also, understand that the Rambam's words were intended for knowledgeable Jews, not for non-Jews.

The Torah was given to the Jews, not to non-Jews. The Jews are spiritually suited to learn Torah. Non-Jews aren't. Their souls can neither receive it nor act on it. That's why Jews have to teach the non-Jews the parts that address them and their lives, i.e. sheva mitzvot bnei Noach.

Throughout history a few non-Jews would want the Torah and the closeness to Hashem enjoyed by the Jews. For them, conversion was made possible. They could follow the path of Avraham Avinu to an elevation of the soul which would then make them suitable also to receive the Torah.

A few non-Jews would be interested in pleasing their Creator by learning and following the laws He designated for them, so they would approach a Jew to teach them the part of the Torah that applies to them. The mass coming to Torah that the prophets foresaw will not happen until messianic times, when Mashiach is already revealed and ruling and the yetzer hara has been slaughtered.

To all of creation, Hashem gave a Divine order and we are bound to follow His order and not to make up our own to suit our egos and emotions. Our present generation, the lowest in all of human history, does not look beyond itself for any higher power. It has elevated Self to godhood and its 'sacrifices' are offered to the ego's insatiable appetite.

Today, everybody wants everything with the most minimal effort and maximal consumption. No one wants to recognize any of Hashem's boundaries or limitations.

The first step for anyone, Jew or non-Jew, in coming closer to Hashem, is to cultivate the trait of humility, slaughter the ego and submit his will to Hashem's 100%.

Anonymous said...

I haven't read the book, but I have read A Handbook of Jewish Thought by Rabbi Arye Kaplan and Sefer Hachinuch. The mitzvah to believe in Hashem as a positive commandment (the mitzvah of emuna) is NOT one of the noachide mitzvot. Of their seven mitzvot, one is not to worship idols, and another one is not to "bless" Hashem. There is a whole discussion with respect to the belief required by a noachide, and the extent of the prohibition on idols for them.

Elisheva

Anonymous said...

Devorah, I didn't chalila write anything against the Rebbe's teachings. I wrote that there is a difference between publicising to regular gentiles, and getting involved with missionaries who are out to get Jews. The sheer naivity of many of our Torah leaders in this respect is simply astounding. Do you really think that the Rebbe would have supported the kind of missionary activities against the Jewish people often facilitated by our leaders? These missionaries gloat on their websites about this.

It's not difficult to publicise the noachide laws. Just make a facebook page for all the world to see. Make a youtube channel with classes about their mitzvot.

Regarding the order of priority of mitzvot for a Jewish man, this is a genuine halachic question, discussed by the Rambam. I don't know the answer. Just putting the question out there.

Elisheva

Devash said...

My problem with this reasoning is that it assumes it is in our power to change people and that all we have to do is go out and make the offer and people will automatically choose the good over the bad. This is missionizing. There's no other word for it.

In the times when Torah law cannot be compelled upon the nations as a whole, the initiative must come from within the individual whose soul has already been prepared to desire the truth. All that needs be done is to make it known where he can go for answers and leave the rest up to him. His effort to seek out the truth is a major part of his tikun.

Being a light to the nations can be imagined like a lighthouse that projects a beacon to ships cast adrift at sea in the darkness that are searching for safe passage. It lights the way and the ship finds it. The lighthouse does not go in search of the ship!

But, we can agree to disagree on how best to meet the needs of both Jews and non-Jews. I am more concerned with xians being misled into believing that they are righteous gentiles while committing the crime of idolatry against the Creator of the World. And I am equally concerned about the blurring of the lines between Jews and non-Jews where non-Jews with the best of intentions are learning Torah that does not belong to them, dressing like Jews, talking like Jews and eating and celebrating with Jews - all mixed together. This is a clear violation of the Torah and halachah and it comes with a price that we won't want to pay. If a non-Jew wans to be a Jew, there's a process for that. But, if he chooses to become a Jew, he must separate himself from the non-Jews. We are not allowed to live in both worlds at the same time. Hashem knows best.

Anonymous said...

"As Jews, we do not proselytize to gentiles, nor seek converts. However, when we meet sincere non-Jews, we should direct them correctly in their quest for truth through introducing them to the Seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach (see Tosafos, Chagigah 13a)."

Elisheva

Devorah said...

I agree. Blurring the lines between Jews and nonJews is extremely problematic, and I think it is geneivat daát on the part of the rabbis promoting this kind of Noahidism [if there is such a word]. If a nonJew feels so strongly about Judaism that he wants to live the complete lifestyle, then he should undertake the conversion process.

Anonymous said...

I refer you to the Lausanne Movement, a global umbrella organisation for xians/missionaries (because as they say "every xian is either a missionary or an imposter", and sometimes they call it "sharing" "witnessing" whatever it's missionizing).

On the LM site they have a course for missionaries in which they recognise their previous mistakes. The new approach is for them to adopt the culture of their target and then for the target to adopt their religion. When they apply their new tactic to Jews, naive religious Jews get all excited and start to think, hey they're just like us and open their hearts and their homes to them. But obviously it's just a tactic.

So I don't think that it is rabbis necessarily blurring the lines, I think that it is coming from the other direction and they are falling for it.

I also think that at a certain age a person has overcome the desires of their youth, but the desire for kavod is very strong. (I think it says this somewhere in chazal). We Jews are a stiff-necked people always arguing, complaining, requiring accountability from our leaders etc, and then along comes these people who just simply adore you and shower you with kavod. Maybe it is very hard to stand this challenge, especially when it is not even clear what the challenges is. I'm not judging as I'm not in their shoes, just pointing out the issue.

Elisheva

Devash said...

Elisheva, that expresses my position precisely.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Devash and Elisheva on this topic, totally We DO NOT go out searching to teach non-Jews anything dealing with Torah and our laws. If a non-Jew goes out searching and seeking truth, he will seek us out and then the rabbi can teach him the seven laws. Dvash was absolutely correct in saying that what is being done now (searching to teach the Seven Laws of Noach) is what will happen when Moshiach is revealed, but not before. The Jews today are so confused and there is so much chaos everywhere, we need to focus on our own people. We see what is happening in E.Y. and that alone can bring us to tears (missionizing, assimilation, intermarriage, infiltration of foreigners taking over).

Anonymous said...

Oh that wasn't me. I was quoting from the link at yeshiva.co.

Anonymous said...

I am a gentile who began my journey out of christianity in 2008. While I have been a longtime reader of this and many other "Jewish" blogs, I have never posted on them until now. In my opinion, this issue of what to do with the "non-Jew" is the central issue that must be resolved in order to truly bring the exile to its end and usher in the messianic age. If it is not resolved, I believe the redemption will come with harsh judgment and not with mercy. It is that critical. I encourage each of you to think about the prophetic writings and consider how these could possibly be fulfilled without the "non-Jew" being involved in the return to HaShem. Consider the prophecies of Isaiah 2 and Micah 4, just as a starting point.

As someone who lived immersed in christianity for over 40 years and has fought to come out of it for a number of years, I can tell you that the current condition of the Noahide Movement (if there really is such a thing) is inadequate to provide a serious seeker with soul satisfaction. While it has been defined in Jewish literature, there has not been a consistent “Noahide religion” throughout history, so there is no organized method to help a seeker grow spiritually. Without the instruction of torah from the Jewish world, the seeker will starve. I have chosen to learn torah in order to survive and keep my sanity. Over the years, I have read many Jewish books and listened to thousands of hours of teaching from Jewish rabbis over the internet. If I am condemned to death as a result, then so be it. You see, the man I was has already died.

David W.

Devorah said...

Thank you David. I hear you loud and clear.

Devorah said...

David, if you are still reading this, can you explain to us why conversion to Judaism is not something you are considering?

Anonymous said...

I am reading all the answers here.
I want to know, and have asked Rabbi's, no answers yet...
How will a Noahide be buried?

Where and whom can i turn to for this.
One chabad rabbi did answer, in "ask the Rabbi:, and he said in a burial ground not xtian. when asked how the 'ritual' would be. he replied, no washing the body, just bury in clothes.. and have someone say a psalm or two.
I found that like how one would bury a pet dog or cat .. so uncaring...
Anyone with an answer?

Anonymous said...

Devorah, I live in South Carolina. My family of five lives "alone", surrounded by christians, and perhaps, a few agnostics. The closest orthodox community is over 100 miles away. Without a community, how can one convert? My family has considered relocating, but that door has not been opened yet. So, we labor on, refusing to return to our past and moving toward an uncertain future, knowing that HaShem is with us.
David W.

Devorah said...

Some interesting things here: Judaism and Non-Jews - Seven Noahide Laws

Devorah said...

I have heard [or read] - but I can't remember where or when - that for some people, it is a tikkun [correction] to yearn to convert but be unable to, for whatever reason. Perhaps this applies to you. But I am also certain there are others here who will tell you that you should pursue conversion as that is what your soul is telling you. What a crazy mixed up world we live in... so many Jews who don't want to live as a Jew, and nonJews who would gladly swap places with them.

Elisheva, Devash..... any answers for David? I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Devorah,
Posed the question on the blog.
Will await answer.
s

Anonymous said...

I really feel the pain of Noachides posting here. The truth is that the issue is not very high profile in the Jewish world, including in the Torah world. However, it is discussed in rabbinic literature, and like most things in Judaism there are many opinions.

This is one link that may be of help:
http://en.wikinoah.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

See too this comment:
"Now, I know of 2 organisations for the Noachides, one under the responsability Rav Sherky of the Machon Meir, and another by Rav Yoel Schwartz !"

Also I'm not sure why people commenting here think that I would dare to disagree with the Rebbe. My main concerns are with missionaries using the bnei noach avenue as another tactic in their war against Jewish neshamot and with the amount of time and resources we should be devoting to this issue (ie to genuine noachides) when we have so many existential problems in the Jewish world: intermarriage, fake conversions, general ignorance and lack of interest amongst Jews, etc, etc.

Elisheva

Devorah said...

Also see: Video: Rebbe and the Noahide Laws

Anonymous said...

Elisheva, Your second sentence makes the point from my original post. The fact that "Noachides" or perhaps more appropriately "non-Jews" are "not very high profile in the Jewish world" is exactly the problem. With all due respect to you and every other caring and faithful Jew, it is my opinion that one of the primary (and perhaps hidden) reasons for the exile of the Jewish people was to place the truth of torah throughout the world. Consider Isaiah 56:3-8 and Isaiah 60:1-4. It is clear from these passages that "foreigners" and "other peoples or nations" will be gathered to HaShem. These people are gathered with the dispersed of Israel. How can this happen without the Jew shining the light of torah? I believe that everything goes back to the Garden. Adam was commanded to work (avad) and to guard (shamar) it. I know that there are many teachings around the positive and negative commandments concerning these two words; however, I would propose another thought for consideration. I believe these words also represent the charge to Israel. They were charged with doing the work of the torah and guarding the torah. Throughout the generations, your people have tenaciously guarded and protected the torah. I propose that it is now time for your people to do the work of the torah, which is serving as the priesthood to the nations. I, for one, am begging your people for it.
David W.

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Kind Devorah,

i saw that video of the Rebbe and he said clearly, that it IS a mitzvah for Jews to teach those who want to know Hashem.

I know how you are and have always been trying to help, and then some come along with their opinions, and you may not have meant it the way 'they' saw it.. thenly sadly it gets blown out of context.

As for some where where i read, that Jews like to question and argue, i think a lot of other non-Jewish people too do the same. know, i do...

How can one ever learn if not ask questions.

For myself, i do not like to take things by hear-say, i like to question and know the' why"? and the' how"? not for the sake of arguing per se, but to try to learn. Hashem bless you Devorah, i do not know if i have said this to you before, but you and this great blog, you shine a light to so many.

Todah Raba.
May you always be blessed.
s

Anonymous said...

http://www.noahide.com/index.htm

Anonymous said...

I doubt that Judaism, with all its multifarious and, dare I say, peculiar laws, chumrot etc is such an attractive enticement for Gentiles to want to take on - especially if they learnt about the 'not so nice' parts in depth beforehand. Maybe becoming a Noachidide would be. For if the majority of 'real' ie born Jews find it difficult, painful even, to accept the yoke of Torah true Judaism, I doubt that Gentiles would likewise believe it to be all joy.

Anonie

Anonymous said...

To Anonie, :)
Probably right you might be. But so many have taken on that yoke and as i hear from shuirs that Rabbis give, the converts turn out to be better in observing the Laws of Hashem. Because they 'chose" it, and were not born into Judaism. I do admire them greatly.
Then also i have heard many times it being said (by Rabbi's), that one is where one is as Hashem put them there.
I am xtian. Today i am happy to be Noachide.
Shalom/

Anonymous said...

Uh oh..

the last line should be "i am ex- xtian. since many many years ago.. Now... Nachide :-)
Hashem bless all who come to this lovely and so encourging and inforative blog..
s

10rainbow said...

Amen.
i feel the same for shiratdeovrah's input. G-d bless and keep her and hers safe always. and may Hashem remember her kindness to those around her

Devash said...

Well, I understand why this issue feels so all-consuming to David, but it absolutely is NOT "the central issue that must be resolved in order to truly bring the exile to its end and usher in the messianic age."

I fear this is a holdover from xian thinking, that once the gospel goes out to all the world, Yeshu can come back.

In fact, this 'Noahide' effort is a great distraction from the real work that needs to be done. Ask any real rabbi, consult any ancient Jewish source about what it will take to bring the exile to an end and bring the complete redemption and you will receive the same answer: get the Jews to do complete teshuvah. Rabbi Kessin explains it according to the Ramchal - how through Jewish keeping of mitzvot and Jewish teshuvah and Jewish suffering, we reclaim all the kedushah stolen by the Satan and render him powerless. As a direct result of THAT EVENT, with his ability to deceive rendered null and void, the whole world will then become aware of the knowledge of G-d.

These distractions from that holy mission, well-meaning though they may be (and even more so because how can you argue against a noble cause like this?) are actually delaying the process! We Jews mirror the common culture around us and we have our own pc police. Open your mouth against certain subjects and they whip out that "lashon hara" stick to beat you with.

I would encourage David to have a little bit more faith in Am Yisrael - that we understand our scriptures and our mission very well after 3500 years. I know it's hard to break through the xian brainwashing of a lifetime that says Jews are spiritually blind and don't even know or understand their own scriptures.

I would also encourage David to shift his focus from getting to giving. Our body makes a lot of demands for things and we get confused and think the soul does likewise, but the soul that is made in the image of God wants to GIVE, not GET. Hashem is the ultimate GIVER and this is how we emulate Him. If a soul feels unsatisfied this is probably the reason why. Instead of focusing on religious feelings engendered by ritual, concentrate instead on giving to the Creator - giving praise, giving thanks, giving honor - all in your own words, no need for a Jewish-type siddur. (A siddur makes communal worship possible when a minyan is required but goyim have no such need.) You will be pleasantly surprised by the superiority of this soul-experience.

The danger of a "Noahide religion" is one of my greatest fears - that all of this will turn into another religion because that is forbidden. For David to "grow" there is only one direction to go - up. And the next level up is to convert. It's just that simple and that difficult. If that is your soul's desire, then pray and ask Hashem to make it possible. If it's not, then graciously accept what Hashem has given you and give thanks for it. Those are really the only options.

David's closing lines exhibit a frightening unwillingness to accept Hashem's will over his own. His declaration is like a fist shaken in Hashem's face. If he just works on acceptance and gratitude for what Hashem has already given him in this life, it should be enough to keep him busy for awhile without time to spend grasping for more.

Devash said...

Some things can be determined by simple logic. It doesn't require a legal ruling from a rabbi.

A non-Jew can be buried anywhere. No rituals required, just a public acknowledgment that Hashem is the Master of the World and the acceptance of how He chooses to run it should suffice. King David said even Hashem is pained by the death of His devout ones. Death was never intended for human beings. It's a horrible experience and there is little that minimizes the suffering. The things that Jews do are not for their own comfort but for the comfort and elevation of the soul of the deceased. These things are ineffective for non-Jewish souls according to what I have learned.

Devorah said...

You make some interesting points Devash, thank you for all that.

Devash said...

David W., I want to say this as kindly as I can, but that may be impossible under these circumstances. Surely, you don't really believe that after all these hundreds and thousands of years, Jews are as clueless about their mission and responsibilities in this world as you seem to be thinking. And you are now going to come and set us all straight with your revelations?

It sounds to me like the "many Jewish books" you've read and "thousands of hours of teaching from Jewish rabbis over the internet" have not served you well. Perhaps this is why non-Jews were forbidden to learn more Torah than what they need to meet their own responsibilities to Hashem.

Sir, you really need to concentrate on yourself, your family and your community and let Hashem deal with the Jews. Despite what you heard growing up in church, Hashem never abandoned His people.

Devash said...

"I doubt that Judaism, ...is such an attractive enticement for Gentiles to want to take on"

It's not supposed to be.

And fyi, for real Jews, whether born or converted to it, there is no greater honor, no greater privilege, no greater joy than serving Hashem and coming closer and closer to Him in holiness.

Anonymous said...

To most here, except for Devash - Why can't you all understand that the Jew does not go out missionizing to any peoples. The only ones we are responsible and obligated to are fellow Jews when it comes to Torah. The Torah was given to ONLY the Jewish people at Sinai. When a gentile feels he needs to come to TRUTH, he can seek out an orthodox reliable rabbi who can teach him the Seven Laws of Noach. The realization of the One and Only G-D, Hashem, will be made known to all of mankind when Moshiach is revealed. He will be the Teacher of all teachers. Those Noahides who are sincere, a big yasher koach to all of you, but now is not the time for Jews to missionize but to try and bring our lost fellow Jews back to their roots, to our holy Torah and that will hasten the coming of Moshiach tzdkeinu, which will be a blessing for all mankind.
As far as this Rabbi or that one, there are many different opinions and what we call haskafos to interpreting. Those who are of great stature are all right, in their own ways, but it does not determine the way it must be. We are at a place now where most Jews are completely oblivious of who and why they are, and we need to help them return and do teshuva and thus hastening Moshiach's coming, and we pray it will be with mercy.



Anonymous said...

Every day I pray for just that, geula berachamim, that every Jew should make teshuva and that we will all merit to greet Moshiach Tsidkeinu bekarov. And I agree that our efforts in the world must be predominantly towards our fellow Jew. There is so much to be done. With that, we shouldn't take lightly the teachings of the Rebbe. He is not just another rabbi. There is a difference between making information available and reaching out. And it is not that hard to do, to make the available information on facebook and youtube. The internet itself is part of the (pre-)messianic age. My two main concerns are that our limited resources should be mainly devoted to solving our own problems, and that many prominent rabbis cannot distinguish between a genuine noachide and a missionary, thus not only not solving our problems, but exacerbating them. The rush to embrace xians in all their nefarious guises, on the part of so many well known rabbis, is deeply disturbing.

Regarding the noachides posting on this thread, on the one hand I do feel for them as well intentioned people who feel stuck or lost spiritually, but I also see the xian themes running through their comments, as Devash so skilfully pointed out. (Another theme that cropped up a few times is that of being reborn. Sounds xian to me). So there is definitely some confusion there.

Now that I've tried to take into account all the angles, probably no-one agrees with me, but life in olam hasheker (the world of lies) is complex and we have to learn to live with that.

Elisheva

Devorah said...

This comment is for all the non-Jewish readers of the Facebook page who are following this post, and specifically for their ''rabbi'' who thinks it is okay to belittle his fellow Jews in the public arena: obviously this ''rabbi' does not understand the halacha, so it is for his benefit that I am publishing this: [Source: http://www.torah.org/learning/halashon/chapter8.html ]

....... the prohibition of Lashon Hara applies when the speaker disparages the subject before a Jew; all the more severe is his transgression if he disparages the speaker before gentiles.

By speaking to gentiles he disgraces the honor of Israel and defames the honor of Heaven. Further, he causes his fellow great harm, for if the speaker were to tell another Jew, at least the Jew would not conclude immediately that the information was true. However, if he speaks to a gentile, and tells him that the subject is a cheat, a swindler, or something similarly negative, the gentile will believe it immediately and publicize it, and the subject will be harmed and aggrieved.

So certainly if one speaks Lashon Hara about a fellow Jew to an audience of non-Jews, his sin is too great to bear (cf. Gen. 4:13), for he enters into the class of "malshinim" (those who slander their fellow Jews to the anti-Semitic government). His judgement is therefore akin to an apikores (heretic) and the disbelievers in Torah [because a "malshin" informs the government of hateful qualities of the Jews in order to prevent them from observing the Torah], when the dead are reawakened, he will be given permanent dwelling in Gehinom, as discussed in Tractate Rosh HaShanah. Therefore every Jew must take great care to guard himself from this.

One who violates this and slanders a Jew before gentiles flagrantly rebels against Torat Moshe Rabbeinu (the Torah which Moses taught us), as is discussed in the Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat 26.

Devorah said...


Perfect! Thank you Elisheva for those words.

Bob Wells said...

Thank you for the article.

Anonymous said...

Based on Rav Yitzchak Ginsburg, a different look at the Noachide mitzvot

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRuiznetqQg&list=PL36053F1762B2D091&index=10

Elisheva

Anonymous said...

Devorah I do not know which rabbi you are refering to on Facebook but perhaps it could be the same one I am thinking of,.. I did see the posting on his Facebook page and was quite upset by it as I am a longtime reader of your site and always found you to be a good person. I am a Bnei Noah and was suggested to me to listen to the rabbi and his lectures but it was unfortunate as he seemed to be going outside the borders prescribed for Bnei Noah and so I subsequently stopped listening to him as I felt it was not right. I feel some are being taken advantage of and they are very excited about this rabbi telling them they can live as a Jew etc etc etc and I feel quite disturbed by it all.
Thank you for this post as it has cleared up some things in my mind.

Devorah said...

Yes Anonymous, I think we are on the same page.