When God created man on the 6th day He wanted mankind to live in peace and harmony, through His Mercy. He gave Adam 6 instructions in order to live this way. After the flood He gave Noah a 7th. These are the Noahide Commandments.
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For Noahides, prayer is considered a mitzvah when performed in response to personal needs or circumstances.
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Develop a Torah Personality
Help for perfecting your relationship with HaShem and yourself.
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Listen To Noahide Yeshiva Class
Listen to the overview from a previous class from the Noahide Torah Study Yeshiva Course.
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Get More Torah Wisdom
Torah wisdom should always flow through you. Learn about Hashem and you will learn about yourself!
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Ask a Posek (Judge)
When it comes to learning the Noahide halacha why go to a Rabbi who only has a smicha? Why not ask a Posek who is an expert in halacha.
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After The Flood
Ever wonder what happened when Noah and his family exited the Ark after the Flood?
Wisdom From Pirke Avot
Simon the Just…used to say,
“Upon three things the world stands:
On Torah, on (Divine) Service, and on Deeds of Lovingkindness.”
Pirke Avot 1:2
Ben Zoma said,
“Who is wise? The one who learns from all people…
“Who is mighty? The one who subdues the evil inclination…
“Who is rich? The one who rejoices in his portion….
“Who is honored? The one who honors other human beings….”
Pirke Avot 4:1
The Most Important Part of Studying Torah
The most important element in validating interpretations of the written and oral Torah is the concept of Mesorah. Mesorah is the greatest proof to the authenticity of any concept, practice, or interpretation.
Although the seven Noahide laws have their origins in Adam and Noah, God chose to transmit and preserve them via Moses and the giving of the Torah at Sinai. This placed the Seven Mitzvos within the structure and system of Torah study and learning. Therefore, the seven Noahide laws must be interpreted and understood within the context of the Torah.
This point cannot be stressed enough: Jewish, and therefore Noahide, study and interpretation of the Torah is unique and unlike the study of any other religious texts.
The Truth About the Ger
Don't ever be afraid of seeking truth or speaking the truth, as it says in
Truthful lips will be established forever, But a lying tongue is only for a moment
Are Noahides Allowed to Pray?
For Noahides, prayer is considered a mitzvah when performed in response to personal needs or circumstances. If one experiences challenges for which he does not pray, his lack of response is tantamount to a denial of God as the sovereign ruler of all things and all events. When one does pray in such circumstances, it demonstrates reliance and belief in the Creator.
When a Noahide prays to give thanks or praise absent a personal need, he still receives reward for such prayer even though it is not of the same nature as prayer prompted by personal needs.
As with all personal prayers, there are no fixed texts for Noahide prayer. Since all Noahide prayer is essentially personal prayer, it is ideally expressed using sincere words from the heart.
Tools For Noahide Torah Study
The journey of Noahide Torah study is endless in depth and has no destination. You will realize this when your very essence proclaims, "the more I learn, the less I know"! Before you make this proclamation remember that it is a mitzvot for a Noahide to study the Noahide Laws and apply them in every aspect of their life. After you make that proclamation you will realize and appreciate why it is a mitzvot for a Noahide to study the Noahide Laws and apply them. The study of Torah is what gives us our awe of the Creator. The more we study the more awe we gain.
Who Created the World, and Why?
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IDOLATRY-3: Who Created the World, and why?
Know your CREATOR, know yourself and know the difference
1: An inventory check
We are following Moses’ First two of the Ten Commandments that constitute the IDOLATRY Commandment. It says:
The First of Moses’ Ten Commandments
1. ”I Am (Essence)
2. YHVH your ELoKIM (Attributes)
3. Who took you out of Egypt land” (His deeds, Kingship)
The Second of Moses’ Ten Commandments:
”Thou shall not have another G-d, over my face,
Thou shall not make yourself any carved idol (statue) or any image
of anything in the Heavens above and in the Earth underneath,
and in the waters that are under the Earth.
Thou shall not bow to them and shall not serve them…”
The first, ‘positive’ part commands on us to KNOW Him by these titles. It tells us whom we should worship.
The second, ‘negative’ part tells us about the idols to their kinds, whm we should worship not.
These two are a continuum. We need them both. It is not enough to know the CREATOR; we should also refrain from worshipping idols. Similarly, it is not enough to refrain from worshipping the idols; we should worship the true G-d.
To KNOW the IDOLATRY Commandment, we should study the two parts. Last class we began our study of the First, ‘positive part’ of the IDOLATRY Commandment. We need to know that He has an Essence (I Am) and Attributes (YHVH and ELoKiM) and that He intervenes in history (Kingship.)
Highest form of idolatry
Part one obliges us to KNOW Him by these titles. Any belief to the contra would be IDOLATRY. A denial of His Self, or His Attributes YHVH and ELoKiM, or their ONENESS or His Kingship is tantamount to IDOLATRY. Worshipping one Attribute over the other (splitting the Attributes) is IDOLATRY. Praying to one Attribute over the other is IDOLATRY. Saying that He is not interested in the world’s history is IDOLATRY.
Today we start learning about the Attributes (line 2 above.) Note that there are infinite numbers of Attributes of G-d. The Torah, however, focuses on two: YHVH and ELoKiM, since they (He in their Oneness) are the major participants in the story of CREATION. They (He) control our world and our lives.
So let us ask:
2: Who created the world, and for what purpose?
Suppose Moses comes to life and asks an average person on the street, “Sir, Lady, would you please tell me who Created the world, and for what purpose?”
Not recognizing Moses, the average person would laugh and respond: “Of course, G-d created the world, who else?”
Moses would raise his brows: “G-d? Where is it written?”
“Here! Read this!” The average person would answer and point on YOUR translation of the Bible. Indeed, it says:
“At the Beginning, G-d created the Heavens and the Earth” (Genesis 1: 1)
“If so,” Moses would insist, “for what purpose did He create the world?”
“Purpose?” The average person would wonder. He would carefully read the first verse time and again, yet he would not find the answer. Trying to answer Moses he would say:
“G-d created the world for Israel…”
“G-d created the world for the Messiah…”
“G-d created the world for the prophet…”
“G-d created the world so that we would be good people…”
But Moses would keep shaking his head in a total denial. To each response he would say: “Well, your idea is nice and exciting, but it is unsubstantiated by the verse!”
And when all the answers have been exhausted, Moses would burst in tears. How is it possible, he would wonder, that his most basic moral message has been wiped out? How could it be that today’s people can’t even tell who created the world and for what purpose? If they don’t know that, what else would they know about the Bible?
3: The JUDGE, ELoHIM
Moses would be right in agonizing. In his Book of Genesis, the first verse of the first chapter says:
“At the Beginning, ELoHiM created the Heavens and the Earth.”
Oh, you might say, what’s the difference between ELoKiM and G-d? This is just an issue of semantic!
But the fact the difference between the concepts of ELoKiM and G-d is enormous. The Hebrew word ‘ELoHiM’ means JUDGE, even a human judge. Hence the first verse caries a message: the world was created by the JUDGE ELoKIM, to stand judgment, a trial.
Thus in Deuteronomy it says: “ELoHiM in your midst you should not curse, nor should you curse a prince in you nation…” Here the verse forbids to curse a human judge, elohim, as well as a human prince in your midst. Clearly the word ELoHiM means any important JUDGE.
The title G-d lacks specific messages
Yes, the term ’G-d’ is also holy, since it infers awe and reverence. Yet it lacks the specific message that the Name ELoHiM carries: that at CREATION, the CREATOR set on the Throne as a JUDGE.
Hence we need to be careful when we translate the Torah. Any mistranslation can destroy a whole moral message!
Are my words true?
Am I right by saying that the world was created by the JUDGE to stand a trial?
There is an historical proof for the validity of my words. Once a year, since time immemorial, Israel has been celebrating the Annual Anniversary of Adam’s Creation, the so called Rosh Hashanah Holiday. It is Israel’s New Year holiday. It is a day dedicated for Universal Judgment. On that day, once a year, G-d ‘ascends’ again on the Throne of Judgment and judges the entire CREATION. Hence my words reflect the ideas of mainstream Judaism, the way we have been practicing since the Holy Temple time and even before.
Here are some quotations from Rosh Hashanah prayer book:
1.“Today is the day that the world was conceived. Today you place all creatures on trial.”
2. “Today every creature passes before you as herd before its shepherd while you count and remember each one and decrees its judgment for the next year…”
How meaningful it is?
The following true story depicts the importance of this message. Years ago I met a male nurse who was gay. One day he asked me about my Torah teaching. What do you tell your student? He asked. So I said: I tell them that the world was created by the JUDGE ELoKiM to stand a trial. He looked at me and did not say a word. Few weeks later he approached me saying: I’ve never heard that before! I did not know that the world was created to stand a trail. No one has ever told me that before! Thank you for sharing with me this basic important message!”
Few months later he quit his job and moved to another city. I’ve heard that he changed his life style and was considering marry a beautiful young woman.
The world on trial?
You may ask: how can the world stand on trial? Does it possess a mind and a free will?
The answer is that every creature, big or small, stands before ELoHiM in a trial in its little or big world. We may not comprehend the trial of the stone, the leaf, the crocodile or the mosquito, since only the CREATOR can comprehend it. We know for instance that every item in Nature must comply with ELoHiM’S natural laws.
What is the human trial?
Since we have the same CREATOR ELoHiM, we share with Nature its trial. We too must comply with ELoHiM’S natural Laws. Yet our trial is more complex than the trial of the mosquito. On that we’ll learn more soon.
4: ELOHIM’S WAYS
What are the characteristics of ELoHiM’s judgment? We can derive them by observing Nature, besides learning them from the Torah. Thus we can say that:
1. ELoHiM is at the heart of Nature
How does ELoHiM relate to nature? Is He above it in the sky? Is He under it in the Sea? Where is He? A hint: ELoHiM’s name appears 32 times in the story of Genesis. In no other chapter His Name appears in such concentration!
And this is no incidental. The number 32, written ‘Lb’ in Hebrew (where ‘a’ equals 1, ‘b’ equals 2, ‘L’ equal 30) is meaningful, because ‘Lb’ is ‘heart.’ Hence ELoHiM is at the ‘heart’ of Nature. He sustains nature as the heart sustains the body. He nourishes Nature as the blood nourishes the body. Not only He created nature, He also keeps it going.
Another hint: The numerical value of ‘ELoHiM’ is 86, the same as for ‘The Nature,’ Ha-teva in Hebrew. Hence ELoHiM created Nature. Note that unlike Spinoza who identified G-s with nature, the Torah says that ELoKiM is the CREATOR of Nature, rather than identified with it.
The above considerations serve as an example for the miraculous nature of the Hebrew. One can gain insights just by understanding the Hebrew meanings of the words.
2. ELoHiM is Wise
ELoKiM created the world by His Wisdom. A hint lies in the words: “In the Beginning, ELoKiM created the Heavens and the Earth.” The Hebrew for ‘Beginning,’ Be-reishit, can be read as ‘with His Head.’ In English too you’d say “At the head of the events…” Hence at Creation, ELoHiM used His ‘Head’ or His Wisdom to set up the Natural Laws. We’ll come back to that notion later in our classes.
3. ELoKiM uses exact measures
ELoKiM creates, and also Judges, with precision. He rules Nature by His exacting Laws.
For instance: Today’s scientists speak about how ‘elegant’ the Universe is, how precise. If you change just a small thing like the weight of the atom, or the charge of the electron, you’d get another, completely different Universe.
4: Measure for measure
ELoHiM acts “measure for measure” in precise way. He pays back “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”
Note that the two Tablets of Sinai were written by “the fingers of ELoHiM.” The Laws written there reflect that sort of ABSOLUTE JUSTICE: measure for measure.
Thus under ELoKiM’s rule, a killer should expect to be killed. Whoever inflicts pains on others, should expect others to inflict pains on him. Creatures are allowed to eat other creatures, only because they too would be eaten in turn. A lion prey on a deer for later it would be killed by a fallen tree in the woods.
Under ELoHiM’ rule, all creatures deserves death, even if we eat vegetables only. Who can value the life of an animal against the life of a vegetable? Only the CREATOR can do this!
An example: when Moses’ father in law, Yithro, came to visit him he was thrilled to hear about the Exodus and about the split of the Sea and Pharaoh’s drowning. He then proclaimed in awe: ELoKiM is greater than all gods, since they (the Egyptians) were (killed ) by the same measure they had inflicted.’ He meant: Since Pharaoh had ordered to throw the newborn babies of Israel into the Nile, it is awesome that ELoKiM retribution came to them by waters, “measure for measure.”
5. ELoKiM is Truthful
ELoHiM is just. He seeks the Absolute Justice with no concession to any other moral argument. His nickname is TRUTH, ‘emeth.’ His seal or signature is ‘truthful.’
For example: When we acknowledge death of a dear one, we say: “Blessed is He, the Truthful JUDGE.” Here we refer to ELoHiM as the JUDGE whose judgment is truthful even when it hurts.
6. ELoKiM’s judgment penetrates everything
The next verse says: “And the spirit (‘wind’) of ELoKiM is hovering over the WATERS.” (Genesis 1:2.) This means that: he
His Throne of Judgment is hovering over the waters; He is enthroned over waters.
He uses Water to execute His Verdict, like in Noah’s Flood.
Like water, His Justice penetrates everything. Nothing can evade His scrutiny.
Like water’s surface, His justice is even and equal to all. He recognizes no royalty and no privileges. He accepts no bribe.
7: ELoKiM judges by the balance of our deeds
ELoKiM judges us by the balance of our DEEDS on His Scale, rather than by our character.
When our balance of deeds tilts in our favor, we are RIGHTEOUS.
When our balance of deeds tills against our favor, we are SINNERS.
Note that we are not ‘evil’ in ELoHiM’s eyes, even when we sin.
8. ELoHiM’s judgment is harsh
ELoHIiM rules by the iron fist. Whoever dares to violate His laws should expect His harsh retribution, without MERCY.
9. ELoKiM is Kind. He Provides for all
Harsh He is, yet Kind. He Provides food and shelter to all (Psalms.)
He gives each creature the tools and the talents to thrive in their habitats.
Thus He gave the bird wings to excel in its world.
He gave fish gills to breath under the water. He gives then the right body and tail to swim.
He gives the crocodiles the tools and talents to thrive on both sea and land.
And he gave Adam the tools and talents to thrive in our habitat.
Note that there are other Attributes of the INFINITE CREATOR, like YHVH, who exhibit Love and Mercy. We’ll learn also about them. At the Beginning, however, the Infinite nameless CREATOR set on the throne of JUSTICE, to create Nature for a trial.
A story to depict ‘measure by measure.’
Once I watched a National Geographic’s video. It showed a small green snake which woke up in the morning and cruised along a river’s shore, very hungry.
As it strolled, the green snake snapped several small frogs which it encountered on its way, and swallows them wholly into its belly.
Apparently, the snake’s hunger was insatiable, since it kept capturing more and more frogs.
But then, the snake passes across a huge frog that had been waiting patiently for it.
The camera showed how the huge frog stood completely motionless, not even blinking an eye.
When the unsuspecting green snake passed by it, the huge frog moves with unbelievable speed and cut of the green snake’s head by its jaws.
A second later the huge frog swallowed the entire green snake, with the small frogs still moving in its belly.
Watching this I jumped from my chair and cried out, “Yes! There is ELoHiM in Nature!”
’ELoKiM‘ instead of ELoHiM
Since ELoHiM is a Holy Name, we prefer to write it and call it ELoKiM.
Having discussed ELoKIM’s ways, let’s see His Deeds. On that we’ll dwell next class.
This article was originally posted at http://www.noahidesevencommandments.com/