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.
- Category: IDENTIFYING A CULT
- Hits: 5476
by Heshy Fried on May 2, 2014
I’ll be honest with you folks, I have always thought that by being an Orthodox Jew I was part of a cult, but Cross-Currents just published an article that has cleared my conscience and it has allowed me to breathe more easily because apparently there are cults and then there are legitimate cults, amen, I mean Torah organizations. Apparently, Ami and Mishpacha magazines have been competing with each other on the issue of whether or not Lev Tahor is a cult and Yair Hoffman (our dear friend who tried unsuccessfully to ban leggings) has finally given us a reason to believe that no other Orthodox Jews are members of any cult. Let’s take a look at his findings.
How do we differentiate a “cult” from a legitimate Torah organization? Much of this revolves around how we define the term “cult.” Chazal do speak of cults that existed in the time of the Beis HaMikdash and do refer to the cult of Essenes found in Yosifun (See for example a fascinating Maharsha on Kiddushin 71a). Chazal also reference a cult of misbodedim. There are also numerous pshatim in why Moshe Rabbeinu’s name is not mentioned in a number of places so that the religion not take on the characteristics of a cult of personality.
But aside from the issue of how a cult is to be defined, it is sometimes not so easy to tell. The International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) believe that a group that displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, is one such indication. This, however, can easily be confused with legitimate emunas chachomim. To differentiate, we can perhaps add the caveat that applies when this is being done against the belief system of the leading sages of Israel and against a clear indication in Torah sources.
Cults and their leaders are bad, but if they are gedolei hatorah, the Torah allows them. Thanks for clearing that up. As a frum Jew, I’ve never ever been exposed to anyone who’s overly zealous about anything.
A second indication is when? questioning and dissent are discouraged or even punished. Although this too can be found in some of our circles – the differentiation can be made in degree of discouragement and in punishment. It is not normal to lock children in a basement and there have been a few such allegations here.
Of course questioning and dissent of our gedolim are encouraged, that’s why the gemara is so vast.
A third indication is in implementing? mind-altering practices that are used in excess and serve to suppress doubts about the group and its leader(s). Were medications given to children without doctor approval to keep them in line? There are allegations of such practices here.
No one has ever suppressed doubts in the frum community, because we don’t have them. For someone not to believe in Sinai (we are the only people who claim such a big number at the revelation after all) is just silly. We also never try to keep children in line, we encourage them to pour out their feelings and to always talk about what happened to them in the mikvah.
A fourth indication is when the leadership dictates, sometimes in great detail, how members should think, act, and feel. This happens to a degree in some of our circles as well, even though many Gedolei Torah believe that it is very unhealthy and should be discouraged. The difference between a legitimate Torah group and a cult would seem to lie in degrees here.
Anyone who is truly a Torah Jew knows that our leaders never tell us how to act or think or feel. Only non-legitimate Torah organizations such as Lev Tahor would do this. Even the gedolim tell us to be free spirits.
A fifth indication is if the group is elitist, claiming a special, exalted status for itself, its leader and members, and has a polarized us-versus-them mentality, which may cause conflict with the wider society. This latter point is the crux of the issue. The excessive practice of the burka here has created that.
As a lifelong Orthodox Jew I can say with full honesty that I have never heard any sort of us-vs-them spoken. I have never heard anyone call us the chosen people or chas v’shalom make a reference to us frum Jews vs. the modern orthodox, non-frum, frei, sephardic, kippah sruga, converts, or BT’s. Never in my life have a heard an orthodox Jews refer to whites vs. blacks, democrats vs. republicans, or Jews vs. non-Jews. We never see conflict with secular society and seek to embrace everyone else as our equals. Obviously there are bad apples everywhere, but as a group the frum Jews are better at this than everyone else.
A sixth indication is when the leader is not accountable to any other religious authorities.
Our leaders are accountable to Hashem.
Yair Hoffman has once again showed us why so many of our dissenters are wrong at labeling Orthodox Judaism as a cult, but he furthers his proof along by hammering the point home.
The ICSA lists other indications too. The group teaches or implies that its supposedly exalted ends justify whatever means it deems necessary. This may result in members’ participating in behaviors or activities they would have considered reprehensible or unethical before joining the group. The leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure and subtle forms of persuasion. ? Subservience to the leader or group requires members to cut ties with family and friends, and radically alter the personal goals and activities they had before joining the group. The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members. The group is preoccupied with making money.? Members are expected to devote inordinate amounts of time to the group and group-related activities. ? Members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members. The most loyal members feel there can be no life outside the context of the group. They believe there is no other way to be, and often fear reprisals to themselves or others if they leave (or even consider leaving) the group.
I don’t devote much time or money to being frum, neither do most of the people I know. Frum people generally not friends with only group members, remember that famous picture from the kotel with a kippah srugah guy davening in close proximity to a guy in a black hat, such diversity! Kiruv organizations are preoccupied with making members frum, but not with bringing in new members. People who become frum or Jewish are never expected to break ties with their non-frum friends.
However, labeling an entire group of people “a cult” can very well be a violation of the laws of Lashon Horah, which are simultaneously both quite serious and complex. The ramifications of a violation of Lashon haRah can often be very devastating. Entire reputations can be destroyed in a matter of days. Indeed, Shlomo HaMelech – King Solomon wrote (Mishlei 18:21), “Maves veChaim beyad Lashon – Death and Life are in the hands of the tongue” which refers to the terrible consequences of Lashon Horah (Erachin 15b).
He had me until this, then I started doubting the whole thing because one of the things we commonly see is that any form of dissent against leaders or entire groups is loshon horah. This puts them in the protective custody of halachos created by folks who didn’t want any disagreement. In my opinion, the laws of loshon horah foster the Orthodox Jewish cult.
At the same time, however, an incomplete understanding of these laws could also lead to some dire consequences on the opposite end of the spectrum. When people erroneously forbid information from being disseminated on account of thinking that it is Lashon Horah and forbidden, people cannot take protective measures. At times this can be quite devastating.