Manchester: The stone cold truth (about my opinion)

If you came here looking for some insight or inside information about a recent murder-by-bomb that occurred, you’ve come to the wrong place. This ain’t about that.

No, this is something more personal. Just my own thoughts about my distance from what happened and my views on the aftermath.

Let’s get the obvious out of the way.

So apparently some dude goes to a concert in Manchester and kills others and himself with a bomb and injures many others. That it is terrible for those directly involved, the victims, the injured, and their loved ones goes without saying. [And yet I said it … hmmmm … kinda weird statement.] 

What crossed my mind was this: how would a righteous course, a just judge, handle a murder that resulted in the death of a murderer? There’s no one to try in a court for murder and the victim is dead. 

Anyway, then there’s the circus, the rhetoric, the schpeel. What was a tragedy turns into foolishness. The amount of such tragedies that occur tends to turn my heart steely. 

Captive by word of mouth

Unsurprisingly the political parasites and collectivists chime in, not just announcing their personal alleged feelings of sadness for the horrifying event, but alse claiming that the whole of Britain says this or does that or feels something.

This is another occasion where people take it upon themselves to speak for millions of strangers. I just can’t decide if it’s arrogance or ignorance.

I guess it doesn’t have to be an “either-or” but rather a mix of both.

Strangers/Unity

Here is where I may appear more heartless, but I want to be honest in the face of all this flowery nonsense.

The people of Manchester,the individuals who live there, and those who were involved in the tragedy, they all were strangers to me yesterday. In a meaningful and practical way, they did not exist in my life. There’s a very good chance that that fact of life is mutual between us.

And during the news coverage, there was no significant change to my life. 

And you know what? Tomorrow, there’s every chance that we’s still remain strangers and exist in our own worlds. Nothing has changed fundamentally. This tragedy did not unify them with me, us both having a common cause against the unseen, politician/media-hyped enemy. Just like so many similar tragedies that have occurred, it’ll be just like what happens to the Facebook profile pictures of some people. Before the tragedy, it was just a face. When the tragedy occurs a meaningless symbol is added or a change is made. And then once the tragedy has lost its impact and real life takes hold, the profile picture goes to something else to do with the day-to-day existence.

Not wanting to be the victim of a terrorist is just a small subcategory of the human desire not to get killed. There’s nothing to unifying about it. The fact that that a supposed terrorist attack happened on that day doesn’t mean there is now a 100% chance or even a significantly increased chance that it will happen again and more frequently. 

So, despite the rhetoric of the media clowns, there is no united national group of people because of this attack. There’s no unified feeling. We’re still strangers living on an island, getting on with our own lives. I’m sure some may feel part of something, but that definitely doesn’t speak for everyone.

Spirit of Manchester

My christian background caused me to laugh when I heard a number of times about the “spirit of Manchester.” I was wondering if in the past it was called “Legion” due to the wide variety of people who live there and thus the various conflicting agendas, self-interests, personalities, and so on and so on.

The way certain influences have tried to romanticize the concept of millions of people living in a city as having a certain spirit … hey, maybe they were trying to bolster the inhabitants after such a shocking event, but it’s no better than comforting a child who is afraid of the dark by telling him that Santa will watch over him. 

The issue here is that they’re trying to take what should be the ideal of human values – determination, fortitude, diligence, etc. – and link in to a certain location, a plot of land, a legal fiction, when the location is quite irrelevant. 

It was great that there were good and giving people who helped out. It does show evidence for hope in the human condition. And I’m sure that some people can live as the ideal of what humans are supposed to be. 

But the notion of a Mancunian spirit is a pleasant fiction, an opium, a placebo. It’s a subjective as the notion of a true American (or should I say “true Scotsman.”)

Nationalism

Linked to this is the following issue.

There are people in this landmass who don’t like the idea of a nationalist party. They get connotations of racism and discrimination from such a concept. Parties like the British National Party, English Defence League, even UKIP are shunned due to the discrimination linked with the nationalism of the parties.

Yet the mainstream parties, including the big “fat” politician at the top, the so-called “Prime Minister,” are free to spew out nationalism in the form of talking about “British values” and defending the British way of life as if it were something better and higher than other ways of life within other landmasses. I’ll get to the reason why this is hypocritical in the next section.

But words like that only fuels the feeling of superiority that many in this country appear to espouse. The great thing about the Jewish Bible is that the prophets were not afraid to tell the people how depraved they had become. In this country, we have ego-expanders and ego-strokers who attach righteousness not with actual good deeds but with … with what? I don’t exactly know what Britain is supposed to be. It can’t be the government even though the politicians feel they can talk for everyone. It can’t be the individuals because there is a gamut of different people with very different ideas. I can’t imagine Britain being an ideal. God help us if it is! It just seems like another label having to do with traits that have nothing to do with morality.

Evil?

Ha! Did I say morality? Did I talk about morality? In a secular (godless) country? As my friend would say, “Bwah ha ha ha ha!”

We have newspapers and public speakers bemoaning the total and absolute evil that the murderer was, how he could slaughter children at a concert. And yet day after day, so many, in all walks of life, including in the media and government, put down and undermine objective morals and the basis of objective morals.

All “good” and “evil” are is down to opinion, except when it comes to the decrees of the politicians that make up UK law. If you cross and conflict with these dictates, all of a sudden, you’re immoral. To be a criminal, in and of itself is frowned upon, even though law is not the record of Deity on high and his objective and informed teachings upon the lives of his creation, but rather the enforcement of dictates made by people known to be liars, immoral and untrustworthy, having a track record of legislating for murder and thievery. Isn’t that odd?

So in our culture, the nature of evil is either just your point of view or if you fall fowl to the enforced opinions of politicians. That is, if they manage to catce you and convict you.

Not the platform upon which to build hope for “our nation.”

So those in the media bewailing the evils of that murderer and ISIS are just windbags, leaky hot-air balloons, seeking for a popular notion.

It is somewhat hopeful in that it is a blessing of God Almighty that people still have a concept of good and evil. The fact that they can recognise the evil in this deed.

But the foundation for this is fickle, unreliable and all you have to do is look elsewhere for a different point of view that is more accepting of such acts of killing.

It puzzles me that they cannot grasp why people would attack the children or young people of a place. I mean, a part of me wonders why these random murderers pick the general populace of a place and not the politicians, government groups, like the police or army, or the tax offices. But then it reminds me of what democracy, statism and collectivism means. It doesn’t mean freedom. It doesn’t mean individuality. It means that when the busybody-voters choose to invest in a bunch of politicians, and those parasites makes stupid and dangerous mistakes, everyone, everyone, becomes guilty in the eyes of other collectivists. “Britain” becomes this big immoral beast, and to stab even a little bit of it, even if it’s not the head, is still an attack on the beast.

I’m not saying it’s right or good. I’m not saying I know what was in the mind of the murderer. I haven’t got a clue. But the notion that it’s unimaginable how someone could attack the young people of a populace, especially with the different and conflicting moralities in the world, shows a real lack of thought.

Statism

And all this gives more power to the ruling class as more of their thugs, mercenaries and mini-tyrants (yes, I mean the army and police) appear and are given more freedom to roam the streets, looking for who they can devour.

It makes many people feel safe, after such an unsettling episode, that the hand of the god called “govt” is over the land in the form of the uniforms and the guns. The unarmed citizenry can feel comforted knowing that they signed over their protection and responsibility to the gun-wielding arm of the constabulary and army, as they prowl the streets.

The threat level is announced all over the country to be raised to “critical” to ensure that the fear levels are just right. 

And what do I hear on the radio?

“We should tell our politicians and our police to do something about this.”

With my car radio defaulting to BBC Radio 4, it is all too often that I hear the meaningless collectivist rhetoric of “we” and “our,” as if the radio presenter were speaking about a known group of people of which he was included. All too often I hear the adulation of and willing surrender to the ruling class and its enforced opinions. It appears to be important for the media to pump out the message until there is some other distraction to turn to.

And on this occasion, it is a call to the listener to find a prayer pillar, and invoke the name of the gods in Westminister and the priests in the blue uniform in order to bring down even more commandments to condemn the “evil-doers,” those who would even sympathise with the alleged cause of the murderer without having actually committed an actual unlawful act. It’s time for more laws. It’s time to kick out those deemed to be interlopers. Throw the book at them! The indignation in the voice of the broadcaster … it made me chuckle to hear such a message.

But that’s the thing I notice about the mainstream media. When fear and distress is about, it’s time to reaffirm the faith of the people of the nation, but in what? “God” has been dying for some time and in the hearts of many, he is already dead.

No, now it’s time to put your faith in the oligarchs and their armies! 

God help us!

May the true God they see as dead or irrelevant, may he help us!

My loneliness

I’m a person who has rejected the claims of Jesus’ messiahship, but very often the people I end up being around are devout christians. 

I’m against the modern governments of the world including the government of the land I live in. I have serious misgivings about the morality of its existence and the acts necessary for its existence (like taxation and many of its dictates). I could be called an anti-statist (against the state). But the vast, vast majority of people I live among willingly support the government and advocate for funding it, its different policies and laws, think it necessary for one set of humans to force their will on and aggress on others. This is the same being amongst Jews and seven-law-aware Gentiles.

I personally want nothing to do with the vast majority on national holidays, like Christmas and Easter. Most of the people around me enjoy celebrating these holidays to some extent.

Although I hate evolutionism, the belief that whole diversity of life came from a common ancestor, that the universe and earth developed from a “big bang,” that all this happened over millions and billions of years. Yet the vast majority of people around me accept it to some extent. This is the same being amongst Jews and seven-law-aware Gentiles.

Much to the ridicule of others, I don’t accept that the earth has an absolute spinning motion on an axis or moves around the sun or that it travels around the galaxy in a universe with no centre. Yet the vast, vast, majority of the people accept it as the true truth to some extent.

I don’t accept as good the concepts of democracy. I see as a farce the idea of “rule of law.” 

In all of these things, I hold a minority view, a view which hardly anyone around me accepts. And I haven’t even touched my acceptance of the seven laws. 

In so many ways, I am very much alone in my point of view where I live. In so many ways I’m alone even amongst people who call themselves observers of Torah or conscious keepers of the seven laws. I would be ridiculed even amongst them for espousing some of my views.

Yet, I can’t say I’m totally alone. Despite my difference of opinion, I can get along with people who would oppose and ridicule me. I can get along with people of different worldviews and religions. Sometimes I’ll have way more in common with someone who doesn’t know the seven laws yet lives in my vicinity than someone else who knows of, accepts and keeps the seven. Hell, I have a christian wife and have pretty good relationships with members of the church she goes to (even those I despise what they teach).

You see, as a non-Jew, I should never complain about being alone because most of the world is not Jewish. I should never complain about it unless I isolate myself. I did not join a religion, a distinct group of people, when I embraced God’s obligations for humanity. I don’t have commandments that necessarily segregates or separates me from the majority of others. The seven laws (and the other rational obligations for Gentiles) don’t separate people as the Jewish laws (and covenant) separates the Jewish people from all other nations.

Being amongst my “fellow Gentiles” I have many personal reasons to isolate myself. But there are many better reasons to integrate with them as much as I can, to learn from this experience and the people in it. It is an opportunity to learn and impact the world as a Gentile can. I can be challenged and learn the basis of a resolute and righteous position. I can make whatever difference I can, even if it is to and for myself. It’ll be an added bonus if I can help others and make a positive difference.

But I do all this as part of the Gentile world, not as some separate class or group.

As a high priest

Adapted from the words of Abby Sookraj, someone I consider to be righteous lady of virtue.

A ger, that is someone who has fully naturalised and become an Torah observant Jew, should not feel they are less Jewish than a native Jew despite their non-Jewish ancestry. 

Similarly, Gentiles who actively study & observe the 7 laws should not feel they are any less connected to God or any less righteous than a High Priest.

Moral responsibility – by Robert Higgs

I’m sharing the contents of this facebook post by Robert Higgs. It has some insights about culpability for crimes that I think is useful in any discourse about justice. The words that follow are his words not mine.

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Commentary on some of my recent posts about moral responsibility — as between policy makers and policy actors, for example — leads me to suspect that some people are still confusing explanation and moral appraisal.

For example, young people were indoctrinated to believe what U.S. officials told them about the threat to the USA posed by communists in Vietnam (via domino effects, blah, blah, blah). Hence they went, either after enlistment or after being drafted, to Vietnam, where they joined in killing vast numbers of “the enemy,” most of them civilians who posed no threat, direct or indirect, to Americans in America. To understand why these Americans acted as they did, we can tell the story of how they were indoctrinated by parents, schools, the news media, government officials, and so forth and how social pressures of various kinds were put on them to implement the U.S. government’s mayhem in southeast Asia.

But understanding their actions is a separate matter from morally appraising it. Should they be blamed for the murders and destruction they carried out? I say, yes, because whatever the pressures and indoctrination to which people are exposed, they remain morally responsible for their actions. Murder is not transformed into blameless action merely because the perpetrators had been socially conditioned to think so. To suppose otherwise is to enter the realm of complete moral relativity, where nothing is evil unless people are well informed as to the distinctions between good and evil. This is the world in which a 12 year old Cambodian boy who helped to murder people for having an education or wearing eye glasses has done no evil, because his actions must be appraised in the light of his indoctrination. This is the world in which SS troops did no evil because the Nazi regime had indoctrinated them in the belief that Jews were vermin that threatened the very existence of the German people. And so forth.

Is there not a level of evil from which we may expect people to shrink regardless of their indoctrination and the social pressures placed on them? If not, the world is doomed to the triumph of evil en mass, because we know that political leaders urging people to commit great evils will always seek and often attain power.

(P.S. Back in the 1960s, I and millions of others were were not taken in by the indoctrination and did not join in the mayhem despite being subject to the same social pressures to do so. Is it too much to expect that others at the time ought to have appraised the immorality of the war as we did? Is it asking too much that we hold people morally accountable for not asking more questions or getting more information before going off to a distant land to kill strangers by the millions?)

It’s a shame …

So I heard a conversation, a meeting, where statements were made which were significantly disappointing to me. In this meeting, a gentile said that his rabbi had taught him that the seven laws were those laws which were imposed upon “slaves” that the Jews had captured. This was said in a derogatory sense, more associated with the modern degraded concept of slavery and captivity than what was practiced by Jews according to Torah law. In that same meeting there was another person who appeared to be a rabbi who presented the seven laws as those principles that allow non-Jews to live ever so slightly above the level of animal, to barely exist as a backwards people. [The fact that, even in this day and age, the legal systems and cultural norms haven’t reached the standard of the seven shows that they are not so backwards or irrelevant.]

The issue highlights a problem I’ve talked about before, the issue of the great diversity of rabbis that are out there, giving different and conflicting messages. And we Gentiles are told how important rabbis are. A friend of mine says it’s important for a non-Jew to find one rabbi to learn from. There is wisdom in this advice that he gives, but experience has shown me that the advice also comes with a danger: getting connected to the wrong rabbi, even one who will teach blasphemy and the rejection of God’s truth veiled as “the importance of being more refined in behaviour and ‘spirit’.”

Let me again be blunt. I am saying that those who call any of God’s laws – be they any of the 613 laws or any of the 7 laws – backward, lowly, retarded, slavish, “bronze age,” they blaspheme, they insult and regard as trash gifts from God. And to trash the gift is to trash the Giver.

It’s not an easy road for the normal Joe on the road, especially one who sees the seven laws and wants to have them as the foundation of his morality. It’s not easy to be a decent human being when it’s easier not to be. And then you have the voices of various “experts” using sources you don’t know or may not have access to telling you different things. And the fact that they are experts, the title almost compels you to submit. They’re supposed to know better, right? Or the various conflicting experts can cause you to lose faith in the integrity of the truth.

We can only do the best we can. That’s the simple truth. All one can do is gather those foundational truths and be as consistent as possible. Mistakes must come. Argument and debates may arise. But aim is something greater than ourselves. Whether we see the aim as morality, justice and/or faithfulness to God, the aim of searching for and living in accordance with truth is to find a place called “home,” the place where one fits and can grow, maybe even to become unified with the purpose of all things.

But the pursuit for truth may mean that you oppose the “expert.” But the question is whether you’re consistent with the foundation.

My foundation is God and his written and oral tradition. I cannot forget the nation of Israel within which there were those faithful people who preserved the written and oral traditions. And the recording of the oral tradition, as evinced in the written Torah, is clear: God gave the seven laws to the descendants of Noah and it was confirmed to Moses at Sinai. More is expected but those seven are our fundamental obligations. If any expert, any rabbi, anybody who inverts or subverts the value of our laws, the study of which would make us like high priests, and depicts them as beggarly, as anything less than a gift from God is not worth a moment of my time (I’ll speak for myself).

Our responsibility has not changed. As the descendants of Noah, as the Torah states – the Torah which includes the Talmud – we Gentiles have our God-given commandments. As human being, tzelem elohim, we have the obligation to use our faculties to emulate the Judge who made us, in our rationality and morality. As long as the ancient sources teach this, no modern rabbi can change that!

Strawman fallacy: Because you only keep seven …

It’s important to state from the start that this is not aimed at a certain faction or even a certain individual. This is about a terrible idea which I thought was only in the mind of false teachers like Asher Meza. But unfortunately both the teaching and some specific wording has been found in the mouth of a Gentile under the tutelage of rabbi David Katz. And yes, I’m linking it to rabbi David Katz because it is not far from what I’ve heard him teaching. I’m not charging him with making the claims his disciple makes. But the apple has not fallen far from the tree (I’m talking about in terms of what is being taught, not the actual individuals).

Please take a look at this facebook post that was made public.

As a show of courtesy, I had asked for the writer’s permission if he wished to be named. What was returned to me was venom, so I retracted my request. I’m just showing the image as is with no alteration.

So just look at the first line.

You’ve heard that the ben Noah have Seven Laws and are prohibited to take on any other mitzvos in the Torah

The writer, speaking about the people who hold similar views to me, starts the comment with a strawman. Here’s the actual claim I make: God commanded Seven Commandments upon Gentiles, the descendants of Noah (Sanhedrin 56a), and it is wrong and bad to claim that God commanded more upon Gentiles. That’s the actual claim.

How does the writer create a strawman? He states that people like me claim that God has commanded seven laws and you’re not allowed to do anything more. So if it even looks like a Jewish commandment or a good deed, you can’t do it. 

I hope you can see why the writer’s depiction is a strawman argument. Nobody said you can’t have and practice principles other than the Seven. Rambam didn’t say it. The Talmud didn’t say it. I’ve never said it. The people I know haven’t said it. The point I’ve been making is that you shouldn’t put words and commands in the mouth of God. “Don’t add to God’s words so that you don’t get classed as a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).

If a Gentile says to himself that it’s a good idea not to muzzle the ox as he treads the corn, and then goes out and treats his oxen in that manner, then he hasn’t added to God’s command. It’s of practical benefit and he does it to treat his oxen better.

But if a Gentile says that God commanded him prohibiting the muzzling of oxen as they tread the corn, then he has done something wrong, something he shouldn’t have done. Even if he says, “God commanded the Jews so he commanded me as well,” he is still adding to the Seven, claiming that God commanded him extra.

Again, I hope you see the difference.

So when the writer then writes a list of actions (or inactions) most of which are not part of the seven commandments. I say most because he said this

Paying workers on the day they work.

But this is actually part of the Gentile law. Well in a way anyway. To quote,

A gentile is liable for violating the prohibition against theft whether he stole from another gentile or from a Jew.

This applies to one who forcefully robs an individual or steals money, a kidnapper, an employer who withholds his worker’s wages … (halakhah 9, chapter 9, Laws of Kings and their wars, Mishneh Torah, by Rambam)

As you can see, not giving a worker his wages when it was contractually agreed or as soon as reasonably possible is theft (not simply “on the day they work”).

But again, using the true principle as opposed to the strawman principle, it’s easy to see that a lot of the other things listed are of practical use to Gentiles on a whole. Let’s take a look.

Not muzzling your ox when plowing a field. Wearing a barrier between you and the furniture when menstruating. Paying workers on the day they work. Resting your fields on the seventh year. Not charging interest when loaning money to your family. Not charging interest when loaning money to a Jew. Eating kosher. Not mixing wool with linen. Not using one’s Rabbi’s microwave when your staying over on Shabbat. Praying to God.Offering to God. Believing in God. Believing in Torah. Learning Torah. Tzedakah. Allowing a stranger to glean one’s fields. Not taunting the ger in their midst.

Now a lot of these are irrelevant to most Gentiles. Most Gentiles don’t have rabbis or have dealings with entities called “ger.” Mixing wool with linen seems to have no practical use for Gentiles so I have no idea why that’s there. Unless there is actually a practical benefit to not mixing linen and wool, there’s little point in giving this the time of day. 

Also there’s nothing morally wrong with charging Jew or Gentile interest on loans, but there’s also nothing morally wrong about charging no interest. But a Gentile who, for the sake of kindness or attracting business or whatever practical benefit, chooses not to charge interest isn’t keeping an additional commandment. He’s not saying “God commanded me not to charge interest.”

Giving the fields a rest every seventh year, for a Gentile, to do it every seven years is just arbitrary. I remember learning in school that farmers would let parts of their field lie fallow every few years. So there’s no need for a “rest every seventh year for a Gentile. But if a farmer chooses to let his field lay fallow every two years or every three years or every four years, etc., he’s not keeping an extra commandment, even if he chose every seven years.

Look, reader, I don’t want to bore you going point-by-point through this person’s misunderstanding. It may seem repetitive. But it’s important to know and show the difference between keeping a commandment and just doing a good deed because it’s good and/or has a benefit to it.

The writer brings up “eating kosher.” Someone who really understands Jewish Torah Law will know that there is a lot more to eating kosher than simply avoiding eating the animals forbidden to Israel in Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14. It’s a whole lifestyle of eating that covers how the animal is slaughtered and the separation of certain food items and the setup of a kitchen. The Torah gives no rational basis for avoiding the unclean animals (although some claim health benefits, but that’s not stated in the Torah). Maybe people are being taught that somehow only eating the ritually clean foods is somehow “spiritually” better or connects them to God (???) Let’s pretend that that is true. Or maybe a person doesn’t want to eat meat taken from an animal treated cruelly. Whatever the case may be, it’s still done not out of commandment but rather for self-growth or piety. But it’s still not wrong to have a ham sandwich or a cheese burger. 

Hmmm … should I even touch the menstruating point? I’ve known …. errr … I’ve seen … *blush* … Look it’s just about if it’s practical for the Gentile woman. Nothing about commandment to do with it!

Ok, quickly moving on! Heh!

If a person knows God is real, then the act of praying to God, trusting in him and giving to him is a natural response, not a commanded one. If I know God is real, but he didn’t dictate to me that I must pray to him under force of commandment, then am I forbidden to express myself to or about him? To think so is illogical and such an argument wouldn’t follow. Worshipping God is not the act of taking on a commandment any more than singing a love song to the person you’re in love with. Praying to God is no more a commandment than phoning an earthly parent. 

I’ve got to say, it is particularly disappointing to see this sort of argument in the mouths of any God-fearer, the idea that because God didn’t overtly command his own worship and positive expressions to and about him, that’s a negative. “God, you didn’t command me to do it so it’s forbidden.” Me, a so-called “seven laws only guy,” I’ve never said such a stupid idea. Nobody who agrees with my conclusions has made such a silly argument. 

Acknowledging God, for a Gentile, isn’t a commandment, especially those of us who do not have the heritage of Israel but rather a non-Torah background, who will more likely need to see logical argument and emotional encouragement to accept such truths. And once acknowledgement has been voluntarily done, the notion that the natural actions afterwards, of prayer and trust, need to be commanded or taken on as commandment or else it is forbidden is totally ridiculous, lacking intellectual merit and positive evidence from Torah.

We’re no longer in an agricultural society for the most so talking about letting foreigners take gleanings from your harvest doesn’t impact many people nowadays. But being kind and generous to anyone, regardless of nationality, is just doing good. It can be out of a heart that has that giving nature, or out of cultural or family custom or tradition. It’s just a good thing to do. A person who does it, even habitually, isn’t “taking on a commandment.” 

You see, as I’ve said previously, when I say God only gave seven broad commandments, I’m not saying God forbade any other action unless it’s a commandment. He didn’t forbid parents from loving their children because it’s not one of the seven. He didn’t attach a “free-for-all” sign to the act of pedophilia, gambling, drug and alcohol abuse, pornography, slothfulness and laziness, amongst many other things just because they may not have been explicitly prohibited in the seven.

But in our different non-Torah lands and communities, it appears God does two things. Firstly he gives foundational commandments as the basis for life in this world. Secondly, he gives us more leeway to learn what it is to be human or “adam,” to find morality in humanity and vice versa. He judges all our actions, not just the ones covered by the seven, and understands our situation, it being fundamentally different to that of his chosen people, the Torah nation of Israel.

The fallacy that the writer of the post commits to can be seen as the result of the notion that all good behaviour must be commanded, as if we were all Jews at Sinai who were given an extensive list of divine commandments. It is the more poisonous idea that if something is not commanded, it is totally ok. 

Let me be blunt! There is no positive evidence for the idea that something not prohibited by explicit command of God is totally fine, that the person doing it can “get away with it.” If God didn’t give the exact and explicit command that lying was prohibited, there’s no evidence that says therefore you can lie all your days and get away with it.

Also, there is no positive evidence to the notion that if God didn’t give an explicit active command to do something, that doing that thing becomes an additional command that you’re obeying. So if a Gentile is not commanded to give charity and he chooses to give charity, that doesn’t become an additional command for him.

But in the minds of some, it’s all about being commanded.

When I first heard someone equating the seven laws to the bronze age, it was Asher Meza. He had made a number of videos denouncing the seven laws in order to teach non-Jews that remaining Gentile was never the divine will but rather all those who knew the God of Israel would become Jews. As well as calling the seven laws relics of the bronze age, he said they were morally stagnant.

Now we have a non-Jew preaching a similar message. The seven laws, that are supposed to be from God, he relegates the point of them to simply living a “bronze age” life, meaning beggarly and backwards. It’s what you scrape to just so that “the Jews won’t be rid of you.” I’ve seen for myself that the writer of the post would say that the seven laws were only for restraining the body, limiting some behaviours and were devoid of spirit (almost like “morally stagnant”), that the point of the seven laws is simply to keep a person civilised just enough to avoid getting wiped out.

And the writer is supposed to be someone who honours God, the source of the seven commandments?!? 

When I gave my video rebuttal about Asher Meza’s comments, I accused him of blasphemy for treating God’s law so poorly. I make that same accusation against those who portray God’s law, the seven, so poorly. Where’s the respect? Where’s the acknowledgement that the starting point is not a backwards position, and the baseline is the ground from which to jump and build on, not “the world of the scavenger?”

Yet the question is asked, “if action x is not prohibited by the seven, then how is it evil?” For example, if “pushing” (selling) harmful addictive substances to those who don’t know better isn’t explicitly forbidden in the seven, then how is it evil for the Gentile? The inverse could be asked: if there are no positive commandments amongst most of the seven, then what is good for the Gentile? [For those who accept the Divine Code as an authority, just humour me.]

He would say: Beloved is man, since he is created in the image [of God]. A deeper love – it is revealed to him that he is created in the image, as it says (Genesis 9:6): “for in God’s image He made man.” (Pirkei Avot 3:14)

This stamp, not the seven laws, separates us from the animal. Even before the first human was given the seven laws, he was still a human, not a beast. And, being brief, being a human, being in the image didn’t just give us the ability to choose, but the responsibility to make the choices that emulate the Person or even the characteristic we were formed in. Another way of saying it is “imiteo deo,” imitating or reflecting the Judge (“elohim“). We don’t just reflect him with the ability to judge but by making right judgments. Take a look!

IMITATION OF GOD (Imitatio Dei), a theological concept meaning man’s obligation to imitate God in His actions.

The doctrine of the imitation of God is related to the biblical account of the creation of man in the image of God, which acknowledges a resemblance between man and his Creator. Yet man is to imitate God, not impersonate Him (see Gen. 3:5). (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/imitation-of-god)

And,

Rabbi Baruch Epstein explains that, clearly, the Talmud does not mean to imply that the seven commandments of Noah are learned from this command to Adam, but rather that these seven laws are the basis of natural morality incumbent on all humanity – starting with creation of the first man.  Rabbi Keidar expands:  “The sages understood that the seven commandments to Noah are known to man, if he but look to his tzelem Elokim … for, indeed, the recognition of what is moral is embedded in man in his being created in the ‘image of God’.”

As such, the “image of God” within man – his tzelem Elokim – is the innate intuitive capacity to achieve moral understanding, to make moral decisions without access to reason. (http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/bereishit-in-the-image-of-god/)

I believe that good and evil is defined in one way by a deviation from that image and imitation.

The seven laws are those parts of governing good and evil that can be implemented in a court of justice, but, as anyone should know from the legal system in our various lands, that right and wrong are wider than what can be pinned down in a court of law. The seven laws are practically also a guide to what is beyond the courts. If a person is diligent in them, it can produce a lot more fruit, personally and communally, than simply controlling and restricting certain bodily behaviours.

The writer of the facebook post said:

The Seven means you get to live. Seven + Hashem, and your destination is Sinai.

Compare this to the statement of the Maharal of Prague, quoted by rabbi Yoel Schwartz in his work “Noahide Commandments” on page 4.

The actions of a person should be done in order to fulfill and carry out the commandments of the Creator, since these are the things that elevate a person. As the Maharal from Prague wrote in Tiferet Yisrael (Chapter 4), “The commandments of the Torah can be likened to a rope by which a person is drawn out of a hole or a well. The person is drawn from the lowest levels to the higher levels of the world. The more he does, the more he removes materialism from himself, which then enables him to sit next to the Lord of Hosts.”

The seven commandments are still commandments, and they were enjoined upon us Gentiles. The source of the commandments is God whether a person believes it or not. Therefore the seven commandments are still a means of drawing man away from materialism. To quote rabbi Yoel Schwartz again from the same page,

There is, sometimes, an opposite process when outside actions (not connected or controlled by the person) influence the internal thinking of a person as it is explained in Sefer Ha’Chinuch #16, explaining why the Torah has so many practical precepts:

“Know that a person is governed by his actions. His heart and all his thoughts are influenced by the actions that he is involved in be they good or bad. Even a wicked man whose thoughts are concentrated on doing evil all day, if he should start studying Torah and Mitzvot, even if he is not doing it for G-d’s sake, he will start acting in a more positive manner. This is because the heart goes after the deeds. The same holds true, concerning a righteous man, who lives according to the Torah and Mitzvot, but makes a living from dubious transactions, or if for example he is forced by the King or ruler to deal in such dubious matters, he will eventually be transformed from a righteous man to an evil one.”

So since God’s commandments to man, the seven, are from God, the keeping of those commandments don’t simply keep a person breathing, but opens him to the truth of Deity. I’m not saying it is guaranteed that such a man will become a Torah theist, but he will still be a force of good, God’s good, in this world and is more likely to embract the truth of God.

So based on these quotes, God’s law, even for us Gentiles, isn’t “spiritually dead,” but rather are means for repairing the individual, the community and the world by encouraging righteousness.

It’s a horrible shame when Jews, like Asher Meza, and Gentiles (non-Jews) like the writer of that facebook post promote such distorted philosophies and misunderstandings about not just the seven laws, but the relationship between non-Jews and certain good deeds, that because they are not commanded they are forbidden, that because other deeds are not prohibited by force of explicit command they are not just permissible but also totally fine. It is such distortions that end in discouragement, hatred at God and other people, blasphemy, rejection of Torah (such as the oral tradition and the Talmud) and much more negativity. It makes Gentiles think they have to or should take on Jewish commandments that are irrelevant to Gentiles, such as some of the examples given by the non-Jewish facebook poster.

Hmmm … why haven’t I called him by his name? I’m not exactly sure. 

Either way, I hope this post has gone some way to showing you that the potential for a Gentile is much more than is stated by those who sell it so cheaply. You don’t have to take on Jewish ritual or other irrelevant Jewish commands, blur the line between Jew and Gentile or go all the way to becoming a Jew. You don’t have to look in a book or go to a Jew or a rabbi to find out if you’re allowed to do a good deed. You don’t have to wait to see if you’re commanded to be moral. As long as you’re human, it’s expected of you.

It’s not commanded so it’s not important

There are different ways to approach the seven laws.

Before I continue, let me just say that I’m surprised. At what? you may ask. I’m surprised that I’m still writing stuff about the seven laws. It’s odd, I know. I’m the one saying they are broad precepts with various applications and extensions, but, still, it astounds me. How many years has it been? My God! At the end of this year, it’ll be five years! And there’s still stuff to write about.

And, in addition, get this! Get this! I haven’t even started reading the Mishneh Torah yet or many other resources out there that talks of the seven laws and all the teachings available for us Gentiles, us people who are not Jewish. Wow, just imagine how many articles could be written about the differe … hmmm. I’m getting into something else. Let me get back to the subject. Hehehe!

So, like I was saying, there are different ways to approach the seven laws, and a friend of mine confronted my approach in the last article and made a few claims. One claim was this:

… if something is not commanded, it is of no great moral importance.

The friend of mine who brought this up added that his understanding of “commandment” was wider than mine. In this situation, in my article, I had said that lashon hara or evil speech was not part of the core commandment of murder. For him, because of the teaching of his rabbi, rabbi Moshe Weiner, he saw lashon hara as part of the law of murder, so it was commanded.

Therefore, associated with his view that commandments are that broad so as to cover all morally important areas, there is nothing outside of the Gentile Torah “commandments” that is of great moral importance.

So I’m going to tackle this in a number of ways:

1) Contrast my view with that of my friends;

2) Regardless of our views, according to rabbis, even according to rabbi Weiner, there are principles of great moral importance that are not commanded, and;

3) the source of my view of the “limited” scope of the core seven laws.

Let me state now that my friend is a principled fellow. He generally does not share views without some source, which tends to be the Divine Code.

Ok, let’s get to it!

So let me first comment on our similarities. We both envision a gamut of moral principles applicable to Gentiles without becoming a Jew, without trying to create a “ger” construct that doesn’t even live in Torah Israel, without creating a new religion based on the seven commandments but advocating that non-Jews are expected to keep religious symbolic laws. We both see core Gentile Torah commandments and surrounding principles through which a non-Jew can excel in this world in terms of righteousness.

So if someone were to come up to my friend and I and ask whether a person should acknowledge the one true God, we would both agree and say “Yes!” If another question was asked of us, whether a person should spread gossip and spread tales, we’d both say, “No!”

But if a person were to ask us if God commanded Gentiles to acknowledge His rulership, he would say yes and I would say no. If we were asked whether God commanded us to avoid gossip and spreading lies, he would say yes and I would say no.

If someone were to ask us if the seven precepts were broad, we would both say yes. But if we were further questioned about the nature of that breadth, you’d find that he thinks it’s broad because it has details I wouldn’t include, and I think it’s broad because even the core seven has tightly packed details and because delving into them teaches a person things which are not commanded but are important. For example, part of the actual command of Dinim is to avoid perverting justice in the course of due process. This teaches a principle that we ought to be fair in our own homes and with the people we meet. That latter principle of personal fairness is not a commandment of God but is an important principle that can be deduced from the actual command. But there’s a chance my friend may see the principle of personal fairness as God’s command (he may not, but this is only an example and analogy).

So let me show you my source for the limited view on actual commands as opposed to the not-commanded principles one can learn from the commanded laws. I’ve used it before but I’ll state it again with some commentary from rabbis.

The prohibition [of the seven laws] is their death sentence.29 R. Huna, Rab Judah, and all the disciples of Rab maintained: A [non-Jew] is executed for the violation of the seven Noachian laws;

Footnote 29: I.e., in speaking of [non-Jews], when the Tanna teaches that they are forbidden to do something, he ipso facto teaches that it is punishable by death; for only in speaking of Jews is it necessary to distinguish between prohibition and punishment. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 57a, can be read at halakhah.com or using their free Android app “Talmud in English”, original source: Soncino edition of the Babylonian Talmud, edited by rabbi Epstein)

The commentary shows that for non-Jews, with regards to those things counted amongst the seven laws, whatever is commanded is linked to the liability of death.

Additionally, in response to my friend’s claim that his definition of commandment is broad including positive commands, the Talmud teaches the following.

Only negative injunctions are enumerated, not positive ones. 38 But the precept of observing social laws is  a positive one, yet it is reckoned? — It is both positive and negative.

Footnote 38: The seven Noachian laws deal with things which a [non-Jew] must abstain from doing. (ibid. tractate 58b-59a)

As can be seen again, only prohibitions are included in the seven laws, not active commands. The only exception is Dinim, Justice which has both parts in it.

So whatever is forbidden as part of the seven laws has a liability of death attached.

The editor of the Schottenstein edition of the Talmud understands the passage in a similar way.

A warning stated concerning [the seven laws] can be understood as equivalent to a statement of their liability to execution. [25]

Footnote 25: I.e., whenever a Tanna states that a Noahite is warned against performing a certain act, he does not necessarily mean that the act is exempt from capital punishment; rather, should the Noahite go ahead and do that act, he could in fact be liable to execution. (Babylonian Talmud, tractate Sanhedrin 57a)

This is a statement confirmed by both Rambam in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 9 (sometimes halakhah 14, other times halakhah 15), and Ramban in his commentary on Genesis 34:13.

They are commanded to name judges and establish Courts in every town in order to judge [transgressions of] the six commandments and to instruct the people [about their obligations]. A Ben Noah who transgressed one the seven commandments is put to death by the sword 8. How so? A Ben Noah who committed idol worship, or blessed the Name of God [blasphemed], or murdered, or had intercourse with one of the six kins forbidden to him, or stole [even] less than one cent, or eat even the slightest quantity of a limb taken from a living animal or its meat, or saw someone committing such transgressions and did not judge and put him to death is himself put to death by the sword (Laws of Kings and Wars, chapter IX 14). (This quote is from Elisheva Barre’s book, Torah for Gentiles, on page 176. It accurately reflects the older reading of Rambam’s Mishneh Torah which is also referred to in RambaN’s commentary on Genesis 34:13)

Also included in this commandment [of Dinim -DD] is, as Rambam says, the requirement that they set up judges in every city, as is the requirement for Israel. However, if they do not do this (i.e., set up courts and judges), they are not put to death, for this is a positive commandment for them and [the Sages] said only, “their admonition not to do a particular act is what leads to their death (i.e., the Torah’s warning that something is forbidden is sufficient to warrant the death penalty for the Noahide laws)” (Sanhedrin 57a), but something is not called an “admonition” unless it is a prohibition expressed as a negative commandment, as opposed to a positive commandment. And this is the approach of the Gemara as well, in Sanhedrin (59a). (taken from pg 225 of “The Torah: with RambaN’s commentary, translated, annotatated, and elucidated, Bereishis/Genesis” where Ramban comments on Genesis 34:13)

And with regards to what commandments are part of the seven, the Schottenstein edition, Babylonian Talmud, tractate 58b states,

Only negative prohibitions for whict one must sit and not do an act are counted among the Noahide commandments, but positive commandments to get up and do something are not counted. [42]

Footnote 42. The various listings of the seven Noahide commandments contain only prohibitions against performing certain acts (do not steal, do not commit adultery). The Noahide fulfils them by not acting (refraining from theft and adultery).

So from all this, I believe I have shown that the seven laws, with the exception of Dinim, are only prohibitions that carry the liability of the death penalty. So acts of idolatry, cursing God’s name and murder carry the liability or potential of the death penalty, as the sources I quoted did state. There are other sources that say the same thing, like the Sefer HaChinnuch and many other books, but I don’t want to be stuck re-writing quotes.

Now it’s clear to me that the crime of murder according to the seven laws has the liability of the death penalty in a righteous court of law because it is part of the seven laws. But it cannot be said that lashon hara has that punishment. Even the Divine Code doesn’t claim this. I’ll get more into what the Divine Code does say later.

So the question is this: does the claim that “if something is not commanded, then it is of no great moral importance?” Can someone who relies on the authority and authorship of the Divine Code make such a claim consistent with that foundation of the Divine Code? Let me begin to quote. (Wow, that didn’t last long did it.)

The abovementioned rule applies only to Jewish commandments that are not duty-bound by logic (even if they have a logical reason) such as circumcision or tithes. However, those that are duty-bound by logic, such as honoring one’s parents, and kindness and charity, are obligated to be kept, because such is the correct way for a person to act, as befitting the image of God in which he was created. However, a Gentile may not keep them because it is a commandment from God, but rather because one is obligated to be a good, moral person.

Likewise, many prohibitions that are commanded upon Jews are obligations for Gentiles to observe based on logic, such as the prohibitions against hating others, taking revenge or bearing a grudge. (pg 72, topic 8, chapter 3, Part 1 of “The Divine Code,” written by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, edited by Dr Michael Schulman)

Look very carefully at what is said in this quote. Honouring one’s parents, kindness and charity, not holding a grudge, etc, these things are not commanded! They are not commanded upon Gentiles. But the question is whether those things are important. If they are not, then my friend’s claim holds true. But if they are important, then my friend’s claim falls because they are not commanded, yet are important.

What does the author say? He says that such principles are obligations, something not bound because of God’s command but because being in God image, such behaviour is necessary to reflect that. They are obligations based on logic, they are so weighty that it should be compelling to the mind and heart of any person, any non-Jew, seeking to be a decent person.

Although the author doesn’t use the word “important,” the existence of “obligation” means that we are not talking trivial matters but rather about important matters. And because they govern the way we live, they are about morality. Therefore we have the author of the Divine Code pointing to things which are not commanded yet are of moral importance.

I can add that the prohibition against delving into Torah is not one of the seven commandments. The prohibition against making a new religion is not one of the seven commandments. They are not one of the seven commandments as they do not carry the death penalty in a court of law. But they are important. They are of great moral importance.

Let me add the words of another rabbi showing that things which are not commanded of Gentiles are still important. (It’s important to quote rabbis because too many God-fearing Gentiles who respect the written and oral tradition tend to deprecate the notion of a Gentile being able to make strong points about Torah without rabbinical backing.)

Furthermore, many rabbinic texts recognize value in gentiles fulfilling positive religious commandments. One gemara (Kiddushin 31a) utilizes Dama ben Netina, a non-Jew, as the paradigm of honoring parents. Rabbenu Nissim (commentary on Sanhedrin 56b) assumes that the obligation of charity exists for non–Jews. R. Moshe Feinstein (Iggerot Moshe Orach Chaim 2:25) contends that non-Jews have a religious obligation to pray in times of distress. Based on Rambam, he argues that the seven Noahide laws must be rooted in a faith commitment to God. Given such a religious orientation, a person of faith confronting difficulties would naturally turn to God in the hope of succor. (Ramban on the Torah: An Expansive View of the Noahide Laws, by rabbi Avi Weinstein, at http://blog.webyeshiva.org/ramban-on-the-torah-an-expansive-view-of-the-noahide-laws/

Again, this points to things which are not commanded, yet are important. In another part of that article, the rabbi says something much in line with the way I think about this issue of morality and the seven laws.

My rosh yeshiva, R. Aharon Lichtenstein of Yeshivat Har Etzion,[v] offers a middle view that fits well with what I noted last time. R. Lichtenstein says Judaism certainly assumes a natural morality, intuitive and universally binding on all human beings.[vi] That morality, however, is not the same as Noahide law, a point also made by R. Dr. Norman Lamm and Prof. Aaron Kirschenbaum.[vii]

This is an important distinction for our purposes here; it means that there is an intuitive and universal human morality, yet God decided (or, as we saw last time, was “forced” by human failure to act on that universal morality) to make more specific legislation. (ibid.)

Let me share with you a footnote from the Divine Code that again points to something being important, yet not being a divine commandment.

18. However, this is forbidden for a Jew, because of the prohibition “Do not turn to the idols” (mentioned in topic 1). See topic 4, which explains that the basic reason for all the mentioned prohibitions in this chapter for Gentiles are precautions, lest one be drawn after an idol. But when there are practical reasons for a Gentile to enter a house of idol worship, it is permitted. This constitutes the basic difference between this command to Jews and to Gentiles. The Jewish prohibition, even though logically based, is obligatory in any case. But the Gentile is prohibited from a totally rational basis, so therefore in specific instances when there are other considerations in which the basic logic doesn’t apply, the prohibition is lifted. (footnote 18, pg 144, from “The Divine Code,” written by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, edited by Dr Michael Schulman)

This is from a chapter called “The Prohibition of Turning to Idol Worship.” According to the writer, all the prohibitions in that chapter are precautions but they are not divine commandments, only obligations based on logic. The Jewish command is a divine command, an absolute. But for Gentiles it is not one of the seven laws. It’s not part of the seven laws one of which is against idolatry. But it is a principle logically derived from the divine law.

1. Even though Gentiles are not commanded to “be fruitful and multiply,” it is nevertheless God’s will that every man who is able should marry a woman and have children from her … (pg 510, topic 1, chapter 4, Part VI, from “The Divine Code,” written by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, edited by Dr Michael Schulman)

Again, something not commanded, yet having importance.

The author draws general support for the second opinion from Likkutei Siĥot vol. 5, p. 159-160, which says that a fundamental (i.e. Divinely mandated) obligation of Gentiles is to develop the world into a correct and just environment for a faithful humanity. (pg 80, ibid.)

Again, when arguing another point, the author points again to a very important principle that is not one of the seven commandments, that of developing the world into a correct and just environment for a faithful humanity.

Beyond these seven categories of prohibitions, there are also fundamental and universal positive obligations, including: belief, faith and trust in God; turning to Him for one’s needs; and creating a civilized world. (pg 31, ibid.)

So according to the Divine Code, “belief, faith and trust in God, turning to Him for one’s needs, and creating a civilized world” is not part of the seven laws, but rather they are beyond the seven. So once again, signs that there are things not commanded yet are of importance.

It’s my contention that the claim that because God didn’t command Gentiles something it is therefore not important is a fallacy, a non-sequitur. One part of the statement doesn’t follow to the other without hidden pre-conclusions. It is a fact that God gave commandments. It is a fact that there are important moral principles to follow. But the notion that only what God commands is of moral importance has no basis either in Torah or reality. I’ve yet to see positive evidence of this claim.

My view of a divine commandment for Gentiles does not include positive obligations because the Talmud states that the seven laws are only prohibitions (save Dinim which has prohibitive and active parts). My view of a divine commandment doesn’t include principles that don’t have the liability of the death penalty in a righteous court of law because the Talmud states that all the seven laws carry that possibility.

Yet, because delving into the seven laws can teach extra important messages and principles, and because the seven laws, to me, encourage a person to be decent and honest because of the God who made us all in his image, and because deeper thought into positive human relations can lead to righteous and beneficial behaviour, my worldview includes the seven laws, the extended principles they teach, the responsibility of being made in God’s image and the notion of creating a world to be settled in (something else taught in the Divine Code). When I say the seven commandments are broad, I’m not saying they are exhaustive with regards to regulating all human behaviour because I don’t believe that the seven laws are the be-all-and-end-all of human behaviour, but rather, as many teach, including Rabbi Weiner, it is the baseline for Gentile behaviour (footnote 7, pg 471 in the Divine Code). There is both a lot to the seven laws, and there is a lot beyond the seven laws that has nothing to do with taking on additional commandments or foraging through Jewish ceremonies and ritual to chop bits off to make them suitable for Noahide observance.

Being decent and moral human beings is not commanded, but it is expected.

But I saw a possible source for some of the belief that God commanded a lot more than the seven laws, or that God commanded Gentiles a lot more. In fact, there are many sources for the idea. Just recently I was in a chat where a Gentile was adamant that one of the seven laws commanded by God was “the prohibition against murder and personal injury.” Somehow and from somewhere, this Gentile, or should I say non-Jew, had gotten the idea that God had given humanity a commandment forbidding personal injury. Of course, God commanded against murder, and again personal injury is not good, but the idea that personal injury was one of the things prohibited by the seven laws has no basis to it in the tradition.

But it was symptomatic of a fear something is only wrong if it was prohibited by an overt commandment from God. “Oh, it’s not in the Seven Commandments so it is totally fine.” Certain people keep bringing that claim up saying that this is what I believe, as if this is the only stance that can be taken if the commandments of God are narrower than they seem to believe it to be. But this flies against what rabbi Moshe Weiner (the Divine Code), echoing Rav Nissim Ga’on and rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch and others have said. They have all taught that, for a Gentile, there is more to morality than commandment, that aside from the commandment, humans should live lives befitting the divine image we are formed in, that we do good not because God necessarily commanded it, but just to be decent and moral human beings.

But one popular source of the belief that the seven commandments are wider than they actually are is the Divine Code itself.

Now don’t stone me. I think the Divine Code is excellent. That doesn’t mean I have to take it as the absolute and only truth. It’s ok, I know what some already think because it has been said to me numerous times. “Oh, David, you’re only a relatively inexperienced and unlearned Gentile, but the writer of the Divine Code is a rabbi who has years, decades of experience and learning. Who are you to contradict him?” If I truly am a “no one,” a “nothing,” then just ignore what I say next. I’m not going to try to convince that I’m worth your time or attention.

You see it is the Divine Code that teaches that God commanded positive commandments, active commandments, upon Gentiles, even though the Talmud says otherwise.

The prohibition of idolatry has two facets: the command to recognize and know God (this was explained in Part I, topics 1:1-4), and the
prohibition against serving idols. (pg 134, “The Divine Code”)

The Divine Code teaches that Gentiles have a positive commandment in the prohibition of idolatry, to recognise and know God. That’s how it is commonly understood. Based on the principle that “from the negative, one can infer the positive,” and interpreting the commentary of Rashi and the words of Rambam, the Divine Code clearly says this: “It is therefore obvious that all the nations of the world are commanded to believe in and recognize God” (pg 48).” On page 93, it says “The commandment to fear God has a logical basis and is a part of accepting and recognizing Him. It is included in the Noahide prohibition against blasphemy …” So to the writer of the Divine Code, a Gentile has positive commandments, but he states that they are within prohibitions.

To continue, on page 276, it says “… since there is a positive commandment for Gentiles to keep their promises …”

I have to repeat, the issue here is not whether Gentiles should or should not keep their promises, or fear and recognise God. The issue is whether Gentiles were commanded to do these things. I’m not talking about “logically derived” or “commandments created by logic.” The prohibitions against murder and theft are not logically derived; God commanded them. The commandments that are part of the seven have a death penalty assigned and are prohibitions. Yet again and again, the writer of the Divine Code says “there’s this positive command” and “here’s another positive command.”

In English, if you logically derive thing X from something else, then thing X is not commanded. You were not ordered to do thing X. No one told you to do thing X. A command is someone telling you, ordering you, to do or not do something. A logical derivation, an obligation based on logic, is logically not an order, but is simply a moral conclusion. And, based on what the Talmud and its commentators have said, I see no compelling evidence that God gave positive commands.

So if you’re looking to me (I know you’re not, but that’s the shape of the sentence I’m constructing) to say that God gave Gentiles positive commandments, you won’t get it. And if you believe that all Gentile acts are shaped by commandments, similar to the Jewish Torah worldview, then, once again, that’s not my way of thinking.

But to say again, being decent and moral human beings is not commanded, but it is expected. I may be alone in this (I don’t think I am alone in this), but I find great joy and fulfilment not only living within God’s commandments and plumbing their depths, but also in living up to his expectations. I not only embrace what he has enjoined upon me, but also the responsibility natural to the way God created every human being.

And yes, many of the secrets to these responsibilities can be found in those Jewish commandments that are … Let me use the words of the Divine Code.

Likewise, many prohibitions that are commanded upon Jews are
obligations for Gentiles to observe based on logic … A Gentile should observe these prohibitions out of human decency, and not as Divine commandments of their own. (pg 72-73, “The Divine Code”)

I know this essay won’t convince my friend, but I’m not trying to convince him or anyone. I just hope this essay goes some way to explaining how I think, why I can be adamant about there only being seven divine commandments for Gentiles which may appear somewhat limited whilst acknowledging that there is more that we should do which is not commanded.

Is “evil talking” part of the seven laws?

Someone, a follower of rabbis Katz and Clorfene, did not like my article which took rabbi Clorfene’s article apart piece by piece. He showed his disgruntlement publicly and included in his attempt to “expose” me, he said the following:

​I can’t take you to a Noahide court for leshon harah, so I’ll have to do with the interwebs and making some noise.

He continued later on, saying

On the court: If, say, I see what I think is public leshon harah, then, yes, I could take you to a court and the court would have jurisdiction over the case and the means to enforce the Law if broken. Leshon harah is a prohibited act in Noahide Law.

Moving past the fact that this person was disappointed at the fact he couldn’t at leat try to hurt me using the courts, very much like those who use the coercion of “government” to force compliance or get retaliation against someone they feel has wronged them, let me deal with the more pertinent issue: is lashon harah a prohibited act in … ?

Firstly, what is lashon hara?

Lashon Hara is any derogatory or damaging statement against an individual. In Hilchot Deot 7:5, Maimonides supplies a litmus test for determining whether something is or isn’t Lashon Hara:

Anything which, if it would be publicized, would cause the subject physical or monetary damage, or would cause him anguish or fear, is Lashon Hara. (“What is Lashon Hara?” from http://torah.org/learning/halashon-review1/)

A looser definition can be found at chabad.org where it says:

Lashon hara literally means “bad talk.” This means that it is forbidden to speak negatively about someone else, even if it is true. (“Laws of Lashon Hara,” at http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/922039/jewish/Laws-of-Lashon-Hara.htm)

Now I know there are more details to it than that, but at least I want to give my accuser as much of a chance as possible.

Now I have a problem here. The person threatening me refers to something called “the noahide law.” Now, I’m not sure what exactly the guy is pointing to. You may know that I see the word “noahide” as ambiguous due to its various usages amongst Jews and Gentiles. But “the noahide law” … what is that? Is that the same as the seven laws commanded by God upon the children of Noah, the Gentiles, as the Talmud states?

For me personally, the term “noahide law” became confusing after I started to consider the book “the Divine Code” by R’ Moshe Weiner. I noticed that when it kept referring to a “Noahide Code,” it was different to “the seven laws for the descendants of Noah, of Gentiles.” It included the seven laws but is a much larger body of supposed “authoritative rulings” upon Gentiles. The details of the pure seven laws are smaller in number.

Now is the complainant kvetching about the pure seven laws or a subjective wider body of principles based on who knows what?

Let me just stick to the absolute and fundamental, just the pure seven without extensions. Here’s my question in more specific wording: is lashon hara part of the seven commandments?

Yes, I’m going to do what I enjoy doing. I’m going to recount the seven commandments. Here goes:

– Justice (Laws, Equity, Courts, prohibition against injustice)

– Cursing God’s name

– Idolatry

– Forbidden sexual partners

– Theft

– Murder

– Eating the limb of a living animal

Now let’s just deal with the basics here, just the basics. Just look at those laws! You should see something missing. There is no sign of “lashon hara.” There is a law against cursing God’s name, but that’s literally not lashon hara. And no other law deals directly with speech. Murder does not because that is talking about the ending of physical life. Theft is about taking or withholding a person’s property without their consent. There is no core commandment against lashon hara.

So to sum up, lashon hara is not part of the seven laws.

Now I’ve seen what various rabbis have said about lashon hara, some say that it is indicated by the law against cursing God, or that it is similar to murder, or that it is as bad as or worse than idolatry, murder and sexual immorality (see Gossip in the Noahide Law). And all these laws are part of the seven laws. But although lashon hara is “similar to” and “as bad as” or “worse than” part of the seven laws, it is literally not part of the seven.

Now there is a rational basis and societal benefit to guarding one’s speech. In that way, it is very important for any human to be committed to proper speech. And the fact it has similarities to some aspects and details of the seven points to its significance for Gentiles. It’s part of living up to the responsibility that comes with being a human made in God’s image.

So no, lashon hara is not strictly or technically in the seven laws. But it has great moral importance for Gentiles.

On a side note, could I really be taken to court, a righteous court, a court upholding the seven laws, about this? If a dude, like this “gerring,” forsook reasoning with me and wanted to just make sure I got punished, could he take me to a good court?

Before I answer, I should add that that there is no positive evidence that I committed “evil speech” according to the rules of it. My accuser didn’t even bother to point out the exact phrase where I did it, nor did he cite the exact detail of the laws of “evil speech” that he thinks I broke. It’s a bit like being stopped by a policeman who accuses you of breaking the traffic laws, and you ask, “which one?” to which he doesn’t tell you which one but just goes on to claim you broke them. It causes me to doubt that there is even a solid case against me. (That is not to say I think traffic “laws” have any innate authority – I don’t think they do.)

So let’s imagine he could point to a detail of lashon hara that I had allegedly broken. Could he really mount a case against me?

Now the seven laws, in a better world, would be international law. They would apply to all Gentiles. But, as I’ve stated, lashon hara is not one of the seven laws. Since it is not international law, it is in the hands of each community to decide if and how such non-seven-laws issues should be handled. It is up to each community to decide if it should or even can “give up” an individual to another community which more readily punishes certain non-seven-laws “infractions. And I’m talking about literal communities, not virtual ones.

So my accuser lives in an entirely different country and continent to me and has a different mindset to me. It is wholly likely that he would be in a totally different community to me. In fact there’s a great chance that he would be living in Israel if he has any consistency with this “ger” notion. Therefore the notion of him trying to threaten and coerce me by means of a court because he thinks I attacked his rabbi rather than rebutting his rabbi’s teaching seems rather unlikely.

I wanted to add that last bit because I like to imagine what a Torah-observant Gentile world would look like.

OK, I shall now move on.

Non-Jewish Judaism: Judaism without the Jew

Before you read this article, I strongly advise that you read the excellent article, “Warning: There is a snake in the garden” at https://emunatrek.com/2017/04/14/warning-there-is-a-snake-in-the-garden/, which deals with what I’m going to go through here in a different approach that I love. It’s full of Torah, humility and a grounded take on things. My article here is going to be long. I’m taking things on piece by piece and I would never say I’m as Torah educated as my friend, the author of the article I just referred you to. So please feel free to read that.

If you still want to continue, welcome. I pray to God that it has enough truth and Torah in it that it honours him.

An article called “Warning: Do not convert to Judaism” (at https://www.chaimclorfene.com/new-blog/2017/4/13/warning-do-not-convert-to-judaism) was shared in a group I am part of. The title caught my eye so I thought I would take a look. I mean, I’m one of the ones saying that there is no obligation for a Gentile to become a Jew. So maybe this article would give me useful information to further equip me.

Should I have been wary when I saw the name of the author of the article, rabbi Chaim Clorfene? He’s become one of the founders of a modern group of Gentiles who call themselves “strangers,” “sojourners,” “gerim.” Despite his great work in the past for teaching non-Jews “the path of the righteous Gentile,” he has chosen a different path to encourage religion for non-Jews, as can be seen in this article.

So let me share my thoughts on it.

He starts with this:

Let us talk about conversion to Judaism. No one should do it. If you converted to Judaism, you were led astray by a well-meaning, but unlearned Jew, probably a rabbi.

This paragraph sets his article on very shaky ground. Why? Because he is a rabbi! Do you get it? Do you know what I mean? Let me clarify.

He has just stated that a rabbi can be an unlearned Jew. A rabbi who talks to a Gentile about converting to “Judaism,” to rabbi Clorfene, is an unlearned Jew. Yet Clorfene, himself a rabbi, wants you to believe that he is not an unlearned Jew and that his article is from a learned source.

But I’m a Gentile. I’ve got this “rabbi” telling me that other rabbis are unlearned. But this guy’s also a rabbi. How do I know that he is not unlearned? He claims to teach Torah and those other ones claim to teach Torah. By making others of his kind untrustworthy, he’s made himself untrustworthy.

At times like this, the words, no, the warning of the Rebbe stands true.

1) B’nai Noah [Gentiles] must themselves study and “acquire Torah” (regarding all the laws and values of Torah that pertain to all mankind);

2) B’nai Noah [Gentiles] must become fully conversant in Torah for themselves, rather than relying on Jewish teachers constantly;

3) B’nai Noah [Gentiles] should understand that Jewish teachers may know less about the laws and principles that apply to B’nai Noah than Noahide themselves;

4) the two systems, the Noahide and Torah systems, often differ in their particulars. (“Noahides and Torah Study,” https://hesedyahu.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/noahides-and-torah-study/)

It is for us Gentiles to learn the relevant laws and principles of Torah for ourselves. I stress relevant, those laws pertaining to all mankind. Because, as I’ll share later, rabbi Clorfene himself is guilty of promoting laws that are not for all mankind, that are irrelevant.

What is interesting to note is that the Rebbe only mentioned two systems, the Gentile (“noahide”) and the “Torah” (Jewish) systems. There is not a third system for “gerim.”

Anyway, after Clorfene has thrown doubt on his own teachings, let’s see how he progresses.

The truth is that when someone converts, he or she becomes grafted onto Kehillat Yisrael, the Congregation of Israel, which has one body and one soul, and a covenant with G-d. The conversion is to the people, not to the religion. And even though the Jewish people have a religion called Judaism … is not a reason to convert. This must be clearly understood and taken to heart.

So according to rabbi Clorfene, there are two distinct aspects of Israel or Jews. There is the people and then there is the religion. When a person “converts,” he joins to the people, not to the religion.

You know what is dreadfully odd and inconsistent with this claim. Just think about it with me. Rabbi Clorfene taught that a Gentile will not see “bnei Noah” in the “Torah,” but he will see this word, “ger.” He encourages Gentiles to become this “biblical ger.”

So remember, to him, “bnei Noah” is not in the Torah, but “ger” is.

Question: where is the word “religion” in the Torah? Where does it say God instituted a “religion?” I can see God making a special nation (Exodus 19), but I don’t see him creating a “religion” and a people. In fact, it should be known to the rabbi, the learned rabbi, that there is no word for “religion” in biblical Hebrew.

So why does he introduce a modern pagan notion to Torah that is not there? I mean, looking at the written Torah, it seems like the Jewish Torah should be part and parcel with the nation. That’s why, in the written Torah, God gives laws specifically to make the nation of Israel distinct from the nations, from Gentiles.

It’s funny how followers of Clorfene (and his colleague, Katz) speak badly of using what they call “post-exile” terms, terms that seemed to come into being during the exile of Israel rather than terms from the formation of the Torah and Jewish Bible which are deemed to be more pure and holy. Such followers deem “ben Noah” and “noahide” to be such a “post exile” term. Yet here we have rabbi Clorfene shoving into the Torah post exile concepts like “religion” and the separation of “religion” and people (like the anti-Torah idea of the separation of church and state).

Remember, there is no “Judaism” in the Torah. There is no “religion” called “Judaism.” There was just a nation of people who were bound to keep the divine laws enjoined upon them, the laws that set them apart.

These laws are also covenant laws, laws part of a special pact and relationship.

Before I get ahead of myself, let me look more into what the rabbi is saying.

So then the rabbi creates a scenario that I’m sure many can relate to.

Take the scenario of a Noahide who has found his way out of the Church, past the Messianics, and all the way up to the Torah of Moses, and has taken on the Seven Laws of Noah, the mitzvoth incumbent upon a Righteous Gentile.

Now, perhaps this Noahide feels unfulfilled by the Seven Laws, which are seven prohibitions, and contain no rituals or traditions. The Seven Laws are really meant for governing societies more than guiding the souls of individuals or families.

And so, this unfulfilled Noahide begins to yearn for the warmth and light of the Torah – Chanukah, Pesach and, most of all, he wants to observe Shabbat and learn Talmud or Kabbalah.

I think this is a problem for certain Jews. Christianity stole and recrafted the rituals and practices of the Torah and mixed it with toxic addictive falsehood. Certain Jews feel that once a person rejects christianity and embraces the seven commandments, the Gentile has nothing fulfilling. Ritual is a significant part of Jewish life. Christianity causes some Gentiles to think that ritual is a significant part of life. And here comes the helpful Jew with his culture saying “hey, you don’t have anything worthwhile, so take freely from our rituals.” “Have the Judaism without the Jew!”

The way the rabbi just described Gentile life, you’d think there was a high rate of suicide due to lack of ritual fulfilment. And he’s not saying “learn the fulness of being just human, made in God’s image, and the responsibility, not just the commandments, that come with that.” No! For this learned Jew, all Gentiles have is seven prohibitions that are purely collectivist and does nothing for the soul of the individual. He invites that Gentile to the warmth and light of Torah rituals as opposed to what? The cold and darkness of simply following God’s commands for Gentiles? The dearth of fulfilling human potential as a Gentile?

I’m so very glad (thank you, Alan Cecil) that I was introduced to rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch. I’m so thankful for all those lessons that were taught to me by Michael Dallen (1stcovenant.com), rabbi Yirmeyahu Bindman, rabbi Michael Shelomo bar-Ron, Elisheva Barre, asknoah.com and the resources online, even the book of Aime Palliere with the words of rabbi Elijah Benamozegh. It is people such as these who have helped me see that the Gentile life is more than the seven laws without becoming a religion with added commandments.

Hirsch really highlights and amplifies a teaching of Rav Nissim Ga’on, that to simply be human obligates one to a better morality even if it is not commanded. I’m not just talking about the seven laws but general morality and decency. There are numerous teachings about “tzelem eloqim” (image of God) and “settling the earth to be inhabited” demand more from a person than what the seven laws state without including rituals or the marking of special days.

And that reminds me. As a number of my teachers have shown me how wide our seven laws are. If we were to plumb the depth of them, as well as their extensions, there would be so much to teach us on how to treat each other. Rather than re-write a blogpost, let me just share it here. https://hesedyahu.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/attack-of-the-no-no-hides/

Look, if a Gentile or Jew, even a rabbi tells you that there is nothing more to being a Gentile than seven basic prohibitions and that they do nothing to guide the inner man, they have sold you short and deceived you. There is much work for us, so much in our law, so many ways we can do things which honour God even though we are not commanded such things, it is narrow-minded and short-sighted to think the rituals are the only way to fulfil a life.

It should be noted that prayer is not a ritual according to the dictionary definition.

Definition of ritual: a religious or solemn ceremony consisting of a series of actions performed according to a prescribed order. (noun)

https://goo.gl/search/Define+ritual

It’s not a commandment and, for a Gentile, there​ is no prescribed order. It’s a free communication between creation and Creator, having no ceremony involved. Just as Gentiles don’t have to be commanded about talking to other intelligent agents, such as other humans, there​ is no need to look for a commandment on talking to one’s Creator.

So, again, the Gentile life is one of purpose and fulfillment if a person can realise that there are other ways of honouring God according to His ordained way without ritual, without holy days, without special ornaments, without such dietary stringencies as the Jews have, etc. Once a person can realise that God gives good things, good different things, to all his creation for their different roles, then they can dig for the treasures available for Gentiles.

But for those who either have been so bent by religion that they can’t get past the hankerings created by an addictive worldview, or those that may genuinely have a desire to become a Jew, rabbi Clorfene’s poor description of the Gentile life further poisons the stream. The rabbi’s description is a lie based on an ignorance surprising for a man who is supposed to have written, decades ago, a book helpful to Gentiles.

To continue with his article:

And so, this unfulfilled Noahide begins to yearn for the warmth and light of the Torah – Chanukah, Pesach and, most of all, he wants to observe Shabbat and learn Talmud or Kabbalah.

So he goes to his local Orthodox rabbi or a frum Jewish friend for information and advice. Nine out of ten times, the Noahide will be told that he is forbidden to keep Shabbat and cannot learn Torah other than Torah pertaining to the Seven Laws.

Nine out of ten times, Jews will tell Noahides that if they want more mitzvoth than the seven, their only option is to convert, which gives them all 613 mitzvoth, including Shabbat and Talmud Torah.

Now, let us say that this Noahide does not really want to become a Jew, but for the sake of enhancing his Torah lifestyle, he converts. We now have a problem convert.

Yes, I know I repeated the first paragraph. 

Anyway, it should be noted that this outcome of the “problem convert” can happen regardless of whether a person became a Jew to embrace to “religion” or became a Jew in order to become part of the people. Different things can cause a person to regret the change. Just saying.

The introduction of the sabbath as the target for a Gentile’s desire is a great example of what Clorfene gets wrong.

Rabbi Clorfene pushed a sola-scriptura-like version of the Torah to support his idea about the higher quality idea of “ger” as opposed to that of the non-existence of the bnei Noah. But I invite you to use to same consistency with regards to the sabbath. There is no command for the people of the nations regarding the sabbath. There is no sort of “universal sabbath” notion where total non-Jews would craft candle lightings and a special time of Torah study. The nation of Israel had the command. If you look at the Decalogue, it says the Israelite has the command to keep and remember the sabbath and he had to ensure that his household including hisgerthat lived with him (“the sojourner that is in your gates”) did no forbidden work either. This doesn’t refer to a non-Jew still living in his own land, living mainly amongst his own culture. Exodus 23:12 would show that the Jew is directly commanded about resting on the Sabbath so that the foreign slave and the non-Jewish resident can relax. The Jew is commanded and those not commanded benefit.

It becomes very clear that the Sabbath command is not for non-Jews, for Gentiles, in Exodus 31 where it says the following.

And God spoke to Moshe saying, And you, speak to the children of Israel saying, Only you must still keep my sabbaths because it is a sign between me and you, for your generations to know that I am God who distinguishes you as holy … And the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath to practice the sabbath for their generations, an everlasting covenant. It is a sign forever between me and Israel that God made the heaven and the earth six days and on the seventh day he stopped and rested.

So the keeping of a sabbath, the seventh day sabbath is a special sign in a relationship only between God and the nation of Israel, the Jews. It’s interesting that Rashi understands “to know that I am God that distinguishes you as holy” to refer to the fact that the nations of the world will know that God sets apart Israel.

The keeping of a God-ordained sabbath (as opposed to humanly crafted “universal sabbaths” or seventh day memorials) is part and parcel of being part of the covenant nation of Israel.

A non-Jew, a non-Israelite – including the non-Jewish ger – is not included in the everlasting pact. And one who believes that the keeping of the sabbath is somehow obligatory upon him goes against Torah. Those who teach so also contradict God’s teaching.

This is one of those times that you cannot separate the ritual from the people. One must be a Jew to be part of the sabbath-keeping pact, the everlasting covenant.

The fact is that the nine out of ten rabbis are correct!  The Talmud teaches that a person of the nations, the non-Jew, the “goy” is forbidden from having days of cessation of work.

A gentile/idolator who rest from work (or keeps a shabbat) is liable. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 58b)

I did use the word “idolator.” It’s important that I do so to kick a certain misunderstanding to the curb. I’ll get to it shortly.

Rambam forbids creation of days of rest and commandments additional to the seven.

An idolator/a gentile who delves into the Torah is obligated to die. They should only be involved in the study of their seven commandments.

Similarly, a gentile/an idolator who rests, even on a weekday, observing that day as a Sabbath, is obligated to die. Needless to say, he is obligated for that punishment if he creates a festival for himself.

The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become a full convert and accept all the commandments or remain in their Torah without adding or detracting from them. (Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars, chapter 10, halachah 9)

Again, it’s important that I keep the phrase “an idolator” in the translation as it’s something I am to come back to.

But notice, this gentile, this “idolator,” is forbidden from creating sabbaths for which he received no active commandment.

And to confirm Rambam’s words, the Talmud talks about what should be the focus of the non-Jew.

R. Johanan said: An idolator/a gentile who delves into the Torah deserves death, for it is written, Moses commanded us a law for an inheritance;  it is our inheritance, not theirs.  Then why is this not included in the Noachian laws? — On the reading morasha [an inheritance] he steals it; on the reading me’orasah [betrothed], he is guilty as one who violates a betrothed maiden, who is stoned. An objection is raised: R. Meir used to say. From where do we know that even an idolator/a gentile who studies the Torah is as a High Priest? From the verse, [Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments:] which, if man do, he shall live in them.  Priests, Levites, and Israelites are not mentioned, but men: from here you learn that even an idolator/a gentile who delves into the Torah is as a High Priest! — That refers to their own seven laws. (Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 59a)

The teachings are rather clear and are repeated in other books produced by rabbis today. For example,

However, non-Jews must not keep the Jewish Sabbath or other festivals specific to Jews … (Rabbi Yirmeyahu Bindman, The Seven Colors of the Rainbow – Torah Ethics for Non-Jews, pg 94.)

Many others have the same teachings in their books for “noahides:” a restriction on Torah study and sabbath keeping.

So let me get back to a certain point which I haven’t explained yet but which people like rabbi David Katz and his followers use to limit such teachings to the “lesser Gentiles.” They say firstly that these texts use the Hebrew word, akum, which means idolator or, more properly, “worshipper of stars and constellations.” Thus, in the minds of some, it’s not talking to the Gentile who keeps the 7 commandments who, logically, has rejected such idolatry.

The problem with this reading of the Talmud and later works like Rambam is well attested, I believe. See the following:

First, though, a word on the Talmudic term for Gentiles in general, and specifically in its discussions on this topic.  In general, the term that we find for Gentile in our printed Vilna edition of the Talmud is akum, which is an abbreviation of over kokhavim u’mazalot, a worshipper of the stars and zodiac.  However, the term found in all the manuscripts is either goy, ‘the nations,’ i.e., a Gentile, or nakhri, a foreigner.  These changes to the original text came about in the Middle Ages as a result of self-censorship, once apostates began to inform the Church about the Talmudic passages that spoke negatively or issued discriminatory legal rulings regarding non-Jews {source ‎29}.   (source: Unequal Justice? – Does Halakha Tolerate Unethical Behavior Towards the Other? Part 2: Acts Against Property, by Rabbi Dov Linzer (Posted on July 20, 2016), http://library.yctorah.org/2016/07/unequal-justice-does-halakha-tolerate-unethical-behavior-towards-the-other-part-2-acts-against-property/)

As you can see, the word, akum, is a cover for the Hebrew word, goy, which was a neutral term for people of the nations, non-Jews.

THE name akkum … is composed of the initials of the words … (worshipers of stars and constellations), and refers to ancient idolaters. During the medieval period, at a time when Hebrew books could be retained only if they had been examined by the Christian censor (generally a meshummad, an apostate from Judaism), the term akkum was used in place of goy … in the sense of a non-Jew. The censor would tear out pages or black out passages which he regarded as objectionable. The Torah speaks of Israel as goy kadosh (Exodus 19:6), a nation destined to be holy. The plural, goyim, is employed in the Bible to signify the nations of the world. In the course of time, the singular [goy] was used interchangeably with … (nokhri) and kuthi … to designate a non-Jew. (pg 464, En Yaaqov)

As you can see from these quotes, goy just referred to a non-Jew.

But the argument is brought up that goy actually means “idolator” because of what Rambam said in Mishneh Torah, Ma’achaloth Assuroth (“Laws of Forbidden Foods”) 11:8, which says,

When we say goy, simply, we mean one who serves idols.

[An aside. This text is clear evidence that the word akkum is used to hide the word goy. If you go to chabad.org and look at its version of Mishneh Torah which is a later edited version, it says “wherever we say the word akkum, we mean one who serves idols.” Compare that with the mechon-mamre.org’s version of Mishneh Torah, which uses an older, more unedited version. In that same section, it says “when we say goy, …”]

But this claim that goy means idolator has been clearly shown to be wrong in an excellent article by Jacob Scharff called “How Rambam uses the word goy” at http://beingnoahide.com/how-rambam-uses-the-word-goy/. There he shows that the comment was only meant to apply to that certain context, that certain subject that Rambam was talking about in that chapter, but that in other parts of the Mishneh Torah it simply means “one from the [non-Jewish] nations” or simply a non-Jew.

So as has been shown here, the teachings of the Talmud and Rambam applies to non-Jews in general, i.e., bnei Noah, the descendants of Noah.

So the “nine out of ten rabbis” that have been advising Gentiles are right to limit Torah study and the adoption of Sabbaths and holy days and ritual, and Clorfene is one of the few voices attempting to go against what the Torah tradition teaches.

This again goes to show the impoverished nature of Clorfene’s view (and that of his followers) of non-Jews and our obligations. Don’t you see that just by focusing on our seven laws we can be like high priests? That’s because our commandments are much broader than the Jewish commandments. As I’ve mentioned numerous times on this blog, citing the Sefer haChinnuch, Aaron Lichtenstein’s “The Seven Laws of Noah,” and other sources, whereas each Jewish command is limited in scope (but they are numerous), the Gentile Torah command is broad covering many subjects, principles and issues. And both the Jewish and Gentile Torah commands point to related subjects that may not get heavy Torah-ordained penalties but are still beneficial to the inner man.

Wait! I’ve got this weird feeling of déjà vu as if I’ve heard this before, as if there is a strong link between what I just said and what I’m talking about right now. Hmmmm …. What am I missing?

It is incorrect to think that since the Children of Israel have 613 Commandments and the Children of Noah have seven commandments, the ratio of spiritual worth is proportionally 613 to seven. The truth is that the Seven Universal Laws are general commandments, each containing many parts and details, whereas the 613 Commandments of the Torah are specific, each relating to one basic detail of the Divine Law. Therefore, the numerical disparity in no way reflects the relative spiritual worth of the two systems of commandments. The prime difference in the service of the Israelite and that of the Noahide is that the Noahide sees the existence of existence, that is, he refines the world, whereas the Israelite sees the non‑existence of existence, that is, he reveals the Godliness in the world. Of course, refining the world reveals its inherent Godliness and revealing Godliness automatically refines the world. (chapter 3, subsection 14, Path of the Righteous Gentile, written by rabbis Yaqov Rogalsky and Chaim Clorfene[?!?!])

What?!? Even rabbi Clorfene’s own work from the past seems to contradict his preseot stance. OK, I know. People change. I’m not the same man I was. And I say stuff that would contradict my own words in the past. But at least his past work is much more in line with the ancient sources than they are now.

OK, I’ve spent a lot of time on that. Let me continue with his article.

Let’s say that three or four years after his conversion, this new Jew, loses some of his excitement about the Torah and gets pulled back in or around the church, or simply stops being observant and becomes an American-style weirdo and marries a trout. Once a Jewish convert turns away from the Torah, for any reason, it can turn into resentment of himself as a Jew, and this will lead to a resentment of the Jewish people, and even G-d. And it often leads to anti-Jewish behavior, which includes poisoning the minds of their children against anything Jewish.

And the rabbi who steered him to conversion is responsible for the damage caused because he went against the halacha (Jewish Law) by telling the non-Jew that if he wants more mitzvoth, conversion is his only option. This rabbi unknowingly (and sometimes even knowingly) lied to the Noahide and destroyed worlds.

What is important to note is that this “loss of desire” or “loss of excitement” can result whether a person wanted to become a Jew or whether he was enticed by the Jewish commandments. But as I believe I’ve shown before, the nine out of ten rabbis who accepted a Gentile’s earnest wish to become a Jew were going by the clear reading of what has been brought down before. We non-Jews cannot simply add commandments upon the seven. This is not about satisfying ourselves and our own ritual cravings. It’s about living within our role, within God’s system.

I’ve seen what teachings like Clorfene’s can do to a person’s view of God’s system for Gentiles. I’ve seen a follower of Clorfene compare God’s system for Jews and Gentiles to the old American system of segregating where black and white people can drink from, with the whites drinking from a well-kept, polished water fountain, and the blacks drinking from a smaller, structurally inferior, poorer water fountain. That is what I would call a destruction of worlds, where any of God’s systems are compared to second-class citizenry, to slavery, to something feeble to be looked down upon. And when a christian in another group, a christian ignorant of tradition but willing to misinterpret others to insult the “noahide,” put down the Gentile follower of the seven laws as being a slave to Israel, that same follower did nothing to correct the view but rather reinforced it.

This is horrible because it tells to the world that God’s system is fundamentally and significantly lacking, and therefore the God of Torah is lacking. It strengthens the hands of those toiling in contradiction to God’s law because it strengthens their own trust in idols and broken walking sticks.

It is a terrible thing for a naturalised Torah Jew to turn his back on Torah. That doesn’t separate the Jew from the “Judaism” that should be intrinsically part of being a Jew. It just means that that individual “convert” due has destroyed his own purpose for being in this world. God’s nation, its existence, was based on Torah observance, and the individuals in that Jewish nation are subject to that Torah. If the Jew turns away from that Torah, he has, as the Torah states, cut himself off from his people. And just like the many other Jews who unrepentantly turned their back on their reason for being, his name will be lost in the winds of history.

But this gives no licence for Clorfene to separate the Jew from Torah, where a Gentile can join a religion.

To carry on with Clorfene’s article,

The fact is that according to halacha a Gentile can remain a Gentile and take on any or all mitzvoth of the Torah including Shabbat and Talmud Torah. He does not have to convert. He can become a Noahide Ger, a non-Jew who accepts the Seven Laws of Noah and accepts Hashem, the G-d of Israel as his G-d and rejects shituf (sub-deities or multiple godheads).

The Noahide who takes on the Seven Laws and says to Hashem Yisborach, “You are my G-d,” he can do any and all mitzvoth in the Torah without the Jubilee Year, without going to a rabbinic court for acceptance, without living in Israel, and he can do it even according to the Rambam.  That is the halacha.

Ah, so this is halacha. And I can take rabbi Clorfene’s word for it because he’s a rabbi and there’s no such thing as a rabbi being a well-meaning but unlearned Jew, right? Ooops. Looks like he shot himself in the foot with the very first paragraph of his article.

And he provides no evidence. In fact, there is clear evidence to the contrary, as I’ve shown before. There is clear evidence that a Gentile is not free to take any and all commandments of the Torah, especially “Shabbat” and delving into those parts of Torah irrelevant to the non-Jew.

But according to rabbi Clorfene, a Gentile can become a Noahide Ger. A what? A Noahide Ger? Maybe he’s using “noahide” in the sense of non-Jew, I can’t exactly tell. But a ger? I won’t rewrite an article I’ve written before about this. I’ll just refer you to the article, I’m not a ger where I provide quote after quote of what it means to be a ger. To just give one quote from Rashi,

Every expression of a stranger ([Heb. ger]) means a person who was not born in that country but has come from another country to sojourn there. (quoted from Rashi’s commentary on chabad.org http://www.chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9883#showrashi=true)

So the biblical references to ger refers to a person who moves to another country. Yet so many of the “gerrings” still reside in their home countries, normally the non-Jewish, not-Torah-Israel “united states of america.” The Hebrew Bible is even clearer saying “the ger who lives in your gates”. A non-Israel country is not the gates of the Jews!

What has been done here is the reversal of an “is” statement that doesn’t work. For example, the statement “David Dryden is a man.” This means that the specific person “David Dryden” is of the male gender, a man. A man defines or limits what I am. But if I now reverse that and say “A man is David Dryden,” something wrong occurs. A man properly means biologically a person with the XY chromosome arrangement intrinsic to his body and normally has male sexual genitalia. But it’s been wrongly defined as something too specific, i.e. “David Dryden.” The sentence reversal doesn’t work.

The same thing happens with the phrase, “God is love.” Properly understood, it means that God is the epitome of love, he’s the absolute giver! Love defines something that God does. But people nowadays who have lost their moral or intellectual compass say that “Love is God.” They especially do this in a way to promote the sort of sexual attraction and personal relationship that is forbidden by God because it is deemed to be love. But since “God” is a supernatural person who is worshipped, does that mean we can worship love? Can it be properly said that love is the epitome of God??? The reversal doesn’t work.

So people like rabbis David Katz and Clorfene have used a part of the Talmud that says like the following:

Against this is quoted: ‘Who is a ger toshab? Any who takes upon himself in the presence of three haberim not to worship idols. Such is the statement of R. Meir; but the Sages declare: Any who takes upon himself the seven precepts which the sons of Noah undertook; and still others maintain: These do not come within the category of a ger toshab; but who is a ger toshab? A proselyte who eats of animals not ritually slaughtered, i.e., he took upon himself to observe all the precepts mentioned in the Torah apart from the prohibition of [eating the flesh of] animals not ritually slaughtered. (Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zarah 64b)

Looks bad for me, doesn’t it? Someone will say, “David, you are a complete idiot! Doesn’t it clearly say that a ger toshav is ANY(ONE) who takes upon himself the seven laws? Doesn’t it clearly say that it is ANY(ONE) who, witnessed by three “haberim,” promises not to worship idols? That’s exactly what rabbis Katz and Clorfene are teaching, idiot!”

I’m not the most humble man. It would be easy for be to be insulted and blast back with insults ranging from … errrr …. maybe I should leave out any examples, right? I’m supposed to be writing seriously.

I would have different responses to this, such as the fact that this is in the midst of a conversation in the Talmud and the final authoritative ruling has to be brought out by the suitable Torah expert, or such as asking what about the opinions that mention a ger toshav being obligated to keep all of the Torah commandments except the law about ritual slaughter. But my most important response to the retort would simply be this: what was the question?

Yes, what was the question?

The question was “Who is a ger toshav?” Before we can look at the answers, shouldn’t we understand the question? So what does the word “ger” mean? Well, Rashi already answered that. It’s a person who has moved from his own country to Torah Israel. This is a physical move, like how Abraham was a ger amongst the Canaanites, the children of Heth in Genesis 23:4; he had moved from the country of his birth and had moved to the land of Canaan. And what’s a toshav? It comes from the Hebrew word meaning to sit, remain or dwell in a place. So it’s a dweller or resident. It’s physical residence, like how Abraham was a resident in the land of Canaan in Genesis 23:4.

So the question is, what makes a proper foreign resident, a settling immigrant, in Torah Israel? It has to be “a resident in Torah Israel” because to talk of residing and settling with no real place makes no sense. And the place to reside in that the rabbis must be talking about is Torah Israel. So the answers are limited by the question. So the various opinions given in the Talmud should fit the idea of who is properly classed as a settling immigrant in Israel. We have an “is” statement. Let’s pick one of the options, one of the ones that rabbi Clorfene is using.

“A ger toshav [a noahide ger] is any who takes upon himself the seven precepts which the sons of Noah undertook.”

My question, can this “is” statement be reversed so that it now becomes the following:

“Any who takes upon himself the seven precepts which the sons of Noah undertook is a ger toshav.

I just have to unmask the ger toshav to find out.

“Any who takes upon himself the seven precepts which the sons of Noah undertook is a foreigner residing in Torah Israel.

Before the “spiritual” people step in and say, “hey, I’m spiritually in Israel,” there is nothing that says we’re talking abstractly or non-physically here. Biblically, it’s physical. Although there may be an abstract element, there is no adequate justification for taking it on its own and ripping it from its physical context.

I think it is clear what the problem is with the last statement. There are plenty of people who accept the seven laws and who don’t live in Torah Israel. So because they don’t fit the question – they are neither ger nor toshav – the answer doesn’t apply to them either. Therefore the “is” statement should not be reversed.

Yet I see shades of another Jew in the words of rabbi Clorfene. According to rabbi Clorfene, you just have to believe in your heart, independent of any Jewry, any witness, that God is your God, and make that confession of faith that “God is my God” and you know what? You’ve converted to Judaism without becoming a Jew, you’ve spiritually moved to Israel.

Hmmm … Now which other Jew in history have I seen make similar comments? Hmmm …

… if you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shalt be saved. (Saul of Tarsus, Romans chapter 10 verse 9)

Yes, Saul of Tarsus was another Jew who taught Gentiles that you don’t have to worry about circumcision and becoming a Jew to become part of the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). No, just faith and confession. Then you can access so many of the blessings particular to the Jewish people!

For rabbi Clorfene, without any of Israel involved, a non-Jew can do anything a Jew is commanded to do.

Not only does that cause alarm bells and red flags to come up around Clorfene, but it goes against what is clearly stated by the Torah greats!

More from Clorfene’s article.

Most Jews, even frum ones, even rabbis, learn the Rambam superficially and get it wrong. If they would have looked at the rabbinic responsa on the subject, they would see that when the Rambam said there is no Ger Toshav without the Jubilee Year, he was referring to the complete Ger Toshav (Ger Toshav Gamur), one who is entitled to the same communal support as a Jew.

 As I’ve said in other articles, this is one weakness for Gentiles. A rabbi can make claims saying this or that, and because the documentation is not readily available and it may require expertise to read, we’re left to mercies of the interpreters who may disagree. With rabbi Clorfene saying, “I have the truth and all those rabbis don’t,” and with his own admission that many rabbis disagree with him, all the unknowing Gentile is left with is a claim. 

Clorfene has already put doubt on his veracity when he put down all the others as being unlearned. So there is not much that I, as a Gentile, can do with this except to say this. 

In the introduction or preface to the Mishneh Torah that rabbi Clorfene, the author, Rambam, says this:

40  In our time, severe troubles come one after another, and all are in distress; the wisdom of our sages has disappeared, and the understanding of our discerning men is hidden.  Thus, the commentaries, the responses to questions, and the settled laws that the Geonim wrote, which had once seemed clear, have in our times become hard to understand, so that only a few properly understand them.  And one hardly needs to mention the Talmud itself–the Babylonian Talmud, the Jerusalem Talmud, the Sifra, the Sifre, and the Toseftot–which all require a broad mind, a wise soul, and considerable time, before one can correctly know from them what is forbidden or permitted and the other rules of the Torah.

41  For this reason, I, Moshe son of Ribbi Maimon the Sephardi, found that the current situation is unbearable; and so, relying on the help of the Rock blessed be He, I intently studied all these books, for I saw fit to write what can be determined from all of these works in regard to what is forbidden and permitted, and unclean and clean, and the other rules of the Torah:  Everything in clear language and terse style, so that the whole Oral Law would become thoroughly known to all, without bringing problems and solutions or differences of view, but rather clear, convincing, and correct statements in accordance with the law drawn from all of these works and commentaries that have appeared from the time of Our Holy Teacher to the present.

42  This is so that all the rules should be accessible to the small and to the great in the rules of each and every commandment and in the rules of the legislations of the sages and prophets:  in short, so that a person should need no other work in the World in the rules of any of the laws of Israel; but that this work would collect the entire Oral Law, including the positive legislations, the customs, and the negative legislations enacted from the time of Moshe Our Teacher until the writing of the Talmud, as the Geonim interpreted it for us in all of the works of commentary they wrote after the Talmud.  Thus, I have called this work the [Complete] Restatement of the [Oral] Law (Mishneh Torah), for a person reads the Written Law first and then reads this work, and knows from it the entire Oral Law, without needing to read any other book between them. (Introduction to the Mishneh Torah, http://mechon-mamre.org/e/e0000.htm, emphasis mine)

Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Moses Maimonides, wrote the Mishneh Torah so that Torah Law could be accessible and clear to all. Therefore when he says there is no ger toshav without a Jubilee year (amongst other things), we’re not supposed to be at a loss to figure out what he means without more commentaries. There are even rabbis who would suggest that the Mishneh Torah is accessible even to non-Jews that don’t keep the seven laws. That’s how accessible the Mishneh Torah is seen as being.

If Clorfene is right in saying that Rambam didn’t say what he meant, that he couldn’t be properly understood, even by rabbis, without “further rabbinic responsa,” then there is strong justification in saying that Rambam failed in his aims. 

I believe that there are a significant amount of people that rabbi Clorfene classed amongst the unlearned yet who disagree with him.

But with respect to the performance of mitzvoth, the halacha is that there is always a Ger Toshav, with or without the Jubilee Year, with or without a rabbinic court, and with or without living in the Holy Land. But to be permitted to keep Shabbat or learn Torah, he has to do one thing that the Ger Toshav does not have to do; he has to believe in the unity of G-d and that Ado-nai Hu    HaElo-him, the Lord He is G-d. He must accept upon himself faith in the G-d of Israel, not merely reject idolatry. And that is what makes the Noahide into a Noahide Ger – he says Shema Yisrael and that is his faith in G-d.

Every Gentile can accept upon himself or herself belief in G-d and lead any holy Torah lifestyle he or she chooses – without converting. The Rambam calls them Hasidei Umot HaOlam, which technically means a non-Jewish Hasid, a pious person in the eyes of G-d and the Torah of Moses. Mazal tov!

Therefore, I repeat the warning and explain it from a slightly different perspective: Do not convert to Judaism. if you are considering conversion, do it only to become a a Jew.
The only one who converts to Judaism is the Noahide who converts to Noahide Ger, which the sages call chetzi giur – half a conversion. He is the Ger of I Get Ger. And he is the Biblical Ger in the Gate, not the rabbinic Ger Toshav. He believes in Hashem.

Yes so with faith and confession, you can accept Jesu … ooops, wrong religion, right? It seems to be so easy to blur the lines when you turn laws and morality into a religion.

I hope you noted the internal inconsistency of his words, i.e., the foreign resident who doesn’t have to leave his home, county or computer desk, the ger toshav that doesn’t have to set foot in Israel at all. This is all so funny when rabbi Clorfene says this “noahide ger,” the non-Jew that hasn’t left his country to move to Torah Israel, is the Biblical ger, the one who sojourns in the gates of the Jew

Sorry, but for me this is like watching a person so convinced that he is right and sane whilst repeatedly slapping himself across his own forehead with his own hand.

How’s this for an internal inconsistency? In one paragraph he says, “Do not convert to Judaism.” And in the next paragraph, he says, “The one who converts to Judaism is the Noahide who converts to Noahide Ger …” 

Now, I agree with his wording but not with his sentiment. Gentiles should not convert to this innovative entity called “Noahide Ger.” Why not? I think rabbi Bindman says it best in page 126 of his book, “The Seven Colors of the Rainbow.

This acceptance restrains the non-Jew from creating a new religion, even one based on the Seven Laws …

It’s OK; Jews aren’t supposed to be creating new religions for Gentiles to become a part of either. This restrains us Gentiles from joining novel religions as well, like already existing christianity or islam. 

Rabbi Clorfene’s insistence that anyone with the right confession can enter his Gerrish religion still is an invitation to a religion: full Judaism without the Jew element. This is a new religion in that, as was shown before, “Judaism” or more properly the covenantal Torah stipulations for Jews and the national Jewish identity go hand in hand. To split one from the other, offering the “religion” to a Gentile without the national, communal identity is a novel thing, one that a Gentile should be wary of.

To continue with his article (almost over),

The Ger in the Gate is established by G-d in the Torah. The Ger in the Gate is mentioned in three verses; one is in the Ten Commandments, where he is told to rest on Shabbat. The Ger Toshav, on the other hand, is a Talmudic construct, a legal fiction established by the rabbis of the Second Temple period.

The Biblical Ger in the Gate is a G-d fearing Gentile, as it says (Deut. 31:12), “the Ger in the Gate shall hear and learn and fear the Lord your G-d.”

Conversely, the Talmudic Ger Toshav does not believe in G-d. That is to say, the rabbinic obligations of a Ger Toshav extend only so far as rejection of idolatry. The obligations of a Ger Toshav do not require belief in   G-d. And since he is not required to believe in G-d, therefore, we say that he does not believe in G-d. But a Ger, who is the Ger in the Gate, is expected by G-d to keep Shabbat, for of the Ger in the Gate the Torah says (Ibid.), “and observe to do all the words of this Torah.”

The “ger in the gates” is told to keep sabbath? Really?

… on [the sabbath] you shall not do any work, you nor your son nor your daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is in your gates. (Exodus 20)

Notice something with me please. In the verse, cattle or domesticated working animals are included. Did God command the animals to keep sabbath? What was their punishment if they were caught doing one of the 39 categories of forbidden work?

No, the responsible Israelite was commanded to remember and keep sabbath, and he had to make sure everyone in his household rested, his irresponsible young children (see Rashi), his servants, his cattle and his ger. [It makes me wonder which Jews the individual “gerring” belongs to in this day and age.]

But then Chaim Clorfene continues to assert a sola-scriptura-like claim, a claim you would expect to here from “Jews for the Yeshu monster.” He says the ger toshav is purely a rabbinic construct, as in it’s not an elucidation of Torah, but rather it didn’t exist in Bible times so the ancient rabbis made it up. (Jews for Yeshu [monster] claim that the oral law itself is a rabbinic invention that didn’t exist in Bible times.)

Once again, there is no evidence of this. Reading the commentaries of Rashi and Hirsch and Artscroll, it seems like a natural explanation of the various usages of ger in the written Torah. But Clorfene says differently. 

So far I have no reason to believe him at all. 

He makes the definitive claim that the rabbinic ger toshav doesn’t believe in God but only rejects idolatry. I can see evidence for only one part of that claim (“rejects idolatry”). But this, the notion that a ger toshav doesn’t accept God, seems to be a claim only from his reasonings, his attempt to differentiate his “biblical ger” from the one taught by rabbis throughout the ages.

It is a strange claim to make and there is no positive traditional evidence given to give it any weight.

Again, rabbi Clorfene makes weak arguments and claims when he claims that a modern “noahide ger” is expected to keep sabbath because “of the Ger of the gate [who he equates with the modern gerring] the Torah says [Deuteronomy 31:12], ‘and observe to do all the words of this Torah.'”

Let’s look at this verse he’s referring to. 

Assemble the people together, men, and women, and children, and your stranger that is within your gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this Torah …

Question: what about this verse would tell a ger that he is expected to keep the sabbath for himself? Is it the part that says “all the words of this Torah?” Logically, it cannot mean that he must keep all the laws in the Torah. Nobody in Israel keeps all of the laws. The men keep the laws for men. The women keep the laws for women. The Levites keep the laws for Levites and the non-Levites keep the laws for non-Levites. And the ger toshav would keep those laws that pertain to him. 

Whether or not that ger keeps the sabbath or not, based on the definition of words, it has nothing to do with the Gentile outside the land of Israel, who has never and will never settle to reside in Torah Israel or at least doesn’t do it right now. We can’t talk about (using the translation from chabad.org) “your stranger that lives in your cities” when the Gentile is living in America or UK! Clorfene is off by thousands of miles. 

I also am strongly convicted that even if the modern Gentile lived in the current state of Israel, there are still important elements missing for the formal institution of the ger toshav. I know an odd group of rabbis have tried it but I don’t believe it is a normative teaching. 

Anyway, let’s finish this off. The last part of his article …

The difference between a Gentile’s  right to keep Shabbat is belief in G-d. If he believes in G-d (and rejects shituf), he can keep Shabbat, and if he does not believe in G-d (and reject shituf), he cannot keep Shabbat.

It is not confusing. 

So after all this, I can say this: wrong! Biblically and based on what I’ve read so far, no! Shabbat is a special sign between the Jewish people and God. It sets apart Israel from the non-Jew. It doesn’t matter if it was set apart from creation. God set it aside for a purpose and then set it on the tablets of stone, in the Decalogue that is not meant for the whole world but are the testimony of the special pact and relationship between the nation of Israel, the descendants of Jacob, and God (Exodus 34:28-29)! 

Israel is Israel! The other nations are the other nations! We all have something to contribute to the kingdom of God in our own way, but not by blurring the lines between God’s priestly nation and the rest of the nations of the world. We all have been richly blessed, some with regards to the inner man, some with regards to the mind, some physically. All these things can come together to make the world the place God wants it to be. Enjoy to the full who you are! If you are a Jew, make the most of those blessings and that inheritance in accordance to God’s law for Jews. If you’re not a Jew, no matter what nation, find your blessing and enjoy it to its fulness in accordance with God’s law for Gentiles.

But let’s not create artificial lines between the Jew and his Torah in order to give the nations a blessing and responsibility not meant for them. You want Jewish responsibility and Jewish commandments? Become a Jew! If not, in the name of what is good and righteous, stop seeing yourself as shortchanged! Stop insulting what God has already given! Stop following the folly of rabbi Chaim Clorfene and rabbi David Katz and their followers and making it seem as if God gave you a desert and no license to find water! To quote a Jamaican phrase, stop accusing God of giving you a basket to carry water!

We Gentiles have a fantastic entrepreneurial opportunity! We have the opportunity to take God’s law for us, plumb its depth, understand our purpose as the nations of the world, and then break ground and plant something fantastic using the blessings God has given our various nations and cultures.

Israel has preserved our Torah law! Let’s take it and prepare the world for change!

​God-rejectors: They have nothing – Science, reality and knowledge

The final part of this series will cover a subject which would seem, to many, to be the forte of atheists and those who reject God. There are too many instances in the state indoctrination system called “public education” (or in many other institutions of “education”),or in the media, or in personal interactions with work colleagues and strangers where they will raise scientific objections to God and the Torah. The conclusions of scientists and philosophers for the past centuries which conflict with either the descriptions of God, or the narrative recorded in the written Torah and the Jewish Bible will be held up as reasons why the Torah is fallacious and its God a fraud, an untenable hypothesis.

So in this part, it is claimed that the teachings of the Jewish Bible contradict observed reality and the findings of modern science. Because the plain words of Genesis contradict the process of universal and biological development described by scientists, God-rejectors cry foul, that the revelation of God goes against reality. How stupid does a worldwide flood sound? God made the world in seven days? Making humanity, one man and one woman from dust? Taking Israel out of Egypt with massive plagues? Splitting the “Red Sea?” Talking to humans? Miracles? Prophets and prophecy? Really? Hasn’t science raised us above this … this mythology? Isn’t even God himself an imaginary guy in the sky who is a crutch, a means to comfort oneself when real life hits?

Now for some of the things I’ve said above, I know from experience that even some of those versed in the Torah will be saying to themselves that these things don’t conflict with science if we interpret the Torah this way or that way. 

But before I even think of measuring what the Torah says against science, before I use science as the standard that the Jewish Bible must submit to, I need to know what science is in order to know whether it is the standard according to which we all must interpret life.

There are many examples and types of science. There’s physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, archaeology, etc. And they investigate the world in different ways. But what is science itself? If I were to do a search on the word, there would be as many answers as there are sources. But from what I can see it is where people use their perception, observation, reason, logic and creative imagination to investigate the natural world to build up models and theories about how the universe and its contents behave. It is fundamentally based on human perception and reasoning. It is fundamentally based on the person doing it.

It should also be said that science itself is a tool. It’s not a person or a human being. It is dead and does nothing without an intelligent user. It is extremely important to say this because, too many a time, people, even the Torah observant, say “science does this” and “science teaches us that” when it is not science, which is in fact a dumb, silent, powerless tool. It is the person using the science that does things, that teaches things. It is the fallacy of reification to make science out to be something personal when it is not.

OK. So, based on this, what exactly is science as a standard? If I’m gonna have to make sure that the revelation of the objective God, the true God, is correct, then is science a valid tool?

Science is limited by those who use it. Humans don’t have all knowledge. Humans are not all-seeing. Our place and position in the universe is smaller than dust and the range of our vision is a small slice of the entire spectrum of life, space and time. We are stuck in the here and now. Our knowledge and range of perception are limited. Because of this, we must make assumptions, unprovable starting points, things we can’t prove to be true but must accept to make investigation of this world possible. 

Because we don’t have all the evidence and all the facts, that means, necessarily, that the conclusions reached and the models created by scientists can only be tentative, held in doubt. Why? Because, as history shows, it just needs one piece of extra evidence that we didn’t have before to falsify a theory or model. It’s because of this that the models and theories of scientists can tell you what could have happened but not what actually happened.

We humans also have biases, agendas, are affected by culture, peer pressure, can be swayed by desire for power or money, such as funding for projects, etc. There are many factors that can affect individuals and groups. An atheist can be just as “religiously ardent” in his or her desire for there to be no God and interpret the world in that way as a God-fearer would in the opposite way.

So from the outset, the human use of science can not lead to the absolute truth about everything. Making useful things we are great at. Using this tool called science to manipulate our environment to our advantage makes it powerful in that way. We can use it to make our race seem powerful and intelligent. And science can lead to many highly probable models and stories.

But we humans can not go beyond our limits. Humans are not the source of truth or reality. 

It should also be stated that the humans using science are limited to what they experience. Whether it be the sort of science that needs observation and repeatable experiments or the sort of science that is a lot more theoretical, it gives its advocates and users more authority when it deals with what we can experience. Outside of human experience, it falls into speculation and it is much more prone to the other factors.

And then steps in the God-rejector.

Now let me stop here. Even before we get to the God-rejector, let me just get the lay of the land. Science is already not a tool for objective truth. It’s a tool for the useful and for the probable. But because the users of science are innately subjective and limited, because it needs untestable, unprovable assumptions to even work due to our limitations in knowledge and perception, then the rhetorical question comes to mind: how can the limited, tentative and subjective topple the objective and absolute? The question is rhetorical because the answer is inevitable: it cannot. 

Those who use science can only strictly produce probable and tentative models and stories, and that’s only when they’re dealing with things within human experience. Outside of that, distances we can’t directly interact with, sizes too big or small for human sense perception to adequately attain, eons of time when humans can never experience, when a person with science tries to speak on these areas, he’s squarely in the realm of belief and plausibility, but nowhere near truth.

And then steps in the God-rejector!

While this individual boisterously declares what is real or not, what is fact and what is not, what he knows for a fact, a person just needs to look at what his grasp on reality and knowledge rests on. Remember, for this person, there is no foundation of objective truth. Can I be more blunt? He has no foundation of truth! He has his personal perception, that tiny sliver of what he thinks he sees. He has his subjectivity and possibly a whole lot of faith in his own mental world of perception. But he has nothing else.

And it gets worse.

Normally, these days, the general idea amongst those who reject God is that our brains were cobbled together by a senseless, mindless (stupid) process which only had the primary “aim” of survival. I’m not sure how the mindless can have an aim. In fact, I’m quite sure that the process actually has no real aim. But anyway, I digress. 

So we have this chemical vat in our skulls that only acts in accordance with the laws of chemistry and physics which “miraculously” made it. When it generates a thought or thoughts, it is only a chemical reaction. It’s only a fizz. And tell me, what is true about a fizz?

So I have coca cola in one bottle and fizzy lemonade in another one. Is there any point in doing a meaningful intelligence test on these bottles? When I shake them and make them fizz, is one any truer than the other? When one person has a brain fizz and another has a different one, does it have anything to do with purpose and intelligence? Or is it just the way it is?

Please understand, when a God-rejector opens his mouth to use any knowledge claim, attempts to make a factual argument against God, he has already defeated himself. He has no knowledge to offer, only personal opinion and personal experience. He has no truth to give only subjectivity. When he attempts to use science, the tentative, to disprove the word of the absolute, … is there even any comparison? 

When the evolutionist opens his mouth to suggest an ecology and universe no human ever experienced, there is no truth only faith, faith in the unprovable axiom that natural laws and principles we experience now can be wound backwards like a clock with absolutely no “outside” (supernatural) interferences, faith that we know with such completeness the nature of the entire universe, that humans can simply use our minds and authoritatively imagine an entire history the vast majority of which we have neither experienced or tested, faith that the brain made up by a senseless process can unerringly make sense of it all. That’s not all the faith but some of it. 

Excuse me if I find such a faith to be infinitely greater than the supposed faith needed to “believe in” God.

When it comes to science, knowledge and truth/reality, the God-rejector is so out of his depth when he tries to tackle the God issue, it reminds me of when very young babies sadly die face down in an inch of water … except this time you’re throwing that young baby into the Atlantic Ocean or the Pacific Ocean screaming, “Swim, Forrest! Swim!”

And yet, at times, even I will balk. The God-rejector seems so confident. He says the world can’t naturally be flooded (yes, note the word “naturally”) and give 15 scientific quotes as to why it cannot happen. [Actually, normally, whether from God-rejectors or Torah observant people who accept the naturalistic fantasies of the God-rejector, I hardly get any decent evidence offered for their stories … but I can try to paint them in a good light, right?] The God-rejector has such pomp and push and also a following when he declares that a certain scientific “fact” (LOL!) discredits the whole Jewish Bible.

And yet, when I stop and consider what these claims actually rest on, I look again at these God-cursers and only see balloons, empty of substance yet able to produce a lot of hot air.

Looking back at this series about God-rejectors, I realise more and more the fact that I’ve written in the titles of these blogposts:

THEY HAVE NOTHING!

But I also realise that the one true God is more real than the world itself. He is needed to be the basis for knowledge, truth, reality, rationality and morality. He is the foundation for the whole world and the whole universe. 

To Him Alone belongs all praise, honour and worship! Can’t put nothing or no one before him!