They say it’s easy

Ok, so I just did a video on Gilui Arayos (I didn’t really remember the Hebrew term until I did the video) which is the prohibition on having sex with forbidden partners. I thought about the definitions on marriage and divorce that I was talking about and that “devil’s advocate” voice popped up in my head, the same one that’s helping me do an interview with myself on my blog. Anyway, that voice said:

“David, isn’t this kinda easy? I mean, marriage is just two people coming together, deciding to live together, and having proper sex to seal the deal. Divorce is just those two people deciding to split up and one of them leaving the house they chose to live in. Ain’t it all a bit … glib? It seems like one of the most easy revolving doors ever. Easy in, easy out! What sort of standard is that?”

It’s really easy to think like that. Before I had even learned of the Noahide laws and I was getting married to a christian woman, one thing that came up was that, because of the law of Moses, I believe that divorce is allowed. People are allowed to divorce one another, and even get remarried afterwards. The christians around me looked down on such a view saying that the only reason to divorce was because of adultery and even then remarriage wasn’t a possibility. If a person got divorced for any other reason, it’s regarded as a means to commit adultery with future partners because the divorce wasn’t a proper one. Some think that once a person even believes that divorce is a possibility that it becomes almost inevitable to divorce anyone I would marry. It’s that sort of thinking that crossed my mind and that I think will cross the minds of others when they look at the noahide definition of marriage and divorce.

On so many levels, this sort of thinking lacks substance. I’ve got to make this brief as this is a blog and I don’t want too many long essays here.

It’s easy for me or any Torah observant gentile to list the seven laws of Noah, and it is listed many places now on the internet. But what is the purpose of the commandments?

The reason for the prohibition of murder is clear and simple: it is necessary since God desires the world that He created to be inhabited and settled, and not destroyed and desolate, as is stated, “He did not create it for emptiness; He fashioned it to be inhabited.” (The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Page 375)

A man should marry a woman, and she should be an established wife for him, as it says, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cling to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” This is the means of establishing a society, which is accomplished through a man bonding with his wife and having children with her, as it says, “The Lord, Creator of the Heavens; He is the God, the One Who fashioned the earth … He did not create it for emptiness; He fashioned it to be inhabited …” Thus it is God’s will that people should settle the world. This injunction includes two separate details: (a) marrying a wife and living with her in an established manner, and (b) to have children with her. Therefore, even if a Gentile man is unable to have children and fulfill the injunction to “make the world settled” in this way, he should still marry and live in an established manner with a Gentile wife, since that is also a manner of the settling of the world, as it says:128 “The Lord God said: `It is not good that man be alone; I will make him a helper corresponding to him.'” (The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, pgs 511-513)

the injunction to “make the world settled” – This is how the Sages referred in brief to the verse Isaiah 45:18, quoted above. This phrase is cited several times in our text, so it is emphasized that in each instance it refers to this verse in Isaiah. (The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, explanatory note on pg 512)

These informative passages show on one level why the freedoms of the noahide commandments do not imply some glib and easy, revolving door mentality to marriage and divorce. When an attempt is made to search for the intent of God’s law, you find that one intent is for our benefit, our good, and our healthy establishment on this, God’s world. Noahide/Gentile marriage, although bereft of compulsory ceremony, is still deadly serious because it is about fulfilling part of our purpose and God’s purpose for our existence. Such matters are far from simple whim or desire. But as I say it takes more study of God’s laws for us gentiles, not just a memorizing of seven things not to do.

On another level, the personal human level, but still linked somewhat to the previous point, settling with someone is not an easy thing to be taken lightly. Moving in with someone that you are going to have an intimate relationship with for many people, religious or not, is no easy or light decision. It can’t just be a selfish existence anymore. Now there is a necessary requirement for the sake of peace and sanity to take on board someone else existence in your daily decisions. You have to make room in your living space, your finances, your heart and mind, rearrange, change, share … And such things are not easy and thus cannot be taken lightly both when going into such a relationship or leaving one. It becomes even harder with children! Chopping and changing leaves inevitable damage! When any thinking human takes this on board, neither marriage nor divorce is an easy choice to make.

So no, at least on these two levels, on the level of law and on the personal level, gentile marriage and divorce, marriage and divorce according to the noahide laws, when taken seriously, are not grants to shack up (live together) for a day and be out of the door looking for fresh meat the next. Marriage is still a life-long commitment. But the Noahide Law, the Source of those laws, is realistic: unfortunately divorce becomes necessary or inevitable for more reasons than adultery, such as physical, verbal, mental, or sexual abuse, or two people show such an incompatibility that they damage each other and those around them, etc. If it is needed, it is there to open future doors for a better relationship.

So again, marriage and divorce in the noahide commandments are still serious subjects.

Now do not get me wrong. In any society there are the frivolous, the childish, and the stupid who will take whatever freedoms they have to destroy themselves and, unfortunately, others. But, even with my lack of faith in our society, I believe that only refers to the minority. This article wasn’t written with them in mind. It was just to share my point of view, and make the case for soundmindedness when it comes to any of the noahide principles. It is easy for an outsider of such concepts concerning the seven commands, or a devil’s advocate, real or otherwise, to ridicule and see slackness and ease in the worldview created by observance of God’s Torah Law for Gentiles, but a person doesn’t know the weight of certain responsibilities until that person carries them.

Well, this was just my opportunity to share some of my scattered thoughts on the subject. Hope you get something positive from them.

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2 Comments

  1. Michelle

    thanks for sharing and G-d bless you and all those placed around you in your ramblings! for I know this word ~ I use it too 🙂 may the joy of your study bring with it renewed hope and a reminder that all are love(d) and watched over wherever they have strayed and more so on their return for then love is both respected and reflected. Amen

    • Thank you for your blessing. I’m glad my few words could be an encouragement for you. May God lead you to His truth and bless you and yours along the way.

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