Explaining myself to the listening ear – Appendix to not keeping Jewish holy days

A conscientious gentile who embraces the seven laws of Noah took offense at what I said in my last post. Now remember, this is a conscientious person, not just a mindless automaton who claims to obey God. This person has a good mind and heart. Although the words I say next may not reach this person due to the way this person sees my article, at least someone who is puzzled about my article in a similar fashion to this righteous gentile can read the rest of this article to see how I understand the points this person brought up.

The Problem

The problem comes from how I understand Rambam in this following quote:

Halachah 9
A gentile [translated from the Hebrew word “goy” until my next note – my addition] who studies the Torah is obligated to die. They should only be involved in the study of their seven mitzvot.

Similarly, a gentile 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 righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their Torah without adding or detracting from them.

If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, a Jewish court should beat him, punish him, and inform him that he is obligated to die. However, he is not to be executed.

Halacha 10
We should not prevent a gentile [translated from the Hebrew term “ben Noach”] who desires to perform one of the Torah’s mitzvot in order to receive reward from doing so, provided he performs it as required. If he brings an animal to be sacrificed as a burnt offering, we should receive it. (Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, Shoftim, Laws of Kings and Wars, Chapter 10 from http://www.chabad.org)

Two issues were brought up with regards to my previous blogpost.

  • Some say that halachah 9, where the word “gentile” is a translation of the Hebrew word “goy”, only refers to idol worshippers, not to righteous gentiles who, in the eyes of some, are referred to as “ben Noach” as seen in halachah 10.
  • It is impossible to reconcile halachah 9 and 10 in a consistent manner if they both refer to gentiles on a whole including righteous gentiles.

The logic of the second point is that if gentiles on a whole are not allowed to innovate new divine commandments other than the seven in halachah 9, then it makes no sense that in the next halachah says that they are not to be prevented if they want to perform a divine command from the 613 commandments. Either they can add a command or they can’t. We can’t have it both ways.

Taking the last one first

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that both halachahs of the Rambam impacts gentiles on a whole. I’ll show that this is the case or, at the very least, a valid interpretation later. Is it really a contradiction? Is it really impossible to reconcile the two points of Rambam in a consistent manner in this light?

To be blunt, there isn’t really anything to reconcile because there is no real contradiction. There is no point where Rambam says “do not add commandments” and then “it’s fine to add commandments”. Let’s look at what Rambam says in each halachah.

Halachah 9 says that gentiles are not to innovate mitzvos, divine and binding commandments. The only commandments from God to gentiles are the seven. That’s easy enough.

Halachah 10 says that a gentile isn’t prevented from performing a commandment in the Jewish part of the Torah for reward, or for a benefit.

There is a fundamental difference between what is going on in halachah 9 and halachah 10. In halachah 9, it says that a gentile should keep his Torah, the seven laws. A gentile keeps these commands because God commanded them fundamentally, not because of some reward. This cannot be said for any other law. If a gentile keeps any other command as if God commanded it, as if it has that sort of obligation, then that gentile is in the wrong.

And then comes along halachah 10 which says that commandments given to Jews, which Jews must keep because God commanded them, not the Gentiles, these Jewish commandments can be performed by a gentile because of reward or benefit. So a gentile doesn’t perform such actions because God commanded that person. God didn’t! He performs it to get something out of it for himself. So there is no obligatory power to this sort of “observance” at all. It can be picked up and dropped at will because it is not a commanded act but, in a way, a selfish one. If I see something I can gain from a commandment, even a good benefit, I can do it as long as it’s not a special command with no rational benefit that is meant for the priestly nature of Israel itself. If you study what is said about sacrifices that allowed to gentiles, you’ll see we’re not allowed to do peace offerings and purification (or sin) offerings. We can only offer burnt offerings. So there are commandments that are not for us whatsoever. I understand that Sabbath is included in that, at least its full observance.

Anyway, so if both halachah 9 and 10 impact gentiles on a whole, there is no contradiction, so there’s no need for reconciliation. One refers to commandments kept as divine commands and edicts. The other refers to optionals taken from the Jewish 613 commandments.

The non-existent idolator

When that conscientious righteous gentile told me that halachah 9 referred to idolators, I thank God that it was in me to check out the Hebrew edition of Mishneh Torah before I tried to respond to her and before I wrote this. As you saw above, the Hebrew word used in halachah 9 is, by transliteration, “goy”. What does “goy” mean? It just means “a gentile” or someone from the non-Jewish nations. The word in and of itself does not mean idolator. Now if context demands it, then it can have the connotation of idolator because for much of history, and even today, the nations were steeped in idolatry. But remember, context must demand it, otherwise its natural meaning is just “gentile”.

Now it should be noted that nothing in the context of halachah 9 demands that “goy” be understood as idolator. The term “ben noah” historically never meant “righteous gentile”, so there is no grounds on which to contrast “ben noah” with “goy” in Rambam’s writings. It just was another term for gentile. This can be seen in the Talmud and in Mishneh Torah. In the most important part of the Babylonian Talmud for gentiles, Tractate Sanhedrin 56a, it says,

Seven commandments were enjoined upon bnei Noah, justice, cursing God, idolatry, forbidden sexual partners, murder, theft, and meat from a living animal.

It is universally understood that here it is saying that all mankind, all gentiles were commanded these seven laws. So “bnei Noah” or “ben Noah” does not in and of itself mean “righteous gentile”. It just means gentiles. Unfortunately, in today’s religious climate, people made up a word “noahide”, confused its meaning with what is properly termed “pious of the nations of the world” and imposed that modern meaning back into the words of the Talmud and Rambam. Let me give evidence from Rambam that “ben Noah” doesn’t imply in and of itself “righteous gentile”.

In chapter 9 of Laws of Kings and Wars in Mishneh Torah, Rambam goes through each command that a gentile must keep. Almost all of them say “A ben Noah that does x is liable…”, x referring to the core seven prohibited acts, like serving idols. The valid question to ask is whether this refers to just righteous gentiles or gentiles on a whole. Since it is plain and clear that all gentiles, not just the righteous ones, are commanded to keep the seven, and thus any gentile is liable. Therefore the term ben Noach doesn’t mean righteous gentile in and of itself. There may be a nuance between halachah 9 and 10, but not enough to outrightly say “goy” must mean idolator and “ben Noah” means pious among the nations.

Now there’s another simple way of knowing who halachah 9 and 10 are understood by Jews to be referring to: taking note of how a Jewish translation of Mishneh Torah translates the terms in this specific place. It’s also worthwhile seeing if other rabbis understanding these texts to be referring to gentiles in general, not just idolators.

So the clearest piece of evidence that halachah 9 and 10 refers to gentiles according to Jews and rabbis is that very same translation of Mishneh Torah at http://www.chabad.org which understands both halachah 9 and 10 to refer to gentiles on a whole and thus translates the relevant terms as simply “gentile”. Knowing that translation is inevitably interpretation, it’s blatantly obvious that the rabbis who worked on the translation saw “gentile” as a valid understanding.

Rabbi Yoel Schwartz, in his work “Noahide Commandments” saw no such limitation on the word “goy” to only refer to idolator when he said this on page 1.

Judaism forbids establishing a new religion, as explained by the Rambam (Kings 10, 5:6-9): “The principle of the matter: You cannot allow them to establish a new religion or to carry out commandments from this knowledge…” Anyway, what we are doing here in connection with the Children of Noah is not the establishment of a new religion. Since a foreigner (Gentile) is not ordered in writing to fulfill them, but only, if by his own free will, he wishes to carry out such commandments as the Rambam wrote: “We are not allowed to stop a child of Noah that seeks to be compensated by fulfilling the (some of those) laws of the Torah (that were only commanded to the Jews).” So it seems that the establishment of a new religion occurs only when a person comes and says that he has been ordered by G-d to fulfill such and such a law and not when he is trying to reach a degree of spiritual perfection by fulfilling the commandments that the children of Israel have been ordered to carry out.

Regardless of his interpretation of what Rambam meant, what should be clear is that he puts no such limitation on the word “goy” to just mean “idolator”.

In the book, “Path of the Righteous Gentile” by Rabbi Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky, in the chapter called “The Seven Laws of the Children of Noah”, in section 24, it is clear that they understand it to mean humans in general, not just idolators.

24. In accord with the Seven Universal Commandments, man is enjoined against creating any religion based on his own intellect. He either develops religion based on these Divine Laws or becomes a righteous proselyte, a Jew, and accepts all 613 commandments of the Torah.

Rabbi Yirmeyahu Bindman, in his book “The Seven Colors of the Rainbow” on page 126 says,

This acceptance [a non-Jew accepting the Seven Commandments as divine] restrains the non-Jew from creating a new religion, even one based on the Seven Laws, because one then understands that the human sense of morality can never improve upon the laws given to Moses from on high.

Again, this appears to be a reference to Rambam when we compare Rabbi Bindman’s words to halachah 9, and again its implication is non-Jews on a whole, not just idolators.

Someone who follows the teachings of Rambam devoutly, Mori Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron, in his book, Guide for the Noahide, in Part II, Section B, “The Prohibitions”, it includes:

h. Not to invent a new religion, create new religious rites, or add other religious obligations to be regarded as obligatory [emphasis his]

Noahides may not create their own original customs of worship, religious ceremonies, or any other religious obligations to be treated as law or set in stone … A non-Jew must either become a full convert to Torah Judaism, taking upon himself all the Commandments, or remain under the Noahide Covenant, neither adding nor diminishing from it. (Book of Judges, Laws of Kings & Wars 10:12[9])

For example, while a community or an individual is free to develop its own prayer ceremony, they may not relate to it as having the force of law. Since HaShem left matters of worship and ceremony as a matter of personal choice for Noahides, it should remain that way.

Nonetheless, a Noahide is fully permitted to perform any of the other Commandments given to Israel – Torah obligations and rabbinical ordinances – on a volunteer basis.

This is confirmed by the excellent book (yeah, I like it a lot) by Elisheva Barre, another person who adheres to the teachings of Rambam, called Torah for Gentiles. in a chapter called “Other Bnei Noach Obligations – part 2”. This whole section is great at distinguishing between Jews and non-Jews and our different responsibilities. She also translates (and therefore interprets) halachah 9 as, “We do not let Gentiles innovate anything or take upon themselves obligations and observe commandments for themselves …” There’s little place for ambiguity here.

Then we have Rabbi Moshe Weiner’s “The Divine Code” which has received approbations for multiple rabbis. In Part 1, Chapter 3, topic 2, we again find what has been repeated over and over so far throughout these quotations.

“The general rules is that it is forbidden for a Gentile (an individual and a community which observes the Noahide Code) to add precepts from another religion or create a commandment based on his own decision. If he wants, he can seek proper conversion to become a Jew in all respects, or he can remain observant of the Noahide Code, without adding to or subtracting from the Noahide Commandments that he observes.”

It’s important for me to give all of these sources in case people think this is just my own idea and I’m just relying on English translations. People who have expertise in both Hebrew and in Rambam are saying the same thing.

So there is nothing unambiguously tells us that Rambam was only referring to idolators as opposed to all gentiles including, if different, bnei Noach.

The existent idolator

So another good person helped me find out that there are two versions of the Mishneh Torah, one which uses “goy” in halachah 9 and 10, and the other that uses “akum”. For those who don’t know, “akum” is an abbreviation for a term that means “worshipper of stars and constellations”, i.e., an idolator. But based on everything I’ve said in this article and the previous one, this changes nothing. And at least I can add a piece to this article that I didn’t before.

In my previous article, I had already pointed out that the Talmud uses a similar phrase, oved kokhavim, “worshipper of stars”, i.e., an idolator. As I said in the last article, this term is still understood to refer to gentiles on a whole, not just someone who worships idols. I referred to the rabbis and sources that show that in the previous article, so I won’t rehash it here.

My previous section about “the non-existent idolator” shows the same thing is true in this case too. Regardless of whether the word is understood as “akum” or “goy”, the rabbis understand halachah 9 to still be referring to gentiles on a whole, not just people who worship false gods. What makes the point even more firm is that it appears that the person who translated Mishneh Torah was using the text that used “akum” and he still translates it in halachah 9 as “gentile” which is simply a non-Jew, not simply an idol-worshipper.

Another thing to add is that I’ve already shown that there is a qualitative difference between what halachah 9 is forbidding and what halachah 10 allows for a “ben Noah”. To summarize, halachah 9 forbids delving into Torah, not just a simply superficial study, and it forbids keeping additional commandments as if they are divine commandments, obligations with the force of law. As I’ve said repeatedly, the gentiles only have seven divine commandments, no more. Halachah 10 allows a “ben Noah” to perform Jewish commandments on a selfish and voluntary basis, i.e., they are not kept as divine commandments or obligations, only for what a Gentile to get out of it, i.e., for benefit or reward. Such acts can be picked up and dropped and no sin would occur, no crime against divine law would have been committed. So what halachah 9 forbids and what halachah 10 allows are different things.

And now I can add a final point. Just look at halachah 9 again when you get the chance, and think to yourself, “Is any thing prohibited in this halachah disallowed to idol-worshippers but allowed to what some interpret as a separate class of gentile called ‘ben Noah'”? Before I answer, also think to yourself about the opposite. From chapter 9 of Laws of Kings and Wars in Mishneh Torah, Rambam has only been saying “the ben Noah that does x is liable”. If “ben Noah” is really a separate class of gentile to the “goy” or the “akum”, does that mean that the seven laws are only for “ben Noah” and idolators have no commandments at all? Because, as a friend pointed out to me, I’ve never seen a section or part of Jewish tradition that says that one set of law is for Jews, another set of law is for “bnei Noah” and another set of laws is for idolators.

The fact of the matter is that the seven laws are commanded upon all gentiles, even those who break them through idol worship. So everything that Rambam said only about the “ben Noah” has the same force of law on the idol worshipping gentile as well, there is no real distinction there.

Anyway, back to my question about whether Rambam is really saying halachah 9 that these things are forbidden to idolators and but allowed to “bnei Noah”. Just think about it. One thing that is forbidden to a “goy” or “akum” in halachah 9 is the creation of a new religion. Now where does Rambam allow such a thing for so called “Noahides” or “Noahites”? The fact is that Rambam doesn’t. In fact, there is no sign that Noahides are allowed to create new commandments from their own understanding either. There is no sign that Noahides are allowed to observe any day of the week as a Sabbath. So it would appear that everything forbidden in halachah 9 still includes Noahides. Thus it impacts gentiles on a whole.

So all in all, regardless of whether the word used in halachah 9 is “goy” or “akum”, the prohibitions there impact all gentiles. The only place where a distintion is made is not in halachah 9 but in halachah 10 when it comes to what is done with charity money. There is a clear distinction made there between “goy/akum” and “ben Noah”. Halachah 9 doesn’t have that distinction in its content.

The Nonsense

Let’s imagine for the sake of argument that halachah 9 did only refer to idolators. Can you imagine what that really means? It’s been a while, so let me quote the specific section again.

Similarly, a gentile 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 righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their Torah without adding or detracting from them.

If this just refers to idolators and not righteous Gentiles, then what does this mean? Righteous Gentiles can make up their own commandments and festivals? God forbid! Different nations or gentiles having their own holy days? Saying God commanded them to do different things when tradition seems to be clear about the general commandments he gave to non-Jews? I find the idea of saying God said something when he didn’t repulsive. We, as gentiles, are given no more right to create new divine commandments than Israel are. We have no right to assume the commandments God gave to Israel as an inheritance.

Muddying the waters: the ger

Before I close this up, one side issue that was brought up was the notions of “ger toshav” and “ger tzedek”. Now I wouldn’t touch these subjects with a barge pole. I like the black and white concepts, the more simple ones. So it’s very easy to say and show that God gave seven commandments to gentiles and the 613 commandments were given to the nation of Israel. In the olden days, the Hebrew term “ger” was more easily understood: it was just a class of resident in Israel. It had no real bearing on someone who was a total outsider to Israel, e.g., someone born and raised in Babylon, who only knew Babylonians and one or two Jews, and died in Babylon. A “ger”, that certain class in Israel, people who had originated in other countries but had moved to live amongst the Israelites, was slightly different than a normal “ben Noach” who lived in other lands due to his proximity to Israel. This article is not going to go into what such an entity as a “ger toshav” or a “ger tzedek” is.

My only comment is that this discussion is not about either entity at all. I’m in no way a resident of Israel. I learn from rabbis in many ways, but my parents are from the West Indies, and I was born and raised in England, and I’m not planning to move to Israel or to a Jewish community intentionally. So the word “ger” doesn’t apply to me. I don’t think it applies to many gentiles who have embraced the seven commandments and the God of Israel. So we would be the ben Noah, the gentiles, the ones that were commanded the 7 commandments and nothing more.

Let those who would live as the “ger” (one living in an observant Jewish community or in covenant Israel [a country that doesn’t exist right now, only the secular “state of Israel”]) deal with the “ger”.

Conclusion

So, going back to the two problems raised by the conscientious righteous gentile, the passage in Rambam can be understood consistently if it refers to gentiles on a whole, and the word “goy” doesn’t necessarily mean idolator and, as far as I’ve learnt, more likely refers to gentiles on a whole, like the basic word means.

Thanks for reading this.

Advertisements

9 Comments

  1. Die Redaktion
  2. Luigi

    It is true that “goy” simply means a Gentile (non-Jew) in the Bible and in all classic Jewish literature. But in Rambam’s writings this word has a more specific meaning.
    In Hilchot Ma’akhaloth Assuroth (Forbidden Foods), 11:8, Rambam says: “Whenever we refer to a goy without any further description, we mean one who worships false deities.”
    If you assume that the “goy” in Mishneh Torah includes even the righteous non-jews, then there is a problem, because Rambam would say that this “goy” is forbidden to study the Torah. What? righteous gentiles forbidden from studying the Torah? That’s impossible, because Rambam himself says that the righteous gentile can observe other mitzvot from the Torah (besides the 7 mitzvot of Noach), and could even serve as a judge in Israel. Anyway, you should consider that the Rambam says explicitly that “goy” refers to an idolater in his writings.

    • Firstly, thank you for your well thought out response. Despite the fact that we may disagree, I’ve taken your points on board and am in discussion with a number of talmidei Rambam to discuss the matter.

      Now I do understand and have read that Rambam said what you pointed out about the word “goy”. But that isn’t the only thing that I can take into account. I must also take into account that these books have been studied by other Jews and rabbis who, for some reason, don’t come to your conclusion about what Rambam means in this portion of the Mishneh Torah, as I showed in my article. Even talmidei Rambam who know of the section you quoted don’t believe that “halachah 9” is limited to just idolators. Seeing that we are looking at two different contexts, one where he is talking about Jews and “goy” and another where he’s talking about bnei Noach and goy, I don’t know if the principle applies, especially seeing how he uses the term “ben Noah” in chapter 9 of Laws of Kings and Wars to speak of laws that apply to all gentiles including the goy.

      Now the word “ben Noah” doesn’t mean “righteous gentile”. There’s no overt sign that it does. As I showed in my article, it is another term for gentiles on a whole and how the commandment applies to us. And it is not impossible that ben Noah are forbidden from “studying” Torah. Rambam uses the word “‘osek”. As is shown by other Noahide-focused literature, osek refers to a specific type of delving into the depth of Torah, and not just any part of Torah, but Torah that is not related to our seven commandments. I think it is a very good thing for any gentile to be focused on getting to the depth of our own law, even righteous ones. To ‘osek in the Torah is to delve into Torah for its own sake, something that Jews must do, but a gentile should not do. That’s why Rambam’s next halachah adds the notion of performing a commandment for the sake of rewards. So a ben Noah can learn enough about a commandment that is not part of the seven to perform it for selfish reasons, for benefit, for reward, but not as if it is commanded by God to us. So a ben Noah still can’t osek, delve into the commandment that is not part of the seven because that is like interfering with a betrothed woman, as the Talmud declares. So it is forbidden for any Gentile, even a righteous one, to delve into areas of Torah that is none of our business. We gentiles have to learn our Torah, our seven laws and fix our own mess in our governments and our lives before we start messing with a Jew’s inheritance. I hope you can see the sincerity of where I am coming from, again, even if we disagree about it.

      And to continue, I don’t think Rambam gives permission for a ben Noah to do anything else that is forbidden in halachah 9. I don’t think a ben Noah is allowed to create a new religion. I don’t believe a ben Noah is allowed to create new commandments. I don’t believe Rambam gave permission a ben Noah to treat any day of the week like a sabbath. So regardless of how Rambam is using the word “goy”, the fact is that this passage gives no allowance for a non-Jew, any non-Jew, idolator or observant, to do what is forbidden in that halachah.

      So to summarize, osek doesn’t just mean a simple study, but in-depth delving, and its focus isn’t on every single part of the Torah. As Rambam himself says, a gentile’s focus should be his own laws. I agree with even a ben Noah delving into our seven laws to improve the gentile world, and whatever is of practical and logical use in the Jewish law to improve our unrighteous civilisation and corrupt governmental systems and not step into Jewish territory and delve into a sacred inheritance between HaShem and Israel. Jews have a role which I respect. It’s time for us Gentiles to pull our socks up and start improving our countries, societies, families and individual lives with the seven laws.

      • Luigi

        I agree with you on the fact that a righteous gentile can’t create a new religion or pretend to have received new mitzvot or revelations. In fact, if he does so, he is no more a righteous gentile at all, but an idolater.
        Regarding the interpretation of the halachot, I follow the approach of the Noahide World Center and Elijah Benamozegh.
        Shalom and thank you for your videos and posts.

      • You have some great teachers. Both of them have helped me to reach where I am today.

        I’m surprised you know of my videos. Even if what I say you don’t agree with, i hope it is food for thought for you. You have challenged me

  3. Andy

    As a talmid haRambam, I agree with the simple meaning of “goy.” It is simply one of the nations, whether he is an idolater or not, or a hasid umoth ha’olam. Regarding hagim, specifially Sukkoth, Rabbi Bar-Ron has clarified that fulfilling the mitzvah of ‘dwelling in the sukkah’ is open to goyim. It is the other two mitzvoth associated with Sukkoth – ‘to rest’ and ‘not to work’ – that goyim are forbidden to observe. These are laws associated with ‘shevithah’ and are common to Shabbath and all the hagim. And it should be said the mitzvah of waving the lulav, like the Pesah qorban, is exclusive to Yisrael, just like shevithah.

    I know part of what drives your contention, which is quite reasonable, is the Noahide world seemingly relating to Torah more as religion, and not enough as a force of mishpat. So I can see where investing effort in a hag on a voluntary basis appears to pull one away from the greater importance of studying the ways of mishpat and din, and helping to bring them about. However I see no wrong in it.

    I read your political articles. You are straight on in your assessment of the rampant injustice in the world today, and the ‘republics’ are no less guilty of propagating it. We have modern day Nimrods, Sedoms, Shekhems, and Par’ohs, and that is what we’re up against. That is our focus as much as spreading the knowledge of HaShem. The two are bound together – monotheism and justice are enemies to idolatry and tyranny. That having been said, I don’t think discouraging optional mitzvoth alone doesn’t help a person refocus on his existing, Dinvine obligations. I see no harm in it, and unlike Messianics and JforJ, I don’t see where Noahides risk becoming Jew-pretenders, by doing extra mitzvoth.

    The only thing that can cause serious harm to both Jews and gentiles is blurring distinctions through misunderstanding of legal definitions. That will have far more impact than taking extra measure of devotion, in my humble opinion. And for this, I am glad you wrote this article. You’re a fast writer, too, I must say.

    • Hi there, Andy. I appreciate your response. You’ve contributed a different voice to my blog and I’m glad you spoke up.

      If my article comes across as if I’m discouraging optional mitzvoth, I do apologise. That’s not my intention. I think my drive has more to do with getting priorities straight, rather than the eradication of the optional. Rabbi Moshe Weiner did a video once where he was answering the question of whether Gentiles can keep more mitzvos or study Talmud. He made, what I believe and remember to be, a good point. He said that a gentile should make sure his responsibilities are covered first before he thinks about looking for additionals. I believe he expressed doubt that many gentiles had reached that point.

      Our main responsibility is the seven. Our secondary, but still very important, responsibilities are those obligations that are linked to the seven, a good amount of which is described in Mori Michael Shelomo bar-Ron’s fantastic book which I still refer to often. But we can see many religiously minded gentiles running to questions like “can I keep sabbath and the holy days?” as if their past religions haven’t totally left them, as if they can’t see that true connection to God for gentiles isn’t necessarily feast days and holy days and worship songs but obedience to his laws and connecting to his will through the commandments that he’s given us. When we, like R. Hirsch said, start to live in the image he created us in – “derekh eretz” I think he called it, and it sounds similar to what you call mishpat and din – then we can make this world beautiful.

      Again, I appreciate what you’ve said and you’ve made a great contribution to my blog with your comment.

  4. Binyamin Singer

    In Halacha 9 it doesn’t say “goy”, it says “Idol worshiper” (עכו”ם). And if it was not clear, in Halacha 10 (the portion that wasn’t quoted) it makes clear the distinction between Ben Noach and Idol worshiper. (we receive tzedaka from Ben Noach bun not from idol worshiper).
    The simple meaning is that Ben Noach can do mitzvot and receive reward from G-d, while someone that has his own belief system and just want to add some Jewish stuff for flavor cannot.
    All the best

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion. It’s been covered by my articles and the comments. They can better explain why I disagree with your stance, rather than me rehashing the same arguments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: