Noahides and Torah Study

I’m putting this article on my blog with the permission of Jack Saunders of 1stcovenant.org. It was the quote I referred to in a previous blogpost that I can’t remember right now. I’ll leave it to speak for itself. Whatever I add will be in square brackets.

Noahides and Torah Study

The following article comes from the late great leader of the Chabad movement, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe (may he rest in peace). It came to us courtesy of Rabbi Yirmiyahu Bindman, who circulated it widely.

We re-print it here because it so clearly states the following principles, so basic to our subject:

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.

As the Rebbe put it: “They [B’nai Noah] are required to learn Torah to know how to conduct themselves, because they are meant to become fully conversant in their own right and not to rely on answers from Jews in every instance, and there is indeed no guarantee that Jews will always know the right answers for them, since there are often differences between Jewish and Noachide decisions on any given topic.”
________

“All who tell a thing in the name of the one who said it bring redemption to the world – including Bnei Noach:”

‘The saying of the Mishnah (Avot 6:6) “All who tell a thing in the name of the one who said it bring redemption to the world,” is the last of the forty-eight ways given there by which Torah is to be acquired. Of all these forty-eight ways no other is given together with a further concept, except this last one, where the Mishnah adds that it brings redemption to the world, and brings a proof from the verse, “And Esther told it to the king in the name of Mordechai,” (Esther 2:22).

‘In this concept we see a wondrous thing, since from the fact that the Mishnah says, “‘All who tell a thing”, meaning whoever he may be, it comes to include Bnei Noach, who also have the concept of learning (and hence ‘acquiring’) Torah, for the mitzvot meant for them (Sanhedrin 59a). They are required to learn Torah to know how to conduct themselves, because they are meant to become fully conversant in their own right and not to rely on answers from Jews in every instance, and there is indeed no guarantee that Jews will always know the right answers for them, since there are often differences between Jewish and Noachide decisions on any given topic. We thus see that the ways by which the Torah is acquired have meaning likewise for them. And so ‘all’ who tell a thing in the name of the one who said it bring redemption to the world, including Bnei Noach.

‘And furthermore, the proof brought for this from the verse, “And Esther told the king in the name of Mordechai,” shows it to be a part of the deeds of great and powerful individuals, Esther and Mordechai, and also the king, Achashverosh (of Persia) himself (people who accomplish many things, but still need this means to bring redemption). It shows that everyone, whoever he may be, has the capability by this means to bring true redemption, even though the redemption described in the book of Esther was not yet complete and final, and we are accordingly still termed ‘servants of Achasverosh’ and for this reason we do not say the ‘Hallel’ on Purim (Megillah 14a).’

(Hitva’adut 5748 [1988] vol. 4 p. 39.)

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