The World of the Gerring
written by Alan Cecil, author of Secular by Design: A Philosophy of Noahide Laws and Observances, The Noahide Code and The Noahide Guide to Matthew. The original article can be found at https://academyofshem.wordpress.com/2016/03/20/gerring/
From my perspective, the Ger movement is beginning to look more and more like a religious cult, one of those “only we know the truth” cults. The arrogant attitude. Their bringing in things that are not ger-mane to the Noahide conversation. Secret handshakes.
Well, maybe not secret handshakes. Not yet.
But it is disturbing to read the comments by these gerrings in gerring groups led by a ger-iatric rabbi. The gerrings are heavy on religion, mysticism and kabbalah, light on halakha.
Yes, I know their arguments in support of gerring, the halakhic ger-rymandering of the Torah and Talmud to bolster up their thesis of why the gerring is a real entity.
The question I haven’t seen answered properly is: what makes a gerring better than a plain ordinary Noahide? To love Israel and Torah? To publically proclaim yourself a follower before three rabbis (to which my wife sardonically replied, “sounds like walking down the aisle and shaking the rabbi’s hand to convert”), or to take on extra mitzvot beyond the traditional “seven?”
Funny thing is, I’ve done all three. I’ve always loved Israel and Torah. I grew up next to a Jewish neighborhood. Most of my childhood friends were Jews. I was all into Judaism when I was a kid, playing with dreidels when I was about eight, knowing all the letters by name. I proclaimed myself before three rabbis back in 1988 to get into a kollel. I advocate keeping more than seven laws, more than sixty–six even. In my book Secular by Design, I list over 200 laws the Noahide should observe. The list isn’t written in stone; there can be arguments made for the exclusion of some and the addition of others. The point is, I advocate the keeping of many more mitzvot than Aharon Lichtenstein did in his wonderful book, The Seven Laws of Noah. The question is: doesn’t this make me a ger toshav?
Unlike the gerrings, however, I believe that to serve the Creator means to do what He commands, and sticking with the paradigms of the Bnai Noah laid out in Sanhedrin. What the gerrings are doing is coming darn close to creating a new religion, something that is forbidden by halakha. Saying that the gerring is a part of Israel is really pushing it; you’re either a Jew or you ain’t, as so many of the Southern gerrings would say.
Yes, I can hear the gerrings now, saying “You just don’t understand gerring.” But I do understand. I won’t cover the same ground from my previous post on gerrings. But I will say this. Being a gerring does not make you a special class of Noahide. If you don’t keep the Sheva Mitzvot, you’re not doing your job, and you’re certainly not special.
And, yes, I am well aware of what the word “gerring” sounds like. I just added an “ing” to ger and created a ger-und.