Personal: It’s legal, so it’s ok – Out in the world
I’ve seen cruelty done in the name of the law.
When someone tells me “it’s legal, so it’s ok,” then it shows me the dangers of the sort of people I live amongst.
When someone who knows Torah and/or the seven laws, be it Gentile or Jew, tells me “it’s legal so it’s ok,” then it shows me that knowing Torah and/or the seven laws doesn’t diminish the danger.
Or the foolishness.
Yet both is a normal occurrence for me. And it’s hard to put a finger on the negative feeling I get when I know and see it happening. It’s one thing to have a gun to your head. But it’s another thing when those who are supposed to be the good guys are, in effect, agreeing with the gun to your head.
But that is the blessing with the seven laws, at least as I understand it. The seven laws do not automatically make you part of a select group. You don’t get membership to a club. As far as day to day life goes, I basically have my family, my wife and children, as my main “social” group. I don’t have to see rabbis. I don’t have to go to regular meetings with anyone like me with regards to acknowledging the seven laws or the God of creation. I can be just out in the world, like the spark or shard that I am, alive for a short time and then fizzling out to nothing with no promise of futurity.
You see, for me personally, I think that meeting someone who knows something about Torah sets up an expectation in my mind about them. They’re supposed to have reached some basic level of goodness. And when, as is often the case, they hold an ideal or a value or live according to a code that is below that expectation, that disappoints me. For things that are not important, disappointment doesn’t matter too much. Life goes on and the general consistency of it is unaffected. But for core values … for me, that sort of disappointment causes me to start to withdraw, maybe out of self-protection. The consistency is broken to a significant extent.
It’s difficult to be close to someone who is going to pat the back of your attacker. It’s difficult to be close to someone who, with glee, takes a dump on that which you value most. It seems to be a betrayal to be close to someone who vocally and actively hates the person you love.
At least when I deal with total strangers or the normal pleb around me, that expectation is not there. I don’t expect for that person to be decent, good or bad. When the immoral opinions come or immoral acts, I can shrug my shoulders and just get on with it. I don’t have to challenge it or feel challenged by it. Why not? Because there’s no standard that that individual is supposed to have for me to feel dissonance at the lack of consistency that I perceive!
It makes me somewhat chuckle that people think that first they “become noahide,” (which to me just means joining a religious group … that’s not a complimentary or approving statement), and then crave to be part of something so they look to create or participate in “noahide groups” or “noahide communities” or “noahide virtual communities” as if that element, the religious “noahide” element, will curb the loneliness. It’s their lives. My chuckling is not to scorn what they want to do. Well, not all of it anyway.
I chuckle because of the difference in my own personal life journey. I’ve found less loneliness on my own than amongst “noahides.” Loneliness abates, for me, when I’m just having a rare chat with some guy from my wife’s church or some guy I play football with. [I’m from the UK, so when I say “football” I mean “real” football, the game you play controlling the ball with your feet, which americans call “soccer.” I had a good laugh with some american having a non-serious play argument with him about his “football” as opposed to european “football.” LOL!] I have a deep and intense love for God and Torah, that doesn’t seem to be my point of loneliness right now.
I embrace the fact that a non-Jew, a Gentile, and therefore I’m in a world mainly full of Gentiles, people who are not Jewish. I didn’t “join the noahides.” I distance myself from those who call themselves “ger.” I’m just a dude, a guy, out in the world. And I think acknowledging that as opposed to looking to or for seven-laws-knowledgeable Gentiles and Torah-observant Jews may save me a lot more heartache.
At least, that’s how it looks for now. It may change by next week. Who knows?