Why I think “meat from a living animal” is the/a simple reading of Genesis 9:4

For me, this article has been long overdue. It’s been in my mind to do on my blog for some time. Even though I wrote an article on the same subject elsewhere, I wanted to re-do it here, keep the mental juices flowing rather than mechanically copy-pasting it from its original source.

So here goes.

When I was in the final phases of being a christian, before I rejected Jesus as any sort of messiah or prophet or anything of practical relevance, I believed it was forbidden to eat blood and that it was wrong to eat meat with blood still in it. I would take steps to remove any blood that was in the meat I bought to cook and eat. 

And I thought the source of this conclusion was Genesis 9:4. Here’s what it said in the King James Version, which I would read.

But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.

Now although some would say that this isn’t a terrible translation, I was led to interpret it like this:

“Don’t eat blood!”

And,

“Don’t eat meat with blood in it.”

Now people who can actually read the text would notice that I was not really taking meaning from the text. The text did not say “don’t eat blood.” So that “interpretation” was not really proper exegesis. It says nothing about blood on its own. 

But some may agree with my other conclusion, that a person should not eat meat with blood in it.

But years later, before I had wholesale accepted the oral tradition or the seven laws (but I was learning about them) I spotted an error in my reading. 

You see I was reading it like this:

“But flesh with its blood you shall not eat.”

But what does it really say?

But flesh with its soul, its blood, you shall not eat.

Each word has a meaning and has importance. So why had I ignored those words “its soul?” Or better yet, what did that word mean?

The Hebrew word, nefesh, is rendered a number of ways in English. The KJV and the JPS render it here as “life.” Others translate it as “soul.” Hebrew dictionaries available online like Brown-Driver-Briggs, Strongs, Gesenius use words like “soul, living being, life, vitality.” 

So the word seems to have something to do with being alive. 

So the text seems to be talking about flesh with its life, flesh that is alive.

I could have just stopped here and thought that the text is still talking about blood, the red stuff, and thus it still says, don’t eat flesh with its life, its red stuff. And thus nothing has changed.

Now the question to ask is this: does the context mention blood? And if so, how is it used?

Let’s look. Genesis 9:3-6.

3) Every moving thing that lives shall be for food for you; as the vegetation I’ve given you everything. 4) Only flesh with its life/soul, which is its blood, you shall not eat. 5) And surely your blood of your lives I’ll require; at the hand of every beast will I require it; and at the hand of man, even at the hand of every man’s brother, will I require the life of man. 6) He who sheds man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God made He man.

Now what I have to ask myself is if the word “blood” here simply refers to the blood, the red stuff, regardless of whether an animal or man is alive or dead? Is verse 4 really telling me that if I have a dead animal, any red stuff is forbidden?

When God says, “I’ll require the blood of your lives,” is he simply talking about any speck of the red stuff? When he says “he who sheds a man’s blood,” are we talking about any release of red stuff? If I slip and cut my knee so that it bleeds, have I sinned by shedding my own blood? If someone else cuts me, have they transgressed this law?

Now the odd thing is that it’s widely understood that the usage of “blood” in the verses that follow verse 4 refers actually to the life or, loosely, lifeblood. And we’re not just talking about drops of blood either. The text is still talking about “life.” 

For example, if I strangle someone to death, and not one drop of blood is shed, I would still have transgressed the law against “shedding blood.” Now this would seem odd only if I had ignored what verse 4 seems to really be saying and understood “blood” in a hyper-literal way to speak of any of the red liquid in an animal or human.

What do I mean by ignoring what verse 4 said?

Didn’t verse 4 warn me how it was going to be using the word “blood?” Didn’t it tell me that “life” is “blood?” Or that I’m supposed to understand “blood” as “life?” Didn’t it say “flesh with its life, which is its blood …?” That’s not simply “the red stuff.” 

The use of “blood” in the text should tell me that we’re not talking about “any red stuff” neither in verse 4 nor in verse 6. In this context, it’s talking about an element of life.

So based on the context, I’m not being told to wash meat before I eat it; just like I’m not being told specifically not to remove any blood from someone else. 

I conclude, like the sages of old, that this passage forbids eating flesh taken from a living animal. I now reject the idea that this text isolates “the red stuff” and forbids its consumption.

In other words, the prohibition of eating meat taken from a living animal seems closer to the simple reading of the text than a simple general prohibition against any blood. That may be in the law for Jews but not for the descendants of Noah on a whole.

I could have quoted rabbinical sources, but I’m focusing on my own conclusions here.

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“But that’s not how it’s supposed to work!” – the thing in the place of Dinim

So there have been a good amount of occasions where judges, lawyers and cops get away with apparent miscarriages of justice. I just heard of an occasion where a guy goes to a government official’s home to get an interview. That G.O. doesn’t particularly like this so he takes the guy’s smartphone from his hand, takes it into his garage, uses a hammer to smash the person’s phone and then uses an adequade saw to chop it in half  and then returns it to the person wanting the interview. 

No, that’s not the end.

The person who wanted the interview is arrested and the district attorney sets such a high amount of money for bail the guy can’t get out of jail until the trial. And the G.O. who smashed and destroyed the guy’s phone? The same D.A. drops all charges against him.

Now this is just one example of many of things that agents of the govt do that I personally see as immoral.

People can be imprisoned for asking the wrong questions to a judge, will have charges piled against them by police and lawyers, will be arrested and harrassed when doing nothing wrong or even illegal, will be killed or injured by government officials with no repercussions for those government officials.

And something I often hear from people is, “that’s not the way the system works” or “that shouldn’t happen.”

I’m puzzled by such a response. Well at least part of me is.

Think about the basis for such a statement. People only say “that’s not the way it works” because they think the system should work for justice, fairness and righteousness. They say injustice shouldn’t happen because they think the system should be for the cause of justice, fairness and righteousness. 

But when you consider how government officials get their positions and what law is, something doesn’t make sense. There is incongruence between what many accept as the way people get into such roles and how law works, and the result they are expecting.

People hold up a person’s act in light of the government’s law. To be a criminal, convicted or accused of going against the law, is generally seen to be a morally bad thing. Legislation is seen as morality. Those that go against law are seen to have opposed morality itself. 

Just to be clear, when I talk about people, I’m including Torah observant Jews and Gentiles. To my grave disappointment, in my experience, many of those who have made govt law seem moral, who have defended the political and legal systems in the land they live in, are Torah observant Jews and “noahides.”

Yet, what factually is govt law? What is the nature of govt law? It’s basically the written opinions of politicians, people whose level of righteousness or moral intellect is at best questionable, that are backed by the threat of coercion. 

But just like in science, so in politics, the words of men are elevated to a different plane of existence, as if holy or sacrosanct, by pure and simply magic or faith. 

However, when I think about what govt law actually is, its nature, the opinions of the questionable unknown politicians backed by threats, then I personally begin to wonder if I should really expect justice, righteousness and fairness from such a thing.

And since it is understood that govt law is just opinion backed by threats, then I’ll return to the idea of being a criminal, a law breaker. Essentially it is simply going against an opinion of someone else. It’s not, in and of itself, immoral. Someone’s opinion doesn’t make objective morality. The views of a group don’t make objective morality. Objective morality stands regardless of humans. 

So necessarily the government’s law is not moral law. In order for legislation to be moral, it has to accord with proper morality. And there are historical examples of immoral state law. Sometimes the criminals are the good people.

It’s not a popular point. But I believe it to be a true one.

So if government law is not in and of itself moral, then what about the concept of “rule of law” if govt law has such a flaky, weak and potentially immoral nature? Don’t even some “noahides” and noahide webpages see some great importance to “rule of law?” For example,

Today, the principle of the “rule of law” is universally recognized, that is, the incumbency of establishing a just legal system, which is applied with fairness and before whom all are equal. A law that violates fundamental human values does not satisfy this concept of the rule of law. (The Noahide Universal Law, by Nahum Rakover, http://www.lif.ac.il/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=349&Itemid=1331)

Society only functions because of the rule of law. (Introduction to the Noahide Laws, at Noahide Nations, http://noahidenations.com/index.php/academy-of-shem/for-all-mankind/229-seven-noahide-laws/introduction-to-the-noahide-laws/385-an-introduction-to-the-noahide-laws?showall=1&limitstart=)

I’ve seen resources online that even equate the first of the seven laws, Justice or Dinim, with “rule of law.”

So what about “rule of law?”

So yes, I’ll get to that. I’ll just deal with another matter first.

Righteousness, justice and fairness are not prerequisites for government jobs. To join the police, you don’t have to be a morally good person. To be a policeman, you don’t have to be fair and upright. This should be obvious by the willingness of police to throw their weight around, to use threats of imprisonment and physical violence and the taking away of children to gain compliance their individual dictates. 

“Tell me your name or I’ll arrest you for obstruction.”

“If you don’t do what I say, I can help make sure social services get involved with your kids.”

“Leave this public place or I’ll arrest you for trespassing.”

Judges are worse since they are nigh-absolute dictators in their courtrooms.

To be a law-maker in many countries, or a politician or a judge or a lawyer or many govt roles, the desire for truth and restoration, and a good moral fibre are not necessary prerequisites.

But they do have to be somewhat good at knowing govt law (yes, whenever I say that, I’m still only referring to a normally written opinion backed by a threat). And this opinion may or may not be for the good of individuals on a whole. But the govt officials, those who don’t need to be decent people, must be good at using it. 

And not just using it, but interpreting it as they wish at the time that they have to deal with a potential “criminal.” Judges have to do this in a system where lawyers are not paid to get to the truth but rather to defend their client, and will do what they can to be the grand salesman, advertisers and promoters for the position of their client. Cops have to use this written opinion when (or if) they choose to deal with the public. Politicians … hahahaha … well, they have their role too.

But in such a system that is not based on punishment, not restoration and restitution, where bureaucracy, money, prestige, pride and power have a strong part to play, where righteousness, justice and fairness are not in the important parts of the system, yet people believe it to hav some vague aspirations of good, in such a system, how can there be any real hope of real justice??? 

And then after all that, the fact that govt law is merely opinion backed by threats but held to be real moral precepts, even by those who uphold the objective morality of Torah, the fact that righteousness, fairness and justice are not the vital ingredients for a govt official to get an office, after all that, then I approach a concept that seems to be highly praised amongst godless and godly people alike: the rule of law.

What is the real basis and product of “rule of law?” 

I found the rule of law article in the legal dictionary part of freedictionary.com to be most useful. You can click on that link to read it yourself. 

It speaks of three parts to this “rule of law” schpeel. 

1) Ruling according to law – politicians have to act in line with written and established laws. They can’t seek to punish people who haven’t broken a law.

2) Ruling under law – No one is above the law, not even politicians. So the law rules everyone equally.

3) Ruling according to a higher law – the laws set in place have to accord with an authority, a law, higher than human law, universal principles that apply to everyone.

Now, I’m hoping that someone reads all that, thinks about it in principle and in how it is played out in real life and at least chuckled at its foolishness. Inside, I’m laughing it to scorn even as my face currently is fiercely focused on getting it finished.

For points 1) and 2), since law is just opinion backed by a threat, and it is created by questionable sources, normally written with enough ambiguity to be played with, and then interpreted and re-interpreted by judges who have their own agendas, judges who can stretch and restrict terminology as they please, these notions are altogether a joke, a sad and despicable joke. 

One fantastic example of this is the American constitution which was supposed to limit its government in size and power. Yet, regardless of its words or possiple original intent (or the fact that it actually has no real authority except by faith), the judges and politicians have helped make sure it has grown in scope, size and power to such an extent that people can’t even cross the road without breaking a law, that some are forced under pain of death to put their kids into public school, that no one really owns the land they paid for because they still have to pay the politicians rent called “property tax,” that so many of their actions are interfered with by one piece of legislation or another. 

That’s a fantastic example of the useless or empty or totally flexible nature of ruling according to or under law. When a judge or politician can flex it this way or that way to suit their purposes, the law just becomes what it is: opinions that can be played with.

Let’s not forget how notoriously difficult it can be to actually have a govt official punished for immoral acts and crimes. Getting judges punished for their tyranny, or cops for falsely arresting people or killing them or lying in their reports and court testimony, getting politicians punished for war crimes, like lying about reasons for going to war, for shifting the creation and formulation of laws in favour of donors, unions and corporations, getting any of these sorts of bad actors punished is much harder than the normal Joe. Those are just a small set of examples. It should be staggeringly obvious that people are NOT treated equally!

Although I’m sure there are examples of repercussions for govt officials, the plethora of abuses in the area makes “rule under law” a pretense at best, a propaganda tool used to give the serfs the impression that everything is generally ok, that their masters are just and good.

And then I have point 3), accountable to a higher law. Now part of me says that this is a good thing, a recognition of a higher law. This acknowledgement may be a sign of rationality tapping into the intellect that some theorize as coming from the fact that we’re made in God’s image.

But where it concerns ruling according to a higher law, in this secular or multiple-personality multicultural society, that too is a court jester, fumbling and messing around, but only with dire consequences. 

So with no god, or a culture with a plethora of gods, or ideas or philosophies, what exactly is this “higher law?” The “universal” human rights? Rights are simply privileges given in different measure depending on which ruling class you happen to live under. There’s no such thing as universal human rights. What about conscience? Ah, that’s subjective and fickle as well. What about the unalienable rights of the Americans or the unwritten constitution in the UK? Oh, that’s the govt privileges again; pick your flavour of ruler.

As hopeful as point 3) can be, currently it’s a pipe dream.

So “rule of law” in all its aspects, and at least in this world, is a myth. And I can’t say much about the imaginings of “noahides” and Torah observant Jews as too many of them think ruling classes should exist (as opposed to courts) and have the “right” and power to make up laws that it sees fit. You can see I have no trust or faith in that.

Anyway, going back to the point of this blogpost, consider the responses of people who see the injustice (that takes a lot for anyone to do) and then exclaim that this isn’t how the system works or things shouldn’t happen this way. Unfortunately too many of them are already committed to their ruling class and system of dictatorship, be it democracy or republic or parliament, whatever. And in light of what govt law is, i.e., the enforced opinion of the morally questionable, in light of the lesser priority given to proper moral fibre in those put in places in the government, in light of the questionable status of the morality of govt officials, and in light of the myth of the rule of law, in light of all things, I’d say that, when immorality happens in govt, and injustice happens in the courts, when innocent people become victims of the police and the “citizens” are little more than cattle for the ruling class …

I’d say things are happening exactly as they should; the system is working as it is meant to.

The Role of Gentiles in Creation

A different perspective and an uplifing one on the role of a Gentile in the world. Please, take a look.

Rabbi Alan Betsalel Friedlander

The natural state of humankind is to be a Ben Noach. A gentile who observes the laws God gave Adam and Noah. The first 20 generations of humanity had no Jew among them. God made people the way He wanted them to be. But then He added a different role, that of the Jew later on. But if it wasn’t broke, why fix it?  How do we understand this?

Before Sinai, people kept making bad choices that precluded spirituality in a world without Torah. But the Torah demanded going beyond the normal service expected from humans. God gave Noah seven categories of commandments, approximately 60 laws in total. But the Torah has 613 commandments. The Torah was an upgrade to a world that in some ways was not ready for it. Yet, God knew most nations would not accept the Torah. Therefore, it was not God’s intention to make the spirituality…

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Depravity may lie in two extremes

So I’ve seen two views or extremes amongst Torah observant Jews and “noahides” or “ger,” those claiming to follow the seven laws that I believe lead to immorality. Before I share that, please check out this video.


Now, the two views that I believe will lead to immorality are as follows.

The first view is that if something isn’t distinctly mentioned as prohibited in the seven laws, then it is totally fine in the eyes of God. 

In the light of this video (and in addition, the fact that Sodom and Gammorah was destroyed because of something not mentioned in the seven laws), it needs to be seen that such is not the case, that there are subjects outside of the seven laws that can be seen to be rationally wrong when guided by rational laws in the Jewish Torah.

The other view is that if the law of the government should only be judged based on that law, not the seven laws or general morality. So if the politicians draft a law that states that the police can lie in court and get away scot-free, or they can kidnap (“arrest”) a man for all the wrong reasons and no repercussions arise, then that act is to be judged by the law of the politicians, not by the seven laws or general morality.

This is an absolute interpretation of the Jewish principle (not seven law principle, or general moral principle) of “the law of the State is law.” Or it can come from the morally reprehensible view that Gentiles are meant to obey the laws of the government that claims “ownership” of them.

In this view, the fact that there is a law that imposes fines or imprisonment on any person that doesn’t refer to a “transgender” person by their preferred pronoun is totally acceptable. Such a law will also brand unwilling parents of a child which believes itself to be “transgender” or wants to dress in drag as “child abusers,” which may lead to that child being taken by govt agents. But because “the law of the State is law,” the individual just has to take it, to submit to it.

In this view, the individual is, in effect, owned by the State, the government, the politicians. Whatever the State says must be done as if the individual is a slave to the government.

Both immature and horrendous views end up in depravity, saying ok to some disgusting acts simply because of an stupid view of the role of the seven laws or because of an idolatrous or totalitarian view of government.

Merit not command

I was talking to a colleague of mine. 

We’ve got this game that I enjoy. Although he’s speaks Spanish fluently, he writes to me in English and when I respond, I respond to him in Spanish. I don’t know enough Spanish to hold a conversation but I use Google Translate or Bing Translate. I try to keep my sentences simple to avoid confusion. Amazingly enough, we’ve had a smooth conversation for over a year. I’m enjoying it.

Sorry, where was I?

Oh yeah! I was talking to an associate about the prohibition against idolatry. We were discussing whether it was prohibited, according to the seven commandments, to be present at an idolatrous event without participating in it. 

During the process of our discourse, we hit upon the fundamental difference I have with the author of the book called “The Divine Code.” 

It is plain in Rambam’s Mishneh Torah and the Talmud that the main prohibition is against actively worshipping an idol according to its customary rites or using specific acts of worship used in temple worship, including slaughtering/offering sacrifices, bowing and pouring libations. Essentially actively accepting something or someone else as a god other than the one true God is idolatry.

That is the law of idolatry for non-Jews.

But rabbi Weiner puts in his book that, for example, it is part of the prohibition of idolatry to believe in God, it is commanded. He says Gentiles are commanded to fear and honour God. In another place, he says on a rational level, it is forbidden to enter a house of idol worship, listen to idolatrous songs. 

The difference between the approach of the Divine Code and that of the sources I’ve learnt from was succinctly stated by my colleague.

It’s merit, not precept.

I don’t think I need to add any more to that.

Instead of a Jew trying to legislate for Gentiles, to attempt to make authoritative rulings on non-Jews for matters outside of the seven, to make commands where there was none, an approach encouraging and detailing meritorious acts would seem to be more accurate and potent than “laying down the law,” especially when so much of the “law” in The Divine Code isn’t law.

At least that’s my point of view.

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?

The Anti-Establishmentarian 

*Smile*

I have to smile at that title. A different word had come to mind when I had started to ponder this post, but that one which I ended up with, I’m happy with, especially when I saw its definition. 

Some years ago, my boss saw some of my ways, may have heard some of my views, and he called my views, “anti-establishment.” I just thought it meant “against some institution,” including government. But when I saw this just now,

Anti-establishmentarianism is a political philosophy that views a nation’s power structure as corrupt, repressive, exploitative, etc.

I genuinely smiled. [You can get that definition from a number of resources, like wikipedia or dictionary.com.] It fit me so well.

I see government, its nature, its immoralities, its abuses, its very monstrosity, its lies, deceptions and the thin veil of legitimacy it has which covers a much more grotesque, vile and contemptible form. I see its victims praise, glorify and/or cling to it with a fervour a self-immolating or self-harming idol-worshipper would envy, and many offer their children, their very future to this beast. I see not only the government but also the political system, the so-called “democracy,” the religion preached to the world: choose your own slave-master; try to enslave your neighbour before he enslaves you; try to rob your neighbour to fund your choices by means of the govt.

I see all this and I hate it. I despise it.

And yet I am a Gentile. All this would be expected from the people within the shores I dwell in. Our ancestors were idol-worshippers and the remnants of old ways are hard to break free of; they would bow down to the idea of man as a commandment-giving god. And war and plunder was a way of life, so the desire for “democracy” and legal plunder by means of the ballot box shouldn’t be surprising. 

But I’ve met a number of people online, Jews and Gentiles, that make me take a step back in horror as the spirit of state-worship seems to cause them to defend heinous acts because it was done by the state. Their spirit-filled speech and my own reflection upon my antagonism with the existence of the state caused me to ponder a few issues that I’ll share here.

Fear of government: endorsement of a form of cannibalism

One quote that is repeatedly used against my antiestablishmentarianism and my general antipathy for all things government, repeated ad nauseum, is the following.

Rabbi Chanina, the Deputy High Priest, says: Pray for the welfare of the government, for were it not for the fear of it, man would swallow his fellow alive. (Pirkei Avot 3:2, https://www.sefaria.org/Pirkei_Avot.3?lang=bi)

With this proverb, they believe they can teach me to respect government, to not just see its importance but also to give some praise as well.

And yet, day after day, I see the monstrosity of this terrible beast, its deception and hypocrisy, and its fangs are soaked with the blood of hundreds of millions and its throat is full, sucking up hungrily the livelihood and labour of the people. Despite the proverb, governments guarantee the swallowing up of lives: a form of cannabilism is guaranteed. Its brutality is historical fact. Its injustice is historical fact. Governments over the globe enact laws to counteract the seven laws themselves, which undermines our very purpose for living.

So I can understand it is useful for that purpose, to make people too scared to go against it. I can understand also that having a horrible disease called sickle-cell anaemia means a person won’t get malaria. I know that some insecure and jealous men kidnap and rape women which can mean that victim no longer has to worry about brutality from other men.

I can see the benefits in a lot of situations, but to respect those situations? To praise them?

To pray for them? To pray for that which buries the seven laws and morality and decency further and further out of sight?
I can be pragmatic, but don’t expect me to be idealistic about such a thing. 

I’m glad Pirkei Avot is not a divine commandment upon Gentiles. 

Merciful to the cruel

When I see people advocating for violence upon the innocent or protecting the violence committed against the innocent, it is a terrible thing. But when it is done by people who are supposed to uphold Torah, for me, it is much worse. 

I personally have seen such faith in the beast called government by Jews and Gentiles who give the impression that they revere Torah and its Giver. Despite the bloody history of the state and the immorality of its servants, such people give such honour and mercy to its cruelty that they ridicule and malign its victims. Innocent people killed by the police are said to have brought death upon themselves. Devotees of the “State” turn the supposed necessity of taxation into a reason to advocate that people have their labour, their own property, forceably extracted from them by the government. Such people can even overlook such immoral laws, like civil forfeiture, where your only “immoral act” is to have too much cash with you so the State allows its agents to take your property or cash. (If you have any sense of morality, and you get angered at injustice, save yourself the anger and don’t try to find out the ways the agents of the State treat themselves with the confiscated property.)

For them, the State needs to be in your pocket to take what it wants. All you, the victim, have to do is just imagine that the pilfered funds go to a cause that the State-devotee considers to be worthwhile, i.e., the poor as opposed the the war and weapons industry or funding the writing and enforcement of laws that further abolish the seven laws and other laws of morality. Consent for such pilfering is ignored or is the enemy. One Jew even told me that you have no choice, even if you were to publicly state that you remove your consent. The population is, in effect, the voiceless slave to the politicians.

I’ve seen so many, too many, examples of preferring the government over an innocent life that I see the strongest fulfillment of the saying: “He who is merciful to the cruel will be cruel to those who are worthy of mercy.” The State is the cruelest of beasts. Those who deal with it, not just out of necessity, but out of a desire and agreement in its general activity, those people inevitably fulfil the saying.

Core responsibility to obey the ruling class

I’ve had some people supposedly versed in Torah tell me that it’s actually one of our core seven commandments to obey and revere government. One person pointed me to AskNoah’s handy summary about the law of Dinim/Justice, where it says the following:

… by the Noahide “Law of Courts,” citizens are required to observe the secular law … (The Command to Establish Just Laws and Courts at https://asknoah.org/7-commandments/judicial-courts)

Well, thanks to AskNoah, I now know that “by the Noahide ‘Law of Courts,” citizens are required to observe the secular law.” I’m sure you can see what this means just by using your mastery of the English language. Allow me to use mine: one of God’s laws upon Gentiles, the law of Dinim/Justice, commands the individual non-Jew to keep and follow the dictates of a godless government. It therefore follows that if I don’t obey the “law” of the godless government and I break “the secular law,” I therefore break the God’s law of Dinim/Justice.

[I do understand that AskNoah may be using today’s language of the separation of “church and state” to therefore say that a law comes from government is not religious and therefore is secular. I don’t believe that possibility has any significant impact on what I say next, but I’m just choosing to note it.]

Wow! I … I guess … I guess I’ll just have to throw up my hands and quit my stance against government and just bend over and take what I’m given, right?

I mean, based on that reasoning, … just look.

And Haman said unto king Ahasuerus, There’s a certain people scattered and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of your kingdom; and their laws differ from all people; and they don’t keep the king’s laws: therefore it’s pointless for the king to let them remain. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed: and I will pay ten thousand talents of silver to the hands of those that have the charge of the business, to bring it into the king’s treasuries. And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you. Then the king’s scribes were called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded to the king’s lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to its writing, and to every people according to their language; it was written in the name of king Ahasuerus, and sealed with the king’s ring. And the letters were sent by posts into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them as plunder. (Esther 3:8-13)

Oh yes, what was I saying? Oh right! I should throw up hands and just do what the ruling power commands me, right? So the people who kept the law of the land and went out the destroy the Jews were without fault because they were just keeping the core seven laws and “keeping secular law,” right?

I should worry when Jews teach that Gentiles should just do as the government dictates as if they’ve forgotten their own history. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.

Maybe someone’s gonna say, “but, David, David, that’s a reputable source linked to the Divine Code, a book with numerous rabbinical approbations; maybe they’re just conveying what God commands.”

I severely doubt it. When the Gentile Torah law of Dinim is recounted in the Talmud between tractate Sanhedrin 56-60, no mention is made of obedience to a ruling class. When Rambam summarised his view of the law in Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 9, there is no mention of obedience to the ruling class. When Ramban talks about the law of Dinim in his commentary of Genesis 34, even though he mentions more possible details to the law, he mentions nothing about obedience to the state.

What I’m saying is that if obedience to government was such a core element of our divine laws, then why is it never explicitly stated as a detail in the most accessible and possibly authoritative rabbinical discussions on the seven laws? It’s not mentioned in the Jewish Bible, that God commands non-Jews to obey the ruling class.

[ASIDE: Someone is likely to say that it wasn’t mentioned because it was so obvious that we’re meant to follow our “leaders.” But the issue is that, because many of those tyrants/rulers (not “leaders” in the proper sense) and the kings described in the Bible are just plain wicked, it’s not so obvious that those striving for good showed be listening to those who strive for things other than good who happen to be called “leader”.]

And again, considering the ignoble and murderous and wicked history of world governments, wouldn’t this be the most dangerous and destructive law to humanity is it was the case that it is the most basic standard of morality that we humans must obey any jerk that would occupy the throne? Especially in these days of “democracy,” where choosing a ruling political party (or national slave master) isn’t based on expertise on the facts, isn’t limited to those who have researched the evidence, divided between fact and and spin, had the will the read through and an objective moral code by which to scrutinze the statements and morality of the manifestos, and who have a healthy memory of the promises politicians have made and broken. Voting isn’t limited to those but is a free-for-all for the knowledgeable and stupid, the fastidious and the sloppy, the moral and the immoral, and every shade in-between. The relative ease with which the immoral who desire “power” can get “into office” is horrifying, especially when righteousness isn’t even an important criteria for the office/throne.

And in the face of all this, someone would have the nerve to say “God requires Gentiles to do as the politicians command” boggles the mind.

So no, it is not one of the core seven laws to obey the ruling class.

If it was a government of Gentiles upholding the seven laws.

Falling into the category of antiestablishmentarian, a thought crosses my mind. With my antipathy for the ruling class, what would happen if a ruling class came along which actually upheld the seven laws? Would I give my willing support to it?

It’s a troubling question. There’s a lot involved with the question. For such a ruling power to arise that would inevitably imply that the society had accepted the seven laws and therefore such a ruling power wouldn’t need my support. If there were a similar sort of taxation as there is today: forced extraction of funds regardless of consent, then I wouldn’t support it. 

It’s hard for me to put trust in that institution of government. It would still be run by people who are total strangers to me and thus could never truly represent me (even if those that ran it did know me).

I’m really not sure.

Anyway, after reading all this, you may get the impression that I hate the government. Let me clear this up for you, at least my current stance.

I do!

Satisfied with evil

The thing about living in a secular society is that you’re free to practice any religion you want … well, any religion that doesn’t break the laws of the politicians. And that freedom to just keep the seven laws is alluring, is comforting, is … well, it’s nice to keep God’s law without persecution, right?

I feel that. I understand that. I live it day by day.

And yet …

It’s a secular society. You can keep any religion you want as long as it doesn’t break the laws of the ruling class.
You know what that means, right? In light of our most basic code of morality, right?

It means that that which the seven laws condemns is perfectly allowed and protected. It means that the additional prohibition against making up religions is trodden under foot. It means that aspects of the seven laws are broken or undermined or abrogated. It means that we do not live in a system that accords to seven laws but rather one that contradicts the laws.

I know. I know. Most people don’t know about the seven. It would be impossible right now for the seven laws to be kept as they should be, not just personal codes of morals, but as the basis for national and international law.

And that’s my problem.

Can I laud and praise a system that essentially sprinkles faeces over the seven laws system, even if it allows me to freely study God’s laws for humanity? Although I can be happy with this one merit or a number of merits, can I be glad about the freedom I have when it not only allows but also promotes the abandonment and undermining that which is of vital importance?

Speaking personally, I cannot be happy or glad with a system that, in effect, opposes the foundational aspects of my worldview. There will be and is a longing for something better and an inner rebellion against what currently.

My brother and I are currently in very different places in our lives. He is a devout christian whereas my current stance is necessarily anti-Jesus and anti-new-testament. Yet we are agreed in what we witness: people who are supposed to be adherents to either the Torah perspective or the new testament worldview, yet not just live with or put up with (out of purely practical necessity), but also praise, support and pledge willing uncoerced allegiance to the current secular system, a system which essentially rejects the fundamentals of divine revelation. 
I’ve seen people see a supposed shadow in the Jewish Bible, see something apparently similar in today’s system and then claim that it is based on Torah and act as if it is fully “kosher,” ok to give one’s backing to.

Yet where do our true allegiances lie? Where does my true allegiance lie? I’ve had a number of encounters with apparently religious Jews that causes me to plant my feet even more strongly in the stance that God’s law comes first, not just as a personal subjective belief system, not just as a personal standard where conflicting worldviews have equal claims to truth as mine, not as something I must keep private while the government and state runs “real life.” 

No, the Torah is the objective and God is the absolute. It is to be as real standard for international law and personal conduct. My task in life is to uphold God’s standards, not to support a system that craps all over that standard!

“Hard, Ain’t it Hard” by the Redneck Rastafarian 

This article I’m about to share was written by the Redneck Rastafarian at http://redneck_rastafarian.tripod.com/hard.html and he gave me permission to share it here. There are so many thoughts here that reflect my own. As you may guess, I’m not saying I agree 100% with it, but, believe me, there is significant agreement, enough for me to want to repost it here.

The author would like it to noted that he wrote this many years ago and he’s mellowed out some since then. 

Please, enjoy!

——–

It’s hard being a Noachide. It’s frustrating. Unbelievably frustrating. And not for the reasons you might think.

It’s not because we’re a religious minority. The politically correct, “multicultural” society we live in worships religious minorities. It’s not because we’re persecuted, because we’re not (or if we are, I certainly know nothing about it). It’s hard being a Noachide because a Noachide believes that Judaism is the true religion, and our society not only hasn’t a clue as to what Judaism is, but it blatantly misunderstands it and misinterprets it beyond anything we Noachides can recognize. And because society doesn’t understand what Judaism and its message are, it doesn’t know what we’re about. That’s why it’s frustrating.

Most of us Noachides are from a Fundamentalist, Bible Belt background, and that is how we were drawn to Judaism and the Jewish people and to our current position of acknowledging them. But try telling that to an enlightened 20th Century American.

“You’re a what? Boy, that must take some guts. I imagine you must live in fear of your life from all those illiterate, inbred, congenitally retarded, bigoted, hateful, Bible-thumping peckerwoods that we’d be so much better off without. Oh, and incidentally, congratulations on having the courage to be a doubtful, independent, freethinking skeptic who rejects the authority of some old book of fables. Well, gotta go now and demonstrate solidarity with the Australian aborigines. Keep up the good fight!”

This is the conventional wisdom of 20th Century America. For you see, the culturally enlightened have never understood that it is precisely our dedication to that hateful book of redneck bigotry (the Bible) that made Noachides out of us and forced us to reject chr*stianity as a false, unauthorized innovation. And this is for the simple reason that aside from us Noachides and the Fundamentalist Protestants from whose midst we came, no one associates “the People of the Book” with the Book. For everyone else Jews are the oppressed victims of the Middle Ages, a rootless and powerless people who can only be on the receiving end of “intolerance” and who most assuredly would never “persecute” anyone else. After all, look at what they’ve been through! But this look back at Jewish history never seems to go beyond the past two thousand years. No one but us seems to remember what came before.

Contrast this benevolent view of the Jewish people, being martyred for two millenia for the causes of enlightenment, secular humanism, and religious subjectivism with those bloodthirsty Neanderthals one reads about in the evil redneck Book. That there Joshu-ay feller coulda been a Ku-Klucker hissef, shore ‘nuff. Probably was, in fact. And that barbaric law code that mandated capital punishment for the basic human right of worshipping whatever “gxds” or “gxddesses” one chose, that regulated slavery, that oppressed women, that called for the extermination of “indigenous peoples,” and that had a cult of animal sacrifice which no enlightened human being could possibly justify—well, let’s just say that no wonder such a hateful, reactionary Book became the totem and fetish of the brutal backwoods redneck.

Meanwhile, on the completely opposite end of the spectrum are those wonderful people, the Jews: powerless rationalists who stood up to power for two thousand years, who only wanted to be left alone because they recognized that it doesn’t matter what “gxd” or “gxddess” one worships—or doesn’t worship—as long as one is a good person. Their religion was a religion of pure reason and pure ethics as opposed to the silly pre-rationalist superstitions of their Bible-thumping oppressors. Could any two things be more inimical than the Bible and the Jews? No wonder the regressive redneck always hangs a Jew from a lamppost whenever he comes upon one.

This is why it’s frustrating to be a Noachide. Not that we’re naïve Qara’ites or anything, but we do tend to identify the Jews with the Bible more than anyone else does. For us in some very real way, the Jew is frozen in amber as Yehoshua` Bin Nun (that’s that there Joshu-ay feller). In fact, he is frozen at the precise moment he is killing a Canaanite—with his blade halfway through his victim’s neck—while above him the very sun stands still. These are the people we acknowledge and whom we seek out. This is not the image of the Jews—especially among the Jews themselves.

Small wonder that in popular wisdom one’s attitude towards the Jewish people is inversely proportional to one’s attitude towards the savage Book. Who are the “philosemites?” People like Thomas Jefferson, who hated the “old testament” and its G-d and who went through his Bible with a razor blade cutting out everything he didn’t like. He was “tolerant,” you see, and that is what philosemitism is all about. Or Mark Twain, another “admirer of the Jews” who hated the Jewish G-d, whom he considered to be based on some penny-ante desert satrap. Then of course there are people like John Shelby Spong. Spong believes in “tolerance” because, unlike the evil Book, he believes there is no objective religious truth (except his own opinions in the matter, that is). So as you can see, when it comes to philosemitism, for being a friend of the Jewish people, “tolerance” is what counts. And it’s all that counts. In fact, if you are of the unfortunate opinion that the “old testament,” though inerrant, was superceded later by a “new testament,” all the atheist “friends of the Jewish people” will let you know about it, plus how you should throw that terrible Book away. It’s obviously making a monster of you.

Now, it isn’t the attitude of stupid goyim that really rankles. It is the attitude of the Jews themselves. And not the Jewish liberals like the extremely confused ‘Avi Dershowitz (or, as I personally prefer to refer to him, ‘Otoh Ha’Ish). Such ingnoramuses can be laughed off as precisely what they are. No, the really heartbreaking thing about being a Noachide in America today is the attitude of Torah Jewry.

Torah Jewry today is schizophrenic in its self-identity. These are people who pour over ancient texts in the study hall teaching that the ox emerged from the ground horns first, that the distance between the heavens and the earth is “500 walking years,” that there were 26 generations from the Creation to the giving of the Torah, and that Methuselah learned personally from Adam (yes, that Adam—the one the rednecks are so fond of) for precisely 243 years, and who then sit down with atheist politicians to mouth platitudes about “tolerance” and “diversity” (code-words for the doctrine that there is no objective religious truth). These are people who believe that G-d dictated—not inspired, but dictated—the entire Torah letter by letter, including the letters’ names, shapes, sizes, and the spaces between them, and yet are afraid the Bible-thumpers are out to get them. These are the people who tell themselves they were exiled in part to spread the knowledge of the One True G-d among the nations of the earth and who then beg city councils to allow them to erect an `eiruv on the grounds that it represents “cultural diversity.”

In short, the old saw that “Jews are smart” is greatly exaggerated.

Now, as I said, we Noachides are not Qara’ites. We are aware of, and we acknowledge, not only the Oral Torah but also the authority and rulings of the Sages. But even then, the vast gap between the “primitive” and “bloodthirsty” religion of the Bible and the allegedly higher “Talmudic Judaism” is simply not that vast (in fact, the religion of the Bible and Talmudic Judaism are identical). We keep waiting for the shattered paradigm to begin to mend, but we are still waiting. I mean, if anything would have brought about a full restoration of the Torah worldview (which, despite what everyone on every side of the issue would like to believe, is an ancient one not even reconcilable with Locke and Jefferson, much less Hollywood’s values), it would have been the Return to Zion. The Fundamentalist Protestants from whom most of us were spawned were excited. We Noachides are even more excited, as our beliefs are unadulterated with mistaken chr*stian notions. But the modern Jew, even the most observant, still derives his self-image from his ancestors’ sufferings in the Middle Ages, and this means he must above all find a nice, rational, non-fanatical reason for being there. And what is that reason?

It’s every reason except the real one. It’s because he needs a place where he can live without fear of his Bible-thumping neighbors, or it’s because of Churban ‘Europa’, or because he brings “democracy” to the Middle East, or because he has improved the health-care of the Arabs or liberated the Arab women and given them the right to vote or some such nonsense. Every reason he gives is patently phony, either because the Arabs don’t want his social progress or because physical safety can be had elsewhere—and in a much greater degree, too. No, it is at all times a mitzvah—and at some times a chiyyuv—for the Jewish people to live in that particular land because it is only there that the cultus can be practiced. The cultus. You know, the animal sacrifices. And the vegetable and meal sacrifices. Because it is only in Jerusalem that the Temple may stand.

But today’s Jew—even the most “Torah observant”—cannot bring himself to take even the most elementary steps to bring this situation about because he has painted himself into a corner with liberalism. He can’t expel the non-Jews from his land because his ancestors were expelled in medieval Europe. He can’t be “intolerant” because he would be betraying his ancestors who died for “tolerance.” And he could never do anything so hideously primitive and irrational as restoring an ancient sacrificial cult with no humanistic rationale whatsoever. He now prides himself on being too rational. Irrationality is the characteristic of his chr*stian opponent, not his, he has told himself. So for 35 years the ancient site of the Temple—the holiest spot on earth—has been in his hands and he can only thank G-d that the moslems are there with their claims to give him an excuse to do nothing about it. Heaven forfend that his dearly-prized self-identity as the perennial rational victim of irrational superstition should be threatened. After all, he’s not a redneck—is he?

Actually, that’s not entirely true. There are some Torah Jews who do not seem to feel the need to be the poster children for secular humanism and who actually want to begin preparations—in fact, have already done so. But they can only do so much with the entire rest of the Nation against them. And once again, the opposition of secular Jews is no surprise, but the utter lack of interest among the vast majority of Torah Jews is heartbreaking. One feels compelled to ask the Zionist-oriented Torah community what they think they came home for. Why undergo the constant danger of living in a Land surrounded by a non-Jewish majority with no compunction about murdering you any time of the night or day? A people who not only never get tarred with the charge of antisemitism like every pro-Israel Baptist preacher does but who can even count of the sympathy and support of most of the world (including both Castro and Pat Buchanan and their corresponding ideological soulmates)? Why not relinquish Jerusalem, or at least share it, if it will lead to “peace?” Why is Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem so essential?

Is it because the Jews, who have known oppression themselves, are better custodians for a multicultural city? Because the Jews are a more appropriate caretaker for a city that is the common property and heritage of all humanity? Is that the reason? I suppose it is for people who think the justification for an `eiruv is cultural diversity. But whenever a “modern Orthodox” personality or organization takes time out from issuing paeans of praise for “tolerance” to complain about what the moslems are doing to Har HaBayit I can only wonder why that should be of any concern to them whatsoever. Because they are never going to admit to themselves why they are in the Land–and especially in Jerusalem—until they are cured of their national schizophrenia.

You see, it comes down to this. Every time an antisemitic incident occurs in the Diaspora, the blame is placed on religious objectivism, the “reactionary” idea that there is a true religion and all others are therefore false. The Jewish people in America today—very much including the Torah observant—are being encouraged to call for the adoption of religious subjectivism—the idea that there is no one true religion and that all religious beliefs are equally valid (and therefore equally invalid) as the one prerequisite for a decent society, and especially for a society in which Jews are free to observe the Torah. The irony in this situation is obvious from the very idea that the Torah is something Jews should be “free” to observe, since it is in fact an obligation from Heaven upon them. Subjectivism makes Torah observance something one does for oneself, as self-actualization or ethnic pride or to blatantly promote subjectivism itself, but never as the “yoke of Heaven” that it in fact is (just as Noachism is not something I “chose” to celebrate my individual autonomy but the objective duty of all non-Jewish humanity).

But the real poison of religious subjectivism among Jews is that it cuts the ground out from under the Torah restoration that is the only reason Jews have to live in ‘Eretz Yisra’el. Torah Jews even in Israel will never be able to expel the Goyim, destroy their places of “worship,” set up a Torah (rather than secular western-style democratic) system of governance, and rebuild the Holy Temple and perform all those “gruesome” and “irrational” cultic rituals as long as the powerful American Orthodox Jewish community has made religious subjectivism its national motto. And with every incident the cry for “tolerance” (subjectivism) is raised ever more loudly. Ironically, the more Jews who are attacked and murdered in America (G-d forbid!), the more Jewish leaders cut their own throats by promoting an ideology that will make it all but impossible to build the Holy Temple and observe the Torah in its fullness, which is the only way for Jews to be truly safe. But after two millenia of exile and two centuries of “enlightenment,” the poison of modern notions as opposed to the Ancient Truth has had its effect. One can only hope that some tragedy in the future does not lead Jewish leaders to become so “tolerance”-addicted that they abandon the Zionist enterprise altogether.

So you see, I hope, why I’m frustrated. Even before I became a Noachide I used to read Hal Lindsay and imagine all sorts of wonderful things were about to happen. But no one else seems to be in a hurry. In the Bible Belt, with our foolish association of the “humanistic” Jewish people with those “neanderthals” in the Bible, we thought differently. In fact, a few years ago a preacher in Mississippi actually bred a strain of cattle and exported them to Israel precisely so a halakhically-qualified “red heifer” would always be available any time it was needed. I wonder whatever happened to those cattle. And I wonder whatever happened to that preacher. Has he also, I wonder, grown disappointed and cynical?

The only thing I can be sure of is that that preacher will never be included on a list of the “friends of the Jewish people.” Oh, no. Much too primitive for that, you know. I’m sure his place on that list will be given to John Shelby Spong instead.

Meat taken from a living animal and “there aught to be a law”

Every now and again, I like to think about one of the seven laws, go through its basic principles and just revise that law. By “revise,” I mean the sort of revising someone does to prepare for an exam, looking through previous notes to absorb and retain info. So first I’ll write down what I think the core details are – that’s my main aim here, not necessarily the extensions – and then I’ll compare with the resources I have.

So one of the laws is known as “eiver min hachai,” or the prohibition against eating meat taken from an animal while that animal is alive.

So this does not mean it is forbidden to take meat or a limb from an animal while it’s alive. It means that it is forbidden to eat that meat.

This prohibits the eating of the meat, not the blood. The core command does not forbid the blood taken from a living animal. Also, once the animal is dead, there is no prohibition regarding the blood. I remember, as a christian in a non-mainstream denomination, thinking I had to wash the meat or soak it to remove the blood. It is a command for Jews to remove the blood, but it is not so for us Gentiles. So we can wash meat out of logical hygiene, but there is no divine command upon us to be scrupulous about the removal of blood.

Essentially, our aim should be to make sure an animal is fully dead before eating it. That death refers to death with a total cessation of movement. If a person cuts the meat and afterwards the animal spasms, then the cut meat is forbidden.

It doesn’t matter if that meat gets packaged, frozen, stored for days or weeks. None of that matters. The issue is this: was the animal dead before the meat was taken?

I’m not quite sure the prohibition includes the bone. I’ll have to check the resources when I get to the next section.

This prohibition does not cover insects and it doesn’t cover … ah, I was about to type birds, but it’s not “birds” as we define it. It is more properly “flying things.” So the prohibition doesn’t cover insects or flying things or water creatures, like fish. It seems limited roughly or generally to what we call “mammals.”

Ok, so that’s the core prohibition. Let me compare that to the resources I have. (I am writing this “chronologically,” so any mistakes I’ve made will remain to be corrected by what follows.)

Rashi says this when commenting on Genesis 9:4:

flesh with its soul: He prohibited them [to eat] a limb [cut off from] a living creature; i.e., as long as its soul is in it, you shall not eat the flesh. — [from Sanh. ad loc.] [i.e., if the limb is cut from the animal while it is alive, it is forbidden to be eaten even after the animal expires.]
with its soul, its blood: As long as its soul is within it.
flesh with its soul…you shall not eat: This refers to a limb of a living creature. And also, its blood, you shall not eat-This refers to blood of a living creature. — [from above source]

Then let’s see what Rambam says. He agrees mainly with what’s been said above but disagrees on a certain point. This is from Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 9, halakhot 10 to 12. It does continue to 13 but nothing significant is added there for the purposes of this article.

(10) Similarly, a gentile is liable for violating the prohibition against eating a limb or flesh from a living creature. This applies regardless of the amount involved, for the specification of minimum amounts only applies to Jews.

A gentile is permitted blood from a living creature.

(11) The prohibition applies to a limb or flesh that is separated from either a domesticated animal or a beast. However, it appears to me that a gentile is not executed for eating a limb taken from a living bird.

(12) Though one slaughters an animal, even if one severs the two signs that distinguish it as having been slaughtered in a kosher manner, as long as the animal moves convulsively, the limbs and meat which are separated from it are forbidden to a gentile because of the prohibition against a limb from a living creature.

The words I emphasised shows the difference between Rashi and Rambam. Let’s see what Ramban can add to this.

Rashi writes: flesh with its soul means while its soul, i.e., its life, is still in it. – The verse means: flesh with its soul you shall not eat. Thus you have the prohibition against eating limb which is severed from a living animal. And, in addition, blood you shall not eat. Thus you have the prohibition against eating blood drawn from a live [animal].

[Ramban clarifies the essence of Rashi’s interpretation:]
Accordingly, [Scripture] is saying, Flesh with its soul “and” the blood of [such flesh], you shall not eat.[4]

[Ramban disagrees with Rashi’s interpretation and presents his own:]
But this explanation, according to the plain meaning of the verse, is not sound.[5] Furthermore, even according to rabbinical exegesis, [Rashi’s explanation] is not halachically true. For the Noahides were only commanded concerning refraining from eating a limb that was severed from a living [animal], as is the opinion of the majority of the Sages, but not concerning eating blood drawn from a living [animal], as is the opinion of Rabbi Chanina ben Gamliel (Sanhedrin 59a).[6]
Rather, the interpretation [of the verse] is: But flesh with its soul – which is its blood – you shall not eat, for the soul of any creature is its blood.[7] (taken from “The Torah: with RambaN’s commentary, translated, annotatated, and elucidated, Bereishis/Genesis” where Ramban comments on Genesis 9:4)

As the explaining footnotes are very helpful, let me quote them too.

4. i.e., Rashi understands its soul and its blood as two separate terms, and the verse thus includes two distinct prohibitions: (1) a limb from a living animal, (2) blood from a living animal.

5. There is no conjunctive [vav or waw] (“and”) preceding the word [damo, “its blood”] to justify interpreting the verse as, and its blood.

6. Ramban is noting that though Rashi’s interpretation of the verse does concur with the opinion of Rabbi Chanina, it is only the minority view, and it is not accepted as halachah.

7. Leviticus 17:14. Hence, the term soul and blood express a single concept and, unlike Rashi, our verse includes only the prohibition against eating a limb of a live animal … (.ibid)

To refer to a few modern books, I’ll start with The Divine Code, by rabbi Moshe Weiner. On page 303 it says,

… a Gentile is liable for a capital sin only for eating eiver min ha’chai meat from mammals (in the specific conditions explained in topics 1:12 and 3:1 which follow), but not from birds.

I do know that rabbi Moshe Weiner says that the prohibition applies to more creatures, but I’m focusing only on what is part of the core seven laws, that which makes a person liable. According to the Talmud and others, what is part of the seven laws makes a person liable. Hmmm … Maybe someday I can do another article about how the core commands blossom out into much wider teachings.

Please note, I’m using this quote as it is concise and encompasses a lot without me having to add too many quotes.

Anyway, let’s carry on with the info from the resources. A few more from the Divine Code.

The prohibition against consuming flesh from a living animal does
not apply to fish and insect-like creatures. (.ibid, page 300)

Blood from a living animal is not included in this prohibition. (.ibid, page 303)

A little aside, page 307, topic 3 says bone is not included in the core prohibition.

In rabbi Mikhael Shelomo bar-Ron’s book, Guide for the Noahide, Part 2, section 6, he writes this:

Not to eat raw flesh or cooked meat removed from an animal before it has completely cease to convulse after slaughter or death by other means, be it a domesticated or non-domesticated mammal, from pure species (that can be offered on the altar) or impure species (that cannot be offered). Again: the capital prohibition for non-Jews does not apply to bird flesh and certainly not fish …

… There was never a Divine prohibition against consuming blood that was removed from a non-living animal for non-Jews; only for Israel. Despite the overly literal reading, blood — even from a living creature — is not forbidden for Noahide consumption. (Laws of Kings & Wars 14-17[10-14])

I could quote from other resources that I have. I love the way Elisheva Barre’s book, Torah for Gentiles, puts this across. But when it comes to discussing the practical parts of the law, it’ll just be a rephrasing of what has been said before.

Now, going through the different books, it’s amazing how much more there is to this law: the deeper meaning to the law, the possible reasons for it, the lessons and principles that are not the core but are still important to know. Believe me, I think this law is taken for granted. I think this law, like the law of Dinim/Justice, is not given as much airtime as other laws, like that of murder or idolatry, but for a different reason than the law of Justice.

I’ve heard people say it’s too simple, that it is obvious, that people keep it nowadays naturally. But again, the principle of making sure an animal is actually and fully dead before partaking of it … it requires a patience and attention that, I believe, is easy to just brush past. Does everyone have the same definition of death? I think there is an importance in this law that is too easily brushed aside.

Anyway, that’s all where it comes to the law.

But there is an objection that I’ve heard which I want to tackle here. Someone said, with disgust, that this law allows a person to eat even roadkill. The objection was against the seeming basic nature of this law. The implication was that there aught to be a divine law against eating certain other dead creatures like roadkill.

To me, there is a morality to this law that I can’t help but respect. What is it? Make sure an animal has absolutely no chance of having to experience the removal of a limb while it is conscious. And then once that animal is dead, then you can start the chopping, cooking and eating process.

Now, what is immoral about eating an animal that has died? Even if it died from a road accident or whatever vehicular means, where’s the immorality? There aught to be a law? Really? Even if there is a question about hygiene, is it really just and right to punish a Gentile for eating roadkill? I don’t think so.

Remember, the seven laws, although quite a detailed system, is the bedrock, something foundational for a non-Jew to build upon. And I believe that truly appreciating the laws, even this one, can lead to a morality that exceeds them.