"AND THE LORD SHALL BECOME KING OVER ALL THE EARTH; ON THAT DAY SHALL THE LORD BE ONE, AND HIS NAME ONE" (Zechariah 14:9) ;
"D.ieu sera Roi sur toute la terre. En ce jour, D.ieu sera Un et Son Nom sera un"
(Zacharie 14,9) ;
Adonai será Rey sobre toda la tierra; ese día Adonai será Uno y Su Nombre uno (Zejaria 14.9) ;
וְהָיָה יְהוָה לְמֶלֶךְ, עַל-כָּל-הָאָרֶץ ; בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, יִהְיֶה יְהוָה אֶחָד וּשְׁמוֹ אֶחָד
(זכריה פרק יד.ט
Noahides should organize so that they can have an influence and improve their surroundings.
Shalom and greetings to our friends, Noahides all over the world.
There is exciting news in the world! During December 2013, I (Rabbi Oury Cherki) went with Rabbi Efraim Choban, the director of Brit Olam – the Noahide World Center – on an action-packed visit to France and Holland. We can report on great progress in the subject of Bnei Noach in these countries and possibly in other countries as well.
One of the important elements that we saw during our trip is that more and more Noahides have decided to gather together in organized independent groups and not to depend any more exclusively on the Noahide World Center for all their needs.
It is very important for Noahides to develop a true sense of legitimacy and independence. In France, the organization that will soon be established sees itself as obligated to mend their country’s society as a whole. As Frenchmen, they want to have an influence on making laws and on cultural processes among their neighbors and friends. In short, the Noahides are about to become activists instead of maintaining their former passive role.
I hereby call on all the Noahides in the world who feel that they are capable of doing so within each and every country or within a single continent – to establish legally recognized enterprises and non-profit organizations with a membership of Bnei Noach. Let them begin a program of advocacy with respect to the outside world, in the press and on the internet, by giving their official positions about what is going on in their countries. In this way they will become a significant factor whose opinions will be heard, they will become known, and they will be able to play an active role in sanctifying the holy name of the Creator throughout the world.
Have courage and take bold steps!
We send our blessings to you from Jerusalem, the heart of the world!
Rabbi Oury Cherki, Chairman, Brit Olam – the Noahide World Center
The term Bnei Noah – “Children of Noah” – refers to a specific human personality who is bestowed a special value in Judaism.
A. Recognition of the prophetic message transmitted by the People of Israel
The term Bnei Noah – “Children of Noah” – refers to a specific human personality who is bestowed a special value in Judaism. The term refers to one who is not a member of the Jewish people but, by virtue of his recognition of the prophetic message carried by the People of Israel, decides to take on the performance of several commandments, ormitzvot.
The relationship between this human being and the biblical Noah lies in the fact that according to Jewish tradition only at the time of Noah did this minimal set of laws for human morality reach completion. This set of laws allows, among other things, hearing the Word of G-d.
The “Noahide” identity is characterized first and foremost by accepting and observing seven commandments that are termed the “Seven Laws of the Children of Noah” – “sheva mitzvot Bnei Noach“. By ‘accepting’ we mean that one sees these commandments as an obligatory norm. By ‘observing’ we mean the active performance of the commandments.
In the Laws of Kings (8 :11), Maimonides differentiates between two types of Noahides: the ‘pious among the nations’ and the ‘wise among the nations’. The ‘pious among the nations’ is one who fulfills the seven Noahide commandments through his recognition of the G-d of Israel and because of the fact that He commanded them. The ‘wise among the nations’ is one who fulfills the seven Noahide commandments as a result of his own intellectual reasoning. Both types of Noahides are men of virtue, and we find plentiful discussion revolving around the question of which is preferable.
B. Commandment as the foundation for relationship with the Divine
Let us concentrate upon an important point that arises from the fact that there are two separate categories. In Maimonides’ opinion, he who wishes to be counted as ‘pious among the nations’ is required to accept the Seven Mitzvot as a result of his recognition of the G-d of Israel. (And he therefore must do so before abeit din, a Jewish court.) The Talmud describes how, in the course of history, the seven Noahide laws became null and void since humanity did not keep them. The Talmud asks about this nullification: How could it be that the consequence of simply not fulfilling certain criteria was that the requirements themselves became null and void? The Talmud replies: The requirement was not annulled, rather instead of the requirement being implemented as a commandment it would now be implemented as a result of a human decision. On the surface, this seems to be a higher level of virtue, a maturation of humanity as it were. But in reality it is a sign of a downfall. From here on, these laws will advance the individual in attaining human perfection, but they will not help him become close and attached to the Divine.
R. Yehuda Ashkenazi (leader of French Jewry, 1922 – 1996) saw this passage in the Talmud as describing what happened in the early stages of Christianity. When Paul nullified the commandments, the community in Antioch began living a life of lawlessness. He sent them an epistle and ruled: All is permissible, but not all is appropriate. That is to say, it is necessary to continue performing the same deeds as before, however not in the form of a ‘commandment’ but simply because this is the proper behavior. The Christian soul finds the idea of forming a relationship with the Divine on the basis of ‘commandments’ to be distressing, since they feel that it is impossible for man not to transgress. Thus, the connection might be broken. Therefore, in their opinion, it is best to form a relationship with G-d by way of a different channel, faith, and the laws should remain the ‘way of the land’, a matter of behavior.
Therefore, one might say that when an individual formally accepts upon himself these Seven Laws as a result of his recognition of the G-d of Israel, he is actually returning to the original status of man, where the fulfillment of commandments formed the foundation for the relationship with G-d.
C. Preserving a variety of identities
As far as the Laws themselves are concerned, the vast majority are in a negative sense: a prohibition of murder, a prohibition of theft, and so on. Judaism purposefully does not give positive definitions for the way a child of Noah should serve G-d, since that service changes according to the human identity of each and every nation. Were Judaism to provide positive instructions on how to serve G-d, this would distort the unique identity of the members of each nation, and ultimately we would have in our hands a kind of cultural imperialism. The fundamental assumption of Judaism is that the original human identity branched out, and each nation and culture expresses only a specific dimension of that human identity, a certain manner of being a man, a specific way to know G-d. Therefore, Judaism aspires to unite all of the varying identities of mankind in a cooperative effort, in order to restore the original human identity.
Thus, the spiritual effort to bring about a close relationship with G-d is common to all of mankind wherever they are, so long as they keep, in practice, these Seven Mitzvot. Occasionally, due to society’s corruptions, the individual finds it necessary to remove himself from a specific society in order to advance in a spiritual way. But in normal times he can advance spiritually through his connection with his current cultural surroundings.
This week’s Haftarah begins with the return of the Shechina – the holy Presence – to Zion and with the significance of this process for mankind: “Sing and be happy, daughter of Zion, for I am coming, and I will dwell within you – this is what G-d says. And many nations will join together with G-d on that day.” [Zechariah 2:14-15]. The end of the Haftarah describes the Shechina as an image of a Menorah, similar to the one in the Temple. The proximity of the two images is taken by the sages as proof that the Menorah will serve as testimony for all of humanity that the Shechina dwells within the Children of Israel.
It is true that the Menorah is placed outside of the Holy of Holies, such that at first glance it would seem that it is at a lower level of sanctity than the Ark of the Covenant, where the Torah is kept. This corresponds to the notion that the nation of Israel, including the appearance of the Shechina within it, is of minor importance when compared to the Torah. However, Rav Kook explains that this is only true from an external point of view, but that from an internal viewpoint – since the Torah was given for the sake of Israel and Israel preceded the Torah – the Menorah is indeed holier than the Ark. “The Menorah encompasses the sanctity of the soul of Yisrael on its own, which at first glance might seem external as compared to the holiness of the Torah in the Holy of Holies. However, the truth is that the Menorah spreads its light for everybody. And this is the secret of the testimony given by Israel, but it can also light up the outside.” [Shemona Kevatzim8:157].
We can thus conclude that the sanctity of the nation is of necessity of a universal nature. Superficially, we might think that it is possible to separate between the self-holiness of the nation and its universal outreach, and that influencing the other nations is nothing more than a relatively low level which stems from the sanctity of Israel. But this is not true. The fact that Yisrael keeps itself separate is meant to serve the goal of having “all the nations of the earth blessed through you” [Genesis 12:3]. But since “a prisoner cannot free himself from prison” [Berachot 5b], it is necessary for one who wants to redeem his friend to remain separate from him. And that is the reason why the Children of Israel remain separate from the other nations.
Israel also appears in the Haftarah as one who should be emulated by the other nations. We are the first nation in all of history that reached a status of “a nation of G-d,” and all the other nations should learn from us, just like all the other brothers learn from the firstborn. “And many nations will join together with G-d on that day, and they will be a nation for me.” In all of history, only the nation of Israel was privileged to have collective sanctity, which encompassed the aspects of both nationality and politics. The other nations only had examples of holy individuals, on the level of morals and religion, but in the future they will also have the merits of collective sanctity. And that is why we will not accept converts in the days of the Messiah (Yevamot 24b), because it will no longer be necessary for a person to break away from his or her nation in order to achieve collective sanctity.
It is specifically the success of the universal mission which lifts Israel up to higher levels, as the priests of all the other nations. “And I will dwell within you… And G-d will take Yehuda as His portion on the holy land, and He will choose Jerusalem again” [Zechariah 2:14,16].
Source: “AS SHABBAT APPROACHES” – a biweekly column in Shabbat B’Shabbato (Zomet Institute) See: http://www.zomet.org.il/eng – Behaalotecha 5775, issue 1577.
Rav Cherki Message to Noahide Conference in the Philippines
Rabbi Oury Cherki sent a video message to the QCHU Noahide community during Pesach of 5775 for their General Noahide Assembly, in Cebu, Philistinnes.
Summary: The redemption from Egypt was not complete in that it should have encompassed all of the world but it only included the Children of Israel. Shavuot, the holiday of receiving the Torah, is separated from Pesach, the holiday of the Exodus, by fifty days because the Children of Israel did not achieve true freedom in that they were forced into accepting the Torah. A truly free man must accept the mitzvot of the Torah without any coercion.
More and more of today’s Noahides, by accepting commandments in addition to the basic seven mitzvot, are helping to pave the way for total willing acceptance of the Torah throughout the world. Then, when the Divine prophecies are fulfilled, there will be no need for one person to teach another, since the Knowledge of G-d will fill the entire world.
There is a controversy between the Western World, which feels that the individual is at the center of existence, and the Moslem World, which insists that God is at the center. Judsism has a solution to this dilemma – that neither one is at the center, but that the dialogue between man and God is at the center of our existence.
Let us all work together to achieve this ideal state of peace throughout the world.
Here is the full video message –http://noahideworldcenter.org/wp_en/rav-cherki-message-to-noahide-conference-in-the-philippines/