Monday, November 20, 2006

the Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah

The following paragraph is from Dr. Asher Eder’s book The Star of David, which was published in 1987 in English in Jerusalem by Rubin Mass Ltd. The publication here is courtesy of Oren Mass
This version includes corrections and new materials that do not appear on the printed version
The acceptance of the Tanakh and learning of the ways of Jacob's God do not necessarily mean that nations will have to convert to Judaism.
Today, according to our sages1, nations are expected to abide by the "Seven Laws of the Sons of Noah", often spoken of as the Seven Noahide Laws. These are: no idolatry, blasphemy, murder, incest, stealing, eating from a living animal (or eating of blood). Laws should be made according to these strictures.
At first glance, we might think that these rules are already observed. But if they were, would not the world be in a more orderly state?
Consider the fact that idolatry is not committed merely by prostrating oneself before statues or by excessive devotion to personality cults. In Hebrew, the term "idolatry" describes any attitude by which things, ideas, persons or one's own ego become more important than the Most High. It thus embraces the worship of material objects and of the state. 'My country, right or wrong' reflects the attitudes of many nations, often to such a degree that the Divine is seen as to serve the nation instead of the nations seen in the service of the Divine. The worship of power and personality (symbolized in ancient times by Mars) still predominates.
There are numerous Christians and Muslims who want to impose on the Jews their respective creeds and practices, and this in spite of the fact that the latter are not always congruent even with their own respective Scriptures, not to speak of the Tanakh. Are the representatives of such an attitude not aware that they deify their own imagination and willful interpretations, i.e. something which the Prophet Samuel condemned as idolatry: "...behold, to obey is better than sacrifice...". (1 Sam.15:22; cf. Deuter.13:2-5, 18:18-22).
Similarly, religious fundamentalists pick certain passages of their holy scriptures that appeal to their swollen egos, and make them the fundament of their creeds and deeds. Still others promote existentialism as Man's top priority. As Jews cannot condone such idolatries, they have been accused of being stiff-necked, out-dated, legalistic, etc., etc., and have been persecuted for their faithfulness to the Covenant which the Lord God of Heavens and Earth had made with them.
Blasphemy is committed by reviling any other human being (for we are all created in God's image), or by talking impiously about God Himself. Referring to the Most High as "the God of the Old Testament" or "the God of vengeance" [in contrast to the New Testament's "God of Love"] is blasphemous; so is belittling Him as the God of the Jews, who evolved from a tribal god into an urban deity and eventually became the national God.
Although nations issue laws forbidding such crimes as murder, incest and theft, these laws do not extend beyond crimes committed by citizens against their societies. Whenever a war, a bloody coup d'etat or revolution succeed, their supporters not only go unpunished, but are raised to the stature of heroes, no matter how many people they robbed and killed. Jewish blood is spilled and counted for nothing, and those who spill it and call for the destruction of the Jewish nation are received in international gatherings as honorable gentlemen. Moreover, instigating, consenting and acquiescing to murder are as evil as the act itself. Doing it “in the name of Allah”, in the disguise of Jihad (“Holy War”), is also outright blasphemous. Anti-Semitism, with its libeling of Jews, lays the groundwork for actually killing them. The same is true in the defamation of any ethnic group. These aberrations are the results of idolatry, which causes nations to pass laws or resolutions according to their temporal convenience, or simply not to apply the laws they have passed.
In spite of strict prohibitions in Gen.9:4 and Acts 15:292, nations do not observe the "no eating of blood" rule. Blood is the soul3. By eating blood or meat with its blood, Man mixes his Divine soul with that of a creature brought forth from the earth. By doing so, he derogates his Divine heritage4, and opens himself to the animal instincts.
So far, nations have not been willing to come up to the Mountain of the Lord "to learn the ways of the God of Jacob". How could they, after they destroyed the Holy Temple and devastated the Temple Mount, using it as a refuse dump5, and after they blasphemed the Most High?
The Name of the Lord is still veiled before the eyes of the world. The "Seven Noahide Laws" are not observed, for nations lack true insight and understanding of these laws. This lack expresses itself by attitudes towards the Star of David ranging from uncertainty and suspicion to outright rejection. How can nations cherish this symbol if they do not know the Name of the Lord of the Heavens and of the Earth, and accept Him as their shield?
According to the Prophets, His Name will be revealed in the wake of Israel's resurrection6. Nations will then recognize the truth7 of the Word handed down through Moses and the Prophets. They will become aware of the Lord's existence: a new and deeper understanding will prevail. They will develop a desire "to learn the ways of the God of Jacob" and enjoy the attendant blessings. The "Seven Noahide Laws" will be heeded and enlivened by the Name: "I am the Lord".
Nations will come to respect the other commandments of the Torah, although these will not be binding on them. Once instilled with fear and love of God, nations will want to mend their ways and comply with these commandments. For instance, keeping Shabbath is both a commandment and a sign of the Covenant for the people of Israel. There is no commandment for nations to honor this day. Yet, they will come to observe it as a day of rest, out of respect for Israel, and because they will understand that it is the seventh day which has the blessing of the Lord8.
Nations will also acknowledge Israel's priestly function since the days of Abraham. Instead of pride, there will be awe; instead of hatred, love; instead of discord, consent. They will come to recognize what it means when Israel is called by the Name (שם, shem) of the Lord9.
The two disarrayed triangles, if seen as standing for Israel and the nations, will join into a harmonious six-pointed star.

1 comment:

Noahide said...

I really enjoyed reading your post and learned a great deal from it. I'm a Noahide and hope to find more like me who believe in Judaism and the G-d of the Torah.