Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Religions of the World - How Many?

Judaism does not promote missionary activity; It holds no allure in accumulating converts. In fact Jewish law encourages the rabbi to "chase away" a Gentile seeking to convert. If the person persists after 3 rejections, the rabbi can begin to take this person seriously.

One good reason for this law or attitude is simple: God created the Jew and He created the Gentile. Why would He have done so were the goal for all people to follow one path of worship?

Another Jewish law, is here pertinent. It's just that until the last century or so, it was outright dangerous for a Jew to obey this law. Which is why Jews ignored it for nearly two millennia. This law is: Jews must convey to their Gentile peers the requisite for fulfilling the "7 Noahide Laws". (Maimonides: The Strong Hand, Division:Judges, Sect. Kings; Chpt. 8; Rule 10)


For a Gentile with no faith in God, feeling free to behave as he wishes, especially in a free country, with hardly any plans for devout activities from when he gets up, the 7 Noahide Laws may come as a rude awakening. 


A religious Gentile, on the other hand, may find it less traumatic to learn of the yoke he must bear to the Almighty, but he too will probably resist this religious commitment that he never knew about.

As for the Jew who must impart this information to his Gentile peer, this responsibility is extremely distasteful. The Jews, as one family, never had in their tradition to proselytize; It's not in his blood to talk religion with a Gentile.

The Jew who lacks faith in God, would probably scorn this task as being ridiculous. This degrading chore, to convince others of fairy-tale machinations, he wouldn't wish even on his enemy.

The religious Jew too, after centuries under Gentile rule, is not accustomed nor does he relish this now-feasible calling. He'd rather be shackled or stay home than actively proselytize. For him to promote the Noahide laws to Gentile peers is tantamount to being perceived as some sleazy salesman.

So we end up with Jews who shirk their responsibility to enlighten, and with Gentiles who may well rebuff new religious liabilities.

horse and buggy metaphor is here apt. No matter if the passenger is smart or stupid, king or pauper, the horse does not care as it trots along.

Similarly, for a person with obligations who would reject or dismiss the Noahide laws - the fact of the matter 
will not change. The world trots along its temporal course from one day to the next. One of these days divine reckoning shall ask each of us if we fulfilled our duty on earth. We won't be able to feign ignorance or cast judgement aside. We were created in God's image, which means we have the ability to think and reason, unlike other species. We'll be held accountable.

Here's why the 7 Noahide laws are an imperative:

Suppose you host a guest in your home. Wouldn't you expect him to show appropriate manners? Wouldn't it annoy you were he to sit on your dinner table, or carelessly break a crystal, or muddy the carpet? And wouldn't it offend you if he were mindless of your presence?

This anecdote symbolizes our lifetime on earth. We are guests in this world, given an incredible opportunity to live a life, thanks to God our host. Should we disrespect the master of this domain and be ungrateful?

You might ask, "But what constitutes 'appropriate behavior'? How is one to distinguish between what's really right from wrong?"

It stands to reason the creator of a complicated gadget would leave a set of instructions how to correctly operate his machination. The same is true of the created universe. 


We too have been given a manual of instructions. Hint: It's the most widely read book in the world and the most popular in human history, to this very day. Hardly a home exists in the whole world without one, or at least without the ability to get one immediately!

The book God gave the Jewish people is called "Torah", which means "a book of instruction". That name is deliberate. The Torah, as it was gifted to the Jewish people 3,327 years ago, in its original Hebrew language, provides all the answers. Torah is your source for truth! 


But take care. For, as long as you allow non-observant Jews to teach you what Torah says, or, as long as you find reason to follow those who shun the opinion of these Jews, you will never know the truth!

Not one letter has ever been added or removed from Torah since its inception in 1312 BC. It suffered no revisions or modifications, and never will because divine perfection gets it right the first time. It is eternally perfect. No translation can do justice to its original language. Unlike every other language that is artificial, Hebrew is God's language.

As to what constitutes appropriate behavior, only observant rabbis profoundly intimate with Torah and Talmud (oral Torah tradition) can provide answers. Only the orthodox rabbi can be relied on because he embodies Torah's Oral Tradition of 3 millennia.

The Torah prescribes two modes of appropriate behavior in God's domain. One prescription is for the Jew, and the other for the Gentile. The Jew has 613 commandments (plus ramifications thereof) he must follow. The Gentile has 7 (with its own ramifications); These are the so-called Seven Noahide Laws.

So, what constitutes proper conduct in God Almighty's abode? What behavior befits the King's palace? There are two, depending on who you are. One protocol applies for Jewish people, and one for Gentile people. Each group has its own role in the world. The Jew is the Torah's beacon. The Gentile is the world's colonizer. Each has his own relevant set of commandments. Anything other than these requirements lacks divine sanction!

So, how many religions exist in the world? Who knows; There ought to be none! Torah endorses only two modes of proper conduct, one for Jew and one for Gentile, no more, no less. You can't beat this elegant simplicity, nor its inherent synergy.

As for the payoff - righteous Gentiles in this world earn their future ticket into the world of truth.

16 comments:

  1. very good write-up.

    And I like how you closed - "Anything else falls short of these requirements and lacks divine sanction!"

    so true

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  2. forgot to add this - I have pictures/links of righteous converts and righteous noahides on my site.

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  3. Thanks Tidbits. By the way, I just updated the post to include a parenthetical statement.

    I copy it here:
    ... the equivalent of "a sheep that survives among 70 wolves" (as our Jewish sages tell us, although this phrase has found its way into other unoriginal sources).

    I added that parenthetic clause because when I searched to find the reference for the phrase, I noticed a thousand hits on a Matthews source, and, of course, they claim so much AS THEIR OWN when in fact they plagiarize from our great sages.

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  4. Sources I found are:
    1) In Midrash Tanchuma [end of Toldot:5], the conversation between Adrianus and Rabbi Yehoshua;
    2) In Midrash Rabba, Esther 10:12
    3) Apparently there's one in Pesikta Rabati

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  5. The fundamentals or essentials of all religions are the same. All systems of religion are equally divine and true. The conflicting points are all due to misconception and misconstruction of truths on account of prejudice, and perverted condition of the intellect of people. Thanks a lot.

    Religion and Society

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  6. Marie - The fundamental of Judaism began with God's revelation, to the extent that this is possible for humans to continue to exist, at Mount Sinai IN THE PRESENCE OF THE ENTIRE JEWISH NATION. NO religion except Judaism, I repeat - NO religion - can make that claim. EVERY OTHER religion began with some person claiming to have prophetic powers, or divine properties, or whatever, or a small group of people began it. That is to say, all religions - except Judaism - began with this liability - that one man with charisma, or a small group, could have duped people into some dogma.

    Aside from that, if you can think objectively, you will note:
    1) The miracle that the Jewish people represent, scattered the world over, a tiny minority of people, always having been hated and persecuted, still existent;
    2) Israel having been returned to its former owners after 2,000 years; and many other Torah prophesies that have come true;
    3) That Torah points to facts that prove that it is of divine origin
    etc., shouuld at least give you pause to think through more carefully before you make your silly assertion, by lumping Judaism with other religions.

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  7. In the Vanguard...you are absolutely right. Judaism began with the divine revelation from God.
    The Muslim religion, as well as all other religions, began with a man who made special claims and deceived people into believing that the religion he was espousing was the only right religion (e.g. Joseph Smith, Muhammed, etc., etc.).
    Only the God of the Bible has given us the right answer. All others are fictional & imaginary (vain imaginations of man's mind).
    And only through Jesus Christ the Son of God can we come to the ONLY salvation that is offered to us & that will guarantee our passage into heaven once we leave this earth.
    All other ways are man's imagined ways of getting himself into heaven, and if a person believes one of the other ways, he or she will find themselves in a most perilous position in eternity.

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  8. Bob, to spin a good lie, you must start it off with a truth. Once you got to your J hang-up, you belie the lie.

    The 1st Law of Noahides - for Gentiles - is to believe in the God of the Jews, the One and Only God! "You shall have no ther gods before Me!" That includes the Jew whom you worship (while despising all other Jews).

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  9. Anonymous12:12 PM

    Who want to be a gentile kowing this, and kowing that come from a real son of G-d?I need an answer:

    Excerpted from Derech Hashem, Part II, Chapter 4 by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto~

    ...One of the deepest concepts of God's Providence involves Israel and the other nations. With regard to their basic human characteristics, the two appear exactly alike. From the Torah's viewpoint, however, the two are completely different, and are treated as if they belonged to completely different species.

    ...The human race initially had a chance to permanently regain its original [Adamic] state and rectify the spiritual damage that had been done.

    During the period of time allowed for this, Avraham was the only one who "succeeded in elevating himself [and] was therefore permanently made into a superior excellent Tree, conforming to man's highest level" and as a result, his entire lineage through Yitzchak and Ya'aqov did as well. From the giving of the Torah at Har Sinai until now, only individuals who are capable of doing what it takes to fully convert sincerely can reach this level along with those born to it.

    [Note: When one says that a convert has been "born again" in the waters of the mikvah, it is not just a poetic saying, it is reality.]

    The nations still have the human aspect, blemished though it may be, and God desired that they should at least have a counterpart of what was actually appropriate for all mankind. He therefore granted them a Divine Soul (neshamah) somewhat like that of the Jew, even though it is on a much lower level. They were likewise given commandments through which they could attain both material and spiritual advantages appropriate to their natures. These are the seven {universal) commandments given to the Children of Noah.

    ...In the World to Come, however, there will be no nation other than Israel.

    The souls of righteous gentiles will be allowed to exist in the Future World, but only as an addition and attachment to Israel. They will therefore be secondary to the Jew, just as a garment is secondary to the one who wears it. All that they attain of the ultimate good will have to be attained in this manner, since by virtue of their nature they can receive no more.

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  10. Anonymous, you're hard to understand. You end by saying, "They will therefore be secondary to the Jew". You speak of a farther off period of Moshiach. And anyhow, by then, as you poiny out, everyone will be Jewish or serve the Jewish purpose.

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  11. Anonymous6:45 AM

    Thank you for your answer. You have give me a new perspective on that passage of the holy book Derech Hashem.

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  12. In the Vanguard, Following the Chabad path, it is easy for me to resonate with your articles and comments on this blog. Ishar Koach! I am just wondering why your profile is missing basic information, like your name and city of residence. Please email me if you prefer not to disclose your identity in this public forum.

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  13. In the Vanguard, I love your message and article to gentiles. There are many people I would like to refer to read all that. There are videos on the Internet of some devouted Nohaide communities, worshipping and prospering as instructed by the Torah. I think that finding and referrencing links to such groups will enable gentiles to preview what Hashem intended for them and will be inspiring. Further, they can contact these Nohaide communities for guidance and support, join them or start their own local group. Can you find these referrences on youtube or elsewhere on the Internet? It would be great to include such living examples of Nohaide communities in your article.

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  14. Amnon - see Rashi in Bamidbar 25:7
    where it says:
    קריינא דאגרתא איהו ליהוי פרוונקא

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  15. “7 Noahide Laws”:
    http://asknoah.org
    www.noahide.org

    Also search the above words on youtube to view videos of communities practicing these laws.

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  16. Amnon - the 2 links you provide I believe are rather weak on promotional material and educational ability.

    There are so many better places to find good material.

    A google search on NOAHIDE today leads to plenty of good results - granted the seeker knows how to navigate away from christian sites created to thwart the effort.

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