Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Righteous Minority of Mankind

The following article appeared as an editorial in a magazine published by the Previous Rebbe (הקריאה והקדושה, May 1941).
The highlighting is my own.
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We read in the Authorized Version of the Bible: "And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations. I do set my bow in the cloud, and it will be a token of a covenant between me and the earth. And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud. And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; And the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. And the bow shall be in the cloud, and I will look upon it that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth." (Gen. 9, 12-16)

According to this, God created the rainbow that it might remind Him not to bring another flood upon the earth. As a matter of fact the rainbow is not a special creation but is a natural phenomenon, an optical illusion caused by the rain plus the effect of the sun's rays, and God does not have to look at it to remember anything!

We must refer you to the Hebrew commentaries of the Bible for the proper translation and for proofs of correctness; Here we shall give only the idea contained in the real text:

"Token of a covenant" in the Bible more correctly, "symbol of covenant", means a sign to remind the parties to an agreement of the essence of their agreement briefly since there were few written covenants in pre-Biblical times. Thus the symbol of the treaty of peace between Abraham and Abimelech was made to be "the seven lambs"; The word "seven" meaning in Hebrew also to "swear", "the seven lambs" were to remind the two parties to the covenant that they had sworn not to harm one another, just as the lambs never think of doing harm to each other.

God made a covenant with Noah for perpetual generations not to destroy all mankind any more, as in the flood. A symbol was needed, therefore, for the pledges of both parties, and, of course, principally to remind man of his obligations, since God is not in need of reminders. Certainly, no better symbol could have been found that the one given to Noah, both for its everlasting recurrence, and for its exact parallelism of the terms of the covenant binding the two parties.

Without going into the proof in lengthy details (the original text brings it all out most clearly), the substance of the terms is as follows:

Mankind is at all times to have a righteous minority amid the spiritually dark and sinful majority. God is to look after (not "look upon") that minority lest the sinful majority destroy it, and He is also to spare the latter for the sake of the former, since He could not think of destroying the righteous minority for the sins of others, and because there is hope that in time the sinful majority will be influenced to become righteous too by the efforts of that minority. Noah was also given to understand that he had lawfully earned the covenant, since he was himself the first shining human rainbow amid the clouds of sin and darkness in his generations, and because of that a part of his generations will inherit and retain the same power of remaining spiritually a shining human rainbow, though surrounded thickly by the most sinful and wicked generations, which will ignore or fight it as detrimental.

"Rainbow in the cloud" was therefore to be the token and symbol covering the essence of the covenant. Just as man sees the rainbow in heaven amid clouds, so will God see a shining righteous human minority amid spiritually dark majorities; And just as the actual appearance of the rainbow in the sky shows that no storm is ahead, threatening to destroy the earth, so will the presence of a spiritually shining minority amid sinful, wicked majorities be the sign that no complete destruction of all the earth and all mankind is coming. Here, there, now, and then, some wicked part of all mankind will be destroyed, but never again will there be a flood to destroy all the earth. The righteous minority will make it impossible. God will look at the rainbow (the human rainbow upon the earth, not the rainbow in the sky). He will safeguard it (not merely see it), and for its sake He will refrain from causing another flood to destroy all flesh.

This is no homiletic interpretation; The original text has it in this specific form, very clearly, and it can not be made to mean anything else sensible.

There is indeed a chain of righteous people a golden chain unbroken since Noah up to this very date. There were a few in every generation up to Abraham, and after that there was always a righteous minority among some of the ancient peoples; Each modern nation also has a certain number of righteous no matter how wicked and sinful the majority has been or is.

It was because of this that Abraham pleaded for Sodom; Even daring to accuse God of not doing justice; He claimed for it the right of the covenant, as was explained here. Unfortunately for Sodom, there was not one link of the unbroken chain in it, and it was destroyed: (only Lot, who was not so wicked, and who was a newcomer to the land, escaped destruction.) Sodom itself did not have even a minority of ten righteous, which, according to the Bible, is the smallest unit linking itself to the unbroken chain of righteous, the rainbow part of mankind sine Noah.

Since that time every man is either a part of the sinful majority or one of the unbroken chain of the righteous minority that reaches straight back to Noah, (4047 years ago) [now 4,117 years ago] and every man must ask himself: "To which of the two parts of mankind do I adhere?"

Ten truly righteous men will save their city; Ten truly righteous public leaders will influence a government and save their country; While ten truly righteous world leaders could save the whole world from destruction. This the Bible assures most clearly.

Yes! there is a righteous minority in the world since Noah, of which Abraham was one, and is mentioned in the Bible as an outstanding example - it is still the minority that preaches "the way of the Lord to do justice and judgement", the minority which is God's own chosen part of mankind!

As a whole, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob belong to the righteous minority, if and when they adhere to the laws of the Godly Torah!

Are you one of them?

1 comment:

  1. amen and you no doubt are amongst them my friend..Shabbat Shalom~!