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The Way of the Righteous Gentiles
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People often make things too complicated.
The Noahide Way is a clear path with glorious blessings for those who walk it. Its heart is the Seven Laws, but our sages teach us that following "the letter of the law" is not as effective as observing it with joy and gladness of heart. What does HaShem (God) require of Noahides?
Consider Micah 6:6-8With what shall I come before the Lord, bow before the Most High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with myriad streams of oil? Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
He has told you, O man, what is good, and what the Lord demands of you; but to do justice, to love loving-kindness, and to walk discreetly with your God.
This is what HaShem wants of Noahides.
Come before Him not with burnt offerings and extremism, but with justice, loving kindness, and humility.
Rabbi Hillel said much the same when he explained to a Gentile that the whole of the Torah consisted of not doing to others what you would not want done to you. This is instructive for both Jews and Noahides.
To guide Noahides in this path HaShem established the Seven Laws. Let's take a look at these:
HaSheva Mitzvot B'nei Noach
(The Seven Laws of the Children of Noah)Avodah Zarah: Prohibition against idolatry.
This includes all forms of idolatry including placing anything before ones service and devotion to HaShem.
Birchat HaShem: Commandment to bless the Name of HaShem.
Inherent in this is the prohibition against blasphemy, cursing and dishonoring the Name of God in any way. For this reason we typically say/write HaShem ("The Name") rather than utter or write the Holy Name. The Sacred Name is most sacred. All the more so when we grasp that the Oneness of HaShem is all encompassing. He and His Name is One.
Shefichat Damim: Prohibition on murder.
"Murder" refers to the unjustified taking of a human life (killing animals is not murder biblically speaking, nor the taking of human life in a just war or under a duly constituted judicial ruling). There is a righteous taking of life and an unrighteous taking of life.
Gezel: Prohibition on robbery and theft.
Gilui Arayot: Prohibition on immorality and forbidden sexual relations.
Ever Min HaChay: Prohibition on removing and eating a limb from a live animal.
This is broadly interpreted and has its origins in practices long since abandoned (with extremely rare exceptions), but essentially it forbids all cruelties and perversions done to animals. Noahides must treat all life with respect.
Dinim: Requirement to establish justice systems and courts of law to enforce the other 6 laws.
Today this is fulfilled by obeying the authorities that rule over us and by making personal judgements in a honest and informed way.
This is the Path of the Noahide.
As one lives this life path one discovers that the seven laws encapsulate an ever growing number of principles that sincere Noahides inwardly feel drawn to embrace and perform. For instance, with Birchat HaShem, the commandment to bless the Name of HaShem. If a Noahide lives in a less than godly manner, for instance, if he/she is rude or dismissive to a waitress, a neighbor, etc., then one is not being a 'blessing to HaShem'. God forbid others should say, "this Noahide claims to know God but just look how she/he acts!" All Noahides need to be aware that their actions can bring praise or dishonor to HaShem.
The Path of the Noahide is therefore all encompassing, as is the life of the observant Jew. The more one seeks to live as an observant Noahide the more opportunities will come to challenge one to greater observance and subsequently to more blessings.
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