You Ever Wonder...?
Trying something a little different in this issue, here’s a piece that we’re translating into several languages. Thanks to good friends, we’ve already posted it in Russian and Bulgarian; we’re hoping to have Greek and Arab-language versions of it up shortly. [By the way, if you can help… We don’t have anything up in Hebrew, or Spanish, and, as always, we’d like help with French, Chinese, German, etc.]
Rabbi Michael Katz suggested tying this feature article to the wonderful piece by the late Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, of blessed memory, “If You Were God.” Obviously, at least to us, the story of the Jewish people on Earth is convincing evidence - from the blessed God Who never forces belief on Him on anybody – of HaShem’s more-than-human wisdom and His Providence.
Have You Ever Wondered...?
…why mobs of people all through history - people like the Nazis, ISIS and all Arab terrorists, the Ku Klux Klan, Soviet Communists, Inquisitors, Philistines, Crusaders, Egyptian, Greek, Syrian and Roman empires – hated or hate the Jewish people so much that they hope and try to eliminate them?
Or, for instance, why the Bible’s Golden Rule - Leviticus 19:18 and 19:34, “You shall love thy neighbor as yourself” and “The stranger… you shall love him as yourself” – should be seen as Christian, but not Jewish?
The truth is that “Judaism,” so-called, isn’t just a sect for a dinky little ethnic group called Jews: it’s a unified plan – a religion, a belief-system, a way of thinking and a way of living – to liberate and elevate humanity. This is something opposed, in its very nature, to the dark oppressive tyrannies that reject and despise the root idea, the central cause, of Israel, NAMELY: that God rules the world, that He’s concerned with the world, and involved in it, and that, far from being a god of evil (God forbid!), He loves love, kindness, compassion, modesty, humility and wisdom.
The Jewish people’s central over-riding mission, from the pyramids of Egypt and Mt. Sinai to today, and to the redemptive next stages of human history, and always, was Divinely fixed and remains this, simply: God consciousness.
The Jews exist to make all mankind more truly God-conscious.
People who have a hard time believing in a supernatural God, a Creator of all things, an eternal, timeless, Master of the Universe, immanent and transcendent, beyond human imagining, tend to reject the concept that such a Being might have selected a certain tribe or people to help in the process of elevating – bootstrapping upward – all the tribes of Earth. But, just scratching the surface of the history of mankind, you see this phenomenon, again and again… Clearly, in every generation, starting from Egyptian antiquity, you have this unique people – the Jews – making a difference, thinking outside the pagan box; making friends, and enemies…
1) Concerning the mystery that is Israel: the children of a Jewish man won’t be Jewish unless their mother is herself the daughter of a Jewish mother, or go through a lengthy and elaborate conversion process, involving extensive study. The Jews are not meant to be a people of great numbers. 2) the God of Abraham, Israel and Moses is, simply, God – there is no other God or god or free-willed independent force or sprite or deity.
Every person who humbly worships Him and only Him – God - directly, without bothering with unnecessary imaginary intermediaries (“sons” of God, or “lesser gods” or goddesses, angels, channelers, saints, warlocks, oppressive witches, spirits, or the like) is practicing Judaism, as the religion of Israel applies to non-Jews.
Consider how, in every generation, the acolytes and followers of backward thinking savaged this Movement and reviled the Jewish people, and all who, although born Gentiles, committed the capital felony of “Judaizing”! Consider the oceans of blood spilled by hating, ridiculously self-certain Nazis, Cossacks, Arabs, Crusaders, Roman generals, Churchmen, etc., on behalf of all their respective demented, uninformed, infantile beliefs and prejudices….
Sir Isaac Newton was a secret Noahide, a worshipful follower of the One and Only God. Great genius that he was, he taught himself Hebrew (all alone, apparently, and all in secrecy!) and studied not just the Bible but the Oral Torah and the Rabbis and Sages of Israel. He kept it secret because, if found out, the established church in England at the time (he died in 1727) would have had him tortured, drawn and quartered, impaled alive, and burned at the stake! "Newton, Noahide"
We live in a different age. We learned or should have learned about the Nazis and their ilk. We saw Jewish armies fighting Israel’s enemies not just barely surviving but beating them decisively and even clobbering them. (This is quite as predicted in the Bible.) We’ve seen the fruits and products of the Land of Israel increasing – not just grains and food and flowers but huge tidal waves of discoveries by Israel’s scientists and technologists, and new techniques to protect and save the Earth and seas.... This, too, is quite as predicted in the Bible.
What God put on Earth at Sinai was a revolutionary new Way of dealing with reality. Over generations, the forces set loose there helped radically alter culture to bring us to our own age. We are all beneficiaries of scientific revolutions, religious revolutions and extraordinary consciousness-raising, generation after generation, on a planetary scale.
We today are showered in blessings. We have great freedom to determine our own beliefs for ourselves. We can choose for ourselves – regardless of what the Church thinks, or what ANYBODY thinks – what Master we should serve.
“As for me and my house, we shall serve HaShem [God].” Joshua 24:15. To connect to God (the one and only God) and the immense holy cosmic forces that underlie reality, as consciously as possible – that is a worthy life-goal. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that you know everything worth knowing. Legions of prize-winning scientists, professors and geniuses of all kinds – many of them former atheists and total religious skeptics – lovingly read and grapple with the Torah every day. Pursuing God and holiness, true knowledge of good and evil, genuine God-consciousness, grace and blessing – that is a worthy goal.
Our job is to help. We have special expertise in helping B’nai No’ach, non-Jews, make these connections, and see how the Torah applies to Noahides. We wrote Rainbow Covenant: Torah and the Seven Universal Laws, about the First Covenant – the Noahide Covenant. Check out our online magazine, Covenant Connection. Visit our website, 1stcovenant.
Rabbinic Approbation for Rainbow Covenant
Rabbi Michael Katz wrote Rainbow Covenant a nice foreword, and some other distinguished rabbis – real, pious, fervently Orthodox rabbis – spoke well of it, but we didn’t know that, all along, we had a genuine rabbinic haskamah, a rabbinic “seal of approval,” as it were, from Rabbi Professor Nahum Rakover.
Until we happened upon an article about him and his work in Ami Magazine, “Bringing Halachah Into Israel’s Legal System, an Exclusive Interview,” (Issue 218, May, 2015/Sivan 5775), we didn’t know that much about him – that he’d received rabbinic ordination from Jerusalem’s illustrious Mercaz HaRav in 1953, that he came from a family of illustrious rabbis, connected, for instance, to the late Rav Aryeh Levin, z”tl – or the nature of his life’s great work. That work, increasing serious respect for Torah in modern Israel’s jurisprudence, is, we believe, very worthy, and we would be honored indeed if we could help with it…. In any event, you can see Rabbi Rakover’s original haskamah – he reviewed the advance reader’s copy of Rainbow Covenant, “The Seven Commandments: the Code of the Rainbow Covenant” – here.
If we’d known then what we know now, we’d have included that in the printed book.
We call on God for help. As the prayer that Israel says every morning just before reciting the Hebrew statement of faith known as the shema asks (please understand that this is much richer in Hebrew than in English): Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy on us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teachings with love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments, and unify our hearts to love and fear Your Name. Amen.
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