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On the Matter Of the Righteous Gentile

Jewish Sages and contemporary Orthodox Rabbis speaks of the Noachide Covenant as a Universal Covenant that ‘covers’ all humans, not just the Jews. The Noachide Covenant, according to the Sages, is based on two verses in Tanakh Genesis 2:16 and Genesis 9:4.

This is how they do it:

1. Talmud – Sanhedrin 56a: Our Rabbis taught: seven precepts were the sons of Noah commanded: social laws; to refrain from blasphemy, idolatry; adultery; bloodshed; robbery; and eating flesh cut from a living animal.

2.Midrash Rabbah – Genesis XVI:6 which states
AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED THE MAN, SAYING: OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN THOU MAYEST FREELY EAT (II, 16). R. Levi said: He gave him six precepts:

AND HE COMMANDED (WAY-YEZAW) alludes to idolatry, as you read: Because he willingly walked after zaw-i.e. idols (Hos. V, 11).

THE LORD alludes to blasphemy, as you read, And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord (Lev. XXlV, 16).

GOD alludes to the [authority of] judges, as you read, Thou shalt not revile God-i.e. the judges (Ex. XXII, 27).

THE MAN: this alludes to bloodshed, as you read, Whoso sheddeth man’s blood (Gen. IX, 6).

SAYING alludes to incest,2 as you read: Saying: If a man put away his wife, etc. (Jer. III, 1).

OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN THOU SHALT FREELY EAT: here He commanded him against theft.

The Rabbis interpreted the whole passage thus:
AND THE LORD GOD COMMANDED. He said to him: ‘What am I? God, [and I command] that I be treated as a God and not cursed.’ How do we know [that Adam was forbidden] incest? [From the passage], And cleave unto his wife (Gen. II, 24), which implies, but not to his neighbour’s wife, nor to a male, nor to an animal.
OF EVERY TREE OF THE GARDEN THOU MAYEST FREELY EAT. R. Jacob of Kefar Hanan said: When does [an animal] become food, and when is it fit to be eaten? When it is ritually slaughtered. Thus He intimated [the forbidden character of] a limb torn from a living animal.
BUT OF THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL, THOU SHALT NOT EAT OF IT; FOR IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THERE OF THOU SHALT SURELY DIE (MOTH TAMOTH) (II, 17): [this intimated] death for Adam, death for Eve, and death for his descendants.

3.The Rambam, Mishna Torah, Hilchot Melachim, Chapt. 9:1
1. Six precepts were commanded to Adam:
a) [the prohibition against] worship of false gods;
b) [the prohibition against] cursing God;
c) [the prohibition against] murder;
d) [the prohibition against] incest and adultery;
e) [the prohibition against] theft;
f) [the command to establish] laws and courts of justice.

Even though we have received all of these commands from Moses and, [furthermore, they are concepts] which intellect itself tends [to accept]. It appears from the Torah’s words that [Adam] was commanded concerning them.

[The prohibition against eating] flesh from a living animal was added for Noah, as [Genesis 9:4] states: “Nevertheless, you may not eat flesh with its life, which is its blood.” Thus there are seven mitzvot.
(end of the Rambam)

Ever since I first started exploring Torah and Judaism have I disagreed with this for two simple reasons – Torah is never obscure or complicated when it comes to directions for living, and the Stranger, the Righteous Gentile – the Ger Tzedek – is spoken of as living UNDER THE SAME LAWS the Jews did (“One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” Exodus 12:49).

After all, the Stranger had been given them alongside the Jews at Har Sinai (“And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and flocks, and herds, even very much cattle.” Exodus 12:38) without exception, barred one – ANYONE had to be circumcised in order to partake of the Peasch Seder and the Feast of Unleavened Bread (“And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land; but no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.” Exodus 12:48) One Law for the Jew and the same for the Stranger (“Ye shall have one manner of law, as well for the stranger, as for the home-born; for I am the LORD your God.‘” Leviticus 24:22) How the Sages managed to ‘overlook’ these very clear instructions, is beyond me, but they clearly did.

Over and over Israel is admonished to treat the Stranger that resides with them with respect and as one of them.

How is it possible for the Chabad Rabbis to claim that a Righteous Gentile may not celebrate Shabbat, wear tallit or tefillin or observe the High Holidays, when TORAH clearly says that there should be only ONE LAW for the Jew and the Stranger alike? I have still to find an explanation to this.

About Shabbat:
“but the seventh day is a sabbath unto the LORD thy God, in it thou shalt not do any manner of work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates.” (Ex. 20:10)

About Yom Kippur:
“And it shall be a statute for ever unto you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and shall do no manner of work, the home-born, or the stranger that sojourneth among you.” (Lev 16:29)

About the fire-offering – the HOLIEST Ritual in Tanakh:
“All that are home-born shall do these things after this manner, in presenting an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD. And if a stranger sojourn with you, or whosoever may be among you, throughout your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD; as ye do, so he shall do. As for the congregation, there shall be one statute both for you, and for the stranger that sojourneth with you, a statute for ever throughout your generations; as ye are, so shall the stranger be before the LORD.” (Num 15:13-15)

Here, in Num 15, it clearly says that the Stranger and the Jew is THE SAME BEFORE THE L-RD – Torah and Torah Based Rituals are clearly for all who wants them.

One might be able to say that the Jewish People is OBLIGATED, but the Gentiles are not – but not being obligated doesn’t mean one is prohibited.

2 Responses to “On the Matter Of the Righteous Gentile”

  1. […] in Oral Torah, where would the Sages have derived it from? For more on the matter of the Stranger: On the Matter Of the Righteous Gentile. Injustice and distortion of Torah has never led to anything but heartbreak and disaster for […]

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  2. […] in Oral Torah, where would the Sages have derived it from? For more on the matter of the Stranger: On the Matter Of the Righteous Gentile. Injustice and distortion of Torah has never led to anything but heartbreak and disaster for […]

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