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A Dvar Torah for Noach

"The Beginning Of All Life Is At Hand!"

A Dvar Torah for Noach: Genesis 6:9 – 11:32
By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © October 23, 2020 (last updated 10-7-2021)

Ohr HaChayim explains that G‑d informed Noah that "the end for all life is approaching" (6:13). According to the Zohar this verse teaches that because of the destructive forces caused by humanity's sins and negativity, Divine Justice demanded these negative forces be eliminated, lest the very foundations of the earth be spoiled. Isaiah 66:1 says that the Earth is G-d's Footstool. It would not do for the metaphorical Footstool of the Holy One to be polluted and corrupt..

At the time of Noah, the only way to eliminate these negative forces was to destroy those perpetrating the evils, human kind. Due to human perversions all terrestrial life had become contaminated. Hence the Holy One declared He would wash away all life from the earth. Similar cleansings had happened before.

During these early days of our Olam Hazeh or world order the people knew what they were doing. The stories of Adam and Chavah were remembered, but each person, enraged by narcissism, sought only his or her own desires. The Torah recounts how HaShem warned these people, encouraging them to abandon their evil deeds. There are repeated references to G-d's awareness of man's wickedness starting from chapter 6 verse 5.

Our sages say that six laws had been revealed to humanity at this point, before the global flood. The Babylonian Talmud lists these first six commandments, beginning at Genesis 2:16, as prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery, and robbery. The sixth was the positive command to establish courts of justice to oversee the application and enforcement of these laws.

But the people rebelled against these civilizing laws and did whatever they desired. Often they performed great evils and perversions. Because they rebelled and rejected the civilized behavior, G-d brought the global flood upon the earth.

After the flood a seventh commandment was given to Noah and his offspring forbidding the eating of flesh cut from a living animal (Gen. 9:4).

Embracing the Seven laws humans would naturally embrace other obvious righteous principles. Why? Because a heart that is turned to HaShem will be drawn to righteousness and will shun unrighteousness. The sages speak of 30 additional commandments that one who holds to the initial Seven Law Covenant will naturally observe. The include prohibitions against things like castration and sorcery. It was because humanity rejected civilized behavior that destruction of their world came upon them. “G-d saw the earth and behold, it was corrupt.” (Gen. 6:12).

Noah however was “righteous in his generation.” There is a lot of interesting commentary on what is meant by “in his generation,” but we know that through his righteous example it was demonstrated that humanity, despite our propensity toward negativity, has the potential to merit our collective calling as the children of G-d. We CAN fulfill the desire of our Creator that the entire planet become a global paradise of Love, Light and Peace. But we will never achieve this through rebellion.

Hence we read at Jonah 3:10, as expounded by Rabbi Hiya, "And G-d saw from their deeds that they had repented from their evil ways" and He granted Mercy and Rectification to these Gentiles, just as He does for the Jews who make teshuvah.

When the individual and collective human consciousness is darkened various concealments are enacted. It is as though curtains or walls are put into place between us and HaShem. But when people return to righteousness and observe the commandments of the Torah that apply to them, then they are restored.

In this way the earth will eventually be redeemed and restored to its original purpose. When all of the concealments are removed all of the creation will behold the Glory of HaShem. Then His Sacred Temple, the Beit HaMikdash will become the House of prayer for all people. Then the Shechinah will dwell openly upon the earth and all beings — both Above and Below — will be joyous. Then there will be universal peace. Then, as stated at Jeremiah 31:33:

No longer shall one teach his neighbor nor shall one teach his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know Me from their smallest to their greatest, says the HaShem, for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will no longer remember.
And again, it is written at Habakkuk 2:14:
"For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord-as the water covers the seabed."

But when mankind corrupts its ways, when it does not observe the commandments of the Torah, and when it sins before its Maker without shame, it is as if mankind drives the Shechinah out of the world. When this happens the earth is left corrupt and a state of darkness consumes their days as well as their nights. This is when the earth is corrupt and corrupted. At such times a different spirit rests upon the earth and upon the consciousness of humanity! This spirit causes the earth's further corruption to the point when people murder their own children, which liars and thieves rule over their nations, when good is called evil and evil is good as warned by Isaiah haNavi at chapter 5 verse 20 in his book. When a country or a people sinks this low it is not enough to polish the rust or paint over the rotted wood. A desolation comes destroying the old. Only then is righteousness reborn. Pray that we have not yet reached this point!

How can the world again be filled with the Light of HaShem? How can humanity welcome the Shechinah to dwell among us? Through our deeds, and moreover through our consciousness! Through teshuvah and hitbodedut! Through emunah, through a life of motivated faith and tikkun. As the prophet declares, 'If My people who are called by My Name will humble them,selves and pray' ... Jews and non-Jews alike can reduce the concealments and begin to see the world as it truly is, as Gan Eden. Truly for those with eyes to see and ears to hear we are, even now, completely surrounded by the Love and Protection of the Beloved. He enraptures us within His own Tallit Gadol as a Mother protects Her child. IF we can see. IF we will to see.

But Noach's descendants sought to glorify themselves at the Tower Babel through the various philosophies of Globalism. This tendancy continues to our day as once again the so-called leaders of the world and seeking to destroy G-d and godly virtue and replace the Truth with Lies and idols. Out of compassion HaShem called forth His servant Avraham to be our father and example, and through him He established the everlasting priesthood and the eternal Nation. It is the sacred duty of this Holy Nation to do what can to assist the world in making teshuvah, repentance, and correcting their errors before it's too late. Teaching the Seven Laws and other civilized life-affirming principles to the world is a big part of our collective duty and priviledge.

Along with those who embrace the Seven Laws, the Jewish Nation of Priests is intended to prepare the way for the coming of Mashiach ben David and the establishment of the global Gan Eden. Sadly, too many of us are asleep, or assimilated, or lack emunah. Hence the world is as it now is and our justifiable destruction is coming.

Sadly there are those among who us refuse to reach out their hand to this lost and dying world. Here is halachic approval for teaching Noahidim:

Consider the following from the opening and closing pages of J. David Bleich's, "Survey of Recent Halakhic Periodical Literature: Teaching Torah to Non-Jews" (Tradition, 18 (2), Summar 1980.

The prohibition against teaching Torah to non-Jews is well known to students of Jewish law. Equally well known is the role of Abraham as the "father of the multitude of nations," entrusted with the sacred task of carrying the teaching of monotheism to idolatrous peoples. A person unfamiliar with the extensive rabbinical literature devoted to this topic may perceive a certain tension, and perhaps even contradiction, between a recognized need to disseminate religious truths and an almost xenophobic reluctance to share the greatest repository of such truth—the Torah. Yet even a cursory examination of the relevant sources dispels the notion that while the community of Israel jealously guards its spiritual wealth, it refuses to share these riches with others. On the contrary, [Judaism] is unique among Western religions in its willingness to share its teachings without seeking to impose its observations. This necessarily involves a vocation of teaching despite the stricture against teaching Torah to non-Jews. The latter, while based on substantive philosophical considerations and of definite halachic import, admits of sufficiently broad exclusions to assure that Israel remains true to its role as a lamp unto the nations (p 192).

In the medieval period no less a personage than Rambam entirely [exempted] Christianity from this prohibition, while in the last century Rabbi Israel Salanter, the acclaimed founder of the Mussar movement, actually mounted a campaign for the incorporation of talmudic studies in the curricula of European schools and universities (p 193).

It seems to [J. David Bleich] that, while there exists no obligation to volunteer information (although it may well be laudable to do so), there is an obligation to respond to a request for information. Jews are commanded to disseminate Torah as widely as possible among their fellow Jews, but there is no obligation to seize the initiative in teaching the seven commandments to Noachides. Nevertheless, when information or advice is solicited there is a definite obligation to respond. When the non-Jew takes the initiative in posing a query, the Jew must respond to the best of his ability (p 203)

Despite the absence of a specific obligation to influence non-Jews to abide by the provisions of the Noachide Code, the attempt to do so is entirely legitimate. Apart from our universal concern, fear lest “the world becomes corrupt,” as Rambam puts it, is also very much a matter of Jewish concern and self-interest. Disintegration of the moral fabric of society affects everyone. Particularly in our age we can not insulate ourselves against the pervasive cultural forces that mold human conduct. Jews have every interest in promoting a positive moral climate.

Accordingly, Jews should certainly not hesitate to make the teachings of Judaism as they bear on contemporary mores more readily accessible to fellow citizens. That is the most direct means available to us for exercising a positive influence in improving the moral atmosphere in which we all live (p 203)

We at Beit Emunah continue to observe this wisdom. We will NOT reject any Jew, regardless of movement or other consideratios, nor will we reject sincere person from the other nations. To do either, especially given the current climate of bigotry, is a violation of the foundational reason of our existence, to be the Holy People, the Light on the Hill, and the Nation of Preists.

Rebbe Nachman explains:

Mashiach will conquer the world only through simple people who recite the Psalms simply and sincerely.

You may understand this through a parable about a certain king who went hunting dressed in ordinary clothing for greater comfort. A sudden cloud-burst, a literal flood of water, sent all the ministers scattering in search of shelter. The king was in great danger but finally found the house of a villager, who invited him inside with great honor, dressed him in warm clothes and gave him simple peasant food, lighting a fire and leaving him there to sleep and warm up. The king was so exhausted that the food and rest in the home of the peasant were the sweetest delight, the like of which he felt he had never tasted.

The ministers searched for the king until they came to the peasant's house and found the king asleep. They waited until he awoke. They wanted him to return home with them, but the king said to them: "None of you came to save me: you all scattered in different directions to save yourselves! Only this peasant saved me. Since I have tasted the sweetest delight with him, he will bring me home in his wagon and I will sit on my royal throne in the very clothes in which he dressed me!

Likewise, just before Mashiach comes, there will be a flood of atheism - not a literal flood of water but one of strange thoughts that will cover all the "high mountains" even in the land of Israel, which was not affected by Noah's flood. The rains will teem down with such force that even the "mountains of Israel " will be drenched - even the hearts of the pure will be affected.

Wisdom and sophistication will be of no avail. The only ones who will hold firm are the simple Jews who recite Psalms simply and sincerely. That is why, when the Mashiach comes, they will be the ones who place the royal crown on his head.

Sipurim Niflaim

Are you doing your share in this glorious work of Tikun Olam or are you one who prefer to exclude and throw stones? The choice is yours.

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