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The need for a Rabbi and related questions
#17
NOTE: The answers below are updates and corrections to the answers that were originally posted.

(01-13-2013, 08:05 PM)amenyahu Wrote: In your response to my question about what can a noahide teach about the Jewish Bible, you said that those who persist in idolatry or heresy should not be involved in Torah study.
Since you were responding in relation to what can be taught from the Jewish Bible, I conclude that this is included in "Torah study".

What I meant was to draw a distinction. Study of the Jewish Bible is included as an area of "Torah study", and as such it is possible to be studied on different levels:
a) reading/learning the verses of the text (with correct translation),
b) learning the straightforward Oral-Torah explanations of the text or,
c) learning the text with in-depth, inner explanations from the Oral-Torah (e.g., homiletical or kabbalistic insights).

For observant Noahides, a) and b) may be applied to the entire Hebrew Bible, and c) may be applied to verses that discuss the 7 Noahide Commandments (and, Rabbi Weiner adds in "The Divine Code" (Part I, ch.r 5), possibly the entire first 11 chapters of the Book of Genesis, since they relate to humanity in general).

All Gentiles are obligated to learn the Seven Noahide Commandments, and how to observe them. Some of this information can be learned from certain verses of the Hebrew Bible, and certainly from their straightforward explanations. But if a Gentile proceeds to learn this material, while at the same time persisting in refusing to accept upon himself to observe these basic commandments that are incumbent upon him, G-d will punish him both for his unrepentant transgressions of the commandments (to the extent that he would have been punished anyway), and for making the effort to learn about them but then refusing to observe them (and not repenting for that either).

For Gentiles who are not observant Noahides, there is limited permission to teach them the parts of the Hebrew Bible that relate only to the Divine service of Jews (meaning, to teach them the Oral Torah's correct interpretation of those verses). First of all, for this permission to be granted, the Gentile must accept the general authenticity of the Hebrew Bible - that it is G-d's Word, revealed through His true prophets, and of course this requires belief in G-d, the Creator of the heavens and the earth, Who is the G-d of Israel. Typically, such individuals have been previously misled about the meaning and ongoing validity of these verses. If the Gentile is persisting in idolatrous beliefs, one should not directly teach him the correct explanations straight from the simple-level Oral Torah sources. Rather, one should avoid citing those Oral Torah sources, and as much as possible, just explain the concepts in one’s own words, with logical proofs.

Note: some Rabbinic authorities have argued that the Talmud’s prohibition against Gentile Torah study (in those areas that extend beyond the Noahide Code) applies only to the Oral Law, and not to the Hebrew Bible scriptures. One of the arguments for this leniency is based on G-d's instructions to the Jewish people (Deut. 27:4-8), that, "It shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall erect these [great] stones ... on Mount Ebal, and you shall coat them with plaster .... You shall inscribe on the stones all the words of this Torah, well clarified." The Talmud explains that "well clarified" meant translated into the 70 Gentile languages that existed at that time. Thus, a Gentile who passed by or specifically traveled to Mount Ebal could read and copy the entire Five Books of Moses, properly translated, in a language that he understood.

On the other hand, there are other Rabbinical authorities who attribute the purpose of the translations on the plastered rocks to other reasons, that relate only to the Jewish people, so they rule that the prohibition against Gentile Torah study (in those areas that extend beyond the Noahide Code) also applies to the Hebrew Bible scriptures.

Furthermore, even according to the opinion that the translations on the plastered rocks, implied permission for Gentiles to study the entire Hebrew Bible, that may have applied only in the historical context of that time (until the destruction of the First Temple), because even the idolaters who lived in those times
a) believed in the G-d of Israel, in that they admitted that He was "the G-d of gods," and
b) knew that the 5 Books of Moses were true, because they knew about the authenticity of the great miracles described there, such as the Jew's miraculous exodus from Egypt and G-d's subsequent splitting of the sea, G-d's speaking at Mount Sinai, the manna that fell from Heaven for the Jews during their 40 years in the wilderness, and the Jew's miraculous defeat of the powerful Amorite nations that were led by kings Sichon and Og (not to mention G-d's destruction of the walls of Jericho, and that He made the sun stand still in the sky for Joshua during the battle at Givon), and
c) knew about and were able to witness open miracles from G-d, occurring on a regular daily basis in the Tabernacle and then in the First Temple.

(01-13-2013, 08:05 PM)amenyahu Wrote: So idolaters and heretics shouldn't study the Jewish Bible. That I can understand. Is it also true that they shouldn't read it either?

By Divine Providence, (slightly variant) versions of the Hebrew Bible have become almost universally available to be read by all Gentiles, and therefore Jews and Noahides are under no obligation to tell them that they shouldn't read it, nor to make any effort to stop them from reading it. On the other hand, Jews and Noahides are responsible to know what and how and to whom it is permitted to teach.

(01-13-2013, 08:05 PM)amenyahu Wrote: And one more question about your answer: does "other paths of heresy" include all other religions?

That answer is applied on an individual basis, depending on what the person himself actually believes. A person may identify himself with a particular religious group, but without accepting all of the particulars of that religion's official doctrine. Particular doctrines of particular religions or their branches and offshoots may be judged according the categories of heretical false beliefs that are listed in "The Divine Code", Part I, ch. 1.
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Messages In This Thread
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions - by excited_for_life - 01-11-2012, 11:11 PM
looking for a tutor - by AskNoah fan - 02-20-2012, 04:31 PM
RE: The need for a Rabbi and other questions - by AskNoah fan - 02-26-2012, 02:57 PM
Ger Toshav and Rambam - by amenyahu - 01-11-2013, 03:39 AM
RE: Ger Toshav and Rambam - by Director Michael - 01-13-2013, 06:26 PM
RE: The need for a Rabbi and other questions - by Director Michael - 01-15-2013, 06:25 AM
Is this an obligation? - by GentileLaw - 07-08-2015, 02:58 AM
Rabbinical Jurisdiction - by amenyahu - 01-13-2014, 11:46 PM

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