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The need for a Rabbi and related questions
01-10-2012, 01:46 AM, (This post was last modified: 08-02-2014, 08:27 AM by Director Michael.)
#1
The need for a Rabbi and related questions
Greetings all and Shalom,

I am a UK Noahide, apparently on his own in the sense of "religious" worldview, doing my best to keep the seven laws of Noah as G-d commanded them to Moses. There seems to be no one around me pursuing keeping the Noahide laws. I'm a bit of an oddity in this respect, coming up to 9 years ago (wow, time flies)

I've got a variety of questions.

1) Jewish traditions states that one should find a rabbi for oneself. I'm learning mainly on my own. No study buddy. I read "The Divine Code", the Chumash (Five Books of Moses), and have read other books on the subject of Noahidism that are being promoted by various other groups, including texts that have been posted on-line - whatever I can get my hands on in order to learn the Torah as it concerns me as a Noahide. But I'm doing this on my own. I'm sure you know of the dangers of being on one's own and learning on one's own. I don't want to sin against G-d. But my knowledge comes from books as opposed to verbal teaching. In a way I'm accountable to no one but myself (of course, G-d is my Judge, but speaking on human terms, there's no Noahide or Rabbi to see my actions and correct or encourage me). I will tell you myself, I have to struggle with certain personal and private habits that are in a "grey" area of Noahide law, both because of my marriage to my wife who follows a non-Torah religion, and because of my own weaknesses. Even if I'm not transgressing the seven laws, I know I may not be in the most appropriate situations. I guess part of me fears that if a Rabbi or observant Noahide were to see me, it may make things more difficult for me and my wife and other aspects of my life. I may be rationalizing my own death (a way that seems right to a man, but the ends are the ways of death and destruction - Mishlei/Proverbs).

But the fact is that even with that fear, I'm doing things on my own. And the main question is, if there is no rabbi near me, is it important that I manage to find myself a rabbi? How would I know if this person is my rabbi if my only communication with him may turn out to be infrequent emails and less frequent phone calls (if any)?

2) I may get radio time on a radio station where I live that has a month license (it'll only be on air for a month and mostly likely only in my area). If I get that time, what should I use it to do? Am I qualified to speak on the Noahide laws, if it is best for me to speak of them? Are there any ideas?

3) Someone asked me about something some time ago as an idea for a Youtube video. Again, I question my own qualifications in the Noahide law. Marriage for an observant Noahide: what are the options or choices in a mainly secular (G-dless)/idolatrous culture? Should such a person just look for someone who's willing to just avoid the basic prohibitions of the Noahide law? Marrying an idolator or an atheist (which makes up so much of the culture around us) is not an ideal situation or even that healthy for the Noahide. How would I get the materials to create even a basic video to help those Noahides who may chance upon my Youtube page (no matter how small the likelihood) and be lonely and wanting as deep a relationship as possible in marriage? There was a person on Youtube stating how difficult it is to be an observant Noahide, and one reason he gave was because of the marriage/loneliness issue. Can you help me give a response?

Thanks for any help you can give. I know these are big questions and you have limited time. I guess you know that I have to ask!

Blessing to everyone.
David
Reply
01-11-2012, 06:30 PM, (This post was last modified: 01-16-2012, 06:52 AM by Director Michael.)
#2
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions
(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: I am a UK Noahide, apparently on his own in the sense of "religious" worldview, doing my best to keep the seven laws of Noah as G-d commanded them to Moses. There seems to be no one around me pursuing keeping the Noahide laws. I'm a bit of an oddity in this respect, coming up to 9 years ago (wow, time flies).

If you haven't already, you should join The Noahide Society of Great Britain, which is affiliated with Ask Noah International:
http://www.noahide.org.uk/html/join_us.html
If the monthly meetings are too far away for you to attend, you should ask their director to put you in contact with the members who live closest to your location, and perhaps you can make times for local-area meetings that are close enough for you to attend. Also, contact us by email or Private Forum Message to ask about additional local contacts. Beyond that, there are ways to outreach on your own, to find other people who are interested in the Noahide path, or who or will be when they hear about it.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: 1) Jewish traditions states that one should find a rabbi for oneself. I'm learning mainly on my own. No study buddy. I read the Divine Code, the Chumash, and have read other books on the subject of Noahidism that are being promoted by various other groups, including texts that have been posted on-line - whatever I can get my hands on in order to learn the Torah as it concerns me as a Noahide. But I'm doing this on my own. I'm sure you know of the dangers of being on one's own and learning on one's own. I don't want to sin against G-d. But my knowledge comes from books as opposed to verbal teaching.

From what you wrote, I have the strong impression that you don't yet understand the meaning of "find a rabbi for oneself". It means that you should identify a contemporary, reliable and expert Orthodox Rabbi (in your case as a Noahide, this means expert in the authentic Torah laws for Noahides), whose rulings and teachings you are going to follow when it comes to questions of practical observance. That does not have to be a local Rabbi. It could be a Rabbi in a distant country, as long as you have access to his rulings in matters of Torah Law for Noahides, and you have a way to ask for his ruling when you have a particular question, and you can't find it answered in his approved resources that are available to you.

In your case, for example, you have "The Divine Code" by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem, who is the main overseeing Rabbi for Ask Noah International. If you were to decide that Rabbi Weiner will be the Rabbi whom you will "make for yourself", then you have his teachings and rulings on Torah laws for Noahides at your fingertips, in "The Divine Code", which he has authored for this very purpose. If a question arises for you on a detail of observance and you can't find answered in his book or from his approved on-line resource (asknoah.org), you can send the question to us. If his ruling on that question is already clear, we will send it to you, and if not, we will forward the question to him and get back to you ASAP with his answer.

In contradistinction to this appropriate manner of observing "find a rabbi for oneself", you are also delving into "whatever I can get my hands on in order to learn the Torah as it concerns me as a Noahide", when the real test for reliability of any text is not just that you're able to get your hands on it. Since you are claiming to "learn the Torah as it concerns me as a Noahide" from other sources that include books and/or authors [which you named off-line] that are teaching the exact opposite of the rulings of Rabbi Weiner and other reliable expert Rabbis in numerous areas, it is clear that you have not made any of those off-track authors, nor any particular reliable Rabbi, the "Rabbi whom you have made for yourself". If you would choose one reliable, expert, faithful Rabbi as your overall authority, you would have less questions.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: In a way I'm accountable to no one but myself (of course, G-d is my Judge, but speaking on human terms, there's no Noahide or Rabbi to see my actions and correct or encourage me).

Then the advice is to "find a rabbi for yourself", and then envision for yourself that this Rabbi is always watching and judging what you are doing, and you yourself will know if you are following his teachings and rulings in any particular situation that you find yourself. This should motivate you to turn away from bad and do good. I do OF COURSE understand the importance of direct local human contact, and I'm not intending at all to belittle that. Ask Noah will do networking for you to try to find a reliable and helpful local Rabbi whom you can contact, for classes, meetings, or straightforward questions.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: I guess part of me fears that if a Rabbi or observant Noahide were to see me, it may make things more difficult for me and my wife and other aspects of my life.

A Rabbi for "baalei teshuva" (those who take on proper observance at some point in their adult life), and/or for aspiring "baalei teshuva", knows how to teach and provide friendly support, without being judgmental. In our day and age, that is the way to help people in their journey toward serving G-d. It is very important to be headed in the right direction, even if you haven't yet gotten there fully, or if you feel that you're constrained from getting there fully by issues that you don't think you can change or improve upon.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: But the fact is that even with that fear, I'm doing things on my own. And the main question is, if there is no rabbi near me, is it important that I manage to find myself a rabbi?

Yes, but AS EXPLAINED ABOVE.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: How would I know if this person is my rabbi if my only communication with him may turn out to be infrequent emails and less frequent phone calls (if any)?

Again, your "Rabbi" is your Torah-law authority. You only need access to his authentic/reliable Torah-based rulings and teachings, and a channel for getting your questions answered by him, or in accordance with his teachings.

Separate from this is the need to have an observant, knowledgeable, and reliable personal *mentor* ("mashpia" in Hebrew), from whom you can get reliable advice and recommendations about your personal issues and your personal developing levels of observance and faith. This can also be a long-distance relationship, so you are welcome to be in contact with Ask Noah by email.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: 2) I may get radio time on a radio station where I live that has a month license (it'll only be on air for a month and mostly likely only in my area). If I get that time, what should I use it to do? Am I qualified to speak on the Noahide laws, if it is best for me to speak of them? Are there any ideas?

If you are learning from any unreliable and incorrect sources, and take them at all seriously, you should not speak on the radio or YouTube about particular points of observance or understanding of the Noahide commandments. That is because you might promote some of those incorrect teachings, and as a result, lead unknown numbers of naive people astray in regard to those issues.

(01-10-2012, 01:46 AM)amenyahu Wrote: 3) Someone asked me about something some time ago as an idea for a Youtube video. Again, I question my own qualifications in the Noahide law. Marriage for an observant Noahide: what are the options or choices in a mainly secular (G-dless)/idolatrous culture? Should such a person just look for someone who's willing to just avoid the basic prohibitions of the Noahide law? Marrying an idolator or an atheist (which makes up so much of the culture around us) is not an ideal situation or even that healthy for the Noahide. How would I get the materials to create even a basic video to help those Noahides who may chance upon my Youtube page (no matter how small the likelihood) and be lonely and wanting as deep a relationship as possible in marriage? There was a person on Youtube stating how difficult it is to be an observant Noahide, and one reason he gave was because of the marriage/loneliness issue. Can you help me give a response?

Finding a Noahide spouse can still be a big challenge at this point in time, meaning at this point in the Noahide movement. Definitely it's a test, but just think of the righteous Noahide Joseph, the son of Jacob, who faithfully endured 20 years of adult bachelorhood in the morally corrupt, idolatrous and tempting land of Egypt, before he was joined with a righteous woman for marriage. But in our time there are Noahides (including many Noahide singles) all over the world, and it is a matter of networking to find them. There is a very reasonable chance that there are one or more Noahides right in your immediate area, and you're not aware of each other. But maybe those Noahides are also in contact with Ask Noah. That is how Ask Noah can provide networking services.

If you are looking for materials for a making YouTube video featuring authentic Torah-based advice for Noahides, you can cite teachings from "The Divine Code" by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, and from our web site, http://asknoah.org
Reply
01-11-2012, 11:11 PM,
#3
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions
I love the YouTube idea. I think to be safe, perhaps one or more of the academy rabbis could preview amenyahu's videos before posting, and further, previewing his scripts for the radio bit before going live. That could eliminate any chances of leading anyone astray.
Reply
02-15-2012, 01:07 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-20-2012, 12:05 AM by Director Michael.)
#4
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions
Thanks you so much for your reply. I've got more questions. I believe you know I respect your answers.

1) How much of the Noahide law is to be interpreted by Orthodox Rabbis and how much by a Noahide?

2) How does a Noahide know if he's ever qualified to make such decisions?

3) if you can help me get tutelage under a Rabbi and build the ties between our scattered community that would be great.

About Youtube, I'm on of the few, if any, who tries to directly combat those who put down the Noahide law. "The Divine Code" has been an invaluable source and I have used it to refute them. I don't believe I've put across info that is against "The Divine Code". But without vetting from a Torah knowledgeable Jew or Noahide, I've just gotta make sure to speak where no one else appears to speak until someone more qualified comes, or until I become more qualified.

I am not ignorant of the laws, and I do my best to research my answers, making sure to point back to www.asknoah.org when appropriate. The benefits of having such a voice out there seems to outweigh the risks (which I try to minimize, through study and inquiry).

Thanks for all your help
Reply
02-20-2012, 12:01 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-20-2012, 12:03 AM by Director Michael.)
#5
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions
(02-15-2012, 01:07 AM)amenyahu Wrote: Thanks you so much for your reply. I've got more questions. I believe you know I respect your answers.

1) How much of the Noahide law is to be interpreted by Orthodox Rabbis and how much by a Noahide?

Here are a few points from Rabbi Moshe Weiner, author of "The Divine Code", in regard to this question:

- Within the scope of the Seven Noahide Commandments, the prohibition against establishing a "new law" only applies to those aspects of the laws that were commanded by G-d Himself as part of the Torah of Moses from Sinai, since the establishment of Torah Law is not in the jurisdiction of Gentiles. Gentiles may, however, through their systems of laws and courts. establish rules in regard to other laws that they take upon themselves, or matters that should be logically and morally binding, including monetary and business laws and the like, which the various countries have established for themselves. However, these legal decisions are specifically under the jurisdiction of established and empowered courts of law (are are not to be decided by individual personal opinions, willy-nilly). So far as a ruling government establishes laws that are not in conflict with the Torah Laws for Gentiles, that is what becomes the law of the land that a Gentile is obligated to abide by.

- The Gentile courts have jurisdiction to make decisions regarding monetary cases (not involving theft) as per their understanding, and if they decide to change one of the laws that they have previously decided in this area, they may do so as well.

- The people who write the laws, and the judges who rule on the applications of these laws, must establish them according to their knowledge of the true needs of the country’s population, and the establishment of moral society. They do not necessarily need to follow the Jewish monetary laws. Rather, they may rule similarly or differently based on their view of what is necessary for the specific society of their country. The laws must obviously conform to logical and moral standards.

- In other words, a Gentile court’s judgments within the scope of the Seven Noahide Laws commanded by G-d should specifically follow the guidelines that the Torah of Moses has set (and these guidelines are part of the Oral Torah), and the court should not nullify or change these laws. However, the judges do have an obligation (as part of the Noahide Commandment to establish laws and courts) to establish or uphold laws in the other areas that fall under their jurisprudence, and they are forbidden to completely ignore such issues. Any such lack of response to these matters (especially in an area where there is clearly a need for such laws - for example, cases of deliberate or negligent non-lethal personal injury) constitutes a failure to keep the Noahide commandment to establish laws and courts. The determination of those particular "secular" laws, and the penalties for breaking those laws, falls under the jurisprudence of the Gentile courts and law-makers.

- Hence, all laws can be divided into two categories:
(a) those that were commanded by G-d in the Torah of Moses from Sinai, and
(b) those involving (i) areas other than the specific Noahide Commandments, or (ii) situations in which the evidence does not meet the Torah standards for conviction in a Noahide court - for example, if the only evidence is the criminal's own confession, or circumstantial evidence (such as fingerprints, with no eye-witnesses), the judges may decide to convict and punish based on legal rules that the society has accepted and established for this situation.

(02-15-2012, 01:07 AM)amenyahu Wrote: 2) How does a Noahide know if he's ever qualified to make such decisions?

An observant and pious Noahide who becomes a Torah scholar in the area of the Seven Noahide Commandments is worthy of as much respect as a Jewish High Priest who serves in the Holy Temple, in the Holy of Holies.

(02-15-2012, 01:07 AM)amenyahu Wrote: 3) if you can help me get tutelage under a Rabbi and build the ties between our scattered community that would be great.

Let us know where you are located, since there may be a Rabbi or an expert layperson (Jewish or Noahide) in your vicinity whom I can recommend as a tutor.

(02-15-2012, 01:07 AM)amenyahu Wrote: About Youtube, I'm on of the few, if any, who tries to directly combat those who put down the Noahide law. "The Divine Code" has been an invaluable source and I have used it to refute them. I don't believe I've put across info that is against "The Divine Code". But without vetting from a Torah knowledgeable Jew or Noahide, I've just gotta make sure to speak where no one else appears to speak until someone more qualified comes, or until I become more qualified.

I am not ignorant of the laws, and I do my best to research my answers, making sure to point back to www.asknoah.org when appropriate. The benefits of having my voice out there seems to outweigh the risks (which I try to minimize, through study and inquiry).

Thanks for all your help

You're welcome! That's what we are here for.
Reply
02-20-2012, 04:31 PM, (This post was last modified: 02-21-2012, 11:21 PM by Director Michael.)
#6
looking for a tutor
I am looking for a tutor, one who is a Noahide or a Rabbi. I need first to ask this question, about how to be guarded and prudent. How to take a pace of grace is my question. What is in the book "The Divine Code" that could help me to become discerning?
Reply
02-23-2012, 02:55 AM, (This post was last modified: 02-23-2012, 03:11 AM by David D. ben Noach.)
#7
RE: The need for a rabbi and other questions
First about the tutor question:
Currently, the approach taken by other Noahides is to study sources on the Noahide Commandments, like "The Divine Code," taking their time and asking questions on this forum. To find an actual Noahide teacher for you might be difficult, because there are so many Noahides at different levels of learning and few Rabbis to look after many of them.

Maybe AskNoah can connect you with a fellow Noahide to study with. Having a study buddy can help sharpen one another and give quick answers or help consolidate questions to ask on this forum. There are parts of the Noahide Code that are simple enough to pick and learn for oneself, and then a person can build up from that with study, discussion and asking questions.

And about "how to be guarded and prudent," the question would be, guarded about what? But there is still advice that can be given with what you ask.
- Always be slow and thoughtful in conversation, not quick to speak. Sometimes silence also is the best policy if you don't know the answer to a subject.
- Don't be drawn into debates, since they can produce more useless heat than edifying light. I do understand that the people around you are either secular or following a non-Torah religion. Focus more on a quiet obedience to the principles that you learn as opposed to forcing any views on others. A person's example can make a bigger difference to others and their conduct than argumentation.
- There are many sources that talk about the Noahide Law. To avoid confusion, try to stick to one, such as studying "The Divine Code" and building up your knowledge through that first, before indiscriminately reading other books and websites at the same time (there are numerous books that have been put out from various sources, and thousands of web sites and web pages). I'm NOT saying that you should never search the Internet for "noahide laws", or that you shouldn't ask any other Rabbis about the Noahide Law. But get at least some grounding on the subject first from the authentic sources available from AskNoah, to get a good foundation. Other Noahides (like myself) find "The Divine Code" to be a great source IF it is taken slowly, and you ask questions if they arise. There is more summarized information about the Noahide Laws on www.asknoah.org, so you can look and search around there if you want some quick answers.

I've never heard of "pace of grace". But if I take the phrase for what it says, going at a graceful stride in life, not rushing or going too slowly, but moving in a way that allows you to enjoy life at a good steady pace, then I do think that by taking time to read, think (meditate), and apply what you can to your day-to-day life at that steady pace, you can get some real benefits out of life on a whole. The Seven Noahide Laws are about fulfilling your divine responsibility. Don't worry too much about additional commands and responsibilities for now. Do what you MUST do first. Get good at that! Then you can concern yourself with anything else later on down the line.

"The Divine Code" goes into the Seven Laws of Noah (divine laws for Gentiles), summarizing each commandment and then going into the details. It sifts through the knowledge and writings of the Rabbis and the Jewish Bible to bring across a detailed perspective of the Torah laws and guidelines for Noahides, not just for the individual but also to give a person a grasp of what the law would be if it were implemented as the law of the land. It has received official approval and/or approbations many knowledgeable, reliable Rabbis. If you take it in your stride and look for principles you can apply to your life, then it can help you to grow in a responsible and active life in obedience to G-d's Law. Some topics it includes may challenge you, but the good things in life are meant to.

There is currently a program to go through the book page by page, on a daily schedule: http://asknoah.org/courses
It would still be useful for you to also take the book at your own personal pace, faster or page by page as well if need be, and be ready to ask questions to the Rabbis at AskNoah and your fellow Noahides. We're all in the same boat, striving to do what is right in the sight of our Creator.

I hope this answers your questions!
Reply
02-26-2012, 02:57 PM,
#8
RE: The need for a Rabbi and other questions
Thank you very much for this encouragement and advice you give. I shall follow up suggestions to read The Divine Code and not mix with any books and writings, i.e. other sites on the web about Noahides, that I think could perhaps, bring to me some confusion. As I need to relax in a big way and to find a relaxing pace I will ask AskNoah Director for a study buddy then sometime later. I do however plan to get onto the program which is the course AskNoah.org offers going through The Divine Code. I am ready to right away, and as well, I'll ask my questions to the Rabbis at AskNoah and my fellow Noahides. I like your statement that the Seven Noahide Laws are - and I quote your statement: "about fulfilling your divine responsibility. Don't worry too much about additional commands and responsibilities for now. Do what you MUST do first. Get good at that!" I'll take that advice and because of it being so practical.
Reply
05-18-2012, 05:26 PM, (This post was last modified: 05-19-2012, 08:22 AM by Director Michael.)
#9
RE: The need for a Rabbi and other questions
I am looking for a tutor, one who is a Noahide or a Rabbi. I need first to ask this question, about how to be guarded and prudent. How to take a pace of grace is my question. What is in the book "The Divine Code" that could help me to become discerning?
Reply
05-19-2012, 08:31 AM,
#10
RE: The need for a Rabbi and other questions
The most important aspect of becoming discerning is to know how to discern between something that is forbidden by G-d for you to do, and something that is permitted by G-d for you to do, and between what G-d obligates you to do, and what is desired by G-d for you to do.

All of that information can be found in the book "The Divine Code": http://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code

A few excerpts from this book have been posted on our web site. You can read the author’s Introduction to the Seven Noahide Laws, and excerpts from Part I: The Foundation of the Noahide Code; Awareness of G-d, Serving G-d, Prayer, Obligatory Moral Conduct, and Repentance:

http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web1.pdf
http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web2.pdf
http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web3.pdf
http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web4.pdf
http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web5.pdf
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