"O L-RD, Who are my power and my strength and my refuge in the day of trouble, to You nations will come from the ends of the earth and say, 'Only lies have our fathers handed down to us, emptiness in which there is nothing of any avail! Can a man make gods for himself, and they are no gods? 'Therefore, behold I let them know; at this time I will let them know My power and My might, and they shall know that My Name is the L-RD".
Jeremiah 16:19-21

Noahide Laws – Enabling Humanity Part one

May 13, 2011

in Christianity:,Judaism:

Freedom and Service: Laws Enabling Humanity

by Professor Eugene Narrett

We live in a culture of aggressive seduction. Advertisements and glossy magazines that are vehicles not so much for products as for attitudes sell increasingly perverse images of self-absorption and rapture. The pagan goddesses of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece with their violent erotic rites all promised freedom through forgetting, freedom via a descent to the animal or to the raw natural level at which individual consciousness and responsibility are lost. Yet while they preached and organized cults of possession, trance and rapture all of these societies were based on slavery, aggression, and extra privileges that the powerful used to oppress those beneath them on the social pyramid.

License and slavery were the organizing contradictions, and so they destroyed others and then themselves…

To all these forms of slavery, Judaism was and is the antidote given by the Eternal One to humanity. The core of the Torah given to the Jewish people at Sinai and taught and elaborated by Moshe and the selected elders (“leaders of tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands&rdquo are the Noahide laws that distil Hashem’s liberating gifts to all mankind.

Remember: the commandments are liberating gifts. True freedom comes through service in which everyone knows their place within the divine plan for all humankind. Identity and integrity, wholeness, completeness, and unity are the essence of this plan. For the Jewish people, individual, family, and national identity are inseparable, just as the Land, Torah and Eternal One are indivisible. For the discerning among humankind who turn to the radiance of this light, the structure of obligations is similar: the mutual obligations and nature of individual and family are completed on a supra-national level by the relation of the Noahide to Israel, by their affirmation of kinship with and recognition of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the Eternal and only One, ayn od milvado Who gives us an uniquely humanizing code in which any mortal and any state that pretends to divine power or status is instantly revealed as an idolatrous and tyrannical fraud. All such regimes or cults sooner or later transgress the other fundamental laws that keep humanity humane and close to God.

The Commandments of the Holy One are the basis of our freedom; the entire Torah for Jews, the Noahide laws for the rest of mankind. In the service of these laws, not to states that violate these bedrock laws of humanity, freedom is service.

But since the Renaissance and, especially, the spread of the ideology of Machiavelli (1460-1519), the concept and attitude of service has more and more become self-service, various forms of pride and the violence and sorrows that attend it.

Since that time, philosophy, Higher Education and eventually the social sciences that spew the dogmas by which popular culture lives increasingly have stressed the idea of the self-creating and autonomous ego as the only way of being. In early America, and even in England in the seventeenth century, this still was recognized as the core sin of all, the sin of overweening pride, the denial of human contingency and interdependence; it was recognized as the way to isolation, frustration and despair. Self-creating egos, ruling classes, ideologies and states that serve only their own interests once were understood to be Satanic. Indeed, in his Epic poem Paradise Lost, John Milton assigns the above-noted qualities to Satan who challengingly asks his fellow fallen ones, “who knew a time when we were not as we are now,” asserting their co-eternity with the Eternal One. In the 1660s it also was understood, at least by those not yet under the sway of Machiavelli, as nearly all educated people are taught to be today, that this notion of self-creation and the “imperial ego” was the path to solitude and agony. It is the ultimate form of idolatry and despair. “Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell, and in the lowest deep a lower deep still threatening to devour me opens wide,” Milton has Satan, the exemplary Machiavellian exclaim. And in his despair he mutters, “evil, — be thou my good.”

This is a direct and chilling link to our today which exemplifies the verse of Malachi, “and so today we praise wanton sinners.”

Since the Romantic period (1790-1840), the ‘misunderstood’ Satan, the explorer after divine knowledge for the sake of divine power has become the hero-villain of modernism, the bold transgressor and rebel whom social services will heal. It is no coincidence that this period has emphasized the “natural” animalism of man, the worship rather than the sanctification of nature, including human impulses. The West returns to the paganism that much of the East, South and North never left.

Jews and Noahides know that dietary laws, to take one category of ennobling limitations, emphasize our distinction from other creatures. Like the prohibition of murder, they implant and refine our sense of the sanctity of life. Like the injunction to havecourts of justice where the goal is truth and healing not destroying the other party, and to have times of war as well as peace, to have, indeed, mandatory wars, milchemai mitzvot the laws of Noah and Judaism teach that the preciousness of life requires that we distinguish between the good and kind and the predatory, cruel and merciless. Those who blur these distinctions will in time be known to be cruel themselves. The Eternal One requires us to maintain conditions in His world that conduce to life abundant, life in which His derekh can be learned to be taught and practiced.

Noahides and Jews do not sanitize or deal in euphemisms about what is termed “the war on terror.” The Islamic cult of human sacrifice and erotic extravagance (no wonder Hollywood likes it) with its virgins of paradise and child-murderers (called “martyrs&rdquo clearly is not a “religion of peace,” nor of dignity and sanctity either; we recognize the enemies of life and of God the Lord of life Who created it and gave rules to magnify its fullness. We recognize too, and strive to repair the corruption of the courts that portends the decay and collapse of a culture or state; we understand that true courts of justice are ruled by judges who “love truth and disdain money,” who by their deeds and words show that they are “God-fearing men” who seek out evidence rather than invent theories to explain it away.

Today our courts like our schools and economy, our culture of engrained stupefaction is corrupt, terribly complicated and riddled with seduction, terrors and increasing loss of the liberties that support individual responsibility and caring. We are dismayed to live in a “dog-faced generation” taught and prompted to many kinds of shamelessness in which everything is self-service. We live in an age like the flood: the mighty “fallen ones” surround us with their glamour and bad examples, theiranakatmo like an anakit, “their arrogance like a giantess around their necks” (psalm 73) is an ornament of pride, power and slavery like that of Rome: an aggressive slavery that overawes and destroys…

We see youngsters, indeed people of all ages starved of the “milk and wine” that satisfies everyone, without money; we struggle against a flood of violence and fraud.

“May it be that a handful of grain on the mountaintops will flourish like the Lebanon” when they finally are part of the Promised Land and when Torah shines its radiance from Zion, complete as Hashem is complete.

Jews and Noahides have a lot of work to do to educate, stem the tide, save the world for humanity; to sanctify the world and our precious human needs until every day will have the sweetness and glow of Shabbat.

© Professor Eugene Narrett, All Rights Reserved.



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