My last word on the matter of Ger.
The anti-Ger rabbis claimed to have said their last word in the matter of Ger. Now, it is my turn. This is my final Ger article. Enough is enough I always say. They can insult me, tear my writing apart or Torah apart. They can call me an apikoros. They can do their worst (which believe me is bad) and I will not respond, bli neder.
My last word on the Ger is as follows: [BIG DRUM ROLL FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT] – The halachic view of Rav Ahron Soloveitchik, zy”a, which is the view of Brisk, and which is the view of many Rishonim, is a merciful view of halacha. It is the view of Ger.
I will give you an example of what I mean by the merciful view of halacha. When Rabbi Yakov Rogalsky and I wrote The Path of the Righteous Gentile, we had learned explicitly that all Seven Laws of Noah are mishpatim, judgments. A mishpat is a mitzvah that any person with normal mentality should know and obey even without the Torah. One does not need the Torah to tell you not to steal. Mankind knows that stealing is wrong. And so is murder and so is incest and so is blaspheming Hashem, chas v’shalom. Therefore, since every man is expected to know all seven of the laws of Noah, a person is culpable even if he is ignorant of them. In other words, someone who is born into a Hindu family and is raised as a Hindu, even though he does not know he is an idol worshipper, is culpable for idol worship and would be liable for the death penalty. That is what our learning revealed 30 years ago when we wrote The Path The Path of the Righteous Gentile, and that is how we presented it in the book.
A few years after the book was out, I was in Chicago and went to see Rav Ahron Soloveichik in the Brisk yeshiva. He was standing in front of a bookcase, looking for something in one of the volumes. We spoke a few words and I asked him about the opinion of someone raised as an idolater being liable for the death penalty even though he had no idea of what he was doing, but was merely taught by his parents to bow down to the idol. Rav Ahron turned to me and said, “Nonsense. He is in the category of one who is forced. He is like one who was stolen as a child and forced to worship the idol. Your job is to teach him not kill him.” That is the Brisk derech. They reflect the kindness and goodness of the Torah. That is the stream of rabbinic thought that rules that the status of Ger Toshav (Resident Stranger) today, even without the Jubilee Year, in order to facilitate a Gentile’s ability to observe mitzvoth beyond the Seven Laws of Noah, specifically the observance of Shabbat and the right to learn all portions of the Torah. Just because he is not Jewish does not mean he is not made in the image of G-d.
Rav Ahron Soloveichik’s view of the law concerning an unknowing idolater is consistent with his view that there is a Ger Toshav today, thus permitting every righteous Gentile to observe the holy Sabbath. This is the true view of the Torah. This is the Brisk view. And I was a witness to Rav Ahron’s expression of it because he said it to me personally.
Conversely, the severe rabbinic opinion that forbids Shabbat to a righteous Gentile is a desecration of the Name of G-d. They have turned HaTov u’Metiv, G-d who is good and does good, into a cruel G-d who hates those who love Him. Chas v’shalom. Poo poo poo. I used the term demon (shin-dalet) in an earlier post and I stick with it.
Any Gentile who has accepted upon himself the Seven Laws of Noah, and who believes in the L-rd our G-d, and the Shema is his faith, can keep whatever mitzvah he chooses and can do it in any manner he chooses. He is, however, advised to follow halacha as a guideline, and to learn halacha so he can do the mitzvoth correctly in the eyes of Moses and Israel. It is worthwhile.
With respect to learning Torah, he or she can learn whatever he chooses, from Genesis to Zohar. If he wanders into a heichal (chamber) in which he does not belong, he will be tossed out and it will be a learning experience. It is not the rabbis’ problem and it is not the rabbis’ business.
So, my absolutely final word is that any righteous Gentile who fears the L-rd our G-d can approach the Torah in freedom. Freedom is the prerequisite for Geulah (Redemption). And Ger exists only in Geulah.
I will conclude with a question. How come none of the attacking rabbis are attacking the one premise that I hang everything on? Namely, my contention that we have left a 2600 year old Galut and have entered Geulah, the Final Redemption, and everything in the Torah world (even for the outside world) is going through an historic change because the revelation of G-d in the Geulah is promised to be greater than the revelation of G-d at Mount Sinai.
The Mesora (Jewish tradition) says that the Geulah will be so much greater than Mattan Torah that it will be hard to even remember Mattan Torah. All those anti-Ger rabbis know this. Every Jewish scholar knows this. But not every Jewish scholar knows that the greatness of Geulah over Mattan Torah is in how much mercy and kindness G-d will bestow upon Israel and Ger.
The Torah of Geulah is not in how big a piece of matza you must eat in how many minutes to fulfill the mitzvah of eating matza on Seder night. The dialogues of Rava and Abbaye are the small thing. Maaseh Merkava, the Workings of the Chariot, is the great thing. Maaseh merkava is going out of Egypt spiritually. It permits one to eat as much matza as he deems fit in whatever time he wants to eat it. He is trusted. And no one is on his back whipping him. For many years now, I have changed the nusach of the Haggadah to read, “This year we are free men and next year we will also be free men.”
That being said, one who does the mitzvah correctly according to halacha is on a higher level than one who does a mitzvah any old way. When one does a mitzvah he is standing closer to G-d than when he is not doing a mitzvah. In truth, the mitzvah binds a person to G-d. Doing the mitzvah correctly elevates a person and brings blessings upon him and his family and the world. But doing the mitzvah any old way does nothing. And one who truly perverts the mitzvah, such as some Messianics who turn the four cups of redemption at the Seder Table into the blood of their lord, bring divine wrath upon their heads and the heads of their children. That is far worse than the unknowing Hindu who bows down to an idol. That is knowingly perverting the word of G-d in the service of an idol. My advice: Strive to do it right or don’t do it at all. And one who perverts the mitzvah by introducing pagan rituals (a long time favorite of the Church) would have been better off if his afterbirth had been pushed in his face. That soul is in deep doo-doo.
One of the things a person should pray for is to be guided to do the mitzvoth correctly.
My absolutely final final word on the subject is that any rabbi who holds that a righteous Gentile cannot keep Shabbat curses himself and his neighbor. He humiliates himself. Such a rabbi is going against the will of G-d.
This is a friendly warning. I do not want anyone to suffer on my account. Do yourself a favor and stop attacking Ger.