Finding the realized Noahide.
BS"D I am considering shutting down the Ger think tank Facebook page because it has fulfilled its purpose, at least for me. My purpose in starting Ger Think Tank was to determine where Ger should go from here. And as the farmer said to the city slicker, “You can’t get there from here.”
King Solomon says: The fool says, “Let’s go forward.” And the wise man says, “Let’s go back.” This is said largely in reference to learning Torah, that is, when there is a choice between chazora (repeating what you just learned), and going ahead to the next verse or the next mishna, the fool says go ahead and the wise man says go back.
I think Ger is the truth, but I think Ger is stuck. Ger is so self-focused that there is nowhere for it to go. Why? Because expanding outward means to open up and see other views and Ger has become dogmatic and authoritarian. And expanding inward means to seek self-nullification, bittul, and Ger is obsessed with its own identity. Bittul is the farthest thing from the collective Ger mindset. Ger has been too focused on Ger for too long. The Vessel has swallowed the Light.
Ger has become a church. It has its hierarchy and it has its dogma, and those who disagree with it are excommunicated.
Therefore, I say that we should forget the Vessel for the moment and go back to the original Light, feeble and flickering as it may be. That is, we should return to being baseline B’nai Noah and return to the three basic elements of the Torah:
A. Knowing G-d.
B. Returning to G-d.
C. Fulfilling His commandments, the Seven Laws of B’nai Noah, which are:
1. Do not worship idols.
2. Do not blaspheme.
3. Do not murder.
4. Do not steal.
5. Do not commit sexual perversion.
6. Do not eat a limb taken from a living animal.
7. Establish righteous courts of law.
Plus, take on the accepted amendments of honoring mother and father, prayer, giving charity, and animal sacrifice, which today means learning about the Holy Temple.
Moving forward safely and correctly means focusing on the first light. If we prove ourselves to be worthy, the G-d of Israel, our Father and our King, will reward us with a more refined Vessel than the one we have now.
And about all this No-No-Hide nonsense. It used to be funny. Now it is tedious, particularly when the memes have so many words misspelled. For Ger to attack Noahide is the proverbial cutting off your nose to spite your face.
And so, here is my last word on Ger Think Tank. I think Ger has tanked. So, I am going back to Noahide. I ask Hashem, may He be blessed, to let me see the day when Ger can hold the Light without suffocating it or being damaged by it.
However, my return to basic Noahide includes two innovations from Ger, b’ezrat Hashem. The Torah permits righteous gentiles, who are the Hasidim of the non-Jews, two things that I once thought were forbidden to them. But they must do them correctly.
1. B’nai Noah are permitted to learn Torah beyond their Seven Laws
2. B’nai Noah are permitted to observe the Holy Sabbath.
Obviously, the essential questions are:
1. What Torah am I permitted to learn learn beyond the Seven Laws?
2. How I do I keep Shabbat correctly?”
The first question is easy: When Rabbi Rogalsky and I finished writing and revising The Path of the Righteous Gentile with the supervision of HaRav Mendel Feldman, zy’a, we were in his home in Baltimore. He had just given us his approbation, asked I him two questions. Now before I tell you what I asked him and what he answered me, I will tell you something about who he was and is. He was a Cohen. How do I know he was a Cohen? Because the Lubavitcher Rebbe told us he was a Cohen in a letter he wrote to us approving Rabbi Feldman as the Rav HaMachsher over The Path of the Righteous Gentile. And, as I have written before, he went over every word, gave us a long list of changes, and went over every word again and then gave us his approval and bracha. And the book also got the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s bracha. It was a spiritual syzygy. And it became the trusted classic kitzur shulchan Arukh of the Seven Noahide Laws. And it still is. If you want to know the Noahide doctrine, which is the Torah for the nations, the accepted authority is The Path of the Righteous Gentile, which has been translated into Spanish and, G-d willing, the German translation will be finished soon and will be made available as a download on my website. We would like it to be translated into Japanese and could use a little help if anyone knows anyone. I think Japan is a natural for B’nai Noah Torah. Along with Israel and Oregon, Japan is one of the spiritual centers of the world. Why do so many people have a secret yearning for Eugene, Oregon? Weird.
But I digress. Rav Mendel Feldman was not only a Hasid of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, but he was also an emissary the Rebbe’s father-in-law, Rebbe Yosef Yitzhak Schneersohn, zy”a. He was a talmid chacham, and having learned with him for several weeks, I can tell you he knew everything. And he was a Hasid after the model of Chanina ben Dosa. When he first came to meet him in his shul, in Baltimore, it was around 12:30 and he was just finishing Shacharis which he had begun before dawn. And if he had not been expecting us, he might have continued davening until three in the afternoon. In a word, they do not make them like him anymore, loving and sweet and awesome at the same time.
Okay, now I will tell you the two questions and his answers. The first question was: “What Torah outside of the Seven Laws can B’nai Noah learn?” And he answered, “Anything that teaches achdus Hashem,” which means they can learn any Torah that teaches the Oneness of G-d. In general, this means Scripture and Kabbalah. Talmud would be limited to their own sugiyot. And since Talmudic discourses are focused on the process of deriving halacha and not halacha itself, it is a question as to whether they may learn Gemara at all. And these limitations are not placed upon them as punitive, but solely for their own protection. Whenever the Light is too strong or ill-suited for the Vessel, the Vessel shatters or gets taken over by the kelipot.
The second question was, “Can Esau do tshuvah?” And his answer was a flat out, “No.” And I did not like his answer and I did not agree with his answer. But now, thirty years later, I am not so sure.
Rav Feldman told me a third thing without being asked. He said that the stumbling block of B’nai Noah is gaiva, arrogant pride. That is what the kelipa of nogah gives them, spiritual coarseness, manifested in arrogant pride. Can they remove it and remain B’nai Noah or do they have to convert to attain the “smallness of Jacob?” Rav Feldman did not say. I think they can attain it who they are, and getting wiser with age helps.
I will finish my contribution to Ger Think Tank with this advice to all my friends and colleagues and students — Start at the beginning. Pass Go and collect $200. and give ten percent or more (but not more than 20% if it would impoverish you) to tzedaka. The truly righteous start at the beginning again every day. And here we are, pre-Pesach, the holiday for our redemption and the holiday of our freedom. It is the perfect time to begin anew with the great mitzvah that B'nai Noah have taken upon themselves, charity. And they have taken it on more out of wisdom than righteousness because as Christians they learned how giving tithes makes one wealthy. Supporting this blog, Hayom, the Torah of Geulah, is a huge help and hatov u'metiv, the good does good. It is sincerely appreciated.
This is a shining example of why Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, "I would not give a fig for simplicity that precedes complexity, But for simplicity that comes after complexity, I would lay my life down."
Rites of Spring exists also in kedusha. Man needs to pretend that he does not know who G-d is and he needs to start searching for Him, using a primer as a guide. The Path of the Righteous Gentile is a primer and a guide. You can get it on amazon.com Chabad considers the Path of the Righteous Gentile to be a Lubavitch book, and I consider that to be a great honor.