Chabad Sichos Educating Mankind
The Rebbe said:
Publisher’s Foreword: The farbrengen held on Shabbos HaGadol, Parshas Metzora, 5746, also celebrated the 84th birthday of the Rebbe. [The Rebbe’s birthday actually occurred on Sunday, the 11th of Nissan, but this farbrengen was viewed as the official celebration.] In his discourses on that day the Rebbe acknowledged the proclamation issued by President Reagan and the U. S. Congress, concerning the duty of mankind to observe the Seven Noachide Laws. The Rebbe also expressed his approbation of the proclamation establishing "Education Day" on the 11th of Nissan (the Rebbe’s birthday) and its connection to Shabbos HaGadol. In this excerpt the Rebbe explains the importance of encouraging gentiles to observe the universal, Seven Noachide Laws and the importance of teaching and inculcating the future generations to follow the Seven Noachide Laws. Successful, global education depends on love, brotherhood, personal example, sincerity and dedication. The world can become a place where all people will serve G-d together.
- 1 The Rebbe on The Seven Noachide Commandments
- 2 Explanation
- 3 References
The Rebbe on The Seven Noachide Commandments
Everything Begins With Torah
Tradition teaches us that everything in creation finds its source in Torah. The Zohar describes it this way:
- The Holy One, Blessed be He, looked into the Torah and created the world, so man looks into the Torah and keeps the world alive. (Zohar II, p. 161b)
Moreover, we find cases when true Torah sages made halachic rulings based on Torah and as a result certain changes took place in worldly matters.
There is a well-known story told of the Ragachover Gaon, who was called the "Prince of Torah" by the Rebbe Rashab and the previous Rebbe.
The Ragachover once received a letter from the government tax department which described two types of taxes which he was being charged. He studied the bill and the explanations and then said that one form of tax was legitimate on the basis of the Torah, and therefore should be paid in accordance with the dictum, "The law of the government is law" (Gittin lob). However, he pointed out, that the second tax was not acceptable by Torah standards and should not be paid (see Rambam, Laws of Robbery, 5:14).
Torah Rules -- The World Conforms
Several days passed and a second notice arrived. This time the tax department apologized for making a mistake in the previous tax bill and admitted that he was not liable to pay the second tax!
Quite an extraordinary occurrence! In "that" country, which opposed all aspects of Judaism, Torah and mitzvos, and in the city of Leningrad, where many important government ministries were situated, and where the protocol of government bureaucracy was carefully adhered to, the Ragachover’s Halachic ruling, based on the Torah’s truth, caused the government to withdraw its demand for taxes -- truly amazing!
The incident was all the more astonishing when we remember that in "that" country, once someone was assessed a tax it was virtually impossible to rescind the assessment, yet here they recalled the tax bill and apologized!
The power of a Torah ruling can change the way the world functions; against its own nature.
Unlike this story there are many rulings of Torah which already exist and need not be judged anew. One exemplum would be the ruling of Rambam:
- Moreover, by Divine ordinance, Moshe, our teacher, commanded us to compel all human beings to accept the commandments enjoined upon the descendants of Noach. (Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:10)
Torah Rules -- The Jew Performs
This means that every Jew is responsible to encourage the non-Jewish denizens of the world to act in accordance with the Seven Noachide Commandments.
In the olden days there was great potential danger involved in this type of activity -- for it could be misconstrued as an attempt to proselytize. In our generation, however, there is no danger in this respect, and it will increase the honor and respect shown to Jews among the other nations. For they will see that the Jews are concerned with the welfare of all peoples, for the world was "formed to be inhabited," which will only be when society follows the Divine plan.
As a result, the gentiles will extend their help to Jews, also in matters of Yiddishkeit.
In this country there is an additional incentive, since the President has issued a proclamation urging and encouraging the observance of the Seven Noachide Laws. He has indicated that only in this way can the world remain inhabited and civilized. By issuing this proclamation during the month of Nissan, close to Shabbos HaGadol -- the Great Shabbos -- when we commemorate the miracle of "striking Egypt through its firstborn," the President’s proclamation emphasizes the revelation of G-dliness through the essence of the corporeal world. It also lends support to disseminating the Seven Noachide Laws among all humanity, for after the President has made this proclamation it is easier for every Jew to influence a gentile whom he comes in contact with in his business, profession or social group.
When We "Receive" We Must Also "Give"
When a Jew deals with a non-Jew and finds the opportunity to do some business with the gentile, in a sense, to "receive" his "livelihood" from the gentile, he must also "give" something. It may be said that the true reason for their association is to teach the non-Jew the Seven Noachide Laws. In addition, when he carries out this role properly he will find more respect in the eyes of the gentile and automatically there will be positive results with regard to his business dealings.
It is therefore appropriate to express our appreciation to the Government of the United States and to its head, the President, for this proclamation regarding the Seven Noachide Laws. At the same time we must express our gratitude to the Holy One Blessed be He that our government represents a benevolent republic, which extends assistance and aid to the Jewish people in all areas of need, including matters of Yiddishkeit; and even Chabad Chassidus! The first act in that respect was to help gain the release of the previous Rebbe from "that" country. This set the stage for the continuous expansion of Chabad Chassidus through the previous Rebbe to the rest of the world, till Mashiach’s days.
Hopefully, our Jewish brethren will understand the generous attitude of this benevolent republic and will appeal for, and request, more help from the benign government; surely they will see even more good results.
Education Day -- U.S.A.
The President has also issued a government proclamation designating a day in the month of Nissan (11th, the Rebbe’s birthday) as "Education Day."
Since the laws of Noach are basic and elementary, e.g. not to rob, not to murder, to believe in G-d etc., it is obvious that these laws must be taught to children so that they should grow up righteous and good. Consequently, we must improve and adapt the educational system in America to properly transmit these principles and values to the next generation. In fact, in the Seven Noachide Laws we find the commandment for education:
- The duty is enjoined upon them to set up judges in each district to deal with these six commandments and to caution (educate) the people. (Rambam, Laws of Kings 9:14)
Teach The Laws Of Noach To All
Clearly they must teach the people to know and to live by the Laws of Noach.
The foundation and basis of the Seven Noachide Laws -- is love and brotherhood. Even the word Noach indicates: pleasantness and friendliness. And when non-Jews observe the Seven Noachide Laws they are called "pious (righteous) gentiles," which indicates kindness and love.
In reaching out to encourage the observance of the Seven Noachide Laws we must also show kindness and emphasize the goodness and pleasantness which their observance will bring to the world and society.
In general, education must also be approached with love and cooperation, a child must always be brought close with the right hand:
- A child...thrust (him) away (only) with the left hand and draw (him) near with the (stronger) right hand. (Sotah 47a)
This means that even when the child needs chastisement, do it only with the left hand, with restraint, while at the same time reach out to assist him with the right hand.
For a teacher to be successful he/she must speak to his/her students with words that emerge from the heart, for only then will they penetrate the heart and accomplish their goal. Most importantly, teachers must always remember that the first principle of education is that the teacher must be a living example, many times over.
May it be the will of G-d that we soon see the complete perfection of the world, when all people will serve G-d together, as is emphasized towards the close of the "Seder."
- The door is opened, to remember that it is a protected night . . . a night which protects the children of Israel in all generations -- to redeem them from this diaspora. And if Eliyahu comes he will find the door open and we will go out and greet him more quickly...in the merit of this faith, Mashiach will come. (Shulchan Aruch Harav, Laws of Pesach ch. 480)
And then all the nations of the world who have assisted the Jewish people will join in the worship of G-d:
- And they shall bring, all your brethren out of all the nations, an offering to the L-rd...as the children of Yisrael bring an offering in a clean vessel to the house of the L-rd. (Yeshayahu 66:20)
So may it be for us among all the Jewish people, with the previous Rebbe at our head, may he lead us, walking upright, to greet Mashiach speedily and truly in our days.
Every Jew has the obligation to ensure that all the peoples of the world observe the Seven Noachide Laws. Although this task seems awesomely difficult, especially in this troubled time of exile, a true story concerning a Jewish yacht owner teaches that a Jew’s actions have far-reaching influence, and the effect of even a single deed is immeasurable.
The mission and purpose in life of the Jew is to make this world a dwelling place for G-d. The world, which seems to run according to its own natural laws, is not independent. It has a Creator, Who has not left it unattended. G-d is on earth as He is in heaven.
The Jew, through his service to G-d, demonstrates that the spiritual and the physical can be brought together. The mundane can be sanctified, and everyday life can become holy. G-d dwells in the world.
The Seven Noachide Laws
An integral component of the Jew’s task is to see to it that all peoples, not just Jews, acknowledge G-d as Creator and ruler of the world. The world, we are told, "was not created for chaos, but that it be inhabited." A chaotic world results when there are no absolute criteria by which man lives, when morals and ethics are based solely on man’s understanding. Man is swayed by interests other than reason and justice; and we have only too recently seen the destruction which results when laws and philosophy are perverted to serve personal ends.
G-d, the Creator of the world, has not abandoned His handiwork, but has given clear guidance how the world can be made "inhabited," settled and productive, decent and enduring. The nations of the world have been given a Divine code of conduct, the Seven Noachide Laws, which consist of six prohibitions against murder, robbery, idolatry, adultery, blasphemy, cruelty to animals -- and one positive command, to establish a judicial system. These Seven Noachide Laws are general statements, which, with their ramifications and extensions, encompass countless details.
The reason these Seven Laws are to be observed is also important. The Rambam rules (Code, Kings 8:11) that the Sons of Noach (i.e. all humanity) must observe these Laws because "G-d commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moshe that the Sons of Noach had already been so commanded." A non-Jew conducts himself in consonance with the Seven Laws not because human logic compels him to do so, but because they are G-d’s commands transmitted through Moshe. This ensures that self-interest will never be allowed to pervert the Divine criteria of conduct.
It is through the observance of the Seven Noachide Laws that the entire world becomes a decent, productive place, a fitting receptacle for the Divine. Then, promises Scripture, "the glory of the L-rd will be revealed and all flesh together will see that the mouth of the L-rd has spoken." The culmination of this will be the Messianic epoch, when, through the agency of Mashiach, "all will call in the Name of the L-rd and serve Him with a common consent."
Jew’s Role in World
The Jew has a crucial role to play in this. He cannot be a bystander, remaining aloof from the world’s conduct. The Rambam explicitly rules (Code, Kings 8:10): "Moshe Rabbeinu commanded from the mouth of G-d to convince all the inhabitants of the world to observe the commandments given to the children of Noach." It is the Jew’s duty to see to it that all peoples lead the righteous and decent life which comes from compliance with the Seven Noachide Laws.
Not only is it a Jew’s duty because he has been so commanded by G-d, but it is also to his own benefit. A world full of "chaos," where nations and individuals live by no law except that dictated by self-interest, must inevitably affect the Jew. And, as noted above, the universal observance of the Seven Noachide Laws is the prelude to the Messianic era when all will serve G-d together.
Yet the task seems immense, beyond a Jew’s capabilities. All Jews together are but a tiny minority among the nations of the world. How can Jews influence non-Jews to acknowledge G-d and observe the Seven Noachide Laws?
But it can be done. Even one action can have far-reaching consequences, ever widening ripples, until the cumulative effect of many such individual actions produces a mighty storm.
Lesson from a Story
A story. A true story which happened only recently, which illustrates just such a ripple effect. A story of a Jew, who unknowingly started a chain of events of which he could not even dream.
A Jew blessed by G-d with great wealth, who likes to take an occasional vacation on his yacht. He employs a captain, a non-Jew, to sail the yacht.
The time for prayer arrives. He knows that Jews face towards the holy city of Yerushalayim during Shemoneh Esreh, towards the east. He is not a nautical man. He does not know where east is on the ocean. He asks the captain.
Prayer time again. Again the same problem, where is east. Again he asks the captain. And so with the third prayer time, and the fourth.
The first time he asks, the captain pays no special attention. When the owner keeps on asking the same question from time to time, the captain becomes curious. His employer is not the navigator. Why is he always interested in knowing where east is? He asks him.
The Jew is not ashamed of his religion. "I am a Jew," he answers, "and I want to pray to G-d. Prayers pass through the site of the Beis HaMikdash in Yerushalayim. I must therefore face in that direction, which in this part of the world is east. Every time I pray I thus need to know where east is."
The captain is greatly impressed. This is a successful man, he thinks, wealthy enough to own his own yacht and hire a captain to sail it. Yet he considers it proper and right to interrupt his affairs to pray to G-d -- and to even bother to face the correct direction. "I too," exclaims the captain to the owner, "shall begin to think of G-d, begin to pray to Him."
The story has a sequel. Some time later the captain told the Jewish yacht owner that ever since he decided to pray to the Creator of the world, he has, at every opportunity, also told his family and friends of the necessity to pray to G-d. "If all the people of the world would think about their Creator," concluded the captain, "the world would not be the jungle it is!"
The lesson from this story is clear: A Jew can influence non-Jews to acknowledge the Creator and ruler of the world, and to therefore conduct themselves accordingly by observing the Seven Noachide Laws. Moreover, as seen from the story, such influence is effective just by a Jew being proud and firm in his religion. The yacht owner did not consciously intend to fulfill the Rambam’s ruling. Because he conducted himself properly, his influence was automatically felt. He could not know of the ripple effect he would cause merely by asking where was east. And because of him, a non-Jew began to think about G-d, conduct himself more righteously -- and in turn, lead others in the same path. All because of one Jew’s actions.
We can go further. Nothing in this world happens by chance. All is through Divine Providence. The above episode of the yacht serves as a timely parable to a Jew’s function and place in the world.
The Jew’s task, we have explained above, is, through Torah, to reveal the G-dliness in the world. The "natural" laws of the world are but a mask, veils which conceal its true existence. Torah is the instrument wherewith Jews strip away these veils -- and bring the world closer to G-d.
But a Jew can easily become despondent. The state of the world is not heartening. Nations do not seem to hearken to the voice of Torah, and governments, not Jews, seem to be the arbiters of the world’s conduct.
The truth is different: The Jew and Torah can have influence on the world. It is only because of the darkness of the exile that it seems the governments of the world are its true arbiters.
The world in this troubled time of exile is like a ship sailing in stormy seas, steered by the governments of the world. But appearances are misleading. It is not they, with their plans and strategies, who truly determine its course and destination. What is truly important in the world, what has a permanent effect, is the Torah and mitzvos performed by the Jew. Before this all else is insignificant, unimportant. Whether the world will be in better or worse shape is in the hands of the Jew. One mitzvah, one act of bonding with G-d, has incredible repercussions -- whether we are aware of it or not.
Beyond the obvious, beneath the surface, lies much, much more. The course of the world is not determined by the physical. The spiritual is what counts. The governments who actually conduct the world’s affairs are not more than the captain who steers the ship on behalf of the owner. Jews are engaged in loftier things, the things which are really important, Torah and mitzvos. But it is these things which are the true determinants. The governments of the world steer the ship, the Jew charts the course.
And this is what the above story of the yacht teaches. Outwardly it seems the non-Jewish captain is the master, for it is he who controls the rudder which steers the ship. Yet it is the Jewish owner who is truly master, and it is the owner who directs the yacht’s destination.
The owner of the yacht is wealthy -- and "there is no wealthy person except in knowledge," knowledge of Torah. Through Torah, the Jew can influence the world, can chart the course. Just as the yacht owner, through acting according to the dictates of Torah, influenced the captain to come closer to G-d, so too Jews in general, through standing firm in matters of Torah and mitzvos -- including the command to convince non-Jews to observe the Seven Noachide Laws -- can influence the nations of the world to acknowledge the Creator and Master of the world.
- Laws and justice are the foundation of every decent society, in fact for every decent life. In the Seven Commands G-d gave mankind at large He includes the command for a system of laws. The Lubavitcher Rebbe on Yud-Tes Kislev, 5741, examined the foundations of systems of law and their effectiveness in creating a decent world.
In the Letter that R. Shneur Zalman wrote after his release from prison there are several points that he emphasizes, clearly because he considered them integral to the purpose of his liberation, and by extension, they are crucial to us to ponder and to act upon. One of these points does not seem to have an association with the liberation. He enthusiastically describes the remarkable effects of his liberation on the (non-Jewish) people, "That the Name of the Holy One will be magnified and sanctified among the nations through me, and the far ends of the earth will witness the salvation of our G-d.’" In a related letter he says, "He has made His Name remarkable and magnified for He has been magnified and sanctified publicly, particularly in the eyes of princes and peoples throughout the provinces of the king. Even in their eyes is this event a wonder beyond understanding, and their response is, ‘This comes from G-d; it is a wonder in our eyes.
This calls for understanding.
The arrest was a consequence of disseminating Judaism among Jews who are required to study Torah, and especially for teaching Chassidus. Gentiles, however, deal only with the Seven Commands of the Sons of Noah," with all their ramifications and extensions, so why should the Rebbe’s liberation be associated with the nations?
The Rambam in his Code (Kings VIII, 11) rules that a Son of Noah" (namely, a non-Jew) must fulfill the Seven Commands because G-d commanded them in His Torah and informed us through Moshe that the Sons of Noah had already been so commanded. This means that the gentile conducts himself in consonance with the Seven not because of consensus, logical conclusions, agreement that this is proper conduct, but instead this behavior is based on the command of G-d through Moshe.
Only then can the Seven lead to the sort of world envisioned in ‘Not for chaos did He create it, but that it be inhabited." Otherwise the results may not be the desired ones. Our generation does not need proofs that we cannot rely on logical conclusions" of man, for man is bribed" with interests other than reason and justice. We have seen what this can lead to. Rather than logical conclusions" leading men to formulate laws and statutes to build a world, to make it inhabited," instead there was a nation that developed a whole philosophy of laws that brought the greatest destruction and chaos" that ever existed.
This was based on a philosophy involving scholars and philosophers, and the consequences are there for all to see.
Worse, today there are disciples and yet another generation who cling to their precepts and endeavor to disseminate them, completely ignoring the outcomes we have seen.
There is certainly no need to specify whom we are discussing. We are obviously discussing those who reared a nation on their speculations and philosophy and weltanschauung. This was a nation numbered among the developed and cultured nations, civilized and educated. This brought the world destruction, devastation and unprecedented "chaos."
The only precaution against such results is, as noted earlier, through recognizing that the fulfillment of the Seven is because "G-d commanded them in the Torah," when man’s behavior is determined by the instructions of that Being from Whose true existence all existences came into being." This Being conveyed ‘ through Moshe" clear guidance, clear and illuminated (for "Torah is light"), for man’s conduct. There is no cranny in the world abandoned to darkness by Torah, and certainly there is no human being on the face of the earth neglected, denied guidance for his conduct. (As was noted above, the Seven are general statements encompassing countless details).
Man living by the light of these instructions forms a world fit to be inhabited," settled and productive, enduring. With this approach man will not be "bribed," for as soon as he is inclined to deviate he will recall that the same Torah commands "Do not take a bribe, for bribery blinds the eyes of the wise and distorts the words of the righteous." (Bribery, of course, is included in the Seven, associated as it is with the prohibition of robbery and the requirement of establishing a system of laws.) When he examines himself honestly to be sure he is free from bribery," and asks another who is objective, he will avoid the possibility of blind eyes and distorted words."
A remarkable fact will be illuminated. The great majority of regimes, the different styles of behavior, of the religions of the world including those that may be classed as idolatrous -- are explicitly based on the Torah of Moshe, as explained at length in Kuzari.
Since the conduct of the world is based on Torah and Torah is bound to every Jew, as each of us declares, "The Torah that Moshe commanded us is the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov," it follows that every Jew has the responsibility of insuring that the world lives in a manner that leads to habitation" through observance of the Seven Commands with all their implications and details.
According to the rule of "Adorn yourself first," each Jew must endeavor to fulfill all 613 mitzvot that he is instructed to as a Jew, with the assurance that "if you strive you will find." In addition there is the command to illuminate the world around him, through the Seven Commandments.
We can now understand the Rebbe’s emphasis on the effects of his liberation on the far ends of the earth," to the degree that all the princes and peoples in all the provinces of the king" recognize that "This comes from G-d; it is a wonder in our eyes." For the perfection of a Jew is contingent on his achieving all that depends on him in bringing perfection to the entire world.
What this tells us in practical terms is that we must bring light into all the world, as we shall explain shortly.
The Zohar teaches that from Shabbos, are all days blessed," all days of the subsequent week are blessed by Shabbos, have a special bond with that Shabbos. Yud-Tes Kislev this year (5741 ) was blessed by the Shabbos of the portion of Vayishlach, which must have guidance for Yud-Tes Kislev. Of course there are numerous subjects and stories in this portion, and stories are instruction too, being part of Torah which means instruction." The story actually occurred, it need not be said, for it is part of the Torah of truth, but the intention of the story is to guide and instruct.
Lessons vary, for Torah is understood and interpreted on several planes, the beginning one being pshat, simple meaning, accessible to everyone, indispensable for further study.
The portion begins with Yaakov sending messengers, or angels, to his brother Eisav to the land of Sei’ir, the field of Edom, and commanded them to say to my lord Eisav, So said your brother Yaakov; with Lavan garti, I have dwelled, and delayed until now.’" Naturally there are the numerous interpretations, and the simple meaning is found in Rashi, who uses the simple meaning in his commentary.
Rashi’s commentary is: The word garti, I dwelled, equals taryag, for the 613 mitzvot, meaning, I dwelled with the wicked Lavan yet I observed the 613 mitzvot and did not adopt his evil ways. Rashi’s commentary is, as we have noted, the simple meaning and one with a lesson for us. A problem arises.
Yaakov sent messengers to Eisav, being interested in pleasing him or influencing him, impressing him. The gifts he sent were explicitly to find favor" with Eisav. Clearly the instructions to the messengers were for the same end. Yaakov’s encounter with Eisav is the prototype of Israel’s encounters with the nations and Yaakov’s conduct is instruction for such situations. The Jew begins with a clear statement, I lived with Lavan but I kept the mitzvot." How is this to please or impress Eisav ?
The Talmud discusses two aspects of Eisav. Eisav had the status of a mumar, a rebellious Jew, Jewish but not conducting himself Jewishly; then Eisav is described as he is Edom" and "Deliverers shall ascend Mount Zion to judge Mount Eisav,” ascribing non-Jewish status to Eisav. This is an apparent contradiction.
The explanation is that there is a difference between the person Eisav, son of Yitzchak and Rivkah, on the one hand, and Eisav referring to his children who were children of tribeswomen in Canaan, and therefore non-Jews. These were the majority in Eisav’s company. Yaakov was addressing Eisav and his group, a Jew and non-Jew simultaneously.
We are taught here that when we intend to bring another Jew closer to Judaism, we are not to forego any part of Torah, diminish Torah to impress or please him, and thus persuade him. It won’t work. When you approach anyone at all, tell him at the outset that you kept all the 613, the full strength of Yiddishkeit evident and without any embarrassment or apologetics. Open with a forthright declaration that Yiddishkeit is not something kept hidden away at home. Even when living with Lavan, and the word for living" may also mean stranger" as Rashi points out, a Yaakov proudly declares that he keeps all of G-d’s commands.
Yaakov understood an Eisav perfectly well. He knew what impresses and influences an Eisav. Torah formulated this as an instruction for any Jew addressing another, for his intentions are doubtless to do him good and make him better than he has been. He is not to describe himself as a deficient Jew, that he is like everybody else of other nations but a bit better. Tell the truth, that we belong to a people whose every member is one of the faithful and children of the faithful," and he therefore observes all the 613. The other will trust him then, for he doesn’t disguise himself or make compromises, he is not deceptive but straightforward in describing himself as one of the faithful and a child of the faithful.
The Rambam rules that every Jew regardless of his situation wants to observe all the 613 mitzvot, except that his evil impulse overpowers him at times. This is not his true self but the domination of the evil impulse, while he is truly in a state of I keep the 613 mitzvot." One should address another with a frank heart, stating who he is -- a grandson of Yaakov, an heir to Moshe’s Torah, the entire Torah, and inheritance is not contingent on becoming Bar or Bat Mitzvah or attaining a degree of intelligence. A newborn infant is a total heir. Anyone of the congregation of Yaakov" is an heir. One descendant of Yaakov addressing another, intending the other’s welfare and improvement, must begin with, "I lived with Lavan and kept the 613 mitzvot," for this is the true status of every Jew.
This leads to success, as the narrative continues. That Jew camouflaged as an Eisav embraces and kisses" him, and they weep together, with the deepest affection we can imagine. Rashi stresses this point in his commentary of "simple meaning."
There is guidance here for those whom Providence has placed in positions of influence on non-Jews, whether a city or state or an entire country. It is possible that they might calculate that to fulfill their mission for improving their neighborhood or city or state or country they must declare, like all nations is the House of Yehudah," they must act like others do in order to truly be Israel.
It must be stated forcefully that with this approach the non-Jew will instantly sense that he is being deceived, for every people has its ways and nature and its own guides. Israel has the Torah of Moshe for guidance and this applies to every individual Jew, wherever he may be and however he may be, always to live like a Jew.
And how does one live like a Jew? Each one of the congregation of Yaakov" has the guidance of Yaakov himself. Yaakov had to confront the non-Jew in the persons of Eisav’s children, for they were indeed gentiles, the forebears of the kingdom of Edom, which eventually wrought the exile of Edom in which we live today. Even when by G-d’s blessing the Jew is successful, being in a land of kindness which assists the Jew in living as he sees fit, giving him the freedom to fulfill his mission of choose life" by choosing the Torah of life and fulfilling the mitzvot that one lives by them."
The Jew is required to "pray for the welfare of the city," do what is your duty for the city and country, for your peace is dependent on its peace." It is in his own self-interest, he must repay kindness with kindness, making it stronger and its foundation more firm. This is attained by efforts to insure that all its affairs be conducted according to the Seven Commands and all their ramifications.
Before he expounds on the substance of his message, there must be an introduction, who exactly is speaking and what is he, with what authority and power does he speak and urge proposals and make suggestions. He must state why others should heed his words and do as he wishes. This opening was indicated by Yaakov, the first of the congregation of Yaakov," with his first words -- with Lavan have I lived. He is forthright in acknowledging his status in exile as a "stranger," while emphasizing that even in exile he maintains the full force and authenticity and essence of his selfhood, without concealing himself to deceive anyone.
What is his essence, his identity, his true being? His observance of the 613.
When this is his beginning statement, that he is a Jew, that he maintains the "pride of Yaakov," and that he has responsibilities imposed on himself by his Jewishness, even more than the usual responsibilities for the welfare of city and country, and he speaks therefore with the strength of his adherence to the 613. He personally lives by his commitment. This was the introduction Yaakov made, first through his messengers then repeated by himself. Then Yaakov has influence and fulfills his duty speaking as a representative of Jews who have elected him and non-Jews who elected him. True, he is a man of many parts, not of one dimension, but his primary characteristic is that he is a son of Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov, part of the congregation of Yaakov.
Since he is fully of that congregation of Yaakov, actually fulfilling the 613 and publicly, the preparation has been made to earn everyone’s attention when he makes his proposals for the conduct of the world or country or city or neighborhood. He is heard because others have a sense of confidence that they are talking to a man of truth, who seeks truth and wants to disseminate truth, for he personally lives by the teachings of the Torah of Truth and Life that teaches how to live in the ordinaries of life as an individual and as a public figure interested in the welfare of the nation.
Though there may be any number of opinions and views, eventually there is agreement and even affection as noted earlier. As light is increased and goodness introduced, the darkness of exile is diminished and weakened. This hastens the fulfillment of until I come to my lord in Sei’ir,” as Rashi notes that this refers to the days of the Mashiach, when ‘ Deliverers shall ascend Mount Zion to judge Mount Eisav," with the conclusion that ‘ the dominion will be G-d’s." The true and full redemption will ensue through Mashiach in our own lifetimes.
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- Based on The farbrengen held on Shabbos HaGadol, Parshas Metzora, 5746
- Sefer HaToldos R. Shneur Zalman of Liadi pgs 218-219.
- A play on Esther 1:16
- Six prohibitions: murder, robbery, idolatry, adultery, blasphemy, cruelty to animals (specifically, not to tear flesh from a living animal for food), and one positive command -- to establish a system of laws. "Sons of Noah" simply means humanity, as distinct from Children of Israel meaning Jews.
- Isaiah 45:18
- Shemos 23:8
- Devarim 33:4
- II, 63b; 88a
- Bereishis 32:5
- Bereishis 32:6
- Bereishis 36:1
- Ovadiah 1:21
- Bereishis 33:4
- Yechezkel 25:8
- Yirmeyahu 29:7
- Bereishis 33:14