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Month: October 2023

The test of the mind – Lech-Lecha

The test of the mind – Lech-Lecha

Abraham’s life was a series of tests, and he passed all of them. The tractate Avot states that “Abraham our father was tested in ten tests.” These tests offer an opportunity for people to achieve the impossible and grow into something greater than their usual nature.

Abraham’s test allowed him to break through the constraints of his personality and traits and become something he never thought possible. His story represents the story of each and every one of us. Every moment in this world is a test for the soul, demonstrating a person’s faith in G-d. The test is designed to see how strong the connection to G-d is. Does the soul remain true to itself in the face of a huge challenge: to turn the spiritual darkness of this world into light by keeping the 7 laws of Noah.

The same rule applies both in the lives of Noahides and the Jewish people. When a situation of crisis occurs on a global level, it means that it is necessary to add goodness and divine light to the world. The Land of Israel was given by the Creator of the world to the Jewish people only. Any attempt by non-Jews to dispute this or to take over the territories of the Holy Land by force is a violation of the commandments of the sons of Noah: the prohibition of robbery and murder.

This is a powerful lesson: when we face challenges, we must remember G-d’s presence and that He expects us to overcome them by behaving according to Noah’s 7 laws. Then, difficulties will disappear, and we open the door for Moshiach’s revelation when these values are embraced globally.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

Lech Lecha-the Liberation of captives

Lech Lecha-the Liberation of captives

In this Torah portion, Lech Lecha we can learn a lesson of how to release captives from evil forces. G‑d commanded Abram to leave his father’s house and homeland, and travel to the land of Israel. G‑d promised to make Abram the patriarch of a great nation. Once Abram arrived in the land of Israel, G‑d informed him that He would eventually give that land to his descendants.

However, a severe famine interrupted Abram’s journey, compelling him to seek refuge in Egypt. Fearing for his life due to his wife Sarai’s beauty, Abram devised a plan for her to claim she was his sister rather than his wife. Tragically, Sarai was taken captive and brought before Pharaoh, the Egyptian king. G‑d struck the members of Pharaoh’s palace with a plague, causing Pharaoh to release Sarai. Pharaoh loaded Abram and Sarai with gifts and riches and had them escorted out of his land. Abram returned to the land of Israel with all the captives.

This theme of freeing captives returned in the narrative of Lot, who had journeyed with Abram. Lot and the inhabitants of Sodom were taken captive, prompting Abram to take immediate action. He led a small force to their rescue, liberating all the captives and recovering the spoils. In response to this act, G-d made a covenant with Abram, promising that his descendants would inherit the land of Israel.

One of the fundamental Noahide commandments is the prohibition against theft. Gentiles are completely forbidden from stealing, be it land, people, or any other form of property belonging to the people of Israel. Violation of this commandment could lead to divine punishment.

The seven Noahide principles of justice, righteousness, and consideration for other people’s property and well-being are emphasized in these stories, which serve as a reminder of our responsibility to free the captives and uphold these principles. It serves as a testimony to the enduring significance of these laws and their timeless relevance for the people of Israel and all humanity.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

The Shelter for Safety: The Seven Noahide Laws

The Shelter for Safety: The Seven Noahide Laws

The Seven Noahide Laws provide a source of guidance and relief in times of anxiety. In times of anxiety, it is typical to seek solace in faith and spirituality. The 7 Noahide laws have been given by G-d to Noah after the flood. These laws are the foundation of human civilization. While the 7 Noahide laws do not explicitly address anxiety, they can provide a framework for leading a meaningful and fulfilling life.

This means acknowledging the existence of G-d who cares about His world. Respecting the value of human life and avoiding murder. Respecting the life of all creatures and avoiding cruelty to animals. Respecting the property of others and avoiding theft. Establishing courts of law and ensuring justice in our world.

By following these laws, one can cultivate a sense of faith and Divine meaning in life, which can help alleviate anxiety. Additionally, spiritual acts such as prayer and charity, can help reduce stress and promote inner peace.

Ultimately, finding relief from anxiety depends on a personal effort; however, the Noahide Laws can be a valuable part of that journey, offering spiritual support during difficult times. The belief in divine providence is part of the first Noahide commandment- not to worship idols. Despite the huge amount of evil in the world, there is nothing besides Him.

Faith in G-d can provide comfort and hope during times of war. It can help people cope with adversity by encouraging them to reframe events through a hopeful lens, fostering a sense of connectedness. In addition, we all have to pray for peace and wisdom that will be found at the highest level in the coming redemption by King Moshiach.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

The Origin of the First Conflict

The Origin of the First Conflict

In our Torah portion, Genesis, the most important Divine laws of human existence can be found. “And the Lord G-d commanded the man to say, of every tree of the garden you may eat” (Genesis 2:16). This verse is the basis for 6 out of 7 Noahide commands, it includes these laws in summary. These were the commandments given to Adam in the Garden of Eden:

The rejection of the worship of celestial objects or idols.

Prohibition of cursing God’s name or blaspheming it.

Establishing courts of justice.

Not to murder: It emphasizes the sanctity of human life and aligns with the Noahide Law of prohibiting murder.

To maintain morality. Clinging to the sanctity of marriage between male and female.

Not to steal.

After 10 generations the seventh law was given to Noah, not to eat a limb from a living animal.

In the very first Torah portion, when the world is only a few days old, we read that Abel is murdered by his very own brother, Cain. Abel was a shepherd and Cain was a farmer. Cain brought an offering to G‑d from the fruit of his harvest, and Abel brought from his firstborn sheep. G‑d accepted the offering of Abel, but not that of Cain. Cain was upset. And then, all of a sudden, Cain met Abel in the field and killed him, out of jealousy.
This act of murder is a clear violation of the moral principle that prohibits the taking of another person’s life, which is a central tenet in the Seven Noahide Laws that are binding on all of humanity.

While the story is ancient, it is still actual and its lessons continue to resonate with people in various aspects of contemporary life, reminding us of the enduring importance of values such as the sanctity of human life. In our modern world, respect for human life and the rejection of violence continue to be essential principles. Issues related to violence, and war highlight the ongoing importance of the 7 Noahide laws in the global context.

The story demonstrates the importance of justice and accountability. After murdering Abel, Cain is held accountable for his actions and he was punished. In contemporary societies, principles of justice, and accountability for crimes are fundamental to a just society that cannot stand aside while crimes against humanity happen. One of the lessons learned is that the nations of the world should not sit on the sidelines and they must act and condemn horrific terror acts. This is their duty according to the 7 Noahide laws that were given by G-d on Mt. Sinai.

The soul of Moshiach is one of the first things in existence and the loftiest. Its creation preceded all other aspects of creation. As our sages say, in the second verse of Genesis, “And the earth was null and void, and a spirit of G-d hovered over the face of the water,” “The spirit of G-d: this is the soul of Moshiach.” We are waiting for King Moshiach to be revealed. Only with complete Redemption, when all of creation will be elevated, an eternal just, and peaceful world would be found.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe.

Internalizing G-dliness

Internalizing G-dliness

The seven days of Sukkot are celebrated in the Tabernacle, and after the Simcha comes the last holiday, Simchat Torah. This holiday expresses our belief in the presence and the unity of G-d. After the high holidays comes the peak time of joy and happiness. Simchat Torah is related strongly to the verse in Deuteronomy 4:35: “You have been shown, in order to know that the Lord He is G-d; there is none else besides Him”.

The purpose of this manifestation is to instill knowledge and faith in the hearts. It is meant to strengthen the belief in G-d and the commitment to following His commandments.

Belief in the unity of G-d does not mean only the denial of false gods but rather that G-d is the only true reality and that apart from Him there is no reality – “there is no other besides Him”, and everything that seems to be apart from him, is not a real reality. The reason for this lies in the fact that the existence of reality is due to the power of G-d’s generating it at every moment and if the power of creation stops for a moment it would return to nothingness and zero as before creation.

The Seven Noahide Laws, which are derived from the Torah and apply to all of humanity, include not only the prohibition against idolatry (which encompasses a rejection of multiple deities) but also the positive affirmation and the internalization that there is nothing besides Him. Therefore, Gentiles are obligated to believe in the unity of G-d as part of their adherence to the 7 Noahide Laws.

On this holiday we can feel the reality of the Messianic era where G-dliness will be felt in the creation and the word of G-d will be the most obvious thing. Noahides are expected to play their key role in hastening redemption by strictly clinging to the fulfillment of the seven Noahide laws by not adding or subtracting any detail.

*This is from a series of articles by Rabbi Bernstein Moshe