... increasing awareness of Torah among non-Jews ...
Seven Colors of the Rainbow
world is based so firmly on the concept of freedom that nothing seems so
problematic as the idea of a “commandment.” We are not given any easy way to
understand an instruction to do something which we have not already decided upon
and which we may not even fully understand. It seems like a return to the days
before modern education, when social structures were rigid and people were
unable to determine their own destinies or improve their situation.
people of earlier times were certainly not stupid or backward. Their technical
development was less than ours, but their philosophical level was higher than
ours because they were closer to the early period of great Torah scholarship and
prophecy. Nevertheless, they had to contend with much wrong thinking and
superstition, some of it deliberately fostered by those in authority. The modern
way of life, based on individual liberty and integrity, was in many ways a
tremendous improvement. The opportunity to think for oneself and to arrive at a
suitable way of life was a precious thing, even if the certainties of the old
way of life had to be re-examined. And, since righteous truth is unchanging and
eternal, it was only to be expected that honest people like Aimé Pallière
would in the end discover it for themselves once more.
then, is the position of our own generation. People have come to realize that
there exists a truth necessary for their lives, not distant from them in a
transcendental way or held by only one group of devotees, but near to them,
ready to be adopted and acted upon. All they need is a way to name these
principles and a way to act them out in their lives. Once these principles are
accepted and acted upon with faith, then the true wisdom behind them will be
revealed and understood.
innovation that the Seven Laws provide, the key to understanding all the
challenges and hopes of the human situation, is simple. It is to know that one
is “commanded,” that there exist moral laws which the Creator has provided
for His creatures, and that if one obeys these Divine commandments, one becomes
bound up with His higher intelligence, which is the source of all peaceful
solutions. With this knowledge, one becomes liberated from the troubles and
contradictions of this world.
list of prohibitions seems at first like a negative code, but in fact it is a
“Bill of Rights,” opening the way to true liberty and advancement. The
United States congressional resolution on the Seven Laws, which former U.S.
President George Bush signed into law on March 20, 1991 (H.J. Resolution 104,
Public Law 102-14), recognized this when it described them as “the bedrock of
all civilization.” When law becomes a means to opportunity, when it offers
progress instead of restriction, then it deserves to be obeyed. The Seven Laws
offer these benefits as and when they are obeyed.
society has for a long time been regarded as “Christian,” just as eastern
societies have been considered “Moslem” or “Buddhist.” But the true
lives of western and eastern peoples are not at all so easily categorized. The
dominant religions contain moral elements that their societies value highly, but
they exclude other approaches and claims, often to the point of declaring war on
them. Some of those moral claims are quite valid, while others are less pure and
more self-justifying. Beyond the formal doctrines of the dominant religions are
the associated folk traditions and ways of life, remnants of older religions
that have been suppressed. These folk elements cannot be made to fit into the
official systems, but they show the limitations of Christianity and other
true non-Jewish humanity, which sprang once more to the center of attention when
America was founded on liberty, has now become the usual way of life for the
peoples of the world. They want peace and love, they treat one another with
dignity and are offended by inconsideration, they are aware that sexual life in
particular has a fundamental significance that is not subject to human rules,
and they regard most present-day religious claims as misleading.
the non-Jewish personality is emerging in a way that has not been seen since the
destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem forced the Jewish people into exile and
their own Torah reality into hiding. Non-Jews are waiting for the truth that
will answer their basic questions honestly and straightforwardly. They are ready
for the Seven Laws, which state directly what is expected from non-Jews and what
they can expect to receive in return.
Pallière, in his conversations with Rabbi Benamozeg in that small Italian
hotel, discovered that the Jewish truth had indeed survived all the centuries of
hardship; its scholars were still trustworthy men of insight and concern, and
they had something definite to offer any sincere person who came to them,
whatever his or her origin might be.
that the shadows of Nazism and Communism have all but passed away from the
world, leaving the Jewish people established in Israel and in other countries
that respect their right to uphold their truth, the opportunity has come for
them to do their duty to the other nations among whom they live. The western
world is at peace, ready to listen to words of peace. Even the Middle East does
not have to remain in a state of war once the intended relationship between Jew
and non-Jew becomes established.
the modern technical world of today, many pressures work against religious
belief and practice, all of them tending to leave people in an uncertain,
deficient position. Personal life has its human shortcomings, and music and
other entertainment cannot make up for everything. When the stresses of modern
life affect a person's well-being, he or she can seek therapy. Psychotherapists
readily admit they serve the “confessor” function previously performed by
ministers and priests, but their methods are rarely useful. They are trying to
formulate an idea of the soul along scientific lines, but since the soul is
above this level there is no relief by such means, apart from the help of
individual good intentions.
pioneer psychologist Dr. Carl Jung of Switzerland, a world-famous therapist who
treated thousands of people over a lifetime career, stated that every one of
them was suffering in some way from a lack of what religion gave to its
believers. Even those who remain involved in religion, whether formal or simply
personal and unstated, seem to sense that there is a level beyond which the
regularly known ways cannot go.
Seven Laws are simple in outline, clear and sensible to any person. No training
in philosophy or theology is needed to understand them or to fulfill the
morality they contain. Detailed interpretations are available in the rabbinic
writings. In this deeper analysis is great wisdom, and this is something
non-Jews may go into as much as they desire. The Seven Laws provide all that is
required for the moral existence of the non-Jew, without the need for any other
changes in philosophy, in the system of government, or any scientific discovery.
we explore the commandments one by one, we shall see human society in a new
light-or rather, in a light that has been all but hidden for a long time. There
will be many revelations of how things might have been, and of how they still
may be when they are seen from the perspective of eternal truth. Neither Jews
nor non-Jews are meant to function in the material world alone, without a hint
of where they come from, where they are going, and why they are here.
laws of nature keep the inanimate world moving in its path, and we who have a
will of our own are likewise given the laws of humanity, the moral laws which
lift men and women from the natural level and unite them with the divine. And,
like the colors of the rainbow, the moral laws are seven in number.
From Seven Colors of the Rainbow: Torah Ethics for Non-Jews by Yirmeyahu Bindman © 1995 Resource Publications, Inc. Published on this website by special arrangement with Resource Publications, Inc. Material may be downloaded for individual use but not otherwise published or distributed without the written permission of Resource Publications, Inc., 160 E. Virginia St. #290, San Jose, CA 95112.
Copyright © 2000, Schueller House. Posted 4/9/2000