30 October 2009

Shabbat Shalom - Parshas Lech Lecha


Shabbat Shalom
Parshas Lech Lecha

"God said to Abram ... Go forth for yourself from your country”… “and from your birthplace” … “to the Land which I will show you” …”I shall make a great nation out of you” … “I shall bless those who bless you” … ”and all the families of the world will receive a blessing thanks to you.”


The Torah lists the departures according to the pain of leave-taking involved. It is less painful to leave one’s country than to leave one’s birthplace, and it is even more painful to leave one’s family. [Parshas Lech Lecha, Or HaChayim]


This is your home, for all Jews, ALL JEWS, wherever you are in your relationship with Hashem, it was/is/will be God given in accordance with the Holy Torah.


It's the first Rashi in the Torah, and Rashi means to tell us NOT TO BE TIMID, BE PROUD OF OUR YERUSHA, STAND UP AND BE PROUD TO ANNOUNCE TO THE WORLD THAT IT IS YOUR HOME. The World is waiting for this collective pronouncement of the State of Israel and of the People of Yisrael:


Rashi on “In the Beginning…”

It was not necessary to begin the Torah from “This month shall be unto you” since this is the first mitzvah that Israel was commanded (to observe). And what is the reason that it begins with Genesis? Because of “the power of his works” He hath declared to His people in giving them the heritage of the nations.” (Tehillim 111.6)


For if the nations of the world should say to Israel:


“You are robbers, because you have siezed by force the lands of the seven nations” (Canaan) they could say to them, “The entire world belongs to the Holy One, Blessed Be He, He created it and gave it to whomever it was right in his eyes. Of His own will He gave it to them and of His own will He took it from them and gave it to us.” (Yalkut, Ex 12.2)





It is no COINCIDENCE that the United States of America is now fighting for its sovereignty, for its Constitution and for its Bill of Rights and its Declaration of Independence. The nation of America which has been deemed a Nation of Chessed is now under seige by government forces that want to reverse the statutes, mores, laws, and the goodness that created this once great nation. The world is jealous and waiting for America to dissolve as a Nation of Chessed because at one time it represented it's allegiance to God. The one way to bring down a country is to bring it down into immorality. All that is dissolving before our very eyes. America was created to escape tyranny and allow for the freedom of religion for all its citizens. This is all in jeopardy.

A message to the Jews of America, come to your true Home, to the True People of Chessed and the True Nation of Chessed ... in the making ... the True People with historical and unswerving allegiance to the God of the Jewish People, the World, and the Universe.

28 October 2009

Audacity or Hypocrisy

Slowly the reverberations from Cairo are making their way around the globe building to a world movement (chas'v'shalom) poised against Hashem's Land, and Yisrael's Home,
thanks to Barack Hussein Obama


Obama* inks defense bill with hate crimes provision.

[note: defends everyone except Jews, Christians, and other Bible believing citizens. "threatens free speech and freedom of religion"]


Bahrain bill penalises contacts with Israel


"Note that the politicians behind this move to penalise Bahrainis for contacts with Israel are Shia, and that the bill has little chance of being passed by the upper house, which is full of (Sunni) government supporters appointed by the King. Even so, who would have thought that this is the same country which appointed a Jewish woman as Bahrain's ambassador to Washington?" Point of No Return


Obama in Cairo was a blow to Democracy













  • "President Barack [Hussein] Obama, calling for "a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world," said in a long-promised and widely watched address from Cairo today that the "cycle of suspicion and discord must end." Goatmilk

They say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, a few that come to my mind are conceited, narcissist, idol worship. And let's not forget that famous word-altering speech in Cairo, when we heard:

  • For more than 60 years they've endured the pain of dislocation. Many wait in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring lands for a life of peace and security that they have never been able to lead. They endure the daily humiliations -- large and small -- that come with occupation. So let there be no doubt: The situation for the Palestinian people is intolerable. And America will not turn our backs on the legitimate Palestinian aspiration for dignity, opportunity, and a state of their own.

Some More Headlines

Turkey joins the Axis in 1940 after France Falls

Has Turkey Joined the 2009 Axis? Turkey sides with Iran [Guardian.co.uk]
  • "There is no doubt he (Ahmadinejad) is our friend," Erdogan, on the eve of his visit to Tehran, Turkish PM expresses his faith in strategic relations with Israel, tells Guardian that Ahmadinejad "is no doubt our friend," [but] once again slams Israeli Foreign Minister.
  • Turks stage anti-Israel Protest 2009
China sides with Iran
Is Jordan next?


The Washington Middle East Dance

Is there a disconnect here?


Jewish leaders urge Obama to visit Israel

Sixty prominent leaders and thinkers of Jewish people take part in two-day NY event organized by the JPPPI, stress US president's low approval rating in Jewish state perceived as warning sign reflecting harmful trend that should be addressed […]


The two main challenges from the Israeli point of view—the Iranian threat and the Arab-Israeli conflict—were identified as carrying a double potential: On the one hand, strengthening the friendship between Jerusalem and Washington, but on the other, creating tension and friction between the two capitals while the Jewish community finds itself frustrated in the middle.


So, the White House urges Israel, Palestinians to resume negotiations

US urges end of settlement activity, prevention of terror following meeting between Secretary of State Clinton, Obama on stalled Mideast peace talks. Washington source says negotiations still far from resuming.


Abbas calls Obama and says (cries) he is quitting the game because Israel won’t come to the Peace Table!


So, ‘Man from LaMancha’ is sending ‘Lady MacBeth’*, preceded by Don Quiote's Sancho. source


Palestinian paper says Clinton due for visit

Al-Quds reports US secretary of state to arrive in Middle East within coming days as part of peace efforts.

Quickly followed by an American news release:

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to arrive in Israel on motzei shabbos. […] in line with reports of an impending visit released by PA leaders in Ramallah earlier in the week. US Mideast envoy George Mitchell will be arriving in Israel on erev shabbos in preparation of the secretary’s arrival on the following day. Ms. Clinton will be stopping to meet with Arab leaders ahead of her meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.


However,

[If you read between the lines: Abbas faces being overthrown [by Hamas and Fatah], he calls Obama ‘to say he’s quitting’ and seeks advice; Obama tells him not ‘to quit,’ don’t worry, because I’ll send a ‘delegation’ to [stop the riots by their mere presence] dialog with Netanyahu again and put more pressure on those Jews.]


But, 60% of Israelis don't trust Obama

War and Peace Index reveals 55% of Israeli Jews believe US president leans in favor of Palestinians, while only 5% say he supports Israeli position. source


Is Netanyahu turning the tide again?


Washington caught off guard

by Netanyahu visit

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intention to visit Washington for the annual UJC General Assembly has surprised many on Capitol Hill and was apparently not coordinated with the Obama administration. An American source told Ynet Sunday that news of the visit had been received with reserved astonishment. […] Sources in Jerusalem say Netanyahu did indeed decide to attend the GA without first consulting President Barack Obama, but that since the latter would also be present at the event the two may meet in any case….The prime minister's visit is scheduled to take place on November 8-10. source


****************

Borrowed and edited:


*A little analysis of Lady Macbeth:

Lady Macbeth fulfills her role among the nobility and is well respected like Macbeth. King Duncan calls her "our honored hostess." She is loving to her husband but at the same time very ambitious, as shown by her immediate determination […] to be king. This outcome will benefit her and her husband equally. She immediately concludes that "the fastest way" ... to become king is by murdering .... Lady Macbeth's immediate thoughts may make her appear as thoroughly irreligiously cold and ambitious, but this is not so. To prepare for what she feels must be done she calls on evil spirits ….


26 October 2009

Parable of the FOX and the FOX

Everything that happens in the world is because of the Am Yisrael


Obama is fighting FOX
And the 'Israeli Chairman of Holiness and Education' is fighting FOX

HOWEVER

the American 'FOX' is a news reporting entity
and
the Israeli FOX is a clothing chain


Obama is fighting "exposing the truth through news coverage"
BUT
The Israeli offensive wants the covering
of "road signs of immodest exposings "


Sources: in America and in Israel

Yahrzeit of Rochel Imeinu 11 Cheshvan / 29 October

The History of Rachel’s Tomb


2170 .. 1590 BCE Rachel’s Birth

2176 .. 1584 Rachel Meets Yaakov


2183 .. 1577 The Giving of the Codes - The Torah* tells the story of how Yaakov worked 7 years for Lavan in order to marry Rachel. Yaakov gave to Rachel certain ‘signs’ so that he would know it was her under the Chupah, suspecting that her father, Lavan, might switch daughters. But Lavan did send Leah to the Chupah, so Rachel, not to embarrass her sister, gave her the special ‘signs’. Yaakov married Leah.


2183 .. 1577 Rachel Marries Yaakov at age 14 (after promising to work another 7 years for Lavan)


2199 .. 1561 Rachel gives birth to Yosef

2208 .. 1552 Rachel gives birth to Binyamin. Rachel passes away and is buried near Bet Lechem, where Yaakov places a Tombstone on her gravesite which is there until today.


*Bereishis 29:9 thru 35:19


RACHEL'S TOMB


The structure on the site, a cube topped by a dome, was built around 1620 by the Ottoman Turks. It was lengthened in 1860 by Sir Moses Montefiore. [Pic: Rachel's Tomb in 1860]


In the 1990's, due to the deteriorating security situation, the original domed structure was fortified and enclosed inside a building with a hall from the entrance. Recently, the site has been surrounded by a barrier to separate it from Bethlehem.


The site consists of a rock with eleven stones upon it, one for each of the eleven sons of Jacob who were alive when Rachel died in childbirth. Over the centuries, the rock was covered by a dome supported by four arches. The large tomb is now covered by a velvet drape.











Today, the site is very close to the checkpoint from the Palestinian territories into Israel. The original tomb, a rectangular structure with a white dome, has been enclosed inside a fortress, complete with guard tower, soldiers and barbed wire.




A Story from Nachalei Artzeinu

Rachel Klein is one of our helpers at "Nachalei Artzeinu".

A few days after the horrible blast at the Sbarro restaurant, a young girl called Mrs. Klein and told her that recently she had donated to the Society. She said that she wanted to meet her urgently. In the evening of that same day, the girl visited Mrs. Klein at home, holding a fancy bouquet of flowers in her hands. "What did I do to merit such a gift?" Mrs. Klein wondered aloud. The girl was very excited and found it hard to speak fluently.


"Until a week ago, I worked as a cashier at the "Sbarro" restaurant. When you came to our house collecting for you organization you gave me the "Tikkun HaKlali" as a gift. The next day, on my way to work, I put the Tikkun HaKlali in the pocket of my apron, and took it out once or twice at work to say a few chapters, although I'm actually not religious myself. When the bomb went off, I was standing behind the cash register, with the apron holding the Tikkun HaKlali tied around my waist [an apron which was to act as an armored vest]. The terrorist exploded maybe 6 feet away from me; the cash register shattered into fragments, and I was flung into the air from the blast. I got up and saw only death, destruction and ruins around me. I began touching myself all over, and was astonished to discover that I was safe and sound.


Needless to say, I was the only survivor amongst all those who were standing near me. I left the demolished restaurant, with the Tikkun HaKlali in my trembling fingers, mouthing words of thanksgiving to G-d."



23 October 2009

Shabbat Shalom .. Parshas Noach


Shabbat Parshas Noach

And G-d spoke to Noah and to his sons with him, saying: "...This shall be the sign of the covenant which I am making between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all generations.

"My rainbow I have set in the cloud... When the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud, I shall remember My covenant... Never again shall the waters become a flood to destroy all flesh."

Genesis 9:8-15

The rainbow, of course, is a natural phenomenon. Rays of sunlight pass through water droplets suspended in the atmosphere; the clear, crystal-like droplets refract the light, unleashing the spectrum of colors it contains and displaying them in an arc across the misty skies.

Yet before the Flood, this natural occurrence did not occur. There was something about the interaction between the moisture in the earth's atmosphere and the light emanating from the sun that failed to produce a rainbow. It was only after the Flood that the dynamics that create a rainbow were set in place by the Creator as a sign of His newly-formed covenant with His creation.

The spiritual and the physical are two faces of the same reality. This change in the physical nature of the interaction between water and light reflects a deeper, spiritual difference between the pre- and post-Flood worlds, and the resultant difference in G-d's manner of dealing with a corrupted world.

Contrary Differences

An examination of the Torah's account of the first twenty generations of history reveals two primary differences between the world before the Flood and the post-Flood era.

The pre-Flood generations enjoyed long lives -- we find people living into their 8th, 9th and 10th centuries (Noah's grandfather, Methuselah, lived 969 years; his father, Lemech, 777 years; Noah himself, 950 years). The Zohar explains that this was an era of divine benevolence, in which life, health and prosperity flowed freely and indiscriminately from Above.

Following the Flood, we see a steady decline in the human lifespan. Within ten generations, Abraham is old at the age of 100.

The second difference is one that seems at odds with, and even contradictory to, the first: After the Flood, the world gained a stability and permanence it did not enjoy in the pre-Flood era. Before the Flood, the world's very existence was contingent upon its moral state. When humanity disintegrated into corruption and violence, G-d said to Noah:

The end of all flesh is come before Me, for the earth is filled with violence through them; behold, I shall destroy them and the earth.

Following the Flood, G-d vowed:

I will not again curse the earth because of man... neither will I again smite everything living, as I have done. For all days of the earth, [the seasons for] seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.

No longer would the cycles of life and nature totter on the verge of extinction whenever man strays from his G-d. The post-Flood world is a world whose existence is assured, a world that is desired by its Creator regardless of its present state of conformity to His will.

And the guarantor of this assurance, the symbol of this new stability, is the rainbow. [...]

Based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson; adapted by Yanki Tauber.

After the Flood, God imbued the world with new potential.

Full shiur at Chabad online.


Fun with Noach

A Mother in Israel featured some interesting links; one of which was to Jacob Richman's Noach page, and it is so delightful for children:




Jacob Richman is very clever and helpful to all Israelis. Featured above is the Israeli stamp issued for the Parsha of Noach; it shows the plate block. I imagine children who collect stamps will be greatly excited over this new edition to their collection.

His page also has Torah sheets for children [and posts for the adults too]. The plate block came from the section entitled 'Art / Graphics'.

Parents, if you are reading this, be sure to go to Jacob Richman's Noach page and print out some things for the children. This is the ONE parsha entertaining for the very young. Jacob has a wealth of information, maps, and historical data, as well as job listings. He's a one-man Hasbara source. You'll even find Coloring pages in pdf format that you can print for the kids to color.

Thank you Noach! and thank you A Mother in Israel.

20 October 2009

Speaking of Audacity

“A Million New Yorkers Are Good Without God, Are You?”


"Atheism is coming to the NY subway system

[so reports the NYT]

Starting next Monday, a coalition of local groups will run a monthlong advertising campaign in a dozen Manhattan subway stations."

An audacious organization called Coalition of Reason is the home for this idea, plus the subway campaign is timed to a new book by a Harvard University 'humanist chaplain'.*


HOWEVER, ALSO THIS WEEK:

Religious Jews around the world read Parshas Noah this Shabbat. It’s the account of one man, at the instruction of God, who spends 120 years building a Teva (an ark) to carry him and his family, and many animals, while the world is being deluged by a flood, to be brought by God, because of the decadence of the society of man on earth. It seems these people didn’t believe in God, Who was warning them that He was going to destroy the world and its inhabitants because of their perverted lifestyles.


“...now the descendants of Cain and of Seth began to intermarry, and then there sprang up a race distinguished for their ungodliness. Men became more and more corrupt, and God determined to sweep the earth of its wicked population (Genesis 6:7). But with Noah God entered into a covenant, with a promise of deliverance from the threatened deluge. He was accordingly commanded to build an ark for the saving of himself and his house. An interval of one hundred and twenty years elapsed while the ark was being built, during which Noah bore constant testimony against the unbelief and wickedness of that generation …”


FROM THE FIRST CENTURY HISTORIAN, JOSEPHUS:


But when Monobazus was grown old, and saw that he had but a little time to live, he had a mind to come to the sight of his son before he died. So he sent for him, and embraced him after the most affectionate manner, and bestowed on him the country called Carra; it was a soil that bare amomum in great plenty: there are also in it the remains of that ark, wherein it is related that Noah escaped the deluge, and where they are still shown to such as are desirous to see them. However, the Armenians call this place, (Apobaterion).The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.

—Complete Works of Josephus


IN THE MOUNTAINS OF ARARAT















"And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat. And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen." (Genesis 8:4-5)


"Originial discovery made from an airplane by a Turkish army captain: a boat-shaped form about 500-515 feet long."*


FOLLOWING THE FLOOD is the story of the Tower of Babel:

"The whole earth was of one language and of common purpose ... And they said one to another: '...Let us build for ourselves a city and a tower whose top shall reach the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the face of the entire earth.'

"And G-d descended to look at the city and tower which the sons of man built, and G-d said, '...Shall it not be withheld from them all they proposed to do?...' G-d scattered them across the face of the earth, and they stopped building the city."

Is this what the Coalition of Reason wants to organize and build, a coalition of unity and purpose in the denial of the God of the Universe? Do they really want to bring disaster upon the world?

One language, one idea, fueled by "private funds", in the spirit of "unity" and "purpose". Where have we heard these campaign promises?


Additional reading:

* What to do with our Traitors, read here.

* Moving Forward with Unity and Purpose United Coalition of Reason.

* For great pictures and a video: Noah's Ark Discovered.

19 October 2009

Parshas Noah and Bnei Noah

This Parsha in the Hebrew Five Books of Moses (Chumash) is very dear for the Bnei Noah of the world. What follows is an excerpt from Rabbi Ginsburgh’s writings especially for you, the very special Bnei Noah.


Excerpt from Kabbalah and Meditation for the Nations
Chapter 1: Principles of Faith

[Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh at Kabbalah for the Nations: Bnei Noah.]


Introduction

As stressed in traditional Jewish writings, the core of all religious practice and the principle underlying all Divine worship is faith. As explained in Kabbalah, faith is the highest power of the soul, lying well beyond the reach of the rational mind, floating, as it were, above comprehension.


Although the most fundamental of the Bnei Noach commandments is the prohibition of the worship of other gods, the question must still be raised whether Bnei Noach are actually required to believe in God? This may seem like a strange question to ask, for why would anyone be committed to perform God’s commandments if he or she does not believe in Him? However, it may seem less puzzling if we consider that there are many situations in life when a person loses conscious faith in the Almighty, yet continues to follow the Torah’s commandments, forgoing questions of faith to a later time.


Furthermore, it is common to find people that perform religious commandments for a variety of reasons other than their belief in God. It may be that they do so because of tradition (as children they were raised with these practices), because of collective cultural values (their society prescribes it), or even just to alleviate social pressure (their peers would not associate with them if they did not), all without believing that God exists or that He commanded them to perform these acts.


At the present, there are relatively few Bnei Noach in the world so these external reasons for performing the Bnei Noach commandments may not seem to be very prominent in anyone’s life. But, as the numbers increase, as the prophets foresaw, and people become second and third generation Bnei Noach living in large communities or even cultures that practice these commandments, the question of obligatory faith will become more and more important.


The Thirteen Principles of Jewish Faith

Indeed, talking of faith in God is quite vague. What exactly does faith in God include? What are the articles or principles of faith as delineated by the Torah? And, are they different for Jews and for non-Jews?

Though faith is a super-rational faculty, and therefore not normally subject to translation into a limited set of logical ordered principles, about 850 years ago, Maimonides—arguably the greatest authority on Jewish law and Torah thought1—compiled a list of 13 principles of Jewish faith.2 They are:

1. God is the Creator and is responsible for all that happens.

2. God is One

3. God is not corporeal.

4. God is non-temporal.

5. God alone should be worshiped.

6. Prophecy is true.

7. The prophecy of Moses is primary and true.

8. The Torah is complete

9. The Torah is eternal.

10. There is Divine Providence.

11. God gives reward and punishment

12. The Messiah will arrive

13. God will resurrect the dead


As argued by later authorities,3 Maimonides 13 principles all stem from 3 more general principles:

1. Faith in the Oneness and Singularity of the Almighty, out of which stem the first through the fifth principles;

2. Faith in the Torah’s universal and everlasting verity as the expression of God’s Will, out of which stem the sixth through the ninth principles; and,

3. Faith in reward and punishment based on each individual’s conduct, from which stem the tenth through the thirteenth principles.


Of course, these three principles themselves are all an elaboration of the Torah’s all inclusive expression of faith in the absolute Oneness of God: “Hear O’ Israel, God is our God, God is One.”4


Covenant Numbers

So, we now have that the most general principle of faith in the absolute Oneness of God divides into three more specific principles, which in turn divide into the thirteen principles listed by Maimonides. This numerical progression from 1 to 3 to 13 is part of a mystical series of numbers that is based in the Torah’s oral tradition regarding the word “covenant” as it appears in the Written Torah. For this reason the numbers in this mystical series are known as “covenant numbers.”


The traditional source for the series of covenant numbers is found in a Mishnah that states: “Circumcision is great, for thirteen covenants were made on it.”5 As explained by the Talmudic commentaries this statement refers to 13 instances of the word “covenant” (in its different grammatical forms) found in the verses that describe how God commanded Abraham to perform circumcision.6 That circumcision in this Mishnah is described as “great” is not only qualitative but also quantitative. Hence, the Mishnah, as explained by the commentaries, is noting that the word “covenant” appears in these verses more times than it does in reference to other covenants chronicled in the Torah.


Specifically, the commentaries explain that the Mishnah is comparing the thirteen times that the word “covenant” appears in reference to circumcision, the covenant made between God and Abraham, to the three times that it appears in reference to the covenant made between God and the Jewish people with the giving of the Torah.7 It is also comparing the thirteen “covenants” of circumcision to the single “covenant” appearing in the verses describing how God promised the Land of Canaan to Abraham.8 We now know the source of the three numbers, 1, 3, and 13, in this series.


But as mentioned above, before making the covenants with Abraham (regarding the Land of Canaan and circumcision) and with the Jewish people (regarding the Torah), the Almighty made a covenant with Noah. God promised that he would not destroy the world again by flood. In the verses in the Torah describing this covenant, the word “covenant” (in its various grammatical forms) appears seven times. Thus the complete series begins with the numbers 1, 3, 7, and 13.9 Without getting too far ahead of ourselves, let us hint that the 7 instances of the word “covenant” found in the verses describing God’s covenant with Noah correspond to the 7 Bnei Noach commandments (and to the 7 colors of the rainbow, the sign of the covenant between God and Noah), as will be explained more fully later on.


The Seven Principles of Faith for Bnei Noach

The series of covenant numbers thus begins with the numbers: 1, 3, 7, 13.10 How fitting it is then that Bnei Noach should possess 7 principles of faith. Indeed, looking at Maimonides 13 Principles of Faith, we can see that before dividing into three general categories they first clearly divide into 7 more specific categories, as follows:

1. Faith in the existence of God the Creator

2. Faith in the Oneness of God

3. We should worship only God

4. The verity of prophecy

5. The eternal truth of the Torah

6. Reward and punishment

7. The ultimately good destiny of creation


These 7 principles of faith, which cover the basic tenets of faith for Bnei Noach, beautifully correspond to the seven Laws of Bnei Noach, and as such can be seen as their inner essence and spirit. Whereas six of these seven laws are usually stated negatively, i.e., as prohibitions, these articles of faith are positive in nature. Therefore, teaching each commandment with its corresponding principle provides a more balanced view on the Bnei Noach faith and commitment:


Faith in the existence of God the Creator clearly gives positive expression to the prohibition against blasphemy.


Faith in the Oneness of God is obviously the positive expression of the prohibition against idolatry.


While the second principle excludes worshiping any other being as a deity, the third principle (that man was created to worship God alone) deals with our obligation to worship the Almighty. In the Talmud,11 not recognizing that God is the origin of all blessing, not thanking Him for the good things we possess in life, is likened to stealing from one’s parents. Knowing that God is the source of all good, we turn to Him, and only to Him, in worship and prayer. Worship is thus seen to begin with not stealing from God that which He rightly deserves—the conscious awareness that all that we have, even our very existence, derives from Him. Thus this principle is the positive aspect of the prohibition against thievery, and as such, it implies that Bnei Noach should indeed have a book of prayers and make blessings over food,12 etc., as will be discussed further in chapter 5.


The fourth principle of faith in the truth of prophecy acknowledges that man was created in the image of God, and is therefore able to commune with God in prophecy.13 Hence, this principle reflects the basic sanctity of human life and thus it represents the positive aspect of the prohibition against murder.


The Talmud explains that sexual cravings are the most powerful force dissuading people from following the Torah. They are the “spirit of folly”14 that induce one to bypass the injunctions of the Torah, creating the illusion that the violation of these prohibitions will not sever our conscious connection with the Almighty. Thus, the fifth principle, professing faith in the eternal nature of the Torah—whose directives comprise the way of life and are the basis of our connection with the Creator—provides the positive application of the prohibition against adultery. Following this principle, throughout the book of Proverbs the Torah is likened to a woman of valor to whom her husband forever remains loyal.


The sixth principle, the belief in God’s reward and punishment based on His Providence over our actions, corresponds to the injunction to establish courts of law. Just courts of law are indeed a human expression of Divine Providence and justice.


To date, the image of Noah’s dove and the rainbow, the sign of God’s covenant with him, serve as the universal symbols for the peace and brotherhood that we all yearn for. According to Maimonides,15 the one commandment that was given to Noah, in addition to the six that had previously been given to Adam, is the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal.


The final article of faith in the ultimately good destiny awaiting mankind is the mystical stipulation of this commandment for Bnei Noach. Though the commandment does not prohibit the consumption of animals entirely, it does preclude treating them with cruelty and causing them pain, thus foreshadowing a positive ecological vision of mankind as it will be in a more rectified future. In the Bible, the salvation of man is tied directly with the salvation of animals: “Man and animal shall You save, O’ God.”16 The prohibition against eating the flesh of a living animal thus encourages our faith in the rectified and good future awaiting all of creation, as one.


Notes

1. Maimonides is the Greek form of Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, also known by his acronym, the Rambam (1135-1204).

2. Though Maimonides was evidently not aware of it, in the Zohar it is written that faith is indeed based on thirteen principles (Zohar III, 62b), which correspond to the 13 tikunei dikna (garments of the beard)—the 13 principles of Divine effluence that run from the sefirah of crown (super-consciousness) to the conscious sefirot and that are symbolically associated with the parts of the human beard.

From this correspondence of the 13 principles of faith with the 13 tikunei dikna we learn that principles of faith, like the sefirah of crown itself, exhibit a paradoxical quality. On the one hand they are verily super-rational, but on the other they are well-defined and ordered.
The paradoxical nature of the 13 Principles of Faith can be illustrated numerically: 13 . 102 (the numerical value of the word “faith,” in Hebrew, אֱמוּנָה ) = 1326. 1326 is the numerical value of the third verse of the Priestly Blessing: “May God lift His countenance upon you and give you peace” (יִשָּׂא י־הוה פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם ). The first word of this verseיִשָּׂא stems from the same root as the Hebrew term for “paradox” (נְשִׂיאַת הַפָכִים ).

3. Rabbi Joseph Albo, Sefer Ha’ikarim, part A, chapter 4.

4. Deuteronomy 6:4.

5. Nedarim 31b.

6. Genesis chapter 17.

7. Berachot 48b and commentaries there.

8. Genesis 15:18.

9. Chronologically, the order of the covenants is the covenant made with Noah (7), followed by the covenant with Abraham regarding the Land of Israel (1), followed by the covenant with Abraham regarding circumcision (13), and finally the covenant with the Jewish people regarding the Torah (3). But, mathematically, the order of the numbers in the series is of course 1, 3, 7, and 13.

10. The mathematical expression of this series is: for all integers n, f[n] = n2 ^ n ^ 1.

11. Berachot 35b.

12. This connection between thievery and worship was first made by the Torah Temimah, who argued that it implies that non-Jews should bless God before eating or taking pleasure form something in the world.

13. “God said: Let us create man in our image and after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26).

14. Sotah 3a.

15. Maimonides, Hilchot Melachim 9:1.

16. Psalms 36:7.