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In contrast to the wicked Christian doctrine that the Law is too difficult to follow and that everyone falls short of the Law, the Bible (Hebrew Scriptures) clearly teaches that G-d's Law is the absolute minimum that He expects everyone to follow. The Law is merely the foundation for our spiritual service to G-d; we start by obeying every detail of the Law--which is not too difficult--and then we can begin building our spiritual "house" in this world, helping to bring the revelation of G-d's kingdom into the physical world.
In other words, the purpose of life is to serve G-d with everything we have. This starts by obeying His Law completely, and on that basis we are now able to harness our energies and opportunities every single day for His goals, not ours.
The Law contains two parallel (but separate) paths for the world: 613 commandments for the Jews, and 66 commandments (contained in the 7 Noachide Laws) for gentiles. Once a Noachide is committed to keeping the 66 mitzvos, he may (and really should) take on the responsibility for additional mitzvos, with certain clear exceptions: Non-Jews may not observe Shabbos (or holidays) in the manner of Jews (by avoiding the 39 categories of work), nor may non-Jews put on tefillin or tzitzis, put up a mezuzah, or be called up for a public Torah reading in a synagogue. There are other restrictions as well, including certain limitations on Torah study (depending partly on individual circumstances).
But many or most of the 613 mitzvos can be observed by Noachides for spiritual benefit. Indeed, some of these additional commandments are important (though technically not required) for gentiles to observe, while other commandments would also be a good idea.
Our generation, as the Lubavitcher Rebbe has repeatedly declared, is the last generation of exile and darkness, and the first generation of Moshiach (the Messiah) and the Redemption. All of us -- Jews and Noachides -- have an urgent responsibility to transform the world immediately in order to bring Moshiach, and this involves going well beyond the minimum of the Law.
A recent influx of money has enabled a number of orthodox Jewish activists and rabbis to begin organizing Noachide activities and to investigate the Torah rules for how Noachides carry out additional mitzvos. However, our recent activities have nearly exhausted the available funds. We therefore do not yet have all the detailed answers, but we have been making rapid progress.
The following list is therefore only a short summary, not a complete explanation, of additional mitzvos that should be adopted as quickly as possible by Noachides everywhere:
Instead, Noachides should commemorate at least the following holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Sukkos, the 19th of Kislev (the chasidic "new year"), Chanukah, Purim, Shavuos -- and each person's birthday on the Hebrew calendar. However, Noachide participation in these holidays is different in various ways from the manner of Jewish observance. Each holiday must be observed according to precise rules.
Right now, a supplemental daily home-schooling Torah program is being developed and used to teach Noachide children. All parents must rapidly get involved, teaching their children at least one hour per day (after school, for example) according to this program. As the number of participating families grows, it will soon be possible to organize full-time Noachide chedarim (day schools for grade-school children) in many communities. This approach to education, based on the three-thousand-year-old Jewish yeshiva system, drastically minimizes secular studies (math, science, history, English, social studies, computers & other technical studies) in favor of total immersion in Torah, the Word of G-d. This includes written Torah, oral Torah, halacha (religious law), Hebrew language, etc.; this philosophy of education is fundamentally opposite the one used in public and private schools and in standard home-schooling programs.
Again, there are a number of exact rules as to how to give such money, time, etc.
It would also be good to give contributions to the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, whose communities are now becoming endangered by the growing PLO occupation forces and terrorist actions. These brave families and yeshivos need much support from Americans.
Certain materials, including fliers and books, are already available for this outreach, and audiotape lectures are being developed.
All the above recommendations will accelerate the revelation of Moshiach (the Messiah), so there is no time to waste. Let's get to work!
Copyright (C) 1998 by Bryan J. Ellison
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