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New World Order

One of the darkest periods in human history was immediately before the deluge of Noah. The people had lost all semblance of morality and shamelessly exploited one another. There was no justice system and theft was rampant.

G-d gave the generation a 120-year warning period, but they failed to correct their deeds. At that point G-d sent a deadly flood which wiped out almost everything - people and animals alike. Even the earth itself was uprooted up to a depth of three cubits.

The one refuge during the flood was Noah's ark. Aboard was Noah himself and his immediate family, and one pair of each animal species. Through them the world was repopulated after the flood: a renewed, purified world.

Noah became the patriarch of the new generation that emerged after the mabul. G-d gave him seven fundamental commandments - known as the seven Noachide laws - which served as the basis of the morality code of the nascent human population.

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These seven commandments can be grouped into three categories: Respect for G-d, which includes the prohibitions against worshipping idols and blasphemy; respect for mankind, which includes prohibitions against murder, adultery and robbery; and respect for animals, the prohibition against eating a limb off a living creature. The final commandment is to establish courts of law to adjudicate disputes and enforce these laws.

Hundreds of years later the Jewish nation was born, chosen by G-d to be responsible for transmitting His message to mankind. G-d charged us with the mission to be a “light unto the nations,” to maintain a higher standard of behavior - to fulfill 613 commandments, above and beyond the seven Noachide laws.

Part of our mission is to guide and inspire the other nations of the world to keep their seven commandments. G-d promised Noah that He would never again destroy the world in a flood; however, mankind also committed itself to a standard of behavior that would never again generate such widespread destruction. It is our responsibility both to G-d and to each other to think about the consequences of our behavior not only to ourselves, but for all of society and the universe as a whole.

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In the times of King Solomon, when his influenced ranged over the entire inhabited world, he was able to enforce the fulfillment of the seven Noachide laws. However, as the Jewish people became dispersed and weakened, it was no longer possible to compel the nations to obey these laws. We must use persuasion rather than coercion to disseminate them.

In our generation, the seven Noachide laws are enjoying a renewed interest and prominence. Many non-Jews are seeking a new form of religious expression, one that incorporates an authentic Bible tradition with a clear code of morality and ethics. In growing numbers, non-Jews are turning to Torah scholars to guide them in forming communities based on the Noachide laws. Modern communication techniques have allowed the fledgling Noachide communities throughout the world to be in touch and strengthen one another. This development is a preparation for the era of Redemption, when all nations will unite to serve G-d as one. 

 

 


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