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After learning about Public Law 102-14 and the Noahide Laws; discriminatory Jewish religious laws which threaten freedom of religion, freedom of speech and sexual expression in the United State and the world, we wanted to learn a little more about modern Jewish opinion on this matter. We are in luck! In 2008 a book on Noahide Law was published in Jerusalem entitled “The Divine Code”. Better still, the book was reviewed by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. Let’s see what “The Divine Code” and the Chief Rabbis have to say about Noahide Law.
JEWISH VIRTUAL LIBRARY
To verify our information in a modern source, we turned to the Jewish Virtual Library. According to their website, the Jewish Virtual Library is a project run by the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. “The American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise (AICE) was established in 1993 as a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship by emphasizing the fundamentals of the alliance — the values our nations share.(About Us, Virtual Jewish Library) You can access the Jewish Virtual Library at www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org
Before we talk about the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and their opinion on Noahide Law, let’s learn a little about a newly published book called “The Divine Code”. The Divine Code was written by a Jerusalem based Rabbi named Rabbi Moshe Weiner and was published in 2008. We came across Rabbi Weiner’s book on the ASK NOAH website (www.asknoah.org). According to the ASKNOAH hompage:
“The Noahide Code of 7 Divine Commandments was given to Noah and his children after the flood. These commandments would assure Noah and his children, the pioneers of the new human race, that humanity would not degenerate into a jungle again… We are dedicated to teaching about these commandments in the light of Torah, with insights on the nature of creation, and our important roles as individuals and community members. When we fulfill our potential within the context of this Divine covenant, the creation is elevated to reach its intended goal. This makes the world into a beautiful gem – a place where G-d can (and will) dwell!” – Home Page, ASKNOAH.ORG.
Obviously the people at ASK NOAH are very dedicated to the principles behind the Noahide Laws. You can find ASK NOAH’s article on “The Divine Code” here: – http://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code.
We were looking for modern literature on the Seven Noahide Laws and came across “The Divine Code” on the ASKNOAH website. According to the book’s description on Amazon:
World-wide interest in the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah (all non-Jews) is growing rapidly, and great numbers of people around the world have already committed themselves to observe these commandments. However, until the publication of this landmark volume, a comprehensive, clear, and expertly researched English-language guide for observance and study of these Divine precepts has been lacking. The Divine Code, Volume I, is the result of an historic project by Ask Noah International. Originally compiled in two Hebrew volumes by Rabbi Moshe Weiner and endorsed by prominent Torah scholars, including a Chief Rabbi of Israel, it examines the Torah-law foundations and details of the Noahide precepts. Unique among the previous popular overviews of the subject, this authoritative text is footnoted with extensively researched Talmudic and post-Talmudic sources, and supplied with additional explanations and enlightening Editor's Notes throughout. It identifies and applies the fundamental principles by which the practical requirements for righteous living are determined for pious non-Jews. – https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Code-Expanded-2nd/dp/0981481167
The Amazon description said the book was endorsed by both Chief Rabbis of Israel, that sounds like a pretty official seal of approval, and we will look into that claim very soon, but first let’s look at what “The Divine Code” has to say about Noahide Law in modern times.
Thankfully for us, the people at Ask Noah International have uploaded some free chapters of “The Divine Code” to their website. We were able to download these chapters and read through their texts. We were looking for the modern opinion on Noahide Law, and here is what we found:
“All the Gentiles of the world were henceforth eternally commanded to accept upon themselves and to fulfill these seven Divine precepts, because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah, and He made known through Moses our teacher that the descendants of Noaĥ had previously been commanded to do them.
Footnote 7: Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:11.
All Gentiles (non-Jews) of the world are commanded to accept the Noahide Laws? Well that does sound like it is in line with what we read from the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. Now that we know what the Noahide Laws are, discriminatory Jewish religious laws, the idea that a modern Jewish scholar is suggesting the whole earth is commanded to follow them is a bit unsettling. But wait, there is a footnote at the end of the paragraph. Footnote 7 tells us to reference “Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:11″. Maybe we should check out this Rambam to learn a little more about what the Rabbi is talking about.
WHAT IS RAMBAM?
We looked up “Rambam” in the Jewish Virtual Library and found that it is the nickname for a Jewish scholar named Maimonides. “Maimonides’s full name was Moses ben Maimon; in Hebrew he is known by the acronym of Rabbi Moses ben Maimon, Rambam.” Maimonides was the first person to write a systematic code of all Jewish law, a book called the Mishneh Torah, he also served as leader of Cairo Egypt’s Jewish community. (Maimonides, Jewish Virtual Library). Moses Maimonides’s Magnum Opus, Mishneh Torah, was the first comprehensive code of Jewish Law, it was published no less than six times in the fifteenth century and deals specifically with criminal law. (Mishneh Torah, Virtual Jewish Library) It would seem that not only is “Rambam” a nickname for Maimonides, it is also an alternate name of the book he wrote on Jewish law called; "Rambam" is Mishneh Torah, and often times, the Mishneh Torah is publish as “also known as Rambam”. Since the Mishneh Torah (a.k.a Rambam) is a book on Jewish Law, it would make sense that Footnote 7 which directs us to “Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:11″ from “The Divine Code” passage above is referencing this text. Now that we know what the “Rambam” is, a Jewish law book, we can look for this text and see what it is that Rabbi Moshe Weiner wanted us to reference.
WHAT DOES THE RAMABAM SAY ABOUT NOAHIDE LAW?
In “The Divine Code” passage referencing Gentiles and Noahide Law, Rabbi Moshe Weiner, referenced “Rambam, Laws of Kings 8:11″. We were able to find a copy of the “Rambam, Laws of Kings” on the website www.halakhah.com. You can download the “Rambam, Law of Kings” (here). “The Divine Code” had referenced Law of Kings 8:11, here is what our copy of the Rambam states:
8.11 “A Woman of Beauty who does not want to forsake (her) idolatry after the twelve months is executed. Similarly, we do not make a treaty with a city which came and made peace with us until they completely relinquish their idolatry, destroy its places, and accept the rest of the Commandments commanded of the Sons of Noah. For any non-Jew who is under our jurisdiction and fails to accept the Noahide Commandments is executed.” - (Mishneh Torah (Rambam), Laws of Kings and Wars, 8.11)
If a woman does not give up her “idolatry” she is executed? Non-Jews under Jewish jurisdiction who refuse to accept the Noahide Commandments are executed? Again, this does sound pretty extreme, and this is being advocated in modern Jewish texts? But even if we disagree with this extremely biased, bigoted and murderous statement, does this law really apply to the whole world, or does it just apply in Israel? We might not agree with how things are developing in the nation of Israel as far as the nation’s civil liberties go, but national injustices are a different question than the global implementation of such a retrograde and inhumane legal system as Noahide Law. Does the Rambam have anything to say about Noahide Law on an international scope? We found the answer to this question on the very same page as verse 8:11. Verse 8:13 states the following:
“Moses our Teacher was commanded by the Almighty to compel the world to accept the Commandments of the Sons of Noah. Anyone who fails to accept them is executed.” – (Mishneh Torah (Rambam), Laws of Kings and Wars, 8.13)
The Mishneh Torah (aka Rambam) has compelled the entire world to accept Noahide Law, and those of us who refuse are executed? Well now that is something serious indeed. It is shocking to think that a modern day Rabbi would be referencing such materials. Perhaps Rabbi Moshe Weiner represents an extreme and radical sect of Judaism which is not condoned by the Jewish establishment? Thankfully, it will be very easy to see if this is the case since Rabbi Moshe Weiner’s book “The Divine Code” was reviewed by the Chief Rabbis of Israel. Surely the Chief Rabbis could not condone a book which calls for the international implantation of Noahide Law, and at the very least indirectly suggests those of us who resist these laws should be executed.
Download “Rambam, Law of Kings” – http://halakhah.com/rst/kingsandwars.pdf
THE CHIEF RABBINATE OF ISRAEL
Before we take a look at what the The Chief Rabbis of Israel had to say about “The Divine Code”, let’s learn a little more about what and who the Chief Rabbinate are. According to the Jewish Virtual Library:
“The Chief Rabbinate is recognized by law as the supreme halakhic and spiritual authority for the Jewish people in the State of Israel. The Chief Rabbinate Council assists the two chief rabbis, who alternate in its presidency. It has legal and administrative authority to organize religious arrangements for Israel’s Jews. It also responds to halakhic questions submitted by Jewish public bodies in the Diaspora. The Council sets, guides, and instructs those agencies subject to its authority concerning their activities and scope… The Rabbinical Courts are part of the State judicial system. They have exclusive jurisdiction over marriage and divorce by Jews and have parallel competence with district courts in matters of personal status, alimony, child support, custody, and inheritance. Religious court verdicts are implemented and enforced – as for the civil court system – by the police, bailiff’s office, and other agencies.” - (Ministry of Religious Services, Virtual Jewish Library)
So the Chief Rabbis of Israel are a legally recognized entity and they have influence over legal proceedings within the nation of Israel. They are also recognized as a supreme halakhic (Jewish law) and spiritual authority. Seeing that Israel is the world’s only Jewish State, and the Chief Rabbis are the supreme authority on Jewish law in Israel, it is safe to say that their opinion on a text like “The Divine Code” would carry weight in the Jewish community and would also be considered authoritative.
WHAT DID CHIEF RABBI METZGER SAY ABOUT “THE DIVINE CODE”
Rabbi Yona Metzger was a chief Rabbi of Israel from 2003-2013.
He gave his official approval to “The Divine Code”
Rabbi Yona Metzger was born in Haifa in 1953. He served in the IDF 7th Armored Brigade, fought in several wars, and was discharged as an army chaplain with the rank of captain. Rabbi Metzger completed his rabbinic studies at the Kerem Be-Yavne hesder yeshiva and continued to teach in yeshiva and in schools. He served as rabbi of the Tiferet Zvi Synagogue in Tel-Aviv and was later appointed regional rabbi of northern Tel-Aviv. He published several books, two of which were awarded prizes by the President of Israel. In 2003, Rabbi Yona Metzger was appointed Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position he held until 2013. (Yona Metzger, Virtual Jewish Library) Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger reviewed “The Divine Code”, here is what he said:
Letter of blessing, from Israel’s Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi, Rabbi Yona Metzger:
(free translation; to view Rabbi Metzger’s original letter, Click here)
With the Help of Heaven, Adar II 26, 5768 / April 2, ’08
The honorable book was brought before me, of great quality and quantity, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner (may he live for many long and good days), called “Sheva Mitzvot HaShem,” which is about the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah, and is a “Shulkhan Arukh” for all the Torah Laws for Gentiles.
As I skimmed through the pages, I very much enjoyed seeing how the Rav who wrote this gathered and explained, intelligently and with sharpness and depth, all the Torah Laws that are related to and result from this topic, which very few have been involved in. It seems to me that no one else has come to address it, and now that this Rav has authored and categorized it, he should be happy, and happy is his lot, and from Heaven he has merit.
Because of the importance and uniqueness of this book, and since many of the matters included in it are relevant to nations whose language is not Hebrew, I see great importance and benefit in translating the book into the English language. This will enable multitudes of Gentiles to learn it, and receive maximum benefit from it. Here I sign with much blessing to the Rav who authored this book, that he and this book of his should merit to be accepted with love and affection among the other parts of Torah. The merit of spreading out and instilling belief in the Creator of the world amongst all the people of the world, which is the aspect of perfecting the world in the Kingdom of G-d, should stand for him and his household as a blessing in every way possible for good, spiritually and materially, with health, happiness and much joy. Amen, may it be His will.
With great honor,
Chief Rabbi of Israel
Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger stated: “I very much enjoyed seeing how the Rav who wrote this gathered and explained, intelligently and with sharpness and depth, all the Torah Laws that are related to and result from this topic”. But some of these referenced Torah laws advocated the killing of Gentiles (non-Jews) who do not adhere to the Seven Noahide Laws. Rabbi Yona Metzger is a Chief Rabbi of the Jewish state, his knowledge is used to execute legally binding statements on behalf of the Israeli government, so we would expect that Rabbi Yona Metzger would understand the breadth and depth of the Jewish laws as they are referenced in “The Divine Code”. How could Rabbi Metzger approve of a book which advocates Jewish legal hegemony and even killing Gentiles who resist?
WHAT ABOUT CHIEF RABBI SHLOMO MOSHE AMAR?
Rabbi Shlomo Amar was a chief Rabbi of Israel from 2003-2013.
He gave his official approval to “The Divine Code”
Rabbi Shlomo Amar was born in Morocco in 1948 and immigrated to Israel in 1962. A close associate of the Shas Party’s spiritual leader and former Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, Rabbi Amar served as head of the Petah Tikva Rabbinical Court. In March 2002 he was elected chief rabbi of Tel-Aviv, the first sole chief rabbi of the city.Rabbi Amar was sent by then Interior Minister Eli Yishai to Ethiopia to meet with the Falash Mura community there. He subsequently recommended that they undergo conversion to revert to Judaism. In 2003 Rabbi Shlomo Amar was appointed Sephardi Chief Rabbi of Israel, a position he held until 2013. (Shlomo Amar, Virtual Jewish Library) Chief Rabbi Amar also reviewed “The Divine Code”, here were his words on the matter:
Letter of blessing from Israel’s Chief Sefardic Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar,
President of the Great Rabbinical Court of Israel.
(free translation; to view Rabbi Amar’s original Hebrew letter with English
translation, Click here)
With the Help of Heaven, Tammuz 6, 5768 / July 9, 2008
I saw the good book, well-written and aptly titled “Sheva Mitzvot HaShem,” compiled and authored by the Rabbi and great scholar, Rabbi Moshe Weiner, may he live for many long and good days. I have also seen the immense work that was required to explain all the matters of the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah, and this was done very well, written in simple, clear language, so that the reader can easily comprehend it. I bless him that G-d should send him success in all his endeavors, to continue in his holy work, and to author and publish more works in excellent physical health. And may it be G-d’s will that he see blessing in the work of his hands, that he has prepared for the sake of G-d, blessed be He.
Waiting for G-d’s salvation and mercy,
Shlomo Moshe Amar
Chief Rabbi of Israel
Chief Rabbi Amar blessed the work and seemed to agree with its conclusions. But Rabbi Moshe Weiner in his book “The Divine Code” stated that Noahide Law is commanded upon all Gentiles of the world and referenced religious materials which call for the execution of Gentiles (non-Jews) who do not accept the Noahide Laws. It would be hard to believe that the Chief Rabbi made such a proclamation in ignorance… can we really assume that the legally recognized supreme authority on Jewish law in Israel would actually agree with the ideas presented in “The Divine Code”?
We came across Noahide Law in an American Public Law, specifically Public Law 102-14. When we referenced Noahide Law in the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia and we found that it is a discriminatory Jewish religious law which limits freedom of religion, freedom of speech and persecutes sexual minorities. We also learned that punishment for breaking Noahide Law is death by decapitation. However, we wanted to get a more modern and authoritative opinion on Noahide Law. We found a book called the “The Divine Code” published in 2008 in Jerusalem which deals with the Noahide Laws. In “The Divine Code” we found passages which explained that Noahide Law is commanded upon the entire earth, and it referenced Jewish legal sources which explained that those of us who do not accept Noahide Law are to be executed. We wanted to make sure these ideas were not excessively radical, so we consulted the reviews of this book by the Chief Rabbis of Israel at the time. Rather than admonishing the author for his work, they praised the book and its contents. Now that we know that the leading religious authorities of Israel support Noahide Law, we need to find out if they support Public Law 102-14, that will take some time to find out.