In January of 2016, Professor Omer Salem of the Egyptian Al-Azhar Muslim University wrote an article in the Israeli National News where he stated that he and colleagues at the world respected University agreed that Islam and the Noahide Laws are compatible and synonymous, that Muslims may fall under the restrictions of the Noahide Laws by practicing Sharia Law (here). In April of that same year, US-Israeli Rabbi Yakov Nagen traveled to Al-Azhar University to meet with other faculty members, in this meeting Rabbi Nagen stated that Jews have a role to awaken humanity to the ethics of the Noahide Laws, and he stated that Islam is a fulfillment of that vision. Like Jewish Noahide Law, Muslim Sharia Law is known for its practices of beheading Christian, pagans, atheists, homosexuals, blasphemers and more, so it makes sense that Islam can and is viewed as an extension of Noahidism. There are also movements in American of Noahide supporting Jews who wish to help Muslims establish Sharia Courts just as Jews already have Halacha Courts (here). If Islamic Sharia Law is Noahide Law, and Muslims are willing to share their sword, the imposition of world Noahide Law and its mass beheadings could be closer than any of us think, and they would literally have millions of armies in almost every nation on earth.
A rabbi in a yeshiva in the West Bank settlement of Otniel took an improbable trip to Cairo last month to discuss his religion with Muslim scholars at the most important institution in the Sunni world, Al-Azhar University.
Rabbi Yakov Nagen, a native New Yorker who arrived in Israel in 1984, says his interfaith work is driven on a personal level by something “almost messianic.”
“Religion is now part of the problem. It has to be part of the solution,” he insists.
Zionism as prescribed by the Bible is not solely about Jews relocating from around the world to the Middle East. Zionism, he holds, has a second essential component.
“Part of Zionism is the return of Jews to the land of Israel. But the same prophecies also talk about our connection and peace with our neighbors,” he said.
Nagen’s spiritual mentor was the late Rabbi Menachem Froman, a giant in the Israeli-Palestinian interfaith community who had personal connections with many Palestinian leaders. It was Froman who cemented in Nagen the need for religion to be a part of the solution.
Furthermore, says Nagen, the fact that belief in the God of Abraham is shared by the major monotheistic faiths means that coexistence should naturally follow.
“If we share a belief in the same God, then our belief is going to connect us,” he said. “A lot of people if pressed to the wall would say Jews and Muslims believe in the same God, but they don’t really feel it in their hearts.”
The Cairo trip for the rabbi from Otniel, who grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and attended Yeshiva University’s Orthodox Jewish day school, came at the recommendation of his good friend Dr. Omer Salem, a fellow interfaith peace activist and senior fellow at the Foundation for Religious Diplomacy.
Nagen had twice invited the Egyptian scholar to speak at his yeshiva and now Salem, who received his PhD from Al-Azhar University, was returning the favor.
On his journey to Egypt, Nagen was accompanied by Rebecca Abrahamson, a Haredi peace activist and mother of 11 from Bnei Brak, and American Fulbright scholar Dr. Joseph Ringel. Nagen didn’t advertise his Judaism to those not in the know, and was twice confronted by Egyptian police during his trip but made it through without major incident.
Nagen is a soft-spoken man, whose words come across as sincere as they are gentle. He spoke to The Times of Israel over the phone from New York, mostly in Manhattan-inflected English, but sometimes in American-accented Hebrew when quoting from Jewish sacred texts.
The Times of Israel: When Dr. Omer pitched the trip to Cairo to you, were you afraid or excited?
Yakov Nagen: I was concerned. But considering that I live in the Hebron Hills, and one of my neighbor’s closest friends, Dafna Meir, was murdered, I thought we can’t let fear stop us from letting us do the things we feel are right.
Did they know at Al-Azhar that you are Jewish?
The people who we were designated to meet knew who we were. The rest didn’t know we were Jewish. My Egyptian friend gave me a large white kippah, the kind worn by religious Muslims, and I have a large beard, so I could fit in.
Who did you meet with while at Al-Azhar?
We met with some of the professors there. One professor we met with was Dr. Bakr Zaki Awad, the dean of the School of Theology. His specialty is the relationship between the Torah, the New Testament and the Quran, yet he had never met a rabbi in his life.
He had a lot of powerful questions to raise about Judaism, including about warfare in the Torah. Ultimately, although I thought I could answer the questions about the problems he has with Judaism, I thought by giving straight answers I was just raising the negative energy. So I tried to reframe it.
I told him that your questions are good and trouble me, but I know what the essence of Judaism is like and I know the essence of Islam. So I brought quotes from the Quran and the Torah about the sanctity and dignity of life and love of God for humanity.
For example, the most humanistic saying from the Mishna [Jewish law text] is: “Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe.” This line is written word for word in the 32nd verse of the 5th Sura of the Quran.
Tell us about other troubling questions from Dr. Awad.
One question that seemed to bother him was that Muslims want everyone to be Muslims, but Jews don’t seem to care who becomes Jewish. He saw this as Jewish antipathy towards other people.
I told him that the Torah starts with our common humanity in the story of Adam, where we are told that all of humanity is created in the image of God. Judaism sees itself as having a role to play in the story of humanity, but not that everyone should be Jewish. Our role is to awaken certain values and a connection from God to humanity, which we see for example in the seven Noahide laws. We see in Islam a fulfillment of that vision.
Did you have questions for your Egyptian colleagues?
One question we really asked everyone was about a passage in the 5th Sura [verse 48] in the Quran, where it says: “If Allah wanted he could have given one law to all, but he chose instead to give different laws to different people.” The context here is the Torah to the Jews and the Gospels to the Christians. The answer is that each person should do the right thing.
This is the verse that Omer uses in his doctorate as the basis for religious pluralism in Islam. However, this verse is really open to interpretation so everyone we asked gave us a different answer. We asked, “If a Jew lives according to the Torah and he has respect for Islam, what is his status according to Islam?”
Here we got the full gamut of views: There were those that said Omer’s interpretation was legitimate; there were those that said that the Jews were allowed to be Jewish before the birth of Islam, but now they have to accept Islam.
The one thing everyone agreed on was the phrase: “There is no coercion in the religion.” Meaning, you might go to hell, but they cannot force you to convert.
Did you do anything outside of Al-Azhar?
On the fourth day, there was this anti-Semite who was someone quite important, and when he discovered we were Jewish he got quite infuriated.
He asked me if I cried when Palestinian children were murdered. I told him yes, and that I organized a prayer vigil after the Duma attack.
I asked him when Jewish children are killed, do you cry? He said something like I pray for everybody, but it was clear he got mad. He called the police and security who took our passports and apparently wanted to arrest us. But some people intervened and managed to get us out of there. This was about four days into the trip.
Then we went to Fayoum [in central Egypt] to meet a really lovely professor, Wageeh Abdel Qader El-Sheemy [the first blind lawmaker in the Egyptian parliament, and a member of the Salafi al-Nour Party].
When he heard we were Jewish, he told us a very sweet story: One day someone came and knocked on the gate of the palace identifying himself as the brother of the Caliph. The visitor is ushered in, but the Caliph isn’t able to recognize his brother. The Caliph asks, “Are you my brother through my mother?” “No” is the reply. “Are you my brother through my father?” Again the answer in negative.
The caliph continues to think and finally asks again, “Are you my brother in Islam?” The visitor answers, “I am not a Muslim.”
“So how are you my brother?” asks the Caliph. “I am your brother as all of us are children of Adam and Eve.” The Caliph responds: “You are right. I will treat you as my brother to demonstrate this to the world.”
Any other stories outside of Al-Azhar?
We met the president of the Jewish community in Egypt. There seem to be only six Jews left in Cairo, all of them women; five of them were over the age of 80 and the president herself is 65.
She had a very moving story. She was married to a Muslim man, and they got divorced. And in Egypt, if the mother is a Muslim, she will get the kids, but if the mother is not a Muslim and the father is, by law he can get custody of the children. And even though she is not religious, she chose to live in fear that her husband would take the children and not give up her Jewish identity .
We also had a humorous incident. It was late at night, while we were looking at the most important synagogue in Cairo. We were dressed like Muslims and were taking pictures late at night. Suddenly, the police came with a task force and they took our passports. We didn’t tell them we were Jewish. Omer Salem did a lot of talking. I have no idea what he told them but we got off in the end.
I confess I really have fun now when I say the phrase, “Each man must view himself as if he went out of Egypt.” Now I can drop the “as if.”
Howard Kaye is the husband of the late Lori Kaye who was killed during the Chabab of Poway shooting which took place on April 27th of this year. While the incident was a tragedy and deserves condemnation, Howard Kaye would use his grief to use the incident as an excuse to promote the Noahide Laws. Kaye believes that teaching the world about the Noahide Laws would set an "inherent moral compass". But Noahide Law also calls for murder, the decapitation of anyone who does not follow the Noahide Laws, this means the execution of pagans (here), Christians (here), homosexuals (here) and blasphemers. It is also hypocritical since under Noahide Law it is legal for Jews to kill none Jews without penalty (here). Not only this, Kaye mentions the inspiration of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson, how can Kaye call upon the name of this Rabbis to condemn anti-Semitism when Rabbii Schneerson stated that non-Jews have inferior satanic souls and are the property of Jews whom they have been created to serve (here)? The anti-Gentile hatred of the Noahide Law is no less toxic or dangerous than any form of anti-Semitism.
JTA — The husband of Lori Kaye, who was killed by a gunman during services at the Chabad of Poway, said he wants to prevent future synagogue shootings like the one that killed his wife by educating the world about its “inherent moral compass.”
In an op-ed in Newsweek, Dr. Howard Kaye recalled how he passed out after beginning CPR on a woman after the shooting on April 27 and then realized that it was his wife. “In trying to understand the root cause of the atrocity that took Lori’s life and, even more urgently, in seeking to prevent the next Poway from occurring, it became clear to me that Lori’s killer was motivated by anti-Semitic hatred,” he writes.
Howard Kaye said he has chosen to speak out now, three months since the shooting, because of the 25th anniversary of the death of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
He wrote that his wife had been in synagogue the day of the shooting for her the anniversary of her mother’s death and that she had recently purchased a book by Schneerson about loss and tragedy, which she had not yet read. He has been reading it to deal with his wife’s killing. “Even in death, my loving, caring Lori anticipated my needs and prepared these comforting teachings,” he writes. “It’s almost as if she’s reading them by my side.”
Schneerson, Howard Kaye wrote, worked to promote awareness of a basic universal moral code for humankind called the Seven Noahide Laws.
“Sharing it with the world is more relevant now than ever,” he wrote in the op-ed. “Each time a murderous, twisted individual commits a crime of hate, the urgency to educate society about the basic laws of human civilization grows. It holds the potential to stop the next atrocity.”
Recently the Jewish Press published an article by Rabbi Shmuel Butman about the Jewish Messiah and the Noahide Laws. Rabbi Butman agrees with many Jewish scholars and the Talmud (here), not as many Noahide apologists attempt to convince us, that there is no need for any sort of supernatural miracles to usher in the Jewish Messiah who he says will be accepted by the nations to rule the whole world under the Seven Noahide Laws. It is not hard to believe this reality is not all that far off as the US government (here), the U.N. (here), the Vatican (here) and the Freemasonry (here) have all acknowledged and affirmed that the Noahide Laws are universal morality, including their provisions for the execution of pagans, Christians, homosexuals, blasphemers and more. Rabbi Butman states his claims are based upon the teachings of the "Lubavitcher Rebbe", Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a Rabbi who stated non-Jews have inferior satanic souls and who only exist to serve Jews (here)
Throughout the millennia of our bitter exile, our ancestors pined for Moshiach to come and redeem us. For many years, Jews were cruelly oppressed by the masses among whom they lived and by autocratic monarchs who imposed exorbitant taxes on them.
Usually living in abject poverty and viciously persecuted for their faith, they had every reason to yearn for redemption. Scriptural passages and sayings of our Sages in the Talmud and Midrashimpromised a bright, supernatural future, giving them perennial hope.
Today, however, virtually all Jews live in democratic lands, free of persecution. Most are better off in many ways than even kings in past eras. Dramatic medical advances have improved our health and life expectancy far beyond the imagination of previous generations. We travel easily around the globe in just hours, and communicate instantaneously with loved ones across the world. What, then, are we lacking, that we should yearn for Moshiach?
The Rambam writes that the uniqueness of the Messianic era will be full halachic observance of the entire Torah. The Beis Hamikdashwill be rebuilt and all its offerings will be brought according to the Torah’s specifications. Mitzvos such as yovel, which can only be observed when all Jews are present in the Holy Land, will finally be fulfilled properly. Torah observance will thus reach its ultimate perfection.
This first stage of the Messianic era will not require supernatural miracles, though its events will be so remarkable as to be considered miraculous. The ingathering of all Jews and their acceptance of Moshiach will require a total about-face for many, who presently owe little conscious allegiance to halacha. Also at this stage, the nations of the world will accept the Jewish people’s dominion of the Holy Land and Moshiach as the world’s ruler. They will also accept the one G-d and observe His seven universal commandments as a Divine spirit permeates the minds of humanity and everyone realizes the truth of G-d and His Torah.
All the material blessings promised in the Torah and the Prophets will also be fulfilled. No more sickness, poverty, or hunger; no more persecution, fear, or worry; no more war or quarreling. The absence of all these will free our minds to delve into the great Torah revelations of the Messianic era and advance in Divine wisdom.
These revelations will actually be what truly distinguishes the Messianic era from our own. Moshiach will be the Torah teacher of the Jewish nation as well as a wise, Divinely-inspired world ruler. Today, Torah study dwells on the Torah’s externalities, seeking to define our practical obligations and the logic within halachic principles. Even more “spiritual” levels of Torah study – drush, remez, sod – have merely scratched the surface of these Torah reservoirs, without reaching anywhere near their true profundity.
Moshiach, when he comes, will reveal the deeper reasons for every detail of Torah observance – why it is necessary to perform particular mitzvos in specific ways and what each detail accomplishes in the spiritual realm. Even those familiar with these topics from Kaballah and Chassidus understand only their superficial aspects, realizing them intellectually to be fact but without grasping their inner essence. In the future era, these Torah insights will be revealed on a deeper level and provide greater conviction, as if we are finally seeing rather than merely hearing about something or studying it from a book.
Likewise, in the world in general: We will grasp the world’s true Divine nature and how our mitzvos elevate all material things. We will perceive the great pleasure given to Hashem by every mitzvah ever performed and realize regretfully how transgressions concealed His presence.
The era before Moshiach is described as the period of Divine “betrothal” to our people, while the future era will represent Hashem’s “marriage” to us. We will progress in this union from one spiritual height to another, from the first stage of Moshiach’s era to the next, including resurrection of the dead and much more.
If we don’t yet appreciate the value of all this, it is because our perception is still like a child’s. As we mature, we come to realize what is truly important. May these days help us arrive at that perception, enabling us to reach true hope and yearning for Moshiach.
On June 25, 2009 the US Congress was opened with a prayer statedly under the auspices of the Noahide Laws by Rabbi Shea Harlig. The Rabbi correctly states that the Noahide Laws were set forth by the Congress as in 1991 Public Law 102-14 was passed which states that the Noahide Laws are the foundation of American civilization, it is our responsibility to educate the nation about these laws, and that our President will sign an international scroll with other heads of state in order to return the world to the Seven Noahide Laws (here). The Rabbi says the Congress is assembled under the law of "justice", the seventh Noahide Law commands non-Jews to set up courts of justice in order to administer the death penalty for anyone committing idolatry (including Christianity), blasphemy against the Jewish god (praising Jesus as god is blasphemy), or engaging in homosexuality or adultery. The Congress was again opened under the auspices of the Noahide Law in July of 2010 by Rabbi Gershon Avtzon and in 2016 by Rabbi Yosef Greenber. Both Rabbis pray in the name of the founder of the modern Noahide movement, Rabbi Schneerson, who said that non-Jews have satanic souls, are made spiritually inferior, and are indeed the property of Jews who are the meaning of creation (here). The Noahide Laws were also referenced in Rabbi Moshe Feller's prayer before congress in 1994
US Congress Opened Under Noahide Prayer Rabbi Shea Harlig June 25, 2009
US Congress Opened Under Noahide Prayer Rabbi Gershon Avtzon July 2010
US Congress Opened Under Noahide Prayer Rabbi Yosef Greenberg 2016
The House met at 2 p.m. Rabbi Moshe Feller, director, Upper Midwest Merkos-Lubavitch, Twin Cities, MN, offered the following prayer:
Almighty God, the Members of this august body, the U.S. House of Representatives,
convene here to fulfill one of the seven Biblical commandments which You issued to all mankind: that all societies must govern by just laws.
At the dawn of civilization, as related in Genesis and its sacred commentaries, You issued seven commandments which came to be known as the Seven Noahide Laws:
To worship You alone and not to
Never to blaspheme Your Holy Name,
Not to murder,
Not to commit adultery,
Not to steal,
Not to be cruel to any living creature,
That every society govern by just
laws which are based in the recognition
of You, 0 God, as the Sovereign Ruler
of all men and nations.
Grant us, Almighty God, that those assembled here to enact the laws which govern this blessed country be cognizant of Your presence, and conduct their deliberations accordingly. Bless them with good health, wisdom, compassion, good cheer, and good fellowship. May they constantly realize that in laboring for the enactment of just laws they are doing Your will. Amen.