There seems to be a general disconnect when reading the book of Genesis. To the average reader of the Bible it has become more of a story book for children in Sunday school; it is seldom studied in depth from the perspective that it is an instructional book from the Creator.
There seems to be a general disconnect when reading the book of Genesis.
For the most part Bible study is done under preconceived ideas already settled in mind. True study is to dig into the scripture to see what is being said, to learn what lessons are there for us from the Creator either in our relationship with Him or with fellow humans.
All of humanity today descended from one man and his three sons; the term for today’s humanity in Hebrew is – Bnei Noach i.e. Children of Noah – from these three children the Creator formed essentially two groups, Israel and the Nations. Israel who descend from Shem would become the Priestly Nation and caretaker of the Torah, the Divine intructions. The other nations were to come to Israel to learn about the Creator and His ways as we will see in the blessing that Noach gave his children.
9:26a “And he said, “Blessed is Hashem, the God of Shem…”
9:27a “May God extend Japheth, but he will dwell in the tents of Shem…”
In the first passage that we will examine we find that Noach is blessing the Creator, the Name of God used in the original Hebrew verse is the Four Letter Name that would later be given to Moses to give to Israel.
Gen. 9:26a “And he said, “Blessed is Hashem (Y-H-V-H)
In the Hebrew it is said as “Baruch Hashem” the word ‘baruch’ has the root meanings of ‘bend the knee’ and ‘source’ – so when Noach said “Baruch Hashem”, it literally implies – that we bend our knee to the Source of creation.
Gen. 9:26a “…the God of Shem”
We further see in this passage that the Creator, the Source of all creation is Shem’s God, denoting a personal relationship with the Creator. From the Sages of Israel we are taught, out of the three sons of Noach, Shem was the spiritual leader and would become the spiritual leader on earth i.e. Melchizedeck (Righteous king). He was the main one teaching and passing down the Ways of the Creator. He had received the Divine instructions from a long oral tradition that began with Adam the first man, who had received them directly from the Creator. Abraham would be a future descendent and student of Shem. From Shem he learn the Ways of God the Creator and then pass them down to his children and household (Gen. 18).
Gen. 9:27a “May God extend Japheth, but he will dwell in the tents of Shem.”
The Sages of Israel explain that the expansion of Japheth would be in two areas. The first and primary way would be that his decedents would migrate and inhabit a large portion of the earth. Japheth was the lighter skin colored son who would migrate north into what we now call Europe and Asia and this would include the area of Greece. The second expansion would be that of the mind. There would come from them many of the arts, sciences, sports and philosophies.
When it came to spiritual matters Japheth and his descendants are to dwell in the Tents of Shem. The Tents of Shem were places of study and learning the Ways of the Creator. There the seven baseline commandments that were given to all mankind were studied and taught; there are 1. The prohibition of idolatry. 2. Prohibition of cursing and disrespecting the Creator. 3. Prohibition of theft. 4. Prohibition of murder. 5. Prohibition of forbidden sexual relations. 6. Setting up courts of justice. 7. Prohibition of eating meat taken from a live animal.
We learn in Genesis 25:27 that Jacob was a wholesome man abiding in tents. The Sages of Israel teach us that he busied himself in the Tents of Shem, learning the Ways of God.
The blessing from our father Noach was that the nations would come and learn the Ways of God in the Tents of Shem. The nations were given the seven baseline commandments to follow. These commandments regulated relations between man and the Creator and between man and man.
But as the man scattered over the earth they began to forget their Creator and His Ways. Without the relationship and observance of His Ways, they created their own religions thus forgot the commandments given to them and drifted away from their Creator.
One of the reasons that there is such a tug of war between Christianity and the Jews is that the Christian doctrine is set to convince Jews to convert and come over to their side. When in all actuality it should be the other away around, the Jew’s responsibility is to teach the nations the Seven Laws given to them by the Creator.
The prophet even fore told that in the end of days that the nations will return to the Tents of Shem to learn about the Creator and His Ways.
“Thus saith the LORD of hosts: In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold, out of all the languages of the nations, shall even take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying: We will go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”
Over the past several decades, a growing number of people across the globe have been fleeing the religions they were born or converted into and returning to the Tents of Shem. They are seeking out rabbis and synagogues to teach them about the G-d of Israel and His Ways.
Today, the G-d Fears of the nations have labeled themselves with several different labels such as Bnei Noach, Noahide, Ger and a few others; regardless of the identifying label they are returning to their birthright given to them by the Creator; the opportunity to study in the Tents of Shem and learn the Universal Torah/instructions for the nations.
Over the past several decades, a growing number of people across the globe have been fleeing the religions they were born or converted into and returning to the Tents of Shem.
You too can walk in the ancient path spoken to Adam and Noach so many millennia ago by the Creator. There is no conversion or any religious acts to do. By returning to the Tents of Shem – going to the Torah teachers of Israel and making a daily conscience effort to study and observe the Seven Laws given to all humanity, you will begin walking in the will of the Creator for your life. When one takes the Seven Laws upon themselves to observe and keep for the sole reason that the Creator has commanded them, then the person will become one of the righteous among the nations.
In closing I want to recommend a few books and sites to help you get started.
The Universal Garden of Emuna by Rabbi Shalom Arush – This book will help you learn what true Torah biblical faith is and how to live it everyday. He also has a section on the Seven Noahide laws in the book.
Guide for the Noahide (second edition) by Rabbi Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron
Here are a few sites that has articles to study and also they will take any questions you may have.
http://www.breslev.co.il This sight has a section called Noahide world which contains many articles for living the Noahide life.
As well I have different articles here on my blog and feel free to send me any questions you may have.
Artscroll Tanach Series Bereishis
Let My World Survive – The story of Noach, a lone tsaddik in a corrupt world by Yosef Deutsch
The Theory & Practice of Universal Ethics – The Noahide Laws by Rabbi Shimon Dovid Cowen
Guide for the Noahide (second edition) by Rabbi Michael Shelomo Bar-Ron
Terry W. Hayes
3 thoughts on “Returning to the Tents of Shem”
Wow!!! You never cease to amaze me!!! That was exceptional, Terry!!!
Thanks Penny, I have really been having some amazing studies.
I will add that Gentiles do not have a commandment to learn Torah. We have an obligation to learn the 7 Commandments. This obligatory learning is far more important than learning the Hebrew Bible.