This past week a dear Jewish friend sent me a picture of him during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. I cherish pictures like this that he sends from time to time, they have a way of capturing my soul – my soul rejoices when I witness a Jew preforming their mitzvot. (Check out the Glossary page for the explanation of Jewish terms used in my blogs.)
Beauty, awe and reverence reached out from this image and took hold of me and began to speak to me. There has been a particular subject on my mind for some time, I have hinted at it on different occasions. But this time, through this photo of my friend, it spoke volumes to me and that is what I hope to bring out in this blog.
Before I get started, go back and take a long look at the image.
This blog is written for the non-Jewish people who have taken upon themselves the seven universal and categorical behavioral instructions of the Creator found in the Book of Genesis i.e. The Noahide Laws.
Most, if not many in this category have come from some form of manmade religion of the world where sacred times, foods and religious rituals were a major part of their lives. These religious elements became embedded deep within them. One may walk away from religion, but it takes time, maybe even a lifetime or longer to rid oneself from the side effects of religion.
What pains me is that when you visit Noahide groups on FaceBook, you will rarely find a discussion on the Noahide Laws. The majority of the questions and discussions revolve around Sabbath, kosher diet, Jewish holidays and rituals; there is an underlying desire to replace what they had walked away from.
There are some mitzvot outside of the Noahide Laws that are permissible to do BUT they are not our righteousness, they do not make any non-Jew righteous or closer to the Creator.
“He who is commanded and does is greater than he who is not commanded and does.” Rabbi Hanina, Baba Kamma 38a
Our, the non-Jewish nations, righteousness is found within the observance of the Seven Noahide Laws and their details.
Now, go again and take a close look at the image again.
The beauty of the image is not in the tallit/tzitzit, the four species of plants presented to the Creator – the beauty is in the adornment of mitzvot.
Mitzvot becomes a garment when one does what the Creator requires of them.
When we, the non-Jewish people of the nations, for the sake of the Creator do the mitzvot that we are given to do within the seven Noahide Laws, we stand beautifully before our Creator – we are adorned in mitzvot just like my Jewish friend.
Terry W. Hayes
Photo Credit: My friend gave me permission to use his photo for this blog, name withheld for privacy.