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A Sacred Earth Odyssey: The Noahide Way

by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Non-Jews » The Role of the Non-Jew | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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I want to tell you about the greatest discovery of the millennium. It wasn’t the printing press. It wasn’t America. It wasn’t even vaccination. The greatest discovery of the millennium happened near its very end.

It was the discovery of Planet Earth.

We were trying to get away from Planet Earth — ever since we had to leave the garden. We built temples reaching to the heavens, to transcend our earthly bounds. Cities to lock out the earth’s wildness, as though we were not a part of it. We told her she was a dark and lowly place, that we needed to escape her to reach our destiny. We ravaged her, raped her, paved her. Our dreams were dreams of overcoming Earth.

Until finally, in the ultimate of all dreams, we escaped her. We told her, "Earth, we don’t need you anymore! After all, you are just one little planet in an awesome universe! We are going out there to conquer planets bigger and better than you. We shall become masters of the stars, of the galaxies!"

We got to the moon. The moon was barren. We sent probes to Mars. Mars was dead. To the icon of beauty, to Venus. She was dressed in poisonous, burning clouds. And then the pockets of American Congress were also barren to fund our useless dreams.

It was then that we looked back from outer space, and discovered something we had never imagined. A shining jewel in the vast darkness
It was then that we looked back from outer space, and discovered something we had never imagined. A shining jewel in the vast darkness. Never before had we known her beauty. The most beautiful planet a mind could dream of.

It was then that we realized everything our spirits ever wanted was here. That we need her and she needs us. Our destiny is hers and hers is ours. For we are one.

We discovered Planet Earth.

We need to save our Planet Earth. There was one other time she was in peril, and then there was only one man who could save her. Not that he was the only righteous man. There were others.

But Noah was not just a spiritual man. He was, as the Torah says, "A man of the Earth". According to our tradition, Noah invented the plow.

So, G-d looked down at the world He had made and how its soul had been ripped out of it, and He saw these people who prayed and meditated and transcended the bounds of body and earth, and He said, "You people are not the solution. You are part of the problem. Only Noah, who knows to bond body and spirit, heaven and earth, he alone can save My world."

In our century, during the most horrible crimes of humanity, we have seen how spiritual people were quiet. The ravaging of humanity and of the earth has happened with their permission.

But now we have discovered Planet Earth. We have discovered spiritual fulfillment and G-dliness within her. And we know that if we cannot make peace with her and with each other, we will not survive much longer.

The Creed of Noah

At the dawn of creation, G-d gave the first human being six rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. Later, after the Great Flood, he charged Noah with one more. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace.

For most of Jewish history, circumstance did not permit our people to spread these principles, other than by indirect means. When the Rebbe (Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson) began speaking about publicizing them as a preparation for a new era, he was reviving an almost lost tradition.


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Talmud
Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Noah
Tenth generation from Adam. Of all humankind, only he and his family survived the Flood which destroyed all civilization in the year 2106 BCE.
Adam
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
Genesis
The first book of the Five Books of Moses. It records the story of Creation and its aftermath, and chronicles the lives of the Patriarchs.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.