Parsha Noach: Bereshith/Genesis 6:9 -11:32
In Parashat Noach, the world is wiped out by the great flood due to sin, wickedness, and violence. Things had just gone too far, and YAHUAH had to put a stop to it. He sent the flood that destroyed everything that lived upon the earth - save Noach, his family, and the animals in the ark. These inhabitants of the ark alone would survive and begin life again in the renewed world.
What led to this massive destruction of the world?
We know YAHUAH destroyed the world due to sin, but the question must be asked: how could they have sinned if the Torah was not given yet?
The Torah was given hundreds of years later on Mt. Sinai when Moshe brought the Hebrew people out of slavery.
If the Law was not given yet, then how could Noach’s generation be punished? What “Law” did they violate?
Noach's generation was guilty of violating the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei Noach, the seven commandments of the children of Noach; also known as the Seven Noahide Laws.
The Seven Noahide Laws
The Noahide laws are seven commandments that are incumbent upon all mankind. Since every person is a descendant of Noach, every person is obligated to obey them.
That’s why they’re called Noahide laws. They apply to all the descendants of Noach, i.e. every person on earth.
Only one of these laws was actually given to Noach. The other six were given to Adam. All seven were reaffirmed at Sinai and included in the Torah given to Moshe.
These laws were given to establish a universal code of behavior for all mankind. It established a system of morality and ethics that would be the universal standard of living.
Ultimately, the seven Noahide laws lead to the fulfillment of man’s purpose on earth.
Man’s purpose is to receive the greatest good possible from our Benevolent Creator. The greatest good is a relationship with YAHUAH our Elohim. We develop this relationship when we resist evil and choose to do good.
The seven Noahide laws guide us on the fundamentals of doing good and rejecting evil. Thus, they are the pathway for every man on earth to develop a relationship with his Creator and fulfill the purpose of Creation.
If all mankind obeyed these laws, then the whole earth would become a dwelling for Elohim. The world would be set-apart and suitable for His Presence. When all mankind recognizes YAHUAH as Sovereign, then His Sovereignty and His Throne are complete in the earth.
What are these all-important laws?
Do not worship any idol.
Do not blaspheme.
Do not murder (or injure).
Do not engage in forbidden relations.
Do not steal.
Do not eat meat taken from a living animal.
Establish laws and courts.
These laws are actually seven categories. Just like the Ten Commandments are categories with many more mitzvot (commandments) included in them, so, too, these seven laws are categories with many more mitzvot included in them.
The first two mitzvot - not to worship idols and not to blaspheme - direct all mankind to serve YAHUAH and YAHUAH alone.
Every person on earth must acknowledge that YAHUAH is the Creator and the Sovereign Who governs all and reigns over all.
In order to be considered righteous, one must acknowledge that these seven laws come from YAHUAH and that he/she is obeying them for that reason alone, that YAHUAH commanded them.
Many people in the world follow these laws already, but some may have other reasons for doing so. They may follow them because they or their society deems them reasonable and appropriate based on their own intellect and reasoning.
In other words, they obey them because it makes sense to them, not because YAHUAH said so.
So, some people may not worship idols, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they worship YAHUAH. They may not worship idols because they don’t worship anything.
A true, righteous observer of the sheva mitzvot will not worship idols because YAHUAH said not to do so. He recognizes YAHUAH as Elohim and serves Him and Him alone.
These first two laws and all the commandments attached to them draw all mankind to serve YAHUAH and YAHUAH alone. They teach us how to honor Him, love Him, pray to Him, and fear Him. They cause us to recognize the Creator as the One and Only Elohim and Sovereign of all things.
We don’t serve any other being or entity in place of Him, in addition to Him, or connected to Him; nor do we go “through” any other being to get to Him. YAHUAH alone we serve.
Morality & Ethics
Four of the seven Noahide laws set the foundation for a moral and ethical society:
not to murder or injure another person, not to engage in forbidden relations, not to steal, and to establish laws and courts.
Ethics and morality, right and wrong, cannot be left up to man. Our reasoning and intellect are limited, corruptible, and fickle.
Just look at how much morality has changed from 20, 50, or 100 years ago. Things that were unheard of years ago are now commonplace and perfectly acceptable in society. Man's idea of morality changes constantly.
Man's ideas can also be wholly corrupted. Think of all the atrocities committed in the earth by people who thought they were doing the “right thing.” The Holocaust and slavery are just two examples of what happens when man is left to decide right and wrong. Numerous other genocides and mass murders have happened because people believed they were "right."
There must be a standard of morality and ethics, and the seven Noahide laws provide that standard for all mankind.
When a society doesn’t acknowledge the Lawgiver and His Laws, then they will develop their own sense of right and wrong, often leading to a violation of YAHUAH's Laws.
Parsha Noach is a prime example of what happens when man violates YAHUAH’s foundation of morality and ethics: violence, murder, wickedness, immorality, and ultimately, the downfall and destruction of that society.
Finally, the last of the seven laws is to not eat meat from a living animal. What could this possibly have to do with establishing a righteous society?
First, this law teaches us kindness by prohibiting cruelty to animals. We cannot sever a limb from a living animal causing it pain and suffering. This prevents cruelty and helps to instill kindness.
If we’re careful not to be cruel to animals, then how much more should we be careful not to be cruel to people.
If we show kindness to the lower creations, then surely, we should show kindness and concern for the highest of creation, our fellow human being.
By not eating meat from a living animal we’re establishing a core of kindness in our hearts.
Secondly, this law teaches us to curb our appetites. We cannot eat meat from a living animal. We must properly slaughter the animal and then properly prepare the meat before eating.
This takes time. We can’t just...forgive the gruesomeness...tear off a limb and start chowing down. We have to curb our appetite and wait.
This law teaches us to not indulge our appetites. It teaches us to curb our desires and practice restraint.
YAHUAH wants us to tell ourselves "no" and not follow every lust and desire that arises in our flesh. If we can’t say no, then we’ll be easy prey for temptations, and eventually, these temptations will lead us away from YAHUAH.
Indulging our every desire brings us down and draws us away from YAHUAH and His purpose for our lives.
But if we learn to hold ourselves back, to practice restraint, then we’ll be able to grow towards perfection. We'll be better able to reject evil and choose good; thus, strengthening our relationship with YAHUAH. The closer we are to YAHUAH, the more good we’ll experience.
YAHUAH gave this seventh commandment to Noah after the flood. He was teaching us to not allow ourselves to get bogged down by sin and evil tendencies like the generation that perished. YAHUAH wants us to pick ourselves up and work to improve ourselves.
Salvation of the World
These seven laws establish a world where YAHUAH can dwell with His people - all of His creations.
This is YAHUAH’s plan for the perfection of the world. It's the blueprint for a perfect, peaceful earth that can be a habitation for Elohim.
We see all that is happening in the world today. The pandemic is enough. Add to that wildfires, hurricanes, financial crises, and much more, and we have a world that seems to be teetering on the edge.
These are all warnings. The world has to get back on track.
If we look at the seven laws, we know our world is in danger. Too many people have violated these basic concepts and think it’s okay. Others who may not violate them themselves think it’s okay if others do.
We see in Parsha Noach what happens when the world falls too far away from YAHUAH's foundation for society. He promised He would never destroy the earth in its entirety by water again.
However, destruction can come by other means, and if it's not the entire world, we clearly see how parts of the world are easily wiped out by an act of "nature."
We have to bring the world back to it’s foundation.
All mankind has to come to recognize our Creator YAHUAH as the One and Only Elohim and submit to His Sovereignty. Once that’s in place, then obedience to the other laws will follow.
It’s up to us to share this truth with others. We have to share the knowledge of these seven laws with everyone we can.
We encourage you to do your part in sharing this however you can. It’s your part in bringing the world back to righteousness and fulfilling the ultimate purpose of the earth - that all mankind have a relationship with our Creator. This is the salvation of the world.