For August 15, 2022
הִשָּׁ֣מֶר לְךָ֔ פֶּן־תִּשְׁכַּ֖ח אֶת־יְי אֱ"לֹהֶ֑יךָ לְבִלְתִּ֨י שְׁמֹ֤ר מִצְוֺתָיו֙ וּמִשְׁפָּטָ֣יו וְחֻקֹּתָ֔יו אֲשֶׁ֛ר אָנֹכִ֥י מְצַוְּךָ֖ הַיּֽוֹם׃
"Take care lest you forget your G-d and fail to keep the divine commandments, rules, and laws which I enjoin upon you today" (Deut. 8:11)
Noahides have seven mitzvot (commandments). The mitzvot are the commandments, such as the prohibitions against theft and murder, whose reason and utility are obvious to us. Mishpatim can be thought of as social rules. They are the extra rules that you can adopt because they have a social benefit. One can think of giving charity, caring for the elderly, etc.
Noahides do not have Chokim, i.e., the rules that G-d gave to the Jewish people, but which have no logical basis [at least visible and understandable to us humans]. One can think, for example, of the prohibition on consuming milk and meat together.
It is Moses who passed on all the commandments to the Jewish people. In addition, G-d commanded Moses to teach the rest of the world the seven mitzvot. Moses taught the people that they had to take care that when they got to the land, they should not forget G-d and His commandments.
In the desert, the connection with G-d was very intimate and very direct. He provided them with water and food. Now that they were going into the land and working the land, they might think that the food would come from their own hands. That could lead them to forget G-d and His commandments.
Herein is also an important lesson for Noahides. We must remember that everything we have and receive comes from G-d and not through our own actions. The moment we think we can do it ourselves there is the opportunity to forget G-d.
The moment we forget that there is an Eye that sees and an Ear that hears, it becomes easier not to do a commandment or rule for once. And one thing leads to another, and before one knows it, the commandments and the rules are forgotten, as in the days of Noah.
Brought By Angelique Sijbolts
Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.
Chabadapp: chumash with Rashi
Article Chabad: The Logic of the Mitzvot
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