Develop yourself to the best of your ability
Moses received the Torah from Sinai and transmitted it ot Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets transmitted it to the Men of the Great Assembly. They said three things; Be deliberate in judgment, develop many disciples, and make a fence for the Torah.
(Pirkei Avos 2:1)
The text reminds us of the importance of the Mesorah – the unbroken chain – of passing on the Oral Torah.
The moment we have embraced the 7 Noahides Laws and also recognise that we need to impart and teach them to as many people as possible, we need to be mindful of being careful and thoughtful in our judgements of others. At times looking backwards to where we ourselves are coming from. However, this looking back should not lead us to draw the conclusion that how we ourselves have walked, others can do so in the same way. Their path – their history and life experiences are always different.
The Mishnah warns, “Be deliberate in judgment,” and the sages explain, “Never assume you have seen this before. Judge each situation on its own merits.” That’s called wisdom—and wisdom is often surprising.
As many people as possible need to be reached and taught about the 7 Noahides Laws. The group is never too big, one more will always fit. (May we experience the days when the numbers in a group may feel like too much).
Most importantly, we teach and instruct people until they are able to stand independently. Our responsibility is not merely to impart knowledge, but rather to give the peopel around us a strong base of values and principles which will continue to give them strength. So that they too will become people to pass on the Noahide Way of Life.
The blog began by pointing out how important the unbroken chain of the Oral Torah is. Everything man needs to know and learn was given at Mount Sinai, however, not all the rules we need now were applicable at that time. The Torah is a living document, to be applied to all societies and all generations of history. Thus, the Almighty entrusted the sages and Torah authorities of each generation with the responsibility of interpreting the Torah and implementing it in the specific conditions and circumstances of their time and place.
This certainly also applies to the 7 Noahide Laws. Think, for instance, of all the difficult ethical issues in our current medical world. The only way to properly observe our 7 Laws is to consult the rabbis who specialise in them and accept their wisdom and expertise on the matter.
This also includes the task of constructing “safety fences” around the Torah. Each generation’s leaders are to pinpoint the specific vulnerabilities of their community and enact the appropriate ordinances which will safeguard and strengthen the observance of Torah.
Safety fences you can and may also make your own at those things in your life that are extra challenging to execute properly. For example, if you find it difficult not to steal time from your boss, it’s okay to tell yourself that you are “required” to put your phone in your locker during working hours.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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