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Pirkei Avot 2:4 – Thank You G-d that I am a Noahide


Pirkei Avot 2:4

הוּא הָיָה אוֹמֵר, עֲשֵׂה רְצוֹנוֹ כִרְצוֹנְךָ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה רְצוֹנְךָ כִרְצוֹנוֹ. בַּטֵּל רְצוֹנְךָ מִפְּנֵי רְצוֹנוֹ, כְּדֵי שֶׁיְּבַטֵּל רְצוֹן אֲחֵרִים מִפְּנֵי רְצוֹנֶךָ. הִלֵּל אוֹמֵר, אַל תִּפְרֹשׁ מִן הַצִּבּוּר, וְאַל תַּאֲמִין בְּעַצְמְךָ עַד יוֹם מוֹתְךָ, וְאַל תָּדִין אֶת חֲבֵרְךָ עַד שֶׁתַּגִּיעַ לִמְקוֹמוֹ, וְאַל תֹּאמַר דָּבָר שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לִשְׁמֹעַ, שֶׁסּוֹפוֹ לְהִשָּׁמַע. וְאַל תֹּאמַר לִכְשֶׁאִפָּנֶה אֶשְׁנֶה, שֶׁמָּא לֹא תִפָּנֶה:

He used to say: (1) do His will as though it were your will, so that He will do your will as though it were His. Set aside your will in the face of His will, so that he may set aside the will of others for the sake of your will. Hillel said: (2) do not separate yourself from the community, Do not trust in yourself until the day of your death, (3) Do not judge your fellow man until you have reached his place. (4) Do not say something that cannot be understood [trusting] that in the end it will be understood. Say not: (5) ‘when I shall have leisure I shall study;’ perhaps you will not have leisure.

1) Is not always easy. Even though I love writing and do use personal experiences, I don’t really like writing personal things. Some things are private now. Still, because I know more people struggle with this, I want to write briefly about point 1 first.

Every morning I pray: Blessed are You Eternal, King of the World, who made me according to His will. Then I consider on the one hand that I am grateful that He has made me clear to live like Bat Noah now, which is what I am, and which is what He wants. Apparently, the place and the way of life that comes with my life’s mission. The life task He has given. But I think, and with me will be more Noahides, who deep down have the desire to make the transition to Judaism. Something that is not possible for everyone, for whatever personal reason. It makes you realize that a lot of things you would actually like to do, you won’t do (never observe Shabbat, never experience the Mikvah, never….) It can make the heart so sad, and then there is the consolation that He determines what a person should do and what a person is. He made me according to His will, and my will is supposed to give way to that.

2) There is not really a Noahide community (yet). Much takes place on the internet with zoom meetings and sometimes a physical meeting, which by no means all people can attend due to the distances between them. Still, I think it’s good to find an “internet community” that suits you and that you commit to. Find an “internet community” that has a rabbi who teaches the group and is there for questions. It prevents you from being tossed back and forth between different opinions and views like a boat on the vast ocean.

3) We can never see what is really going on in someone’s heart, we can never know someone’s background, history to judge him, this is only up to G-d.

4) do not let your words be unclear, such that it is impossible to understand them immediately and at first perusal; and [do not] rely on that if the listener wants to look into them, in the end, he will understand them. As this will bring people to err from your words, lest they err and come to heresy because of you.[1]

5) It is wise to set a fixed time for yourself to learn and study the 7 Noahide Commandments, and its details. A set time to improve your traits and study how best to do so. This can be once a month, once a week, once a day. But take a set time for it so that it becomes a routine in your life. Because tomorrow I will learn, will always be tomorrow.

By Angelique Sijbolts


[1] Bartenura on Pirkei Avot 2:4:6

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