|THE DIVINE CODE: A NON-JEWS GUIDE TO SERVING G-D. Book Review by Leibel EstrinRepublished with permission from: Concord Magazine, Volume 37 No. 2. Kislev 5769, December 2008.A publication of: Friends of the Small Communities, a division of the Lubavitch Foundation. Chabad.org.uk
“How should I serve my Creator?”
Republished with permission from: Concord Magazine, Volume 37 No. 2. Kislev 5769, December 2008.A publication of: Friends of the Small Communities, a division of the Lubavitch Foundation. Chabad.org.uk
It is a question that has challenged spiritual individuals of all cultures for thousands of years. For non-Jews who recognize the Torah as G-d's written Word, and Moses as His Divinely-chosen messenger, the issue has been a particularly sensitive one. They realize that the Jews have rules, roles, and rituals that define their relationship with G-d. But what does G-d require of non-Jews? How do they connect to the Five Books of Moses, and the prophetic tradition of the Hebrew Bible? Is there a path upon which they can live a righteous and spiritually fulfilling life, with the promise of Divine reward?
The Torah specifies Seven Universal Commandments for all mankind, which are also know as the “Noahide Commandments,” because according to tradition, they were given to Noah after the Flood, and later again with more details to Moses during his ascent on Mount Sinai. But, just as with the 613 Commandments that are specified for the Jews, the guidance of authentic Torah scholarship is required to transmit their meaning and application in a way that is faithful to the Rabbinical Oral Tradition, which is an unbroken chain beginning with Moses himself and the instructions he received from G-d.
For that reason, there has been a desperate need for a work such as The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem. A translation and explanation of his groundbreaking Hebrew work, Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem (“The Book of Seven Divine Commandments”), this book does much more than merely list an overview of some of the do's and don'ts that are required of a Righteous Gentile (non-Jew). Using a vast breadth of authentic Torah sources, it teaches the reader how the Seven Noahide Commandments are to be observed by Gentiles in their daily lives, and it clarifies the details of these precepts in the light of corresponding details in the Jewish Codes of Torah Law (mainly as expounded in the Mishneh Torah by Rabbi Moses Maimonides, over 800 years ago).
For example, recognizing the transcendent existence and unity of G-d is obviously the foundation of the universal commandment not to worship idols. But there's more to it than making a firm decision at some point in one's religious development. Instead, The Divine Code explains, there is a continuous obligation to be aware of G-d's existence and sovereignty. This obligation for all Gentiles is based on the Talmud, Tractate Sanhedrin 56b, and Maimonides' Laws of Kings, 8:10, and it is in keeping with King David's proclamation on the purposeful avoidance of sin: “I place G-d before me always; because He is at my right hand, I shall not falter.” (Psalm 16:8).
The Divine Code (Volume I) is divided into four general sections. Section I presents fundamentals of the faith. Section II addresses the prohibition of idolatry. Section III covers the prohibition of blasphemy. Section IV explains many details within the prohibition of eating meat that was separated from a living animal, and its extension to the avoidance of causing unnecessary suffering to living creatures. In each section, the Noahide Commandments and their associated details and offshoots are explained based on their Torah-based sources. Sections I-III each include an Introduction by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet of Toronto, Canada, and Section IV includes an introduction by Dr. Joe M. Regenstein of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, who is a leading expert in guidelines for kosher and non-kosher humane slaughter in the meat industry. The result is a work of remarkable clarity as well as scholarly depth.
The remaining three Noahide prohibitive commandments, against murder, theft and forbidden sexual relations, will be presented in Volume II. Another volume is planned for the seventh Noahide commandment, which is the obligation to establish righteous courts of law.
A hearty and heart-felt thanks goes out to Rabbi Weiner, and the team behind the book's translation and publication by Ask Noah International (ANI): Dr. Michael Schulman and Mr. Chaim Reisner of Pittsburgh (the Directors of ANI, which includes AskNoah.org and the United Noahide Academies project), Rabbi Eliyahu Touger of Jerusalem and Rabbi Yosef Schulman of New York for their translation assistance, and others who are thanked in the book.
With approbations from leading Torah scholars, including the two Chief Rabbis of Israel, The Divine Code deserves prominent recognition and distribution in the world at large. As a tool for teaching pious non-Jews about their Torah-true spiritual heritage and obligations, and as a tool for this to be studied in-depth (and not merely as an overview), the Divine Code series from Ask Noah International is indispensable.
The Divine Code, Volume I (soft cover, 383 pages, English), and Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem, Volume I (hard cover, 396 pages, Hebrew), are available on-line or by phone from Judaism.com, Kehot.com, and AskNoah.org.
Ordering information: Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem(The Book of Seven Divine Commandments), Volume 1 & 2. by Rabbi Moshe Weiner. Language: Hebrew. http://asknoah.org/books/sheva-mitzvot-hashem Available to buy now on: Judaism.com and Kehot.com The Divine Code, Volume 1 & 2.
The Guide to Observing G-d’s Will for Mankind, Revealed from Mount Sinai in the Torah of Moses. by Rabbi Moshe WeinerEdited by Dr. Michael Schulman. Language: English.http://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code Available to buy now on: Judaism.com and Kehot.com
Published in March 2011: "The Divine Code," Vol. I, expanded 2nd Edition.
This is the English translation of Rabbi Moshe Weiner's groundbreaking, in-depth codification of the Noahide Commandments (“Sheva Mitzvot HaShem,” Volumes I and II).
This English edition explains the details of the Noahide Code - the guide to observing G-d’s Will for mankind - as revealed from Mt. Sinai in the Torah of Moses.
Part I. Fundamentals of the Faith (9 chapters)
Part II. The Prohibition of Idolatry (12 chapters)
Part III. The Prohibition of Blasphemy (4 chapters)
Part IV. The Prohibition of Eating Meat that was Separated from a Living Animal (9 chapters)
(New) Part V. The Prohibition of Murder and Injury (9 chapters)
(New) Part VI. The Prohibition of Forbidden Relations (7 chapters)
(New) Part VII-A. The Prohibition of Theft (Part A) (6 chapters)
Additional Editor's notes and explanations have been added in Parts I-IV, which were originally published as the 1st Edition. The new book is 672 pages, softcover with stitched binding.
For more information, please visit: http://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code
Sample Chapters (from Volume 1):
Author’s Introduction to the Seven Noahide Commandments: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web1.pdf
The Foundation of the Noahide Code: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web2.pdf
Awareness of G-d: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web3.pdf
Serving G-d and Guidelines for Prayer: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web4.pdf
Obligatory Moral Conduct and Repentance: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/th...e-web5.pdf
The Prohibition of Idol Worship and the Prohibition of Swearing in the Name of an Idol: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/the-divine-code-web6.pdf
Letter of blessing from former Chief Ashkenazic Rabbi, Rabbi Yona Metzger: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/Rabbi_Metzger_letter_of_blessing.pdf
Letter of blessing from former Chief Sefardic Rabbi, Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar: http://asknoah.org/wp-content/uploads/Rabbi_Amar_letter_of_blessing.pdf