During Shavuot we read the portion in Torah about God giving us the Ten commandments. And included in those are the commandments is “thou shalt not steal”, “thou shalt not kill”, “thou shalt not commit adultery”.
This is apropos for today’s situation of the riots taking place across America. Of course everyone needs to speak out against killing. For a police man to kill an innocent person was absolutely wrong. But what has been the reaction of a major part of society? Going out in the streets looting stores, destroying other peoples property and wreaking havoc everywhere! How is that displaying proper morality? Anyone who speaks out against murder has to have a good moral compass himself: be an example of goodness. But if someone wants to protest by justifying looting and plundering, that shows that this person is not sincere. It is just an excuse to steal and try to sound like the world owes them something.This is not accomplishing anything. They think they can instill fear in society and control everyone but that is not the right attitude at all. In fact, most of the people stealing and threatening do not care about the person who was murdered. They are just participating so they can find an excuse to steal. They are looking for excuses to spread hatred and get their anger out on others, looking for scapegoats (ie. Jews, whites etc.) In reality, these people who are protesting violently, are angry people who feel the world owes them something. They have no appreciation of anything.
To be honest, everyone’s life matters! God Almighty bestows life and everyone’s life matters. But for anyone other than the victim to play victim, is just an excuse to justify stealing and looting and taking advantage of others. that is NOT OKAY.
What is the answer to all of this chaos? Exactly what the Lubavitcher Rebbe said many years ago. If a child is educated from the time they are small to know that there is “an Eye that sees, an Ear that hears and all deeds are recorded in a Heavenly book”, that child will fear God. Every child needs to know that this world is not a jungle. We are all created in the image of God. We all have a responsibility in this world . The Rebbe suggested a moment of silence in schools to take some time to think about God and focus the child’s attention on something higher than their own minds. This will lead to fear of God.
If people fear God properly, they want to promote a world of peace, not violence. I saw an interview with an arab whose cousin was killed by Israel and he said that in America black lives have less value than white lives, and in Israel arab lives have less value than Jewish lives. That is totally untrue! In Israel, Jews give social benefits to arabs, treat them equally in their hospitals and have compassion for them, more than the arabs have for their own people. But who is that blows up innocent Jewish children, men and women? the arab terrorists. So who does not value life?? But people like to make statements that sound good and so many people get emotionally swept up in such statements, without thinking clearly. And that is because deep inside people have anger, frustration and want to blame others and wait for an excuse to attack. And this of course is wrong and does not lead to peace.
the Lubavitcher Rebbe said that spreading the seven Noachide laws (sheva mitzvahs bnei Noach) to all of mankind is so important. If people are taught the right things and have a strong system of moral values, these people will never even consider stealing, looting, killing or doing anything to harm , rather than build up, society. They will want to create a society of goodness and kindness and fairness instead.
All non Jews need to observe these seven commandments that were given to Noach after the flood. And they need to observe these mitzvahs not because it makes sense to them, but because God has commanded this. Everyone needs to be subservient to our Creator, to respect Him and His will, and to subsequently respect other people as well.
Every mitzvah refines a person and helps one to develop the right attitudes and one’s inner spirituality.
Let us pray that all the riots and violence will stop and people will wake up to realize they have no RIGHT to plunder, loot or break into people’s homes or businesses. Nobody owes them anything. The only RIGHT they have is to speak up for morality and against evil. And the only way to do that is to be a proper example of goodness, not to add to evil to the world. We need to add goodness and kindness.
The seven Noachide laws (sheva mitzvahs bnei Noach) are:
Do not profane God’s Oneness: acknowledge there is a Creator, only one God, and do not worship idols or attribute power to any other deity in any form. Acknowledge Divine Providence over creation. Nothing happens randomly. Nothing happens unless decreed by God and even a leaf does not turn over in the wind without God willing it. How much more so is God is involved in every aspect of a person’s individual life and one must recognize that and acknowledge God’s constant involvement. Every human being is created in the image of God and needs to be respected and cared for. Every human being must live up to being created in the image of God and behave accordingly.
Do not curse the Creator (respect Him and His creation), no matter how angry you may become in life. Accept that whatever happens is part of God’s plan and is for the good, whether we understand it or not. We need to accept that God is in charge of the world and does what is best for His creations. Only He knows what is best. There is no place for anger or cursing if something happens that one does not like. We need to be humble and accept that everything that happens is from God. We also learn not to curse any person either. We must respect all of God’s creations.
Do not murder (this includes abortion at any stage of pregnancy). It also includes not committing suicide: you cannot murder yourself either! This includes not starving someone or harming someone in any way which would eventually result in their death. And do not commit suicide as you are forbidden from murdering yourself too! Be humble and realize that only God has the ability to bestow life to His creations and nobody has the right to take life, other than God.
Do not steal (which includes kidnapping a human being). Be grateful for whatever blessings you have, look at everything as an undeserved gift and do not try to steal what belongs to another.
Do not eat the limb of a living animal (this can be expanded to include not causing pain to any living creature and being sensitive to all of God’s creations, including plants). Do not throw a live lobster into boiling water. That is cruelty and definitely will not cultivate a sensitivity towards God’s creations.
Do not commit adultery (this includes any type of sexual immorality, rape, incest or sexual abnormality) ) Included in here is the underlying commandment to getting married and establish a family (having as many children as God wants to give), which is also an obligation for a non Jew. Be devoted and faithful to one’s spouse and do not look outside marriage for happiness. Before marriage also men and women must not live together as that affects one’s emotions and can interfere later with one’s marriage. True holiness can only be achieved in a proper marriage relationship between man and woman. A non Jew should also not practice birth control, unless for medical reasons. That includes not causing sterility to any human being, animal or bird.
Establish courts of law and make sure there is justice in the world. Every society needs law and order and each society needs a system of true justice without racism, anti Semitism or prejudice. Do not try to take justice into your own hands. But instead, add in deeds of goodness and kindness in order to make this world a better place.
These 7 Noachide laws have further details and ramifications but this is the basis. Part of a non Jew’s obligation is also to respect one’s parents , teachers and elders.