Being Noahide with family who aren’t there yet

First, it is always most effective to talk to people on the level that they’re at. This will be different for family members of varying ages, and different sorts of relationships.

Speaking with children

For young children of other family members, when one of their religious holidays comes around, you don’t need go any farther than to say, “I have my own way of celebrating “this time of year” [not “this holiday”], that’s different from your way.”

You can explain to older children of other family members that there are special events in history that are important to you: Noah saving humanity and receiving a covenant from G-d; Abraham teaching everyone about the One G-d; and G-d giving the Torah at Mount Sinai through Moses. And that those are the events that you decided to honor, in a different traditional way, by keeping the 7 Commandments that were taught by those special people.

How much farther you then go with those explanations really depends on the children’s parents. You should respect the parents’ boundaries as to what they will accept for your conversation with their children. Peace within a family is an important value, and it is peace which keeps the lines of communication open, and allows for the possibility that they will be willing to learn more about the righteous choices you have made.

But even more so, the same applies to them, if you have children whom you are raising in the Noahide path, with G-d’s help. You must not allow situations in which other family members try to draw your children into a false (anti-Torah) religion, or away from the proper Noahide path that you are teaching them.

Speaking with adults

The adults in your family might or might not be open to hearing your explanation about the idolatrous or fictitious roots of non-Torah religions, or of atheism, as the case may be. But keep in mind that many Gentiles follow those ways without strong conviction, or simply due to their upbringing and/or lack of knowledge of the authenticity and eternity of the Torah of Moses.

So what you can say to them without causing strife depends on their own beliefs and how open they are to conversation. Every family has a different dynamic, and only you can evaluate if and when the time is right for you to point out the problems with their beliefs and actions. (Note: during the midst of their holidays seasons, that may not be the best time to bring up those issues, because those can be very emotionally sensitive times for some people, and you could be accused of wanting to spoil their holidays.)

The recommended way to approach someone who has no prior knowledge of the Noahide Code was outlined by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. Instead of beginning with criticisms, tell him you know that he’s doing many good things in his life! But then explain that there are also seven original commandments from G-d in the Bible that are universal (most of which he is already not violating), and the obligation to observe them was never removed. So if he will keep those Seven Commandments, in addition to doing the other good things he is involved with, it will bring him to a closer personal relationship with G-d.

Actions can speak louder that words

If you have family members who are resistant to hearing about your choices and your reasons, let your actions speak for you. Continue to show your friendliness and inner happiness, maintain and increase your acts of goodness and kindness, and demonstrate your overall commitment to making the world a better and more G-dly place.

by Ellen bat Noach, Ask Noah Assistant, in collaboration with the Director

Please note The recommendations given above are meant as general points of advice. Certainly, every situation has its own unique considerations, and no two families are exactly the same. That is why Ask Noah answers questions and provides consultation on a private and personalized basis. Private messages can be sent to the Director of Ask Noah via our Contact Us page: