Noahides and the December Season

The following personal essay was submitted to the website by a pious observer of the 7 Laws of Noah.

This time of year, it can be hard for a Noahide who is not living near a supportive community. That especially applies if one’s family members don’t agree with or understand the decision to leave the previous religion. I know from my own experience that it’s difficult and can be very lonely at times. Personally, it was during the December season when I started most of my learning about the Noahide path. G-d opened up that path for me, and I began to ask more questions and started seeking out answers. The more questions I had, the more I yearned to know the truth.

That’s when I reached out to my local Chabad Rabbi, and and its director Dr. Schulman. This led me to the answers to my questions and guidance for my study and observance of the Noahide Code. In regards to local community, at that time I was the only Noahide that I knew of in my area. Yet I was fortunate that the local Rabbi and his family were welcoming and supportive. When I can be with like-minded individuals who are gathered for worshiping the One True G-d, it’s a great experience.

City street in December

Observances and prayers

We’re forbidden to create new religions, and that makes sense to me. Noahides need to learn which precepts from the Torah pertain to everyone as moral obligations. There are also things you’re optionally allowed to do from among the Jewish commandments, for the sake of practical benefits. I don’t take those on as obligations, nor am I creating a new religion for myself. And what things are sensible for you to pray for? Your prayers can be increased with your own selections from the Psalms and Proverbs. There are also recommended prayers from reliable sources that are published for Noahides.

I know I’m not to follow ritual laws of the Jewish Sabbath, because that would be creating new commandments for myself. What can a Noahide do for the Seventh Day (even if you have to work on that day)? You can set aside extra time to pray, study a portion of Torah, and spend quality time with family and friends.

On Friday night you can have a festive meal, with the option to light candles on the table after sunset to make the dinner more beautiful. When I do this, I ask G-d that “the light of Your commandments will enlighten the whole world” (quoting from the booklet Prayers for Noahides: Community Services and Personal Worship). I say the traditional blessings before eating the various types of food. When I’m finished, I say the Noahide grace after the meal.

Logically, some Jewish holidays have little relevance to Noahides, and that’s something for us to understand. But Hanukkah for example, which is this time of year, has some universal messages. I enjoy going to the local public lighting of the Hanukkah menorah and listening to the speaker’s words of inspiration. Reciting Psalm 30 is especially connected with the days of Hanukkah.

Finding resources and reaching out

I encourage every Noahide to read The Divine Code, to understand what is permissible and what is not.  What I’m saying is this: Don’t be afraid to reach out. Many Jewish people still have not heard of the Noahide Laws or are still learning about them. At first you may be afraid of rejection, but it’s not usually the case. It won’t be if you keep looking, and you can ask for helpful contacts. In G-d’s time – and as we now see – more people will wake up, understand, and follow the Seven Noahide Laws in all their details and obligations.

With very best wishes,

Christopher Ben Noach