Interviews at a Noahide Wedding
Recorded comments from a Noahide wedding ceremony, June ’06
The Rabbi’s speech introducing the ceremony:
You may be wondering, what am I here for? What’s my role in this event? I’m going to give you a very brief introduction to the Seven Noahide Commandments, and how they pertain to this event today.
Judaism is a universal religion, in that it believes that when G-d created the world and He created human beings, He had a purpose and a plan for the universe and all of humankind. There are two parts to this plan. One part is to have a civilized world – a decent, a clean, a beautiful, a harmonious world. And then He had a second part to that plan: the world would become a Divine world – a world where people could appreciate G-d’s Presence. You can’t have the second without the first. G-d does not feel “comfortable” in an uncivilized world.
Many people believe in different religions that began at different points in time. They have to ask themselves: if G-d expects of us to follow the rules of what is right and what is wrong, what were people expected to do for the thousands of years until this or that religion came along to teach us right from wrong? The answer is that G-d gave Adam and Eve, the first human beings, a set of rules – six basic rules or categories that would keep the human race intact, and prevent them from splintering, from self- destructing, so they would be living in a harmonious fashion.
But the people did not heed those laws, and the Flood destroyed the world. Noah was expected to rebuild the world, and G-d gave him those six laws, and added on a seventh law [to regulate people's consumption of animals] because only then were people allowed to eat meat. That was the first plan, the Noahide Laws, to make the world a civilized world so that it could ultimately become the world that G-d wants it to be – a G-dly world.
At Mt. Sinai [over 3300 years ago] when G-d gave the “Ten Commandments,” [along] with that were all 613 commandments given to the Jewish nation, to teach them how to make every aspect of their lives, every breath they take virtually, infused with a Divine message. They were also given the Seven Noahide Commandments for the rest of mankind, which were given this time through Moses to introduce into them a dimension of Divinity. Not only are these Seven Commandments to be observed because they are right, they are righteous, they are decent, and they are just, but also because they are part of the Divine plan which will ultimately transform this world into an ideal world, and that will usher in the Messianic Age.
From that point on, every event that we engage in which contributes to this end – the civilization of society – is permeated with the spirit of Divinity, and is another major step in making this world a better place. Today we are bringing in peace and harmony, affection and love, commitment and fidelity, and all the other nice words that go along with a marriage. This is the positive side of one of the Seven Commandments which is phrased in the negative – not to commit sexual transgressions. The positive side of that is to create a stable institution of marriage with all of those qualities I just enumerated. That type marriage is another major step in bringing about an eternal peace and a Messianic utopia that we all believe in, we all hope for, and we all pray for.
My presence here as a Rabbi, a member of the clergy, and a Justice of the Peace – to make this marriage valid based on the laws of the State of New York – is not just some formality. This is society’s way of saying that marriage is a holy institution, and that marriage is not just an arbitrary thing we could play around with and toy around with. It is part of G-d’s plan for this universe, to bring in an institution of loyalty, of faithfulness, of love between a man and a woman. The ripple effect of this type of marriage is that this faithfulness and this civility extends to our friends, to our neighbors, to other people, and to the whole world – and it ultimately embraces all the rest of humanity, and of course ourselves and G-d. So congratulations, and may this marriage contribute to that which we’re all praying for – a world of peace and harmony. Mazel Tov!
Rabbi’s remarks after the reception:
I’ve now had the privilege of officiating at a B’nai Noach wedding for the first time in my life. I found that this was an extremely positive experience, one that was very well received by the people who are here.
We’re living in an age when the most important institutions of society are being challenged, and the things that kept us as a civilization have eroded. That is specifically in reference to marriage, where the whole idea of marriage is being questioned and challenged. One of the principle ideas behind being a Noahide is that everything we do has to be geared to the understanding that G-d put us here to make this world a solid world, an organized world, a civilized world, a righteous and good world. Marriage is the most important pillar, I believe, in achieving that plan. So having people get together at a wedding, recognizing that there is a G-d Who tells us that we should get married, and what faithfulness is in marriage – that is a very important thing in these days.
The fact that we’re focusing on the Seven Noahide Commandments is even more significant because we’re living so close to the Messianic time, on the very threshold of the final Redemption – as we see that the coming of Moshiach is near at hand. One of the prerequisites, the things that we do to prepare for it, is to get the whole world galvanized behind the understanding of their role. Every human being has a role in making the world a civilized world, a world that is hospitable to G-d. By reaching out to every person to teach them about these Seven Noahide Commandments, we are making the coming of Moshiach and the final Redemption that much closer.
This Noahide wedding was a very important milestone in that regard. I wish the bride and groom a lot of good luck, and health and happiness, mazel tov, and all the other good things.
Remarks from a Noahide guest:
This is probably one of the first modern-day Noahide weddings, and this is very exciting. Hopefully there will be many, many, many more. It’s a privilege for me because I recently got engaged, and I hope to have a Noahide wedding. So this encourages me. I hope the bride and groom have many, many good years together. May Hashem always bless you and be close to your hearts.
Remarks from a Jewish guest:
We’re here for this great occasion, and it was just awesome to see an historical event of this type actually happening. My wife and I can just feel the emotion of the bride and the groom. That was very pleasing to us, because we have two adopted boys that we have raised as B’nai Noach who are here with us. They need to know that there are other people out there who have similar types of beliefs. We believe that human relationships should work, and after all, marriage is a foundation of community and the world at large. In order to make this world a better place we all have to start somewhere, which can be as a bride and a groom making a family. We wish them all the best – much happiness, much joy, and holiness in their lives. We thank them for letting us be part of this, to bring peace and Moshiach to the world.
Concluding remarks from the Director of AskNoah International:
I want to say “Mazel Tov” to the bride and groom and all their family. Thank you very much for inviting me here. I feel that although today is the first time that I’ve met you in person, I feel that we’ve been friends for many months, from all the time that we spent together by email planning your wedding and thinking about the ceremony.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to the Rabbi for being the one who came here to put this all together, by leading the ceremony and pronouncing you man and wife. And not to leave out the great importance of Rabbi Immanuel Schochet who was the Torah-law advisor, and who also made all the decisions about what was appropriate for the ceremony and for your Noahide wedding contract. I hope that the Rabbis will have opportunities to help many more Noahide couples to get together in this wonderful fashion.
The reason this is so important is because of the circle of time that is coming around. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine that 2000 years ago, when there was the Holy Temple standing in Jerusalem and the Sages were the authorities of G-d’s word for the whole world, there was a Noahide academy in Jerusalem at the time. That’s where Gentiles came to learn about G-d and to see the holiness of the Temple, and to learn about their obligations in the eyes of G-d and in the eyes of civilization. Certainly there were these types of ceremonies that took place at that time.
Through the difficulties of history, the Jewish people became dispersed and separated. But now, thanks to the Divine Providence in the course of history, we have the freedom of this wonderful country where everyone can respect each other, meet together, and draw on each others’ strengths and wisdom to get back to the type of relationship that G-d really intended – that there should be the light of Torah showing the way for all people.
I hope that the light of Torah will illuminate your home, that it will be a home of kindness, a home of charity, and a home of love and mutual respect between the two of you. Please stay in touch! And thank you.