Noahides and the December Season

The following personal essay was submitted to the website by a pious observer of the 7 Laws of Noah, who wishes to share his insights.

City street in DecemberThis time of year, it can be especially hard for a Noahide who is not living near a supportive community, or who has family members that do not agree with or understand his or her decision to leave the previous religion. I know from my own experience that it’s difficult and can be very lonely at times. But I also noticed that 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 reaching out led me to the answers to my questions and guidance for my study and my 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, but I was fortunate that the local Rabbi and his family were welcoming and supportive. When I have the opportunity to be with like-minded individuals who are gathered for praying and worshiping the One True G-d, it’s a great experience.

We are forbidden to create a new religion, and that makes complete sense to me. As a Noahide, you have to learn and know what precepts from the Torah pertain to you as moral obligations, what things it makes sense for you to pray for, and what things you are optionally allowed to do from among the Jewish commandments for the sake of the practical benefits that they provide.  Your personal prayers can be increased with your own selections from the Psalms and Proverbs, or recommended prayers from reliable sources that have been published for Noahides. I do not take it as an obligation, nor am I creating a new religion for myself. I know that I’m not to follow the ritual laws of the Jewish Sabbath, even though I’ve learned what they are, because that would be creating new commandments for myself. What then can a Noahide do for the Seventh Day (even if you have to work for part of the day at your job)? You can set some extra time aside to pray, study a portion of Torah, and spend quality time with your family and friends. Friday night you can have a festive meal, and you have the option to light candles on the table after sunset to make it a more beautiful dinner. When I do this, I ask G-d that “the light of Your commandments will enlighten the whole world” (quoting from p. 60 in the booklet Prayers for Noahides: Community Services and Personal Worship). I say the traditional blessings before eating the various types of food, and when I’m finished, I say the Noahide grace after the meal.

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. Some of the Jewish holidays have little or no relevance to Noahides, and that’s something for us to know and understand. I encourage every Noahide to read The Divine Code, to understand what is permissible and what is not.  What I am 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 is not usually the case, and 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 7 Noahide Laws in all their details and obligations.

With very best wishes,

Christopher Ben Noach