It has come to my attention that you have plans to visit the Holy Land in the coming days. If this is still the case, I would like to wish you a safe and enjoyable trip.
As King David writes, “Man’s steps are established by God.” This is true for every detail of every private person’s life, but becomes immensely more significant for those whose lives have proven to be of crucial influence on the overall history of mankind. It is for this reason that I am writing to you today.
Ours is the first generation in modern times to understand the truly universal human condition and to seek to bring all peoples of the earth together in peace and harmony. We are the first generation to understand that we are faced with the choice of either inhabiting our planet harmoniously or not inhabiting at all, God forbid. Filling our future is the fundamentalism that threatens to pit one religion against another. But our different relationships and understandings of God should not be the reason for conflict but the source of goodwill in building our relationships with one another and our ability to understand others.
The covenant with the Jewish people was not the first made between the Almighty and mankind. Before the revelation at Mt. Sinai, God commanded Adam and then made a covenant with Noah, giving them the guidelines for the universal religion of mankind. The most well-known part of this covenant is the seven universal commandments, or the Seven Noahide Laws. For this reason, Judaism and Jews do not proselytize, but rather seek to guide the nations of the world in developing their own relationship with the Almighty and implementing these potentially unifying laws of basic human nature.
In our times, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson brought the Laws of Bnei Noach to the forefront of our efforts to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the Jewish people and the entire world. Time and again, the Rebbe explained that the world is ready to accept responsibility for these laws and to renew the covenant made between Noah and the Almighty after the Flood, as recounted in Genesis.
The Noahide Laws are not a religion. Rather, they are the framework for creating a better world, a better humanity, based on the bond that every human being can enjoy with his or her Creator.
In 1991, US Congress officially recognized the Noahide Laws as part of joint resolution to designate an annual Education Day in tribute to Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson.
To quote Public Law 102-14:
- Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded;
- Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws;
- Whereas without these ethical values and principles the edifice of civilization stands in serious peril of returning to chaos;
- Whereas society is profoundly concerned with the recent weakening of these principles that has resulted in crises that beleaguer and threaten the fabric of civilized society;
- Whereas the justified preoccupation with these crises must not let the citizens of this Nation lose sight of their responsibility to transmit these historical ethical values from our distinguished past to the generations of the future…
What do we learn from the above? That the answer to the present-day conflicts date back to Adam, and in recent times, the joint resolution by the 102nd Congress.
God is waiting for the Jewish people to become the teachers to the nations, what Prophet Isaiah called a “light to the nations.” This is what will return the world from the present-day darkness of hatred and terrorism. God is waiting for the nations of the world to observe the Noahide Laws, and benefit from the light of the Torah—the Five Books of Moses, Prophets, Writings, and so forth.
This is the call of the hour. Now is the time to both stand strong in face of darkness and redouble our efforts to spread light.
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh