Noahide Seven Commandments Torah classes
© 2017 by Rabbi Zvi Aviner
Noahide Prayers and Services
“And Noah built an altar”
this class is still edited
It is time to sum up our classes in a practical manner: setting up principles for Noahide prayers and services.
One may approach this in different ways. We’ll follow OUR CLASSES and THE BOOK OF GENESIS.
Let’s recall the road we’ve taken.
The Book of Genesis begins with the story of CREATION, including Adam,
Ending with Joseph, and the Rosh Hashanah, the anniversary of Adam creation (see our last classes).
Thus the cycle closes: The book begins and ends with CREATION.
But on that road we’ve learned few things:
Chapter One tells us that Adam is not made an ideal creature.
Adam is made, rather, TO BE the “Image and Form” that the CREATOR, YHVH ELKM, has had of him in His “Mind.” (Rashi) All creatures are made “good”, but Adam is made to BECOME “Very Good.”
To become Very Good, Adam should satisfy both the Merciful Attribute YHVH and the JUDGE, ELKM.
Adam is made, first of all, in the Image of ELKM, endowed with ELKM’s Wisdom and Self Perception and a Free Will and the ability to judge. Adam can decipher the mysteries of the Universe, invent technology and “rule over.” These talents are a gift from his CREATROR, ELKM.
But these talents would make Adam only “Good” in ELKM eyes. ELKM also carved out a room in Adam’s Heart capable of harboring the MERCY, COMPASSION, FORGIVENESS and HOLINESS of YHVH, something that sets Adam apart from all other creatures made before him.
ELKM is the All Mighty Judge, but He would not create Adam already filled with YHVH in his heart. It would be up to us, to Adam, as individuals and as a species, to INVITE the Merciful YHVH into our heart and dwell in there. It is up to Adam to accept the Merciful YHVH on his life. It is up to us, to Adam, to unite YHVH with ELKM in our hearts so that we would be deemed Very Good by the two Attributes.
Once Adam is deemed Very Good, he’d feel Very Good. Uniting the Bride YHVH with her Groom ELKM would explode his heart with Joy, Warmth, Happiness, and immeasurable holiness. Adam would then be ready to enter the Eternal Sabbath, the next CREATION Day.
Adam is therefore made to grow and achieve Holiness.
For that, the CREATOR, YHVH ELKM, gave him in Eden a set of Six Commandments,
Upon which he would climb day by day, year by year, as an individual and as a species.
Adam would be challenged by these Six, and would be called upon to use them to unit YHVH with ELKM, Mercy with Judgment.
These Six are (I) IDOLATRY (II) ADULTERY (III) BLOODSHED (IV) THEFT (V) INJUSTICE( VI) BLASPHEMY. To reach holiness, Adam would have to abide by the Law and yet implement also Mercy and Compassion.
The fact that these Six were given in Eden imply that each and every person is challenged by them, every minute, day or a year, regardless of his spiritual level and greatness. Moses was challenged by them no differently than other, average peoples.
Ever since his creation, Adam is tested whether or not he has become Very Good. This assessment is done every moment and every day, but especially once a year on Rosh Hashanah. The two Attribute in Oneness judge Adam, each from his or hers perspectives, whether or not their child Adam has improved himself to be Very Good.
If Adam has messed up, he would be eliminated, khalah!
If Adam would excel, he would see the Sabbath, the Bride, the Khalah!
ALL THESE POINTS SHOULD BE ADDRESSED IN NOAHIDE’S PRAYERS
After telling us about Adam creation, the Book of Genesis takes us into an historical journey where Mankind is tested by the Six Commandments one by one.
Adam and Eve failed IDOLATRY and ADULTERY
Then Cain and Abel failed BLOODSHED
Then Noah’s generation failed BLOODSHED and THEFT, CALLED “haa-ma-s”
Then Abraham’s generation stumbled over ORGENIZED THFET , ABDUCTION and SLAVERY
Then Jacob fought for JUSTICE and CIVIL ORDER
Then Jacob’s sons failed BLASPHEMY
Then Judah and Joseph SANCTIFIED G-d’s Name
This long journey of Mankind through the Book of Genesis tells us that our species, as well as the human individuals, is challenged by the Commandments in a predicted way. Once you have failed one commandment, the other would pop up and challenge you.
But let us remember that these Six Commandments were given to Mankind as a vehicle, a ladder on which we can climb up to holiness. We need to EARN our holiness. It would not be given to us as a humiliating free gift.
The evolution of the Commandments
The Book of Genesis starts with the creation of Heavens and Earth
Then to the creation of Adam, as an individual
Then to the ‘forming’ of Adam and Eve in Eden, the first married couple
Then to Cain and Abel, the first nuclear familyon Earth
Then to Noah’s generation and the Flood,
Then to the birth of the Seventy Families of Noah’s Children
Then to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the Children of Israel
Then to Judah and Joseph, the spiritual leaders of Israel
with this, the realm of the Commandments has spread: .
From IDOLATRY that is incumbent on the individual (For what is an idol if not something I adore or enthrone over myself, instead of the true CREATOR?)
To the first family of Adam and Eve, challenged by ADULTERY
To the nuclear family challenged by BLOODSHED
To society, challenged by social Commandments like THEFT, CIVIL ORDER, JUSTICE and BLASPHEMY.
Added commandments .
Moreover, the Commandments evolved through the historical journey and more Commandments were added to the original Six of Eden. Thus
Noah’s struggle against BLOODSHED was enforced by the Rainbow Covenant and the new, Seventh Commandment, prohibiting the consumption of blood and a limb torn from a living animal
Abraham’s struggle against ORGANIZED THEFT was enforced by received the Eighth Commandment, Circumcision, as an emblem of our Master in our flesh
Jacob’s struggle for JUSTICE and CIVIL ORDER was enforced by giving him and his children the ninth Commandment, the sciatic nerve prohibition
Israel’s stance against BLASPHEMY was later enforced by the Ten Commandments of Sinai.
The Book finally tells us that at first, Jacob’s sons committed BLASPHEMY by selling Joseph. The spiritual status of the family declined. But then the family was able to resuscitate themselves spiritually, when Judah and Joseph sanctified YHVH’s Name. The nascent congregation of ten males of Israel became eligible to chant “Holy, Holy, Holy” with the Angels.
Isaiah’s prophecy has colored the topic of SANCTIFICATION. According to him, the Angelic Choir of Seventy Angles, presenting the Seventy Families of the Children of Noah, chants at dawn to EACH OTHER: “Holy, Holy, Holy, the World is full of His Glory.”
Since each Angel chants just one holy, three successive Angles form a cycle, 3 hours long. After three such cycles, at the 9th hour of the new day, the sun rises on Mt. Moriah and the Angelic Choir pauses, waiting for Jacob-Israel to chant “3 holies” from the ground. It was no other than Esau’s Angel that consented to Jacob and gave him this coveted spiritual position.
Isaiah’s vision, has served as the base for our daily service and prayer, since the Temple time. It can also serve Noahides as a platform on which to build their daily services and prayers. Let’s see how.
But first, le’s first observe Israel’s prayer book.
2: Israel’s Prayer Book
Israel’s prayer book has developed over centuries, almost 3500 years. Our liturgy comprises of prayers composed by Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, the Prophets, the Scribes, the Sages of the Talmud, the Middle Age Poets and the Kabalists. What you see in our prayer books today is the liturgy that has withstood the tooth of time.
It is not fair to expect Noahides to form their prayers and services right away. It may take many centuries to develop a prayer book accepted by ALL HUMANITY.
Yet Noahide can shorten the process and derive ideas from Israel’s prayer book.
Israel’s prayer book takes the worshipper into the Holy Temple, like in the past. It allows the worshipper to experience of entering the Holy Temple, walking in its courtyards: first the outer one then the inner one, listen to the Levite Choir’s Psalms, accepting the Kingship of YHVH (HaSheM) ELKM as One, facing with awe the daily offering, culmination by chanting with the Angles.
Even the Synagogue’s structure is designed to make the worshiper feel as if he or she stands in the Temple outer courtyard. Thus, it is built as central large hall for men with balconies on each side for women, as it was in the Temple’s outer courtyard. The raised pulpit at the center is where the Torah scroll is read, as it was in the Temple courtyard. At the front is a double-door gate with several stairs leading up to it. This gate stands for the large double Gate that separated the outer from the inner courtyard. The stairs resemble the 15 stairs on which the Levite Choir used to stand, chanting their Psalms.
The Temple’s daily offerings were done at the Altar that stood in the inner courtyard behind the double door Gate. Today we have no more animal sacrifices, and the Synagogue has no ‘inner courtyard. The space behind the double door is used today to store the Torah scrolls. It actually stands for the Temple’s Holy of Holies chamber, where the Holy Ark once stood.
Nowadays, the animal offering have been replaced by the prayers that used to accompany them. According to the RaMBaM, G-d ordered Israel to offer sacrifices only as a temporary concession, after the sin of the Golden Calf. Mankind, including Israel, was not yet ready for a pure spiritual service, hence the animal offerings. But as G-d told Noah in the Rainbow Covenant, Mankind would mature. Nowadays we no ore need to use animal offering to express our prayers and hopes.
We start our daily service by wrapping ourselves with the four corners prayer shawls, bearing fringes. The shawl endows us with the proper mood and the fringes remind us of the 613 Commandments given to Israel. We then put Tefilin on our hand and head, by which we connect to the Torah.
We proceed with songs that proclaim the 13 basic tenants of Judaism, composed by the RaMBaM. They proclaim Oneness, the truthfulness of Moses’ prophecy, the belief in the coming of the Messiah and the resurrection of the dead. We then bless G-d for being alive and well.
Then we move, in our mind, into the Temple’s outer Courtyard. We recite the same Psalms songs that the Levite Choir used to accompany the worshippers as they moved in.
And as we continue our approach, in our minds, towards the front Gate, we recall Isaiah’s Angelic Choir that chants every morning TO EACH OTHER: “Holy, Holy, Holy, the World is full of His Glory.”
Then, as we approach in our minds the Gate, we wait for Sunrise. At the Holy Temple, the priests used to stand on a tower over that Gate to announce the sunrise on the eastern horizon.
At that point, at sunrise, we recite the Shema, accepting Oneness and the Yoke of YHVH (HaSheM) ELKM’s Kingship.
Now we encounter, in our mind, the inner courtyard with its altar, on which the daily sacrifices were offered. It reminds us the binding of Isaac. We ‘tremble in awe’ before ELKM, like Abraham and Isaac.
Then, standing upright LIKE THE ANGELS ABOVE, we chant from Earth “3 times holy.” This awesome, moving service is accompanied by the Amida, the 18 prayers that express REPENTANCE and a hope for our RESTORATION in the Land of Israel.
By this we resemble Joseph’s ten brothers standing before him, and before G-d, in sincere repentance. Like them, we became ISRAEL.
We then depart from the Temple moving ‘backwards, chanting again the 3 holies LIKE THE ANGLES, ending with a prayer for the end of IDOLATRY, composed by Joshua.
So here are some principles that can inspire Noahide prayers:
3: Noahide Prayers
The daily service comprises of meditating, reading, chanting and requesting. Here are some basic principles that Noahide may adopt:
Principle 1: THE RTRUTHFILNESS OF THE TORAH and MOSES’ PROPHECY.
Without this basic declaration, there is not point to proceed.
Think about Genesis Chapter One, which accurately tell the story of CREATION phase by phase, Day by Day (see our classes.) Ask yourself: Who told the story to Moses? How could he tell, 3500 years ago, that there is an order in CREATION, that some elements or creatures came first and others later? How could he tell a story that does match so well our scientific knowledge? And since the beginning of his Books is so true, so are the rest of his words.
On the first day of the week say:
(1:1)“In the Beginning, ELKM created the Heavens and the Earth.
(1: 2) And the Earth was chaotic and void, and darkness was on the face of the abyss. And the Spirit of ELKM was hovering over the water.
(1: 3) And ELKIM said let it be light, and there was light.
(1: 4) And ELKM saw that it was good and He separated between the light and the darkness.
(1: 5) And LKM called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning, One Day.” (1:5)
Say: and the planet Earth was a GRANIT BALL.
On the Second day of the week say:
1:6) And ELKM said Let it be a firmament in the midst of the Waters, And let it divide Water from Water,
(1:7) And ELKM made the firmament, and He separated the Waters which were underneath the firmament, from the Waters which are above the firmament, and it was so.
(1: 8) And ELKM called the firmament Sky, ShamMayim (“there are the waters”) and there was evening and there was morning, Day Two.
Say: and the planet Earth was like a while, icy ball
On the Third day of the week say:
““(1:9) And ELKM said Let the Water under the Sky be gathered together into one place and let the dry land appear, and it was so.
(1:10) And ELKM called the dry land ground, and to the Water Gathering He called Seas, and ELKM saw that it was good.”
Say: and the first dry continent appeared above the water
Then continue saying:
“(1:11) And ELKM said let the Earth bring forth grass, herb yielding SEED and fruit trees yielding fruits after its kind whose SEEDS is in itself, upon the Earth, and it was so.
(1:12) And the Earth brought forth grass, herb yielding SEEDS after its kind, and trees yielding fruits whose SEEDS was in itself after its kinds. And ELKM saw that it was good.
(1:13) And there was evening and there was morning, Day Three.
Say: And ELKM conducted the Garden of Eden trial, and decided to plant an Adam on Earth. He first planted the seed of life on Earth, from which vegetation grew: grass, shrubs, trees and thick forest.
On the Fourth day of the week say:
“(1:14) And ELKM said let there be luminaries in the firmament of the Sky to divide the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons and for the days and years.
(1:15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the sky to give light upon the Earth, and it was so.
(1:16) And ELKM made the two great luminaries, the Greater luminary to rule the day, and the smaller luminary to rule the night, and the stars also.
(1:17) And ELKM placed them in the firmament of the Sky to give light upon Earth.
(1:18) And to rule over the day, and over the night, and to divide the Light from the Darkness. And ELKM saw that it was Good.
(1:19) And it was evening and it was morning, a Fourth Day
Say: And ELKM stabilized the Earth so that seasons and tides were established and calendars could be written
On the Fifth day of the week say:
(1:20) And ELKM said, let the water swarm abundantly with moving creatures that have life, and let birds fly above the Earth in the firmament of the sky.
(1: 21) And ELKMM created the great Crocodiles…
(1: 22) And ELKM saw that it was good, and there was eveing and there was morning, Day Fifth
Say: And mobile life appeared first in the water, then flying in the sky, then invading the dry land.
On the Sixth Day of the week say:
“(1:24) And ELKM said let the Earth bring forth living creatures after their kind,
Cattle and Creeping things and Beast of the Earth after their kind,
and everything that Creeps on Earth after their kind, and it was so.
(1:25) And ELKM made the Beasts of the land to its kind, and the Cattle after their kind,
and everything that creeps on the Earth after their kind. And ELoHiM saw that it was good.
And ELKM said let us make Adam in our form and our image.”
Say: And the earth saw cattle like, then beast like and then crawling creatures that ruled our planet. Then Man appeared on Earth, to become Very Good and lead our world to the Sabbath.
Principle 2: G-D REVELASTION ON SINAI IS TRUE
We, modern Man, are skeptic when dealing with supra natural revelations. We believe in rational, logical, real staff. Who knows what really happened so many years ago on Sinai? Who knows the truth about the Exodus?
The RaMBaM, 900 years ago, posed this question. The only ‘proof’ we have about the validity of the Torah, he says, is the Torah itself. Its wisdom and positive impact on humanity speaks for itself.
But there are other arguments for the validity of the Torah. Take the Bible computer code, for instance. It serves as a proof that the five books were written by one author. Just change ONE LETTER, and the code is interrupted and disrupted. It was given not ot one man, but to 600,000 people watching. The more we unravel archeological findings, the more we see the accuracy of the Torah’s narrative.
Principle 3: The central role of Israel
G-d sought to give the Torah to whoever accepts it and abides by it. At the time of the Exodus, only one nation accepted it: Israel. Hence Israel is the Firstborn Nation among the Seventy Families of Noah’s Nations. Israel is a Kingdom of priests, a holy nation, the teacher of the Torah to all nations.
But this does NOT imply that Israel is somehow a super human.
If Israel is the ‘priest,’ the rest of humanity is G-d Holy Congregation.
Who is more important, the priest or the congregation?
There is no priest without a congregation; and there is no congregation without the priest.
Principle 4: ISRAEL DWELLS IN THE HOLY LAND, NOAHIDES FILL THE WORLD
The Land of Israel is central to the Jewish faith. Israel is expected, commanded, to dwell in the Holy Land. The connection between Israel and the Holy Land is inseparable.
For thousands of years the Holy Land was occupied by other peoples, yet the land was desolated, and the people living on it produced no important spiritual work.
In sharp contrast, the Jewish people produced, while living in the Holy Land, monumental spiritual works unparalleled in human history. They produced the Bible, Mishnah, Talmud and Kabalah, the source of inspirations to all other monotheistic religions.
Should Noahide too aspire to live in the Holy Land? We can derive the answer from Yithro, Moses’ father in law, the first Noahide. After visiting the camp of Israel in the wilderness, Moses asks him ‘to come along “and be our eyes in the desert.” Yitho did stay with Moses for a while, then returned to “his place.”
Hence Noahide support Israel, like Yithro, and can be “eyes in the wilderness.” Yet Noahide may return home, anywhere. Becoming a Noahide would not cause one to forsake his national identity. A Chinese Noahide remains Chinese, a Mexican Noahide remains Mexican. This is unlike the Jewish people that,are loyal citizen of their perspective countries, yet spiritually belong to the nation of Israel. When Ruth the Moabite joined Israel she said to her mother in law: “Your nation is my nation, and your G-d is my G-d.”
In his time, Yithro comprised the ‘seventh camp’ surrounding the Holy Ark (see our classes.) as such he was a single person. In the future, however, Yithro’s camp will swell to contain the entire humanity.
Principle 5: NOAHIDE PRAY ON THREE OCCASIONS:
One may pray anytime, anywhere, alone or in a congregation. One may pray in his own language or in Hebrew, if he understand that holy language.
But from our classes you can derive that Noahides should pray on at least 3 occasions:
1. Daily prayer throughout the year
2. On Friday evening before the Sabbath. This is the time when Adam and Eve were made. It is the time to reflect on the way Adam was made, the purpose of our being here, the goal of our trials, how we can win our trial and be Very Good.
3. On Rosh Hashanah, the annual anniversary of Adam creation. On that awesome day, ELKM ascends again on the Throne of Justice and judges the entire world whether or not it has become Very Good. )
Principle 6: THE COMMANDMENTS WERE GIVEN TO US AS A LADDER TO CLIMB UP TO HOLINESS
Noahide should give thanks to God for having given the Seven Commandments of Noah, that can serve as Jacob’s Ladder on which we climb to holiness.
Principle7: THE PRAYER HALL
Should Noahide prayer hall resemble the Holy Temple like Israel?
Should it resemble somehow the pyramidal shape of Noah’s Ark?
Noahide should decide this on their own.
Principle8: PRAYER SHAWL .
Noahide can wrap themselves with a prayer shawl, colored with Seven Rainbow Colors.
The Talmud relates the Prayer Shawl to Noah’s sons, as it is said:
“And Shem and Yeffet took the blanket, and they places it on both of their shoulders
And they went backwards and covered the nakedness of their father”
Noahides can recite these words while placing the shawl on their shoulders.
Let’s note that the shawls should carry no fringes, to avoid confusion with Israel’s shawls.
Principle 8: BLESSINGS: .
Noahides rely on Abraham, as it is said:
“And all the families of Earth would be blessed IN you…”
Principle 10: OFFERINGS IN THE TMEPLE
Noahides are involved, in principle, in the offerings.
It was Noah, after all, who was the first to offer burnt offering on Mt. Moriah, as it says:
“And Noah built an altar to YHVH (The Name) and he offered burnt offerings”
Indeed, Gentiles used to bring burnt offerings to the Temple.
Moreover, the shape of Noah’s altar became the prototype for all kosher altars after him: a square of stones filled by dirt, with a ramp leading on the southern flank.
Thus Moses, King Solomon and Ezra the Scribe built their altars after Noah.
Moreover, Noah’s silent prayer on Mt. Moriah was the first silent prayer to accompany burnt offering. Hence meditation and silent stance before G-d is very much in Nohaide tradition.
Moreover, Noah was the first to aspire to change both the Heavenly Court’s heart, as well as the human heart, by his offering. Noah was the first to pray for more MERCY and less harsh JUDGMENT.
Principle 11: The Temple was open for all peoples
When King Solomon dedicated the Holy Temple, he said:
“And Solomon stood before the Altar, and he raised his hands towards heavens and he said….
Will ELKM indeed sit on Earth, whereas behold, the Heavens, and the Heavens of Heavens, cannot contain you? Would this building that I have built?
Consider therefore the prayer of your servant and to his supplications, Oh, YHVH my ELKM
To hearken to the cry and to the prayer that your servant prays to you today
that your eyes may be open towards this house night and day, towards the place of which you have said
And you will hear and forgive…
“And moreover, also the stranger who is not one of your people Israel
Who will come from a far away land for your name, And will come to pray towards this house
Him you shall hear from your dwelling Place in Heavens and you shall do whatever the stranger would ask….” (Kings 1, 8: 23-54)
King Solomon dedicated the Temple to all peoples, to whoever wishes to come a pray.
The Prophet Zechariah says the same;
“For my home shall be a house of prayer, to all peoples”
Noahide too may enter the Temple in their minds, listen to the Levite Choir chanting, accept Oneness and the Yoke of G-d Kingdom, along with Israel.
Principle 12: HOLINESS
Noahide’s choir can chant at dawn, along with the seventy Angles:
“Holy Holy, Holy, the world is full of His Glory.”
Three persons chant 3 Holies in harmony, comprising a cycle. After three such cycles the choir pauses. Now they can chant “LIKE ISRAEL” 3 holies from the ground.
Principle 13: READINGS
Like Israel, Noahide prayers should be supplemented by readings from the Torah. Here are some examples:
1. Reading the Heavenly Court’s discussion before the Flood (see our classes)
2. Reading the Rainbow Covenant
3. Reading from the prophecy of Bilaam about the Messiah (see our classes.)
These are just a few suggestions.
Friday evening Prayers and Rosh Hashanah deserve a separate discussion.
END OF CLASS