I have detailed in previous posts about the problems with the Noahide movement. In this post, I will offer a solution.
In order to regain control of the Noahide movement, to wrest authority from the rabbis who have turned it into a Jewish sect (or, in the case of the gerrings, a cult), we need to first establish a paradigm for the Noahide Code.
First of all, we need to understand that every man, woman and child who is not Jewish (according to halakha) is a Noahide. That means that every non-Jew is under the Noahide Law whether they accept it or not. This means the issue is not conversion but teshuvah. You don’t have to walk down the aisle and shake the rabbi’s hand to become a Noahide. You already are a Noahide.
The Noahide Law is a moral and legal code. Since the Noahide prohibition of idolatry is based on the mitzvah to believe in no divinity but God [Shemos 20:3], the Noahide Law is neither a religion nor the basis for religion. There are no positive commandments for prayer, sacrifice, keeping kosher, Yom Tov or any other religious observances associated with Israel’s service to Hashem. Most importantly, there is no positive commandment for a non-Jew (Noahide) to “believe in God.” This means that the key to becoming a frum Noahide is not belief but observance.
The Noahide Law is meant to be all-inclusive. This means that the Noahide Code must be adaptable and accessible to every society and every culture, while on the individual level it should appeal to everyone from the most spiritual God-fearer to the most hard-boiled atheist. Up to now, the Noahide Law has been confined to a narrow demographic. The target audience has been those coming out of organized religion, primarily evangelistic ex-Christians. This approach is wrong, and it has crippled the growth of acceptance and availability of the Noahide Law.
According to the Talmud [Chullim 33a] as well as certain rabbinic authorities such as Ramban— “[The Noahide Law should be] comparable to the civil laws about which Israel was commanded,” (Ramban’s commentary to Bereishis 34:13)—the Noahide law is not to be as strict or exact as Jewish law.
The details of the Noahide Law are to be worked out by the Noahides themselves, not the rabbis. “Non-Jews have to learn Torah and they cannot rely on asking Jews questions about each and every detail what to do, especially since there is no assumption that a Jew will know all the details of the seven Bnei Noah commandments for there are a number of differences and modifications concerning their own obligations.”—Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, Kol Baye Olam. [taken from Elisheva Barre’s Torah for Gentiles.] Also, “דּרכים are the main roads and ארחות are its branches…the nations will say, ‘Although we have only been taught the דּרכים — the fundamentals of the religion—nevertheless we will strive to learn its details on our own—בּארחתיו ונלכה)'”—Malbim, Isaiah 2:3). Stavsky, Trei Asar, Vol. II, 29. What this means is that detailed books about Noahide “prayers” and Noahide “Shulchan Aruchs” are misguided attempts to develop the Noahide Law into a religious sect of Judaism.
Since the Noahide Law is not a religion, and since it is not to be as strict or as exact as Jewish Law, and since Noahides are supposed to work out the details themselves, the only logical recourse is to develop the Noahide Code as a philosophy.
Reformatting the Noahide Code as a philosophy has many advantages. For starters, as an all-inclusive philosophy, it would be the antithesis of Judaism; it would preclude interference from the rabbis and revert control to the Noahides where it belongs. As a philosophy instead of a strict halakhic system, the Noahide Code would be more flexible to the many different cultures and individuals. As a “secular” (i.e., non-religious) Torah-based philosophy, it would provide a viable alternative to the divisive philosophies of religion and scientism which have been the source of so much umbrage and angst in Western culture.
The one caveat is that it would be a Torah-based philosophy, unlike any existing Western or Eastern philosophies. The scope of this philosophy will cover all seven areas of Noahide Law. It would be a guide to not only individual behavior, but encompassing fields such as government, law, economics, marriage and the environment.
Although it is a Torah-based philosophy grounded on the Seven Laws, it is going to break with current Noahide tradition. It will not be about “belief,” or any religious doctrine as Noahide Law has been presented in the past. Even the name of this philosophy will not reference the term “Noahide.”
This philosophy is not simply an abstract concept, but a labor of love and duty which I have been developing for the past few years. It is a new awakening of the truths of the Torah molded into a philosophy which will be accessable to all.