The rabbis have been exercising their authority over Noahides for many years now, telling Noahides what they can and cannot do. And Noahides think, Gee, they’re RABBIS!! They know more about the Torah than we do! We should obey them! But there’s a catch to their authority.
Here’s the catch:
Both Raavad and Ramban were of the opinion that Israel cannot enforce the Noahide Law upon neighboring nations that Israel conquers militarily, let alone Gentile nations over which it has no control (cf. Raavad on Malachim 6:1 and Issura Beah 12:7–8; Ramban’s commentary on Bereishis 26:5, Devirim 20:1, 11; Tosafot Avoda Zara 26b).
Basically, what both Raavad and Ramban are saying is that the rabbis have zero authority over Noahides outside of the Land of Israel. That’s right: zero authority. Zilch. And remember! “The Raavad is the halakha .”
So if the Rye-vid makes it clear that the rabbis do not have the authority to tell Noahides what to do, why are rabbis such as David Katz so hell-bent on doing just that, and using Raavad as an authority to do so?
The hubris of this attitude can be seen in a recent post by none other than Katz himself.
Rabbi Katz’s post 9/2/16
I received a comment that contained the following quote: “But, one must consider that a yeshiva student is in yeshiva specifically to learn the languages and the sources in their original context.” My response is, a) I was in yeshiva for over a decade, point is self-explanatory b) to what end is one to learn the languages and the sources in their original context? Some who are in the translating field take their Hebrew scholarship and plug it into a sub-par English domain, while others educate from the original playing field. While it has become socially acceptable to turn Torah text into vulgar essays, I have chosen to educate and inform the masses about the Hebrew Torah text in its preserved state. Artscroll is a crutch to the rookie in town, but to the Torah Scholar it is of detriment, and would be seen as shoddy scholarship if a top scholar relied on an Artscroll translation to prove a point. Not because of a crutch or social stigma, but rather because Torah scholars are able to read the cover of an Artscroll Talmud which says ‘as an aide to Torah Study’ realizing it does not say as a ‘replacement’ [theology] for Torah Study. English simply is not a replacement of Loshon Hakodesh on any level. It isn’t Holy Tongue, and it will always create a ‘miyut’ [this or that] as opposed to an encapsulation of ‘ribui’ [inclusion as opposed to exclusion] the Torah concept that says any ‘thing’ can have multiple meanings simultaneously. In closing per force, I am not of the online group seeking to simply make Torah available for an English Speaking Public, i.e. an internet mixed multitude, rather what I teach is a part of an online global Yeshiva Community to which I seek to educate with the above quoted dictum: “a yeshiva student is in yeshiva specifically to learn the languages and the sources in their original context.” Thus anyone wishing to argue on point, should then by logical right engage on the language appropriate level. To remain in an English playing field is to enter into what the rabbis call ‘Lefi Pshuto’ whereas to discuss and educate Torah in the languages and the sources in their original context is to think and speak in the realm of the true sages in a pure state i.e. one not of a vulgar backdrop. Let me be perfectly clear: I engage in the subtleties of Torah and its text, as opposed to the obvious, simple, and limited contrived English-rendered understanding derived from vulgar text. To encapsulate this ideology with a mushel, ‘one should realize that Rav Kahane speaks about ger b stam with a kavannah to a ger tzedek lefi pshuto in a context of Bava Metzia 58 in reference to do not taunt the ger, to which Rav Kahane quotes the Talmud by stating that even a Baal Teshuva under these conditions is considered a ger by halacha. Not a non-Jewish ger or even a convert, but a Jewish ger, to which the Chumash calls Jews on their own Land, Gerim [to Hashem]. This is an exclusion to all other types of Ger, namely the ger in your gates, to which Rav Kahane did not speak of in those earlier passages for the context simply did not necessitate it per force. Thus there are many types of ger, not just ger b stam, there are numerous meanings of ger toshav, ger tzedek, ger etc. Each mention of Ger has its own playing field. The convert ger has its domain, non-jewish ger such as the ger who we give the meat to has its own domain. Rav Kahane focused on ger in at least 3 playing fields as we have seen: convert, slave, and ger toshav. There are many many more levels of ger that one can discuss in a Torah discussion. I have chosen to educate about one certain type of ger, and this doesn’t cancel out any other type of ger. They all exist, and they exist simultaneously [where appropriate]. In strict English this would be nearly impossible to convey, but when keeping in mind of the original language and context, a broader, truer scope of Torah can be revealed in communicative loshon. In Rav Kahane’s clear Hebrew text this is all 100% apparent, highlighted by his pitch perfect usage in context of the famous ritva shita concerning the 3 types of non-Jews. This ideology exists in a broader ideological code employed by all Torah sages, for this sugia is integral to understanding pshat in a vast amount of Torah discussions. I understand that Rav Kahane chose to emphasise a particular ger crowd, as do I, as do all rabbis per force. This does not constitute an innate exclusion of all other sub-types of the discussion. Again, this is all too clear in the Hebrew, and it is not the role, goal, or function of an English essay to do as such. This methodology is what a rabbi learns in Yeshiva and in Kollel. And in fact, let me be even more specific: A Kollel Avreich doesn’t use Artscroll under the same terms of a yeshiva buchor – as a crutch, but rather as the reason I listed above, being that it is not accurate under the conditions necessary for deeper Talmud Torah. I represent the Kollel mindset, and perhaps it is a more clear and appropriate term when explaining exactly what my intention and focus is geared towards. The layman has no reason [or excuse] to be excused from Kollel academics in Torah. There simply hasn’t been much of a precedent set in this area of expertise globally, and as an internet theme, this could be seen as potentially ground-breaking. In closing, the message is that although lefi pshuto and simple and obvious understanding playing fields exist [a la Artscroll] one must understand that an unequal and deeper playing field of understanding [simultaneously] exists. Both are ever-present and necessary. There are those who wish to reveal and educate the simple and obvious natures of Torah text through religious reiterations of Lefi Pshuto, but it is my cheshek to reveal to Torah students the deeper aspects of Torah learning that are not simple and obvious, but rather brought to life through intense Torah study under applications of the Holy and original tongue through proper context. Shabbat Shalom.
So what exactly has Katz been doing with his “expertise” and superior wisdom and knowledge? He’s been teaching Noahides to keep Shabbat, about prayer, about kabbalah and everything except the Noahide Law. What he is teaching is Judaism. Katz, like so many other rabbis who are trying to run the Noahide movement, simply doesn’t get it. As the Rye-vid explained, the rabbis have no authority over Noahides in their own sovereign lands. The Noahide law isn’t about religion. It’s not about Judaism. It’s not supposed to be as strict or exact as Jewish law in any way, shape or form. Detailed analysis of the Hebrew is unnecessary.
The rabbis have overstepped their bounds with Noahides. They’ve gone way beyond teaching Noahides the fundamentals of the Noahide Law. The rabbis are not only filling the Noahide’s heads with stuff that doesn’t apply to Noahide Law, they are telling Noahides, with excruciating detail, how to keep it.