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A Light unto the Nations


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#1 adiel

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:51 PM

i've always wondered: what is supposed to be our role with the nations of the world?

doesn't the concept of a 'light unto the nations' imply that some of our activities are meant to show the world how to do the things they're supposed to do like the 7 Noachide laws and connecting with God.

how is the world supposed to know about god and that their responsibility is just the mitzvos bnei noach? there are people who think that 'honoring their mother and father' and 'keeping the sabbath' applies to them.

it makes sense that part of our responsibility is to teach the world about god. and i'm not talking about converting people to judaism. i'm talking about teaching them how to stay non-jewish and worship god (believe it or not but yiddishkeit says that the righteous of all nations can get reward - not just the jews). so why don't a group of jews form some sort of classes to teach the world about god and the 7 noachide laws. maybe it'll prevent some more morons from starting a new religion.

make sense?
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

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#2 RebPropagandist

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:55 PM

Maybe if you didn't have this http://www.hashkafah...Jew-t61889.html going on, you'd have an easier time convincing people that you have light to offer them.
"Shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787

"How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
- From 1984
שויתי יהוה לנגדי תמיד
Sentimentality is the emotional promiscuity of those who have no sentiment.---Norman Mailer

#3 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 01:56 PM

i've always wondered: what is supposed to be our role with the nations of the world?

doesn't the concept of a 'light unto the nations' imply that some of our activities are meant to show the world how to do the things they're supposed to do like the 7 Noachide laws and connecting with God.

how is the world supposed to know about god and that their responsibility is just the mitzvos bnei noach? there are people who think that 'honoring their mother and father' and 'keeping the sabbath' applies to them.

it makes sense that part of our responsibility is to teach the world about god. and i'm not talking about converting people to judaism. i'm talking about teaching them how to stay non-jewish and worship god (believe it or not but yiddishkeit says that the righteous of all nations can get reward - not just the jews). so why don't a group of jews form some sort of classes to teach the world about god and the 7 noachide laws. maybe it'll prevent some more morons from starting a new religion.

make sense?

the rebbe mh"m shlita issued a directive to his chassidim to get out there and teach the gentiles about their seven laws. one of the primary objections to this practice was that nowhere do we find that this was previously viewed as a meritorious act. personally, i think it was in keeping with his role as moshiach, charged with perfecting all mankind. but for you unbelievers out there, we dont find such a mitzvah, nor is 'or lagoyim' a mitzva, but rather a concept which we fulfill by acting correctly and proclaiming by our actions that there is a Judge and judgment.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#4 adiel

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:04 PM

Maybe if you didn't have this http://www.hashkafah...Jew-t61889.html going on, you'd have an easier time convincing people that you have light to offer them.

there are a billion reasons why we shouldnt do it including the recent scandals etc. but it still needs to get done.

the rebbe mh"m shlita issued a directive to his chassidim to get out there and teach the gentiles about their seven laws. one of the primary objections to this practice was that nowhere do we find that this was previously viewed as a meritorious act. personally, i think it was in keeping with his role as moshiach, charged with perfecting all mankind. but for you unbelievers out there, we dont find such a mitzvah, nor is 'or lagoyim' a mitzva, but rather a concept which we fulfill by acting correctly and proclaiming by our actions that there is a Judge and judgment.

our actions have done bubkus for the last few thousand years in terms of educating the nations. maybe it's time for a different tactic?
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#5 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:05 PM

there are a billion reasons why we shouldnt do it including the recent scandals etc. but it still needs to get done.


our actions have done bubkus for the last few thousand years in terms of educating the nations. maybe it's time for a different tactic?

"ours is not to question why, ours is just to do - and die".
we are not responsible for results, only for efforts.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#6 adiel

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:09 PM

"ours is not to question why, ours is just to do - and die".

thats like the ultimate Xtian quote. yiddishkeit is all about trying to understand the 'ways' and 'no question is a stupid question'. just doing what you're told and not asking is blind faith - which is not a tenet of yiddishkeit.
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#7 sephardic-male

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:10 PM

how do jews expected to be "the light onto the world" when they cannot live thier lives without rules and instructions for thier rabbis. the gentile world will not look up to specific type people who cannot think for themselves and let the rabbis do all the thinking for them
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#8 RebPropagandist

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:11 PM

thats like the ultimate Xtian quote. yiddishkeit is all about trying to understand the 'ways' and 'no question is a stupid question'. just doing what you're told and not asking is blind faith - which is not a tenet of yiddishkeit.

blind faith is not a tenet of yiddishkite? lmao!
"Shake off all the fears and servile prejudices under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear." --Thomas Jefferson to Peter Carr, 1787

"How could you have a slogan like "freedom is slavery" when the concept of freedom has been abolished? The whole climate of thought will be different. In fact there will be no thought, as we understand it now. Orthodoxy means not thinking—not needing to think. Orthodoxy is unconsciousness."
- From 1984
שויתי יהוה לנגדי תמיד
Sentimentality is the emotional promiscuity of those who have no sentiment.---Norman Mailer

#9 adiel

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:12 PM

how do jews expected to be "the light onto the world" when they cannot live thier lives without rules and instructions for thier rabbis. the gentile world will not look up to specific type people who cannot think for themselves and let the rabbis do all the thinking for them

good point. but it doesn't disqualify the idea.

blind faith is not a tenet of yiddishkite? lmao!

good morning.
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#10 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:15 PM

thats like the ultimate Xtian quote. yiddishkeit is all about trying to understand the 'ways' and 'no question is a stupid question'. just doing what you're told and not asking is blind faith - which is not a tenet of yiddishkeit.

you misunderstood - i am not against asking questions (the quote was a poor one, i'll grant you that)). but judaism is also not about results - our job is to do what Hashem instructed us to do, not to worry about whether that is bringing the world to its Ultimate Tikkun or not. for instance, prior to matan Torah yaakov married two sisters, despite the fact that the Torah forbids this, and the ovos kept the entire Torah. (for the purposes of making my point i will ignore the dissenting opinions) one reason for this is that he perceived, through his great kedusha, that the purposes of G-d would be better served by marrying both rochel and leah than by keeping this mitzvo. this is called an aveiro lishmoh. however,m rav chaim volozhiner (and others) tell us that after matan Torah an aveiro lishmoh is no longer permitted (yael notwithstanding - i dont have the answer to that one at the moment). since Hashem gave us clear directives about what to do and what not to do, we are no longer permitted to make our own calculations for "the greater good" (see what that did to grindelwald?) or the like. we have to follow His instructions - not blindly, we may ask, or be dismayed, or the like, but follow we must, come hell or high water.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#11 adiel

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:20 PM

i hear your point. but the concept of a 'light unto the nations' doesn't mean a mitzvah to go teach the goyim - but maybe it should be done because that's a role we must play.
We are the music makers , and we are the dreamers of the dreams. - Willy Wonka

What the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill

Frumkeit without Mentchlichkeit is not Yiddishkeit!

#12 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:22 PM

i hear your point. but the concept of a 'light unto the nations' doesn't mean a mitzvah to go teach the goyim - but maybe it should be done because that's a role we must play.

exactly - it is not a mitzvah at all, merely a conceptual role. therefore, we should focus on mitzvo observance before trying vague undefined role-playing.
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#13 Sweet

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:23 PM

Where does the light unto the nations come from? Yerachmiel Begun?
The world has too many stupid people who are full of confidence, and smart people who are full of self-doubt.

#14 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:26 PM

Where does the light unto the nations come from? Yerachmiel Begun?

:lol: it predates him, but i have indeed been unable to find an early (chazal, rishon) source for it.

(back in my long lost innocent childhood, this song was one of many proofs that yerachmiel begun is a closet messianic jew - can the beauty of Our Son find the good in everyone)
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#15 Savannah

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:41 PM

Where does the light unto the nations come from? Yerachmiel Begun?

Yeshayahu 42:6

#16 Snag

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 02:50 PM

Yeshayahu 42:6

thank you for the source.
now, rashi there explains that "goyim" refers to the different tribes of israel as in goy uk'hal goyim yihye mimeko.
the metzudos understands it to mean gentiles, but applies it only to showing them that G-d is the Lord. which, arguably, has already been mostly accomplished by the fact that the vast majority of the western world believes in the One G-d. (i think there is even a rambam to that effect, saying that christianity and islam are good things, because they brought to the world awareness of the One G-d.)
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#17 Monte Cristo

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Posted 06 August 2009 - 05:25 PM

I've wondered what exactly that meant. Practical factors like the fact that some people are atheists or don't care about religion or have different idea's about what's good and evil complicate the idea that our actions are supposed to have an impact on people (how can you get someone with a different definition of what's moral to "see the light"?). I did read an interesting article on the obligation to teach non-Jews the seven mitzvot, if I remember correctly the conclusion was that it's tough to determine when we should or shouldn't do so.
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#18 Shemmy

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 09:51 AM

thank you for the source.
now, rashi there explains that "goyim" refers to the different tribes of israel as in goy uk'hal goyim yihye mimeko.
the metzudos understands it to mean gentiles, but applies it only to showing them that G-d is the Lord. which, arguably, has already been mostly accomplished by the fact that the vast majority of the western world believes in the One G-d. (i think there is even a rambam to that effect, saying that christianity and islam are good things, because they brought to the world awareness of the One G-d.)


And how does Rashi's interpretation jibe with the passage in Zechariah which states that "in those days, ten men from among the nations will take hold of the corner of a garment of one Jew (etc)?" I'm sure you could similarly contort that one to say it refers to other Israelites, but then you'd have to address the question of "the lost tribes."

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#19 Snag

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:08 AM

And how does Rashi's interpretation jibe with the passage in Zechariah which states that "in those days, ten men from among the nations will take hold of the corner of a garment of one Jew (etc)?" I'm sure you could similarly contort that one to say it refers to other Israelites, but then you'd have to address the question of "the lost tribes."

i object to the implication that rashi's interpretation involves contortion of the text.

i dont know tanach well enough to adress your question, as i proved quite conclusively the last time you brought up that text. :pardon:
"Spiritual wants and instincts are as various in the human family as are physical appetites, complexions, and features, and a man is only at his best, morally, when he is equipped with the religious garment whose color and shape and size most nicely accommodate themselves to the spiritual complexion, angularities, and stature of the individual who wears it."

"The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government. An earthly despotism would be the absolutely perfect earthly government, if the conditions were the same; namely, the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual. But as a perishable perfect man must die, and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible."

-Mark Twain

#20 Shemmy

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 10:09 AM

i dont know tanach well enough to adress your question, as i proved quite conclusively the last time you brought up that text. :pardon:


The perfect segue to a critique of the education Jewish boys and men get ;)

Israelite by birth, Hebrew by adoption, Jewish by conversion

Hagebbir Shemaria Israel bar Abraham de Israel





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