How request Pledge?

How specifically to apply for the Declaration, how is its adoption?

Answer: We have compiled a short questionnaire for those who want to make a declaration, it is located here. After you fill out the questionnaire, we, in agreement with you, set the date for Beit Din, which today takes place through a video conference (technically, using the Zoom program).

During Beit Din, you read out the text of the Pledge (Declaration), and Beat Din confirms that you have accepted this declaration from you, then fills and signs the form about it, and sends it to you for signature, after your signature the form is returned to us.

From now on, you are “Ben Noah officially declaring his status.”

Download Beit Dean Candidate Declaration for Bnei Noah.

If you still have questions about the Beit Dean procedure, please contact the Beit Dean coordinator for Bnei Noah Nehama Simanovich.

Is any preparation necessary for the adoption of the Pledge?

Question: Is any preparation necessary for the adoption of the Pledge, is there a necessary minimum of what a person must study before making the Pledge?

Answer: Of course, a person must understand what he declares, understand about the Torah and Jewish tradition, understand what obligations he takes upon himself. Halakha leaves all these questions to the discretion of a specific Beth Dean, and so far there is no generally accepted opinion on the issue of “necessary minimum of studies”. We proceed from the fact that today, at the initial stage of the Bnei Noah movement, when only people who have passed a long period of their own reflection and reflection join it, all the candidates know the basic ideas of Judaism and the concept of Bnei Noah; However, in the future, perhaps, such a minimum will need to be formalized. We recommend that you get acquainted: with the special section ‘7 Commandments’ – http://www.britolam.ru/7-zapovedej/ with the materials of the article ‘What is the religion of Bnei Noah?’ – http://www.britolam.ru/religiya-bnei-noah/

The necessity of a Jewish religious court (Beth Din) for the Bnei Noah Pledge

Question:

Should the Bnei Noah Pledge be adopted by a Jewish religious court (Beth Din) or the Noahid community can organize their own Beth Din?

Answer: 

According to Maimonides, the recognition of Ben Noah by the Jewish Beth Din is necessary. But in the Jewish tradition, there is another opinion, according to which the Jewish Beth Din is necessary only for those Bnei Noah who accept this status in the Land of Israel. For Ben Noah’s official status in other countries the Bnei Noah court will be enaugh (i.e. acceptance the the Bnei Noah plege before three Bnei Noah). In our opinion, in the initial stage of the development of the Bnei Noah movement, which takes place today, the Jewish Beth Din is preferable, especially since today it can be done via telecommunications, without a long journey.

This is especially important due the fact that a convertation to Bnei Noah means not just an obligation to observe the Seven Commandments, but connection to the entire Jewish tradition – and therefore contact with living representatives of the Torah and the people of Israel is very important.

Official recognition a person as the Ben Noah

Question:

Why the official recognition a person as the Ben Noah is obligatory (i.e. “The Pledge of Bnei Noah” in the face of the Beth Din – the Jewish religious court)? To my mind,  an observe 7 Commandments, have a belief in the heart, love for neighbors and perform good for people are more important. Why such formal action as the Pledge is nessasary? As for me, it will be an external form that is not relevant.

Answer:

Your question are so important — especially for people who are used to thinking critically all their lives, who are individualists in their lifestyle and avoid all things in what “officialdom”  can appear.

No doubt, the observe Commandments, a belief in the heart, love for neighbors and perform good for people are the most important. But “to be the most important” does not mean that nothing else is needed. That’s why we believe that “The Pledge of Bnei Noah” is very important – in the personal plan, and in the social status of the person, and in his influence on the world.

Namely:

1.The declaration changes the identity of a person. For most people, a publicly and officially stated position has a more serious impact on his self-identification than just an internal decision.

2. According jewish tradirion, “he who observes what he owes has greater merit before Heaven than he who observes what he does not owe” (Talmud, Bava Kamma, 38а). Often we think vice versa – that he who does more than he owes is more worthy than if it were his obligation – but Jewish tradition believes otherwise. “Voluntary observe without obligation” often more easier for a person than to do that “he must do”; to keep obligation is more difficult. But influence on the world such person which “not only does but pledged to do” is more significance because the observation by people their obligatons lie in the basis of the proper development of mankind.

3. The Pledge changes a personal status in front of the Torah. According Maimonides, only Ben Noah who accept the Pledge can observe add commandmens that don’t incude in 7 obligatory commandmens. It is derived from the principle: observation the obligaatory things should precede voluntary things.

3. The Pledge a personal status in relation to the Jewish people. It means full joining to the Torah and the Jewish people. That’s why Ben Noah who accept the Pledge become a member of the uniform religious society. Accordingly, Judaism requires from the Jewish people and their representatives to assist such a person in their studies, observance and religious advancement.

4. The acception of the Pledge create the real Bnei Noah movement in the world. The existence such movement has a huge impact on the world. By the way our world can learn about the opportunity to be Bnei Noah. That’s why it’s very important for movement to be socially explicit. for this purpose the accaptance of the Pledge is very significant.

The birthday

Question:

According what calendar will be prefer for Bnei Noah to celebrate their birthday – Jewish or Gregorian?

Answer: 

There is no specific commandment to celebrate the date of birth, that’s why we can’t answer this question from the point of vew “what God wants from us”.

If Ben Noah has relatieves, with whom he wants to celebrate his birthday, and for them the Gregorian date is more habitual, than he can celebrate the birthday according the Gregorian date.

Acceptation of the Pledge and the belief in Jesus

A question which was asked in Spanish department оf the Brit Olam

I have a hard problem regarding my desire to follow by the way of God of Israel.

I believe in Jesus but I do not consider him as a Son of God (or as a “demigod”) and of course, I do not think that he was God who was appeared in a human body. I study Cristian theology in Summit Bible College – California. I have my own view on Cristian theology. I want to study Tanakh (Jewish Bible) more better and more right.

And now, it’s appeared a serious problem: can I in any way consider myself as a “Ben Noah? Or there will be an internal problem?

I can’t found somewhere in a New Testament that Jesus proclaimed himself as a God. At a later time Christianity attributed to him such a status. It’s a separate issue. He taught everybody (including himself) to pray to “Father, who is a God of all people”. He also said that The Most High is his God and our God. An idea about Jesus as God arose after his and disciples death. In ancient copies of Scriptures in a Greek that I can find there was written that early Christians turned their prayers towards the Temple, they worshiped The only Lord of the World, they kept the Torah and its commandments, as Jesus taught them, and went to the synagogue on Saturday.

Jesus and his disciples always behaved this way. Unfortunately, in modern Christian translations, something is consciously erased and words are added that were not in the original Greek text, so that this corresponds to the Christian faith. But this faith and doctrine, which Paul and his disciples kept, but Jesus himself never taught. And they, like Jews and observing the Torah, could have a heart attack if they saw what Christianity turned the teachings of Jesus, who himself always adhered to the Torah of Moses.

I was fortunate enough to listen to the lessons of Rabbi David Shalom of Mahon Meir. And I really appreciate him. And since I believe in Jesus (but in Jesus the Jew, not the Roman Jesus, who was invented in the Greek and Roman worlds), while I am very interested in the subject of Bnei Noah, and therefore, it is important for me to know whether it is possible to be Ben Noah and believe in Jesus?

The answer of Rav Hollander:

There are two aspects:

– Studying of the essence of the question;

– Practical decision.

From point of a view on a studying the question:

To my mind, the wording of the question misleads us. A person, who asked us, consider himself as “a believer in Jesus”, but as far as I know, he doesn’t believe IN HIM. He believe that there was such a person who was a religious leader for his followers. And there were documents passed through the second and third hands. That man (Jesus) didn’t speak Greek but that documents were written on Greek. In a principle, this approach cannot be attributed as a Christianity or to idolatry. If such a person accept Bnei Noah Commandments, he can be a kosher Ben Noah and have the status of “Ger Toshav”.

From point of a view on a practical decision:

I met with the Rabbis, and with the leaders of those Bnei Noah, who came out from Christianity. For the most part, they are opposed to accepting a person who does not proclaim that he does not believe in Jesus. There are rabbis who included in the Pledge before taking on the seven commandments a statement that a person does not believe in Jesus. One of the reasons of it that they are afraid of people who might come to their community and start campaigning for faith in Jesus.

The answer of Rav Cherki:

Here we should discuss several aspects of the question:

Rav Hollander rightly noted there is a contradiction between statements: “believe THAT…” and “believe IN…”. The statement “believe THAT…” has a shade of idolatry which we cannot but take into account. Especially when a person state that he come in a such way (through Jesus) to a Father (God). Why just in this way? If God is a Father, than who is a son?

Beside theological problem, we should discuss the essence of the faith which states that acceptance Jesus is a condition of the Hereafter.

Even we leave the question aside, we should take into attention that Jesus himself argued with sages of Israel and insulted them. How can we reconcile it with the recognition of the authority of the sages which a person who accept the Pledge declare in front of three judges.

And this is an integral part of accepting the status of Bnei Noah.

For all that, there are no obstacles for such a person to be accepted by the Almighty God and pleasing to Him. But we cannot accept it in our earthly court.

Therefore, in practice, while a person declares that he believes in Jesus, we cannot accept his Pledge.

As for the person who asked the question, he should declare that he does not believe in Jesus. After all, he only believes that such a person existed, and that some of his words and actions are worth attention

 Question:

I live in the Russian Far East. On the plot of land that I have for building a private house, there are the remains of a Japanese Shinto sanctuary. These remains are part of a reinforced concrete foundation, hewn blocks made of granite and four Far Eastern yews. These trees are listed in the Red Book, so I can’t cut them, since this is a criminal offense, even if they dry, I can’t cut them. I will use parts of reinforced concrete foundations framed for a pedestrian platform in front of the porch. I plan to use the blocks for paving the car site. Now I’m building my house three meters away from this sanctuary. As it turned out recently, the workers who were planning the territory says that at the site of the house when moving the soil they discovered localized masses of dark soil the size of three-liter jars, presumably ashes from cremation, located in the correct geometric order on the ground. The plot is small, I can’t change the location of the house, I can’t sell it either, since the house is urgently needed for family needs. The region was conquered from Russia by the Japanese during the First World War and recaptured at the end of the Second World War, that is, the minimum burial period (if any) was 70 years.

Question: we need advice from a rabbi regarding trees, foundations, hewn blocks, and the alleged burial of cremation remains.

Answer of Rav Cherki:

Your wish not to get anything benefit from idolatry cults is quite right. In order to these remains lose all connection with idolatry it is need to do with them some humiliating action. For example, relieve on that place. After it you can use them for any goal.

What should we do with fotos of worshiping places?

Question:

If a person made photos of the places of worship or idols, or photographed himself against their background, what should be done with such a photos? Should we check our old albums and destroy photos that have idols or places of worship?

The answer of Rav Hollander:

It is not easy to deside in what case such a foto will be prohibited. If a Jew or a Ben Noah visited Vatican and made a foto of himself against it, hardly he did it to photograph Vatican specifically as a place of worship. That’s why we cannot considered such a foto as prohibited.

Likewise there is no prohibition to photograph ancient Greek gods because such cult was disappeared a long time ago and there are no people which worshiped such religion.

In such a case when foto was made specifically for worshiping places, then will be preferably to destroy such a foto. Though there is no need to find (such a fotos) in old albums.

The answer of Rav Cherki:

Will be preferable for Bnei Noah not to increase a number of forbiddances. And if a foto was made not for worshiping, then perhaps there is no obligatory to destroy it.

The card reading

Question:

In difficult life cases, when we don’t know what to do, and we lose hope, can we ask people who read fortune (read cards) to clarify the situation?

Answer of Rav Hollander:

If a person turn to fortuneteller, because he believe that she \ he has the supernatural powers, it’s close to idolatry. But I am not assured that such type of idolatry is prohibited for Bnei Noah. If a person considers it as an opportunity to make a decision like a tossing coins, it’s not idolatry.

Nevertheless will be preferable to ask God to send you a good advise, or you should advise with close person, who is kind and piety, or with Rabbi. Though even the piety man answer may be unsuccessful.