02 February 2015

Jews and Non-Jews

13 Shevat 5775

All men are NOT created equal...

Excerpted from Derech Hashem by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto, Part II, Chapter 4, secs 5-9:

...If any nation would have...accepted the Torah, it would have elevated itself from its lower state. As it was, none of them desired the Torah, and their judgment was therefore sealed completely. The gate was permanently closed, never again to be opened.

It still remained possible, however, for any individual to convert to Judaism. In this manner, he could still include himself in Avraham's tree of his own free will.

The decree, however, was not that the other nations should be destroyed. it only meant that they would have to remain on the lower level.... This lower state would never have been meant for man if Adam had not sinned. It only came into being in the first place as a result of his sin. 

These nations still have the human aspect, blemished though it may be, and God desired that they should at least have a counterpart of what was actually appropriate for all mankind. He therefore granted them a Divine Soul (neshamah) somewhat like that of the Jew, even though it is on a much lower level. They were likewise given commandments, through which they could attain both material and spiritual advantages appropriate to their nature. These are the seven [universal] commandments given to the children of Noach.

...In the World-to-Come, however, there will be no nation other than Israel.

The souls of righteous gentiles will be allowed to exist in the Future World, but only as an addition and attachment to Israel. They will therefore be secondary to the Jew, just as a garment is secondary to the one who wears it. All that they attain of the ultimate good will have to be attained in this manner, since by virtue of their nature they can receive no more.

When the world was divided into seventy nations, God appointed seventy [directing] angels as Officers (Sarim) in charge of these nations, to watch over them and attend to all their needs.

Thus, God does not oversee these nations except in a general manner. It is each one's directing angel who takes care of the details, through the power that God gives it for this purpose. God thus told Israel (Amos 3:2), "Only you have I known among all the families of the earth."

God thus made the rectification and elevation of all creation totally dependent on the Jews. To the extent that this can be expressed, we can thus say that He subjugated His Providence to them. Through their deeds, they can cause [His light] to shine forth and have influence, or, on the other hand, hold it back and conceal it.

The deeds of the other nations, on the other hand, do not add to or subtract from the state of creation, nor do they cause God to reveal Himself or withdraw. All they can do is bring about their own gain or loss, and strengthen or weaken their own directing angel.

Although God does not involve Himself expressly in the direction of the nations in detail, it is possible that He should exercise his Providence over them when it is required for the sake of Israel. This may be because of a single Jew, or for a number of them....

If you can understand what he is saying, you will also understand why there is no practical advantage for those among the nations to take upon themselves Jewish law and practice when the Creator already determined for them that the Sheva Mitzvot were what was appropriate for their neshamahs

At the same time, there is real danger in allowing those who want to take on mitzvot without benefit of conversion to do so, because it blurs the necessary boundaries between Jew and non-Jew. And, in any case, nothing is accomplished by it. Anyone who truly and sincerely desires to, may convert, although that door also will soon close completely and permanently once Mashiach comes.

LISTEN from 2:12:56 to 2:16:54