A Spiritual Path to HaShem for the Noachide with Kabbalistic Commentary - Class 7

The basis of these lessons uses a book titled "The Path of the Righteous Gentile-An Introduction to the Seven Laws of the Children of Noach" by Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky.

This is Chapter 6 that comes from a blog BY NETIV / THE PATH · SEPTEMBER 30, 2014

Noachide Mitzvah of Blasphemy

PART ONE: Definition of Blasphemy.

1. Blasphemy is the act of cursing the Creator. It is a deed so indescribably heinous that the Talmud, whenever referring to blasphemy, calls it by the euphemistic term “blessing God,” to avoid directly expressing the idea of cursing God, the Father of all.

chanoch's Commentary

Blasphemy is also the act of cursing someone else that uses HaShem's Name in a way that is asking HaShem to go against his nature of loving kindness. That is why it is such a horrible sin. This is the cursing of the Creator. Do you think that HaShem actually cares if you curse God. He knows you do not mean it just like a parent who is told by a child "I don't love you anymore. You are so mean....". The parents know that it is not meant. Do you truly begin to understand what is the nature of HaShem?

2. Blasphemy is the only means by which one transgresses the Seven Universal Commandments through the faculty of speech alone.

chanoch's Commentary

One may speak with their mouth words related to idol worship yet they can not do that without including other parts of their body in this horrible sin. If they kneel it is their knees. If they actually use a physical idol the idol must have been built by some parts of someone's hands. It is only when one speaks words of Blasphemy which may happen outside of the presence of an idol that the system of voice and mouth is the only part of the body that is sinning.

3. Blasphemy falls into the category of revenge. When someone is harmed by a person and seeks revenge, he may shout at the person or curse him. If the harm is great, the one seeking vengeance may not be satisfied by words alone but may physically strike out at the one who harmed him. In extreme cases, the vengeful person may not be satisfied until he kills. This is between a man and his neighbor. Between man and God it is somewhat different. Man cannot kill God nor can he strike Him physically. The ultimate revenge that man can take against God is to curse Him. Therefore, blasphemy is seen as the expression of the desire to hurt God, even to erase His existence or murder Him.

4. The prohibition against blasphemy comes to teach us not to say anything evil against God nor to detract from His exaltedness in any way by intentionally using words to lessen the reverence and faith that are due Him. Sefer HaChinuch, Commandment 70

chanoch's Commentary

What happens when one lessens the reverence and faith due to HaShem? HaShem is not harmed yet we are harmed. We are using energy that was given to us to say words of praise in a way that is abusing energy. That transfers this energy to the negative side which cause chaos to come into our life. HaShem only cares about us not himself and thus he gives us the Mitzvot to teach us to not create chaos in our own life. If we would only listen?

5. As with a transgression of any of the Seven Universal Commandments, before one can be tried in a court of law, there must be a witness to the deed who is willing to testify against the accused. This poses a problem, for how can the witness testify against the accused unless he repeats the blasphemous expression used, which would be a further transgression of this commandment?

6. In the Jewish courts of law, the matter is handled in the following manner. The witnesses during the entirety of the trial are directed to use a euphemistic phrase for the actual blasphemous utterance that they heard, eliminating reference to God in the phrase. Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:5

Then, at the conclusion of the proceedings, the courtroom was cleared of all but those essential to the trial, and the witnesses were obliged to repeat the actual blasphemy that they heard. Upon hearing the blasphemy, the judges ripped their garments as one does for the death of a parent or any other tragedy that elicits grief.

chanoch's Commentary

Why do you think that the phrase Jewish courts of law is used? It is a Mitzvah for a Noachide to live in a society that creates just laws for everyone. It is not the job of the Jewish nation to teach its courts and laws but to allow the Noachide to determine for themselves their just laws. May be they decide that there is no penalty for Blasphemy Chas V Shalom. It is their laws and their court sysem, just so long as it applies equally to everyone.

7. Rabbi Hiyyah Hiyya bar Abba (180-230 CE), one of the early Amoraic sages and compiler of the Tosefta. declared that after the destruction of the Second Temple, one who heard blasphemy was no longer required to tear his garments, otherwise all would be walking around with their garments in tatters. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 60a

chanoch's Commentary

From Wikipedia

Hiyya bar Abba or Rabbi Hiyya (ca. 180-230 CE) (Hebrew: רבי חייא בר אבא) was an amoraic sage of priestly descent who lived in the latter Mishnaic period. Active in Tiberias, Hiyya was the primary compiler of the tosefta. He was also an uncle of Abba Arika.

In the Jerusalem Talmud he is also called Ḥiyya bar Ba or Ḥiyya bar Wa (Yer. Berakhot iii.6a, iv.7d); in both Talmuds he is frequently called merely R. Ḥiyya. He may have briefly studied with Samuel of Nehardea (Weiss, "Dor," iii.94) in Babylon, his native land. When he was still very young, Hiyya migrated to Palestine where he studied under Ḥanina and Joshua ben Levi. He may also have been influenced by Simeon bar Laḳish. Hiyya was also a disciple of Rabbi Johanan. After Rabbi Johanan's death, Hiyya and his friends Ammi and Assi became recognized as some of Palestine's brightest Halakah scholars.

Ḥiyya was distinguished for the care with which he noted the sayings of his masters (Ber. 38b). When questions arose about being faithful to tradition, Ḥiyya's interpretation was widely accepted (Ber. 32b, 38b). Though he was the author of many aggadot, he denounced every attempt to collect and commit his tales to writing. Whenever he came upon such a collection, Hiyya cursed the hand that wrote it (Yer. Shab. xvi.15c). His focus was squarely on Halakhah.

With the help of Ammi and Assi, Hiyya formed a court of law. One day a woman named Tamar came before the court. Her case was a difficult one. The sentence handed down was controversial; Ḥiyya and his associates might have suffered disastrous consequences if Abbahu himself had not come to their assistance (Yer. Meg. iii.74a).

Hiyya was forced to lecture from town to town in an effort to make ends meet. He even had to leave Palestine temporarily (Yer. Ma'as. Sh. v.56b). During these travels, when another lecturer on aggadah drew a bigger crowd than he did, Hiyya couldn't hide his annoyance (see Jew. Encyc. i.36, s.v. Abbahu). To improve his circumstances, Hiyya accepted a commission from Judah II to collect money to help rebuild the decaying patriarchate.

The esteem in which Ḥiyya was held is evident in a letter of introduction Eleazar ben Pedath provided for him: "Behold, we have sent you a great man, our envoy. Until his return he possesses all the powers that we do." According to another version, the introduction read: "Behold, we have sent you a great man. His greatness consists in this, that he is not ashamed to say 'I know not' " (Yer. Ḥag. i.76d; Yer. Ned. x.42b).

Ḥiyya, Ammi, and Assi visited various communities in Palestine at the behest of Judah II who entrusted them with reawakening interest in the study of Jewish Law (Yer. Ḥag. i.76c).

8. The Code of Jewish Law, which is the prime authority in determining the religious obligations of the Israelite, states that a person who hears blasphemy is obligated to place the blasphemer under a ban of excommunication, regardless of whether the blasphemy was uttered against God’s Name or any of His divine attributes, Such as Rachum (Merciful), Chanun (Gracious), etc. whether in the Hebrew language or any of the other languages of the world, or whether the blasphemer was a Jew or a Gentile. Shulchan Arukh, 340:37 This ban of excommunication means that the person has no rights as a member of the community and that all are forbidden to speak to him.

chanoch's Commentary

How do you think this statement relates to chanoch's comments above about Jew courts of law? This code of Jewish law applies in the land of Israel and not elsewhere.

9. Profaning the Lord of Hosts with one’s lips, God forbid, is a transgression similar to but worse than idolatry. Whereas idolatry is the act of worshiping a created existence and thereby denying the true existence of the Creator, blasphemy is an acknowledgment of His existence but a denial of His greatness or His goodness. The blasphemer denies the truth that everything comes directly from God solely for mankind’s benefit as a bestowal of goodness. Often the goodness is unrevealed as with a person’s pain and suffering. At these times, one with a primitive consciousness or without a sufficient degree of faith in God can come to verbally express dissatisfaction with his lot through blasphemy, and thus transgress the law. Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvot, Negative Commandment 317

10. We see the essence of this problem in the Book of Job. God’s faithful servant, Job, was struck by Satan with boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. As he sat in agony from the affliction, his wife scolded him, saying, “Are you still holding fast to your integrity? Blaspheme God and die.” Job answered her, “You speak as one who is despicable. Should we accept only the good from God and not accept the evil?” Despite all this, Job did not sin with his lips (Job 2:9-10).”

11. Consistent with this, it is a Jewish tradition to bless God for the bad as well as for the good. Mishnah Berachot 9:5 Even when, God forbid, one hears news of a person’s death, he responds by saying, Baruch Dayan Emet – Blessed be the True Judge. Mishnah Berachot, 9:2; Shulchan Arukh, Orach Chaim, 222:2

12. Blasphemy as an expression of a deficient faith in God is characterized by the false notion that there are two powers and two kingdoms, God’s and Satan’s. All such theology denies that God is the Lord and Master of all.

13. The Book of Job shows clearly that God is the Ruler of Satan as well as of everyone and everything else, for when Satan wished to test Job, he first petitioned God for permission, whereby God sets definite boundaries for Satan, commanding him not to take Job’s life, saying, “Behold, he is in thy hand, but guard his life (Job 2:6).”

14. The teaching in Christian theology that the evil force rebelled against the Lord and set up a separate kingdom is tantamount to blasphemy, for it denigrates the Creator and denies His infinite majesty and His mastery over all forces.

15. Some authorities state that false oaths or meaningless oaths whereby one invokes the Name of God are forbidden under the category of blasphemy. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 10:7; Mishneh l’Melech, “I saw…” An example of a false oath would be for one to take an oath in God’s Name that a tree is a rock, and a meaningless oath would be for one to swear in God’s Name that a tree is a tree. Jerusalem Talmud, Nazir, 9:1; Pnei Moshe, “Israel should not delay…”

chanoch's Commentary

In Jewish courts of law it sometimes is necessary for one to take a vow using the Name of HaShem. When this is done - which is rarely - it is assumed that the person taking the vow would not do so due to the terrible sin of taking HaShem's Name in vane.

PART TWO: Transgressing the prohibition of blasphemy; piety.

1. The prohibition of blasphemy is transgressed even if one uses another term for God, for example, an attribute or epithet such as the Merciful One, the Heavenly Father, or any other descriptive term. No matter how one curses God, and no matter in what language, the one who transgresses this commandment is subject to the death penalty by a court of law. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 9:3

2. If anyone acknowledges that a form of idol worship is true, even though he does not serve it, it is as if he reviles and blasphemes the mighty and exalted Name of God. Whether a person is an idolater or a blasphemer, it is the same in that both deny God. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry, 2:6

3. One who blasphemes and instantly retracts his words is nonetheless guilty if he blasphemed in front of witnesses. If he blasphemes in private and his words are heard by no one other than himself and his Creator, let him repent and God will forgive his transgression. Mishneh Torah, Laws of Idolatry, 2:9

chanoch's Commentary

Why do you think there is a difference between blaspheming in front of witnesses and without witnesses?

4. One who curses God in the name of idolatry is subject to being attacked and killed by zealots, who are, in turn, held harmless by the law. One who is not a zealot, but rather seeks retaliation against a transgressor because of a desire for justice, must begin proceedings through due process of law against the accused.

Note: A zealot is one who serves God with a selfless, passionate love and is jealous for God’s honor. Reacting to a desecration of God’s Name, the zealot takes immediate action to stop the desecration. If one has to ponder the situation or ask the opinion of another person wiser than he in such matters, his hesitation or intellectual inquiry takes him out of the category of the zealot, and he is forbidden to take action. The scriptural source for the action of a zealot is seen in the heroics of Phineas, who stopped a plague among the Children of Israel when he slew a prince of the tribe of Simeon and the Midianite woman with whom he was having forbidden sexual relations. Numbers 25:7,8

5. It should be the goal of every one of the Children of Noah to strive to do more than the minimum that the law requires, for this is the meaning of piety and one who takes on responsibility for fulfilling the Seven Laws of Noah is called Chasidei Umot HaOlam – one of the pious of the nations. Bearing this in mind, a person is well advised to withhold speaking evil about his fellow man as well as against his Creator, for in God’s image was man created, and a person who reviles his fellow insults God as well. If by words alone a person destroys a favorable view of someone in another’s mind, this is considered like killing him. And it matters not whether the destructive words are true or false.

6. Striving to go beyond the letter of the law has no limit, for the commandments of God are as deep as the ocean and as wide as the sky. Job 11:9 Since everything in creation reflects the hand of the Creator, a truly pious person withholds himself from speaking negatively against anything. There are times, however, when it is appropriate and even mandatory to speak out against someone. For instance, when someone knows that a person is engaged in wicked pursuits and it appears that others will follow his lead, then it becomes a great kindness and even an obligation to speak in condemnation of the transgressor. Horev, Rabbi S. R. Hirsch, chapter 90, notes 582-584 It should always be remembered that gossip, slander, and tale-bearing, even when the statements are true will stand in the way of an individual’s spiritual and moral growth. Horev, Rabbi S. R. Hirsch, chapter 53, notes 386-392

chanoch's Commentary

I can not stress enough that loshon harah is always the truth. It is the consciousness of the speaker that makes it loshon harah. That is why one needs to stop listening or speaking about other people since one can not determine the consciousness of all those involved. When a statement about someone is exaggerated or an outright lie it is called Rechilus and not loshon HaRah.