Vision for Society
Written by: Allan Nadler
Beginning with the covenant between God and Abraham, out of which the Hebrew nation, and ultimately the Jewish faith, were forged, Judaism has always been the religion of a particular people, the progeny of the ancient biblical patriarchs and matriarchs. A central element of the covenant between God and Israel, which is the foundation of Judaism, was the promise of a "holy land" on which the nation of Israel might fulfill her destiny to serve God and, from which it will ultimately serve as a "light unto the nations."
Israel's mission is to communicate the Torah's core principles of monotheism and morality throughout the world. At the same time, however, the particular rites and laws of the Torah are believed to be incumbent only upon the Jews, and many of them can only be observed in the Land of Israel as they related specifically to the cult of the Jerusalem Temple and the natural cycle and agriculture of that country. As a result, rabbinic Judaism, while accepting voluntary converts as full members of the Jewish people, eschews all missionary evangelizing to the gentiles. Indeed, the missions of Paul to the Greeks and Romans that are at the very core of the origins of Christianity—along with his rejection of the enduring validity of Torah law—were the central points of dissension between him and the rabbis and form the original fault-line between rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity.
|Seven Laws of Noah|
|The following are prohibited:|
4. sexual promiscuity (including adultery, incest, bestiality, homosexuality
6. eating meat taken from a live animal
7. Requirement of setting just laws
While it considers the covenant of law in the Torah to be binding only on Jews, Judaism has an exalted vision for all of humankind. On the immediate, practical level, Judaism teaches that all people are bound by the covenant encapsulated in the "Seven Noahide Laws" that God forged with Noah after the great deluge. The Talmud affirms that all non-Jews who adhere to these seven fundamental religious and moral principles are "Righteous Gentiles," and rules that they have a "portion in the world to come," or eternal life, on par with Jews who are fully observant of halakha, the entire system of rabbinical law. As a result of this positive posture toward Righteous Gentiles, there is neither impetus nor need to evangelize. Jewish theologians, from the prophets of ancient Israel to contemporary rabbis, have always envisaged a world perfected by a ubiquitous knowledge of, and obeisance to, the One God of Israel, and faithfulness to God's universal moral laws.