Upcoming World Changes 

Rabbi Yeheskel Lebovic 

An Obvious Question 

A question arises in this week’s Sidra of Vayeitzei: how did Yaakov marry two  sisters, Rachel and Leah, if the forefathers obeyed the Torah before it was given?  Doesn’t the Torah prohibit marrying two sisters in their lifetime?  Since Rashi doesn’t even address this question altogether, we can assume that there is an  answer so simple as to be self-understood. 

The simple reason and answer is that Yaakov had committed to marry Rochel, and should he have not kept his word--for whatever good reason-- it would have been a situation of extreme deception. At that time, all of humanity (the Bnai Noach) had accepted upon them not to be deceitful to one another, and this became a binding obligation.  This is why Yaakov exclaimed to Lavan, upon finding out that he had deceived him and given him Leah instead of Rachel: “Why did you deceive me?!” (Gen. 29:25)  Therefore, the “chumra/stringency” of not marrying two sisters was overruled by this prohibition against deceitful behavior. 

The 7 Mitzvot

The 7 Mitzvoth of Bnai Noach (descendants of Noach)   are mentioned in the Talmud, (Sanhedrin 56a) : 1) carry out justice - An imperative to pursue and enforce social justice, and a prohibition of any miscarriage of justice. (2) no blasphemy - Prohibits a curse directed at the Supreme Being.(3) no idolatry - Prohibits the worship of any human or any created thing. Also prohibited is the making of idols and involvement with the occult. This necessitates an understanding of the One G‑d of Israel and His nature. (4) no illicit intercourse - Prohibits adultery, incest, homosexual intercourse and bestiality, according to Torah definitions. (5) no homicide - Prohibits murder and suicide. Causing injury is also forbidden. (6) no theft - Prohibits the wrongful taking of another's goods.(7) don't eat any part of a still living creature - Promotes the kind treatment of animal life. It also encourages an appreciation for all kinds of life and respect for nature as G‑d's creation. 

Enigmatic Rambam Statement 

Once the Torah was given at Sinai, moreover, there came a change in the law of  Bnai Noach being obligated the observance of their 7 Mitzvoth, as stated by the Rambam (Hil. Melachim 8:11):”the non-Jews who observe the 7 Mitzvos of Bnai Noach are referred to as “the righteous from among the nations” only if their observance of these laws is based on acceptance of these 7 Mitzvoth as G-d given at Sinai through Moshe Rabbeinu. If, however, it is based on their own intellectual recognition and conclusion, they are not counted among the “righteous of the nations”-- nor even among their wise ones. This begs the question: why not among the wise ones, if it is their wisdom and intellect which led them to recognize that these precepts ought to be followed? 

The Blueprint of Creation 

The answer lies in the proper understanding of the opening verse of the Torah: “In the beginning G-d created heaven and earth”. The Hebrew for “in the beginning” is “bereishit”, in which the prepositional letter “b” can also be understood as “for the sake of”. Accordingly, this verse is interpreted (Rashi Gen.1:1) thusly: G-d created heaven and earth for the sake of Reishit. What is Reishit? Two entities are called Reishit (elsewhere in the Torah).  Torah is called Reishit and Israel is called Reishit. Accordingly, this opening verse of the Torah can be understood thusly: 

G-d created the world for the sake of Torah and the people of Israel—who observe the Mizvot of the Torah and study it. This indeed is the blueprint of Creation and its purpose, with every part of Creation being an accessory to this end-purpose.  Now, what is the status of an accessory? Is it merely in a secondary position vis-à-vis the element it is an accessory to, or, can it (eventually) become part and parcel of the overall plan by virtue of being a necessary preparatory detail thereof?  According to the Rambam (as evident from several other sources) the latter is the case.  In this manner, the status of non-Jews vis-à-vis this Torah blueprint of Creation can become part and parcel of this G-dly plan. There comes a time when all non-Jews will sense and realize that by observing these 7 laws, they prepare and establish a world full of justice, peace and serenity, devoid of wars and strife, which then can fully become the fertile ground for Jews to truly fulfill their Torah-centered mission. This recognition has been slow in coming in the course of history, whereby those non-Jews who did recognize this truth were the very few “righteous from among the nations”. Times, however, are changing drastically, as G-d is directing the world towards the Messianic utopia.  In the same way that, through the efforts of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and his emissaries over the course of half a century, millions of Jews have become more Torah-and-Mitzvoth-observant, the number of non-Jews who have been positively affected has likewise risen drastically. These good news are hardly reported in the news media but, upon investigation, can be easily corroborated. Good will definitely prevail over evil; it cannot be any other way. 

In this process, the nature of this spiritual influence is not merely an individual intellectual, philosophical recognition about the importance of good vs. evil, of spirit vs. coarse corporality, but even more: non-Jews are gradually becoming important pegs, part and parcel of the G-dly plan, though secondary accessories they may be to Torah and Israel! 

Hence, says the Rambam, short of developing such an attitude, if their conduct is based solely of their personal wisdom, falling short of integrating these Torah truths into their wisdom, they do not satisfy the true definition of wisdom and thus “are not among their (truly) wise ones”. 

Coming Changes in the World 

Rashi comments on G-d saying to Yaakov during his dream about the ladder (also in this week’s sidra) “the land upon which you lie, to you and your descendants I will give it”. The question Rashi is addressing, on the level of Pshat, is there need of G-d to state “the land on which you lie” instead of simply saying “this land”.  Rashi answers that G- d “folded” the whole land of Israel under Yaakov and it’s a hint to him that (there will be a time when) Israel will be easy for his descendants to obtain”--- just like one who is just laying on top of it without doing effort or action to acquire it.  And of course, what G-d folded under Yaakov was the whole land, without any exception.  For all of humanity, the Bnai Noach, to agree completely that all of Israel be thus offered to us on a “silver platter”, will certainly take place once all  Bnei Noach will relate to their 7  Mitzvoth the way the Rambam spells it out. As there are many signs indicating that we are approaching the Messianic era when such changes will occur,  we can expect to soon see a great transformation in the world order at all levels. 

May we soon merit the coming of Moshiach and the era of peace and world subjugation to the Divine Torah Blueprint of Creation. 

Based on Likutey Sichos vol.20 pp.136-143, and pp. 129-135