The Bnei Noach’s Obligation in the World
By Rabbi David Weissman
G-d in his Torah set out different roles for the people of Israel and for the nations of the world. While the instructions for the Jewish People are delineated in the Torah, the ethical and spiritual instructions for the Nations are derived by the Sages of blessed memory from various verses in the written Torah and elaborated upon in the Talmud and by later authorities like Maimonides.
However, is there an over-arching comprehensive objective that can be discerned from a study of the Noahide Code and all its details? Is there a unifying theme?
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, explained in one of his talks as follows:
Maimonides and other halachic authorities state that, although producing offspring is not one of the Seven Laws of Noah, non-Jews are obligated to beget children under the verse in the prophets “not for futility was the world created but to be settled”.
The Rebbe explains that the meaning of this verse in relation to the Nations is that they are obligated to settle the world and transform it into a civilized society. In other words, to “settle” means to transform human society from one governed by the dictates of nature, chaos, and survival of the fittest, to a society governed by the ethical and spiritual guidelines of the Noahide Code.
This ethical code is to be based on the existence of a Creator who continues to sustain and oversee all natural phenomena and human events. This Eternal being sees all, rewards the righteous, and metes out justice to the wicked and those who transgress his will.
This can only be accomplished once the Nations choose to turn to Israel for instruction on their own accord. Then through the instruction of the Sages of Israel, (eventually Moshiach son of David) and the power, influence, and industry of the nations, the Nations will be ready to rise to a new spiritual level.
Utilizing their numbers, military power, and natural resources, the Nation’s will work together with Israel to bring the Divine knowledge all around the world. The Nations will pursue justice and kindness in light of the principles of the Torah because without power, righteousness cannot be vindicated and the masses cannot be influenced.
The whole socio-political framework will change. Hollywood and the media will influence the world in light of the Torah, instead of to the contrary, as it is today. Then, in the future, Torah will be the source for the normative mode of conduct for everyone.
This will not come by force of arms, but by a disillusionment with the falsehoods of the past, and a great epiphany as to the truth about G-d, his plan for the world, and the role the Jewish People have played throughout history lead by the hand of providence.
Then, as the Jewish People will no longer need to combat the hostile influences of the Nations, nor be physically threatened by its many enemies, the Jewish People will rise to new spiritual heights way beyond that of their previous history, bringing greater knowledge of G-d and blessing to the entire world.
This is the vision of the future – the messianic era.