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Volume 1, Issue 4

Covenant Connection

March, 2006.................. Shevat 5766

From the Desk of Michael Dallen


Erev (Eve of) Purim - March 13th 

Purim - March 14th

Read the Book of Esther!

Torah reading: Exodus 17:8-16
Before Purim: I Samuel 15:1-34

Shalom! February is now March and the month of Shevat turned into Adar (the month of the holiday of Purim) 5766. We expect to see the end of the winter and the beginning of spring and brighter, lighter days ahead. This is a great time of year, as the Talmud says (Ta'anit 29a), "When Adar comes we should increase joy." So, since learning is joy, let's get started:

Mankind cannot rise to the essential principles on which society must rest unless it meets with Israel. And Israel cannot fathom the deeps of its own national and religious tradition unless it meets with mankind." - Rabbi Elijah Benamozegh (1823-1900), Israel and Humanity, quoted in a famous Noahide work, The Unknown Sanctuary, by Aime' Palliere.

Let's agree on terms. The First Covenant is the Noahide or Rainbow Covenant; the Law of the First Covenant is mankind's Universal Law. Known in Hebrew as the sheva mitzvot b'nai noach - the Seven Commandments of the Descendants of Noah - Jewish scholars generally refer to it simply as the sheva mitzvot or mitzvos (mitzvot is Israeli pronunciation, mitzvos is mainstream Orthodox American). We'll be calling the seven mitzvos the 7M.

A basic quality of the 7M system is its beauty. It's designed to appeal to all mankind for all time, everywhere in the universe where people may go, so long as mankind exists. Our God, the Lawgiver, deliberately made it attractive, beautiful, graceful, and naturally appealing. As He is holy His Law is holy and these qualities, beauty, grace, etc., are all inherent to the 7M.

So let's ask, why do people frequently speak about the 7M in ways that make it sound unattractive and weird? Ray Pettersen and I were just discussing this. Ray's a former Christian who founded Bet B'nai Torah in San Diego, and then helped found the Central Texas Noahide Center. He tells me that he and his group are about to launch what sounds like a spectacular Noahide community website, NoahideNations.com.

I like Ray a lot. One thing I particularly like about him is that, after I sent him a copy of Outpost, the monthly magazine of Americans for a Safe Israel (AFSI), Ray took off on his own and called AFSI headquarters to set up an AFSI chapter right there in central Texas. Ray is a doer. But doers can get flummoxed by talkers undercutting them. Just as Americans who love Israel get undercut all the time by the "land for peace" lunacy of the State of Israel and its "experts," Noahides who love the 7M are often undermined by "experts" diminishing the 7M.

So much for those experts. Quoting The Rainbow Covenant (p. 296): If anything about the Torah ever strikes you as wrong, perverse or cruel, you are either misunderstanding it or it isn't genuine Torah. This is a basic principle of Torah; the 7M is part of Torah and central to it. The 7M is inherently extremely attractive. If anything anyone says about it sounds otherwise, consider this basic principle from the book.

People talk about a unified, monolithic "Noahide movement" when they can't even agree on a spelling of Noahide. People talk about following "Noahide (or No'achide) leaders" as if being a Torah scholar was like being a New Age guru or the pope of a new religion. People talk about the 7M like it's a strict set of detailed rules when it's really a set of values and a framework for righteousness and justice. It's not a narrow rut but a lovely broad straight highway.

One of the odd things about the 7M system is that it, unlike the Law that makes up the Ten Commandments system, isn't spelled out in detail in the Torah. So even a real scholar can know a great deal of Torah but still completely misunderstand the basic nature of the 7M. Ray and I, and all the principals of the First Covenant Foundation (FCF), have seen a lot of this. There simply isn't all that much in the Torah that speaks directly to the matter of the 7M. Even in Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, the single greatest source-book we have for the 7M, it comes up almost entirely in the context of End Times matters. (Which makes a lot of sense, when you think about it: only near the end of human history as we've known it, close to the beginning of the great new era promised in the Torah, will mankind sincerely or respectfully wish to "meet with Israel.")

I know quite a few long-time Noahides who, like Ray, sincerely respect Israel, love and fear God, and love and respect Torah, who are sick and tired of being treated like they are second-class souls in the 7M system.

Let's be perfectly clear about this. The Torah itself speaks directly to this subject: a Noahide who completely fulfills the 7M is at the same moral level of Israel's high priest, the cohen gadol. This is a very, very high madrega or moral level: in fact, it's as high as man can go -short of being at the same level as a prophet. However, a Noahide who completely fulfills the 7M can even experience a type of prophecy - the only type, known as ru'ach hakodesh (the spirit of holiness), that's currently possible or even conceptually operative in the world today.

It's true that a Noahide who converts to Judaism, who becomes one with Israel, can theoretically attain to an even higher level of communion with God - the level of the true prophet. But God, we are told, is not currently transmitting - He has chosen to not reveal Himself more fully in our time, not yet - so the fact is that even those who may be hypothetically capable of receiving can't receive. The Jewish person, whether convert or "home-born," as the Bible puts it, has that higher hypothetical potential, yes. That's because keeping God's commandments refines a human being and the more one keeps the better.

A Jewish man can and in fact needs to keep more of God's commandments than a Noahide man; a Jewish woman can and in fact needs to keep more of God's commandments than a Noahide woman. The Jewish person is held to a higher standard than a Noahide in that he or she needs to keep all the ritual laws that are meant to guarantee the eternality as well as holiness of Israel. Nonetheless, as the Torah tells us, when it comes to matters of morality the Noahide and the Jew both stand under the same Law. The main body of the Torah is, as Rainbow Covenant emphasizes, contained in the 7M with their details.

A Jew can conceivably go higher than a Noahide - but that doesn't make Abraham Lincoln inferior to the gangster Bugsy Siegel or George Washington a lesser person than George W. Bush's former press aide Ari Fleisher. And it certainly doesn't make the Noahide the slave or servant of the Hebrews.

Believe it or not, this flies in the face of a lot of what Ray - among others - has been hearing.

For clarity's sake: every human being is obligated to keep the moral laws which ought to be obvious to everybody. Everybody ought to know better than to do certain evil things which they should realize are wrong or to tolerate certain evil things which don't deserve a free ride - which they should know better than to sanction or allow.

Beyond that, the 7M have infinite potential. They can potentially lead BN to God Himself. They can and should lead BN to do things beyond the bare bones 7M that are obviously right (such as giving charitably) and to avoiding things that aren't so obviously wrong (things prohibited by Torah but not prohibited by the 7M, such as not eating animals that aren't kosher). They should eventually lead BN to do things that may not be so glaringly, obviously right (Divine affirmative commandments, such as worshipping HaShem alone with all one's heart and soul).

BN can learn a lot from Israel, about the One God and His Torah and about the vast subject of Torah ethics generally. This doesn't mean that God requires them to sit at Israel's feet or follow rabbis or other Jewish people around like puppies. BN ought to give the Torah and the Bible the benefit of the doubt. Further, they ought to give the Jewish people, both collectively and individually, the benefit of the doubt, and - all other things being equal - a modicum of respect. But respect is not worship. Israel is God's first born child, not God's only child; Israel is not the nations' daddy but only their somewhat older brother.

A ruling derived from common sense is also designated by the rabbis as "Words of Torah." - Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Chajes (Mebo ha Talmud, 1845)

I live in Detroit, the town that Henry Ford helped make the car capital of the world. Ford got ahold of the anti-Semitic work The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and was ignorant enough to take it to heart. (Ford, who was almost completely self-educated, famously declared that "history is bunk.") Even though he personally liked and admired individual Jews - his genius architect, Albert Kahn, practically invented modern industrial architecture; Ford gave a new Model T every year to his friend and neighbor, Rabbi Dr. Leo Franklin - he hated the Jewish people. It was all based on The Protocols.

After he discovered it, Ford provided a free copy of The Protocols with every new Model T, and he sold millions of Model T's. He employed a sort of chief of staff for Jewish affairs, a Prussian-American Lutheran, who became, after World War I, the ideological godfather of Germany's rising Nazi movement. The Nazis themselves said they were indebted to Ford; that he and The Protocols had been great influences. They awarded him one of their highest medals.

Parenthetically, Ford made the life of his only child Edsel awful, trying to dominate and control him, and Edsel died quite young. Ford's own end wasn't good. Alone in his special auditorium, he suffered a massive stroke while watching one of the first newsreels showing the Nazi death camps. Crippled and sick, he died about a year later - in the dark, in a storm, that had cut power to his house not only from the larger grid but from the fail-safe water-powered generators that Ford, afraid of the dark, had expensively built-in.

(After his death Henry Ford II, Ford's grandson, took over the company. Henry Ford II invested in Israel, supported Israel, and turned Ford around.)

What are The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? It's a hoax, a bogus document. Also known as The Jewish Peril, it was popularized in 1905 Czarist Russia by Professor Sergius Nilus, a mystic, a competitor to Rasputin at the court of Czar Nicholas II. It purports to be a secret communique developed during an 1897 meeting (by the “Learned Elders of Zion”), detailing the Jews’ plans for world domination.

Demonstrably fraudulent — The Protocols were plagiarized in 1898 by Russian Royalist Mathieu Golovinski from Maurice Joly’s The Dialogue in Hell between Machiavelli and Montesquieu, an 1864 diatribe against French Emperor Napoleon III — they have, since their publication, helped make the world fear an “international Jewish conspiracy.”

In his introduction to The Plot (a book by comic artist Will Eisner, creator of Sheena, Queen of the Jungle), Umberto Eco speaks of the continued publication of The Protocols despite worldwide recognition of it as fraud:

"It is as if, after Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler, one were to continue publishing textbooks claiming that the sun travels around the earth."

The Protocols is now a top best-seller in the Muslim world. Despite a 1964 U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee report ("Protocols of the Elders of Zion: A Fabricated 'Historic' Document") condemning The Protocols as “fraudulent documents that peddle the myth of an ‘international Jewish conspiracy,'" belief in its authenticity remains high even on college campuses today.

Why talk about The Protocols in this newsletter? Because the field of 7M studies isn't yet what it should be; because some "experts" have been teaching the 7M so badly that they are supporting the central premise of The Protocols: that the Jewish people, based on Torah, want to take over the world.

I had a conversation about this with another writer, a 7M activist, a rabbi who had written widely about the 7M. I told him that, according to his thinking, all the lawbooks of all the nations were garbage, that a bunch of rabbis in Jerusalem were supposed to do the thinking and make the laws for other nations, even including parking regulations, and that he was not only horribly misrepresenting the 7M but validating The Protocols by writing this way. He responded that he believed that The Protocols, except for attributing evil intentions to the Jews, were true.

That was our last conversation. It was enough. Why bother with someone with such a skewed worldview?

As we've noted before, the Jewish people constitute no more than about 1/4 of 1% of the human population of this planet. Which means that probably at least about 95% of humanity has wrong or horribly wrong information about the Jews. Even people who have never even heard of much larger nations, nations like the Belgians, Mongolians, Zulus, Javanese or Balinese, say, have strong opinions about the Jews. This isn't due to prejudice, necessarily. Jews are news. This is simply part of God's plan. It's one of the keys to understanding human history.

In the next newsletter we hope to provide a list of citations to different anti-Semitic websites which denounce the 7M as part of the imagined international conspiracy.

I once got all excited after Rabbi Katz shared a nasty racist rant with me that singled him out individually as a leader of the plot. What impressed me was that, more than just denouncing Rabbi Katz, it reached new heights of ferocity in denouncing a book written by a long-dead cousin of mine, Rabbi Michael Higger of blessed memory. My cousin wrote The Jewish Utopia long ago - it came out in 1932, at the height of the Great Depression. In it, he argued that religiously observant Jewish people could more or less meet God half-way by settling and developing the Land of Israel. He believed that this might help advance the process of redemption. I thought the book had been almost totally forgotten. But the rotten Nazi who was denouncing Michael Katz was even more angry at my cousin. I was thrilled. It was like he lived again.

Of course the problem here is that, in their "advocacy" of the 7M, proponents of the 7M have been misrepresenting the facts so as to give Nazis and other Jew-hating scum ammunition to use against the God of Israel, the Torah of Israel, the people and the State of Israel.

This leads to the following principle, clearly stated in the Bible and repeatedly demonstrated historically: that God blesses those who bless Israel and curses those who curse Israel. We could get into this at much greater length but the point to be made here is that anytime someone represents the 7M - which is, after all, the core of the Torah - inappropriately, by teaching it falsely, people end up cursing Israel. This means that they curse themselves; they will end up cursed themselves.

Remember that the 7M are meant for everyone - from Finland to Fiji, from Adam to future interstellar travelers - to keep in all their details. And that the details of the 7M are for BN to determine for themselves. Israel's collective role is not parental but fraternal - not father or mother (and certainly not Big Brother) but gentle elder brother, a friendly adviser, a human (and therefore imperfect) kindly mentor.

Speaking of sacrilege and cursing, while most of the Muslim world has been reacting so badly to the allegedly blasphemous cartoons that were printed in a Danish newspaper - and to some cartoons that weren't printed, but what do facts matter in this context? - most papers in the English-speaking world have refused to print them. Here's a link to them, if you're curious: Click here: Groep Wilders betuigt steun aan Deense cartoonisten en publiceert spotprenten - Groep Wilders. If the hyperlink doesn't work, copy and paste this URL into your web browser:

[March 10, 2006. The Danish newspaper which was running the cartoons isn't anymore. Here's another, working, link to the cartoons: Click here: Danish Muslim Cartoons » Outside The Beltway | OTB . If that hyperlink doesn't work, try this URL:   http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/danish_muslim_cartoons . This site provides English-language translations of the Danish captions. Now, if you can't get them here for some reason, you can go here: Click here: HUMAN EVENTS ONLINE :: Muhammad Cartoon Gallery  Or go this URL and paste it in your web browser: http://www.humaneventsonline.com/sarticle.php?id=12146 ]

The Rainbow Covenant quotes the Muslim proverb, "Kill me but do not mock my faith." It recognizes that "human nature cannot bear blasphemy." At this point, though, the issue isn't one of blasphemy but of free speech and the public's right to know. Practically all of the people who consider these drawings blasphemous have already been offended; the rest of us need to know what sparked so many to carry on so horribly.

Different "experts" have told us that Islam prohibits any pictoral depiction of Muhammed. (Every time most people mention him they call him the Prophet Muhammed, as if everyone agrees that he actually possessed prophetic powers. This reminds me of way people who hate Israel constantly repeat the nonsense phrase "the legitimate claims of the Palestinian people," as if one could create such a people or actual legitimate claims through the magic of mere words.) In fact, nothing in the Koran says that, and Persian painters used to portray Muhammed pictorally all the time. However, the thing that's probably irritating the violent, intolerant Muslim rioters most is that these cartoons portray Muslims as violent and intolerant! There is undoubtedly an element of anti-Muslim racism in the Danes' printing of these cartoons. But a population that behaves as badly as so much of the Muslim population of Europe has behaved so often ought to expect to be targeted occasionally by racists.

An Arab-American psychologist, Dr. Wafa Sultan, appeared on Al-Jezeera TV out of Qatar (one of the United Arab Emirates countries) on February 21st and discusses these issues very memorably. If you have a reasonably fast Internet connection this is well-worth watching. It's about five minutes long and it's brought to us by MEMRI, Middle East Media Research Institute's TV project. It's worth watching to the very end. If this doesn't work - Click here: Internet Video Powered by CastUP - go to

The government of Iran is running a contest to come up with cartoons that mock what they call the so-called Holocaust. Like many other Muslims, these idiots who run Iran believe what The Protocols have taught them. As their thinking goes, the Jews are practically all-powerful, and far too powerful to permit anyone to murder one of every three Jews. Therefore, since it couldn't happen, as The Protocols "proves," it didn't happen. So they're promoting cartoons that they consider funny, that, for instance, portray poor Anne Frank as Hitler's slut, a whore..

God gave the Torah to the Jewish people so that all nations might benefit from it. - Midrash

Noahide Crimes

Not just individuals but countries are obligated to keep the 7M. I'm writing this seeing some of the Academy Awards on TV, watching the Motion Picture Academy make a big deal of making nothing out of the Universal Law against abominable homosexuality. If a society is sick in one thing, in the matter of the 7M, it's bound to get sick in most or all of the others. Civilization, like a chain, is only as strong as its weakest link.

Just before the Academy Awards, 60 Minutes on TV was intensely interesting.

When people react to horrible cruelty or terrible violations of the 7M they ought to be able to do more than cry out "How will this look to people?" or "What will this do to our credibility?" That's what former secretary of state General Colin Powell yelled at secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld, according to 60 Minutes and General Powell's former chief of staff, a retired Army officer named Lawrence Wilkerson. The issue was torturing prisoners - some have been beaten to death, many were hung by their wrists from the ceiling for days at a time - as a matter of national policy.

Still speaking of blasphemy and sacrilege, we see that any 7M violation smacks of sacrilege. Consider the Noahide obligation to avoid injustice, uphold the rule of law, and prevent oppression and organized cruelty. The same society that produced the Academy Awards show has been violating the 7M in regard to the Geneva Convention and the treatment of prisoners who are alleged to be enemies.

This is not a matter of opinion, 60 Minutes shows, but a matter of record - and, apparently, of current U.S. policy. The U.S. Army itself has acknowledged that soldiers with the American flag stitched on their uniforms have been beating jailed prisoners to a pulp; Lawrence Wilkerson is no traitor or Arab-loving defeatist; if the current administration isn't currently authorizing the torture of prisoners - not just at the prison known as Abu Ghraib in Iraq but at the U.S prison at the Bagram airfield in Afghanistan, and at the Army prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba - it has been authorizing it until very, very recently.

This is an unspeakable crime. It isn't just a matter of "looking bad" but of being bad. The 7M requires a nation to uphold its own laws. The 7M require a nation to act with justice, against cruelty, and according to due process. So this is how civilizations fail: how they lose the moral highground, their stature and legitimacy. (This is exactly the kind of thing that got the French kicked out of "eternally French" Algeria in less than ten years, starting in 1954 and ending with the French gone in 1962.) This, and not just lewdness, not just homosexuality, or larceny, or abortion, is what causes God to curse a nation. This is the kind of activity that gets nations vomited out of whatever land they seek to keep.


Living Fossils

I was talking with a neighbor, a retired symphony musician, and happened to mention to him that Mel Gibson's awful "Passion" movie got it all wrong and that the Jews are Isaiah's "suffering servant" (See Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12, and also 42:1-4, 49:1-6, and 50:4-9). My neighbor, a normally placid, smiling Christian gentleman, fiercely disagreed. His face got red and he began breathing hard; I expected him to start cursing me and every Jew. I've known this gentleman as a neighbor for years and as a legal client. As he told me, he agrees with the famous mid-20th Century historian Professor Arnold Toynbee - the Jewish people are "a fossil people," more or less irrelevant to history (!), because we rejected Christianity.

Good news !

Good news about our application to the federal goverment. The examiner for the Internal Revenue Service has agreed that we are entitled to IRS 501 (C) status as a tax exempt charity, a religious outreach and educational organization. I don't have the words right in front of me. We are now simply waiting for the paperwork to this effect. God willing, it will come soon. The new status will give us many advantages so we eagerly look forward to receiving it.

Incidentally, we've been getting tens of thousands of hits on our website, from all over the world.

We thank God for this but hope to do much, much better.

What should Covenant-keeping Noahides call themselves?

Ray and I were talking and we agreed that he is a Torah-centered Noahide. Some BN will call themselves other things - as we noted in the last newsletter, some will undoubtedly call themselves Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or even pagan, atheist or agnostic Noahides. We are writing here principally for Torah-centered Noahides.

Peace and pacifism

Buddhists are supposed to be pacifists but Japanese Buddhists perpetrated horrible war crimes just in the last century. The mostly Buddhist army of southern Ceylon or Sri Lanka has committed countless atrocious war crimes too - against a mostly Hindu population whose soldiers have commited even worse atrocities. Christians say that Christianity is the religion of love and peace and Muslims (probably about as accurately) say the same thing about Islam. Pagans say that pagans are naturally tolerant and peaceful but history teaches otherwise. In modern times, atheists, agnostics and "secular humanists," in China, Russia and elsewhere, murdered scores of millions. The one religion that actually does instill in its followers an abhorence of war and has made this stick, for thousands of years, is the religion of Sinai: that is, Judaism and its "outpatient department," the 7M.  

It's funny that more people don't realize just how peace-loving Judaism and Torah are. Shalom, peace, is the Torah ideal. As Jacob tried to peaceably appease his murderous brother Esau with gifts and compliments, to "buy him off," to turn his enemy into a friend, the people he gave his name to - Israel - learn from Torah to wage war only when we need to. In fact, as history teaches, Israel has often failed to act or wage war even when the need was there.  

Consider that need is not a relative term. Need is when life is threatened or when an enemy prevents one from leading a Torah-centered life and following God's commands.  

HaShem will have war with Amalek for all generations. - Exodus 17:16  

Quoting Israel's ancient Passover Haggadah, "in every generation there are some who rise against us to annihilate us."   Contrary to common belief, Amalek - the anti-Israel - is more a state of soul and spirit than a biological extended family. Amalek fiercely envies Israel; Amelek is furiously jealous.  Amalek tries to kill and maim as many Jews and their friends as possible, starting with the weakest: the mothers with children, the elderly, the sick and the babies. Amalek dances in the streets at the prospect of Jewish suffering - even if the joyful dancers are doomed to die themselves!

Please treat this newsletter as a call to action. We call on God help us, as the prayer that Israel says every morning just before reciting the great statement of faith known as the shema asks (please understand that this is much richer in Hebrew than in English):

Our Father, the merciful Father, Who acts mercifully, have mercy on us, instill in our hearts to understand and elucidate, to listen, learn, teach, safeguard, perform and fulfill all the words of Your Torah's teachings with love. Enlighten our eyes in Your Torah, attach our hearts to Your commandments, and unify our hearts to love and fear Your Name. Amen.

 (The Rainbow Covenant Foundation is the First Covenant Foundation)

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