This week we present a letter of the Rebbe in which he points out the importance of the commandments incumbent upon all mankind, the children of Noach. These are called the Seven Noachide Laws. The Rebbe makes mention of this in many of his letters. This letter is from volume 5 of The Letter and The Spirit.
By the Grace of G-d
24th of Cheshvan, 5732 (Nov. 11th, 1971)
Greeting and Blessing:
I am in receipt of your letter in which you write about your disappointment in some individuals, as a result of which your religious feelings have been affected and you conclude your letter with the question, “How does a Gentile make peace with G-d?”
In reply, I must first of all take issue with your concluding question. “To make peace with G-d” is surley not an end in itself and therefore the problem is not just how to achieve it. this is only the first step, though an essential one, to begin a life of fulfillment in accordance with one’s destiny. Insofar as a gentile is concerned, it means a life in the fullest adherence to the so-called Seven Laws given by G-d to the children of Noah, which are the basic Divine laws for all gentiles. These are: (1) the establishment of courts of justice (2) the prohibition of blasphemy; (3) of idolatry; (4) of incest; (5) of bloodshed; (6)of robbery; (7) of eating flesh cut from a living animal; – with all their ramifications.
It is clear that inasmuch as G-d has imposed upon each and every gentile to observe these Seven Commandments, with all their ramifications in the daily life and conduct, constituting the framework for a religious, moral and ethical life, He has provided each and everyone with the ability to carry out this task and purpose in the fullest measure. In the final analysis, it essentially depends on one’s own will and determination, for “nothing stands in the way of the will.”
Much more could be said on the subject, but a letter is hardly the proper means for it and I trust that the above lines will suffice.
I must also take a stand in regard to the earlier part of your letter, namely your disappointment in certain individuals, etc. For, a person’s religiosity, particularly the observance of the fundamental Seven Commandments mentioned above, should not be affected by the conduct or views of other people, whoever they may be, but should be observed because this has been willed by the Creator and Master of the world. This is not to say that a person is not subject o influence, for it is natural to be inspired by a good example and discouraged by a bad example. However, clearly a bad example cannot serve as an excuse to lower one’s own moral standards. Personal encounters and sometimes the environment at large may often not be inspiring and may even provide difficulties, but these aspects have to do only with the relative ease or difficulty with which a person can go about his own personal life. However, as mentioned above, if a person encounters particular difficulties or tests in his daily life, it only proves that G-d has provided him beforehand with the necessary ability to overcome them