Ask the Rabbi - Customs and Practices

Can a Noahide delegate the performance of a mitzva?

Q: Is the concept of “shelichut” valid for a Noahide? Otherwise, what is the purpose of organizing a community?

Question by Mattitjahu; reply by Rabbi Oury Sherki in bold type.

Q: First a short introduction: We as Jews are a nation and have in halacha two important concepts: “shaliach betsibur” and “yotzeh” (to free somebody of his obligation to perform a mitzva by doing it instead of him/her). (I hope I am interpreting ”yotzeh” correctly and that the two concepts are indeed connected).

My concern is how to build a Noahide movement in this era of strong individualism.

My question is: are such concepts also valid for Noahides ? (What is the value of starting groups/group meetings if these concepts don’t exist for Noahides ? Many people are satisfied today by all the information they can get from books and the internet and don’t see the need for any group activities, often specifically after their experience in church.)

 I have given you some extra background information in the hope that you will better understand my question and the reasoning behind it. Internet and email are worse communication channels than direct contact.

A: The question of the validity of delegation (“shelichut”) for non-Jews has been discussed in halacha. The most accepted opinion is that it is valid for them too, even if they cannot be delegates for Jews.

People are satisfied by books and internet because they don’t perceive the transcendental nature of a man-to-man meeting, the presence of neshama in the friend’s face. Perhaps teaching the concept of infinity and its manifestation in the tzelem elohim of man (the “image of G-d”) can help to encourage human friendship.

Rabbi Oury Cherki

Rav Oury Cherki was born in Algeria in 1959 and grew up in France, and he made Aliyah in 1972. He studied at Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, which was founded by Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook. He performed his military service in the artillery branch of the IDF. He studied with Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Rav Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi (Manitou), Rav Shlomo Binyamin and Achlag. Rav Cherki heads the Israeli department of Machon Meir, and he is the Director of Brit Olam - the Noahide World Center. He teaches in many places throughout Israel. Rav Cherki is the spiritual leader of the "Beth Yehuda" community in Kiryat Moshe (Jerusalem). He has written many books on Jewish thought and philosophy.

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