23 Kislev 5782 / Saturday, November 27, 2021 | Torah Reading: Vayeishev
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At the heart of it, this commandment is about accepting that when things are not going our way from our perspective, they may be going our way from God’s perspective.


The Seven Noahide Commandments, Part 3

This week we will be exploring the second of the Seven Universal Commandments:
Blaspheming is the act of cursing God. If we intentionally lash out at God, we are blaspheming Him. We can not hurt God physically, clearly, so sadly people might choose to lash out with words to, God forbid, create disdain for The Almighty in the eyes of others or to simply vent our own negative emotions. This is considered a great sin.
The second of the Seven Universal Commandments is: Do not blaspheme.
At the heart of it, this commandment is about accepting that when things are not going our way from our perspective, they may be going our way from God’s perspective. Whatever is happening to us is happening for a reason or reasons that we may never understand. Nevertheless, every challenge we face in life is custom designed by The Almighty for our own good ultimately. It may be that when we are faced with heart-wrenching loss it is immensely difficult to internalize this fact. It may be that when we are feeling ripped off, insulted, wounded mentally or even physically that it seems impossible to really believe that it is all part of a bigger picture being created by our Father in Heaven who loves us more than we can imagine, but it is true. Even in the midst of great pain we gain enormous spiritual benefit from saying, “This too is for the good.” Note, this does not mean we should, God forbid, shrug our shoulders at someone else’s suffering. It means that we must understand that God puts us in challenging situations for a reason. And to bring it back to the commandment we are discussing, when we blaspheme we are denying that fact about our Father in Heaven. He loves us and is in control and we are not to deny this or attempt to diminish Him.
Here are some other examples of blaspheming:
* claiming that the Satan has power over God. On the contrary, God is totally in control of everything in the universe, including the Satan. As a rabbi I once learned from put it, and I paraphrase, Satan is God’s best employee. He always shows up early for work and never takes a day off. Our own free will is a gift from God and only exists with his permission. He takes the product of our free will, our choices, and uses them to reach the goal He determines for us as individuals and for the whole world. 
* even if one does not believe in a false religion, yet says it is true, that is blasphemy. Through this we can see that idolatry and blasphemy are related. Both diminish God.  When one engages in either one erodes the two foundations of faith – that God loves us and is in charge. 
* if one blasphemes in public and retracts it, it is still considered blaspheming. To, God forbid, turn away from God on your own is a terrible thing. To bring others with you is taking it to another level. 
* if one blasphemes in private and retracts it, God may accept your penance if it is sincere. 
* in a way, lashon hara – evil talk- about anything that God created could be seen as blaspheming, so some feel we should be incredibly careful about this most common and extremely serious transgression.
God created the world through speech. Our ability to speak distinguishes us as the highest beings God created. We should train ourselves to use speech for the purposes of good only.
(The primary sources for this article are the books, Seven Colors of the Rainbow, by Rabbi Yirmeyahu Bindman and The Path of the Righteous Gentile, by Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky. They are super and accessible resources for anyone interested in learning more about the Seven Universal Laws)

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  3 Talkbacks for this article    See all talkbacks  
  Subject of blasphemy
Anonymous,7/31/2009 3:09:05 AM
  attempt at an answer
Alice7/14/2009 4:18:05 PM
  clarify blasphemy
Anonymous,7/6/2009 2:00:31 PM

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