Does Noahides Have to Repent?

The ten days of Rosh Hashanah are known as the Ten Days of Repentance or the Ten Days of Return. These days are described as a time when “the gates of heaven are open”. Sometimes during the year, we get soiled by our errors and misjudgments. This is the time to purify ourselves and be extra careful with the 7 Noahide laws observance. Even a righteous person must reconnect, which means to return and reveal the source of his soul. Repentance is not necessarily about sins, rather, it is about the concept of  “the spirit shall return to the G-d who gave it”: the soul continually strives to come closer to G-d. One can be all his life in the ongoing process of returning and connecting to his divine source. This of course applies to Noahides as well.

 

In the Bible, we find a nice example. Jonah the prophet cries out that within 40 days the city of Nineveh will be destroyed (Yonah 3). And manages to get the entire city of Nineveh, young and old, to repent.  The king himself forced the people to repent of their ways and cry out to G-d. Nineveh residents were Gentiles, and they not only repented but did so immediately. They repented sincerely and were no longer deserving of total destruction. It is customary for Jews to read this chapter in Yonah during the day of “Kippur”, the holiest day in the year. Thus, repentance in the sense of return is an obligation for Noahides.

 

With that being said, improving your personal connection with the creator of the world has to be done with joy and completely avoiding sadness. The goal is to reveal your real self. And most importantly to continue the divine mission of your soul from now on.

 

The redemption could come sooner with repentance (teshuva). Humanity needs to be led by the ultimate good, the infinite creator, Who guides us towards an illuminated life-the era of Moshiach. Those who accept the commandment of Noah’s sons and do it out of love are able to reach high levels and have a part in the world to come.

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Rabi Yosef Halevi
Tel Aviv