Parshas Shemos
Exodus 1:1 - 6:1

Before Torah ©

By Dr. Akiva G. Belk

This study of the weekly parsha is dedicated in loving memory to Mr. Michael and Mrs. Channah Sakash, may they rest in peace.

“And went from the house of Levi a man and took the daughter of Levi.” The man was Amram. He was the grandson of Levi. {Exodus 6:16; 18} The woman was Yocheved. She was Amram’s aunt. Yocheved was the sister of Kehas, the father of Amram {Exodus 6: 20}. Their marriage poses an interesting question. How could Amram marry his aunt? The Torah prohibits a physical relationship with one's aunt {Leviticus 18:12}. Yet we read that is precisely what Amram had. He married his aunt, Yocheved. Avraham’s marriage to his half sister Sarai {Genesis 20:12} was forbidden {Leviticus 18:11}. Yaakov’s marriage to four sisters was forbidden. {Leviticus 18:18}.

The early relationships that produced Yitzchok and the twelve tribes of Yisroel were all forbidden by Torah. However all of these relationships occurred prior to the giving of Torah according to our sages, and as a result were not improper.... or were they? Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov were each Spiritualists. They all observed what we recognize as the Seven Noaich Commandments given to Adam and then to Noach. There are some who teach that Adam originally was given six commandments to which one was added in Noach’s time.

The point is that from Creation through Avraham’s life... through Yitzchok’s life... through Yaakov’s life... and through all the years in Mitzriam, observing the Torah as we do today was not required. The Torah was given after B'nei Yisroel was delivered from Mitzriam by Hashem... after arriving at Har Sinai, after preparing to receive the Torah. The Torah was given 193 years after Yaakov’s death or 210 years after arriving in Mitzriam. This means the Torah was given in the year
2448 C.E. In other words, mankind had been observing some form of the Seven Noaich Commands for thousands of years. Spirituality is what man observed before Torah. Aside from Judaism Spirituality is what all humans should still be observing. Now there is a point to this. There are many religions. There are many religious beliefs. Yet from Creation there were only two belief systems, Spirituality and Judaism. When Adam and Chava were created they were created with a pre established set of beliefs now know as the Seven Noaich Commandments. All humans are required to observe the original commands set forth by the Creator. These commands are our original operating system.

So while Judaism claims that Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov are the Patriarchs of Judaism they actually observed Spirituality. And in addition to this the twelve sons of Yaakov were also Spiritualists. There was only one person to live as a Spiritualist in Yaakov’s time and among the twelve sons of Yaakov and later accept the Torah. That person was a woman, Yocheved, Moshe’s mother. Yocheved was the bridge from Spirituality to Judaism. Once this is understood, it offers light as to why Moshe would be selected to lead Yisroel out of Mitzriam. It offers insight as to why Aharon would be the first Kohen Godal. Yocheved had that powerful spark of Spirituality rooted deep within Judaism. This spark of Spirituality ran through her veins to her children. It was the foundation that empowered the Kohanim who descended from her children. Yocheved was the bridge from great Spirituality to Judaism. She fulfilled her responsibility well. The success of her role is demonstrated in her grandchildren being selected as the Kohanim, the priests of Yisroel.

This says something about the greatness of Yocheved and the powerful influence of Spirituality in Judaism. As Jews we need to recognize and appreciate that Spirituality is part of ourselves. Spirituality is part of Judaism! We also need to understand and acknowledge that we share these Spiritualist mitzvahs with non-Jews. Spirituality is part of all humans. The Seven Noaich Commandments are actually the pillars of more than sixty Torah Mitzvahs. This is Yocheved’s bridge from Spirituality to Judaism. This is our bridge, our connection to non-Jews. These Mitzvohs are not exclusive to Torah. They are shared by all humans.

That being the situation, it is easy to understand why spiritual people {not Spiritualists} feel this compelling identity with Judaism. In fact let’s go a few steps further. Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov observed Spirituality. Yet they did not just observe Spirituality, they also observed Torah mitzvohs. Now they did not observe every Torah mitzvah but they had an observance beyond that of Spirituality. From this understanding it is easy to see why many spiritual people seek to identify with Judaism. While they do not observe all the Torah Mitzvohs they like Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov observe mitzvohs beyond Spirituality. As a result many spiritual people do seek through their genealogies to determine if they are of Jewish descent. Many are confused and connect with groups who eagerly accept them. Unfortunately some of these groups are Messianic, G-d forbid!!

Now it is for this reason that we as Jews must understand the Spirituality of Judaism. It is NOT ENOUGH TO CONDEMN MESSIANICS!! We MUST have the knowledge and the understanding to realize what some of the basis is for what is happening. We MUST have a complete understanding of Spirituality so that we may have the wisdom and ability to guide the spiritual person towards G-d’s purpose in their life. Many are confused with their observance. Chassidim, I am saying that many non-Jews observe the Mitzvohs of Spirituality which in fact are also Mitzvohs of Torah. They identify with Judaism when in fact they should be identifying with Spirituality! Since most non-Jews have no knowledge of Spirituality it seems natural for them to make certain connections with Judaism.

It is our obligation to help them find what they are actually seeking. In our first years of JewishPath we only defended Judaism. We objected to Messianics. We still do! However on Motzei Shabbos {after Shabbos} of August 18, 2001 we at JewishPath launched as a means of redirecting the spiritual person who mistakenly connects with Judaism to connect with what G-d desires them to connect with, Spirituality. Since then we have written dozens of articles explaining Spirituality. We introduced a Spirituality e-mail class which presently is outpacing our Jewish Gematria and Parsha e-mail classes. Jewish reader, I encourage you to study Spirituality with us at so that you will learn... so that you will become a tool.. to redirect non-Jews away from Judaism to Spirituality instead of condemning their mistaken actions.

We announced our new e-mail class during Parshas Ki Seitzei {Deuteronomy 21:10 - 25:19} that following week. Since our first lesson was posted in August on the internet at we have had thousands of students learn with us. We have not promoted to any search engine. This past week we began our first promotion of to the world’s search engines. We thank Hashem for the tremendous response we have received at Holy reader, we hope that you will visit, join our Spirituality e-mail class and help spread this great news.

Please remember that Spirituality is a very big and important part of Jewish observance!

Wishing you the best!

Dr. Akiva G. Belk

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