Moral Relativism

BAC- Noah – 10 21 23

In looking through my files on this week’s parsha, Parshat Noach, I

came across an article from one of my long-time Rabbinical teachers,

Rabbi Edwin Farber, that he penned in 2014, after innocents were being

beheaded on TV by ISIS and after Israelis had been attacked and several

Jews killed.

In his article, he talked about a colleague of his who asked a question of

a group of High School students from his Shul. He gave these students a


Suppose there was an island where human sacrifice was the norm. It was

the accepted practice by everybody, even the victims.

Suppose you were to take over that island, and you had the power to put

a stop to such sacrifices. Should you do so?

Now here’s the shocker. They were unanimous in their response. They

all said that they would not stop it because it is the way they practice

their religion and we cannot judge their religion just as we don’t want

them to judge our religion. All of the teens agreed that we have no right

to stop people from killing innocent people if that is their religion,

whether we agree or not.

This is what we call moral relativism and it is what our next generation

is being taught. “I have no right to say that anything is right or wrong. It

may be wrong for me in my particular culture but in another culture, it

may be right.

Who am I to judge?” And that will be reinforced when they go to the

university campuses and listen to professors tell them that all values are

relative to particular cultures. There are no absolutes.

But this is a very dangerous idea. Imagine someone saying, “From our

point of view Hitler was wrong. But in his culture he was right.”

Or, “I may think murder is wrong, stealing is wrong but others may

think it is right. Who am I to judge?”

Could you imagine justifying the beheadings we have seen at the hand

of ISIS or the terror attack in Israel this week that killed a 3-month-old or

the terror attack in Ottawa that cost a Canadian soldier his life? Well – as

we all know many do, in fact, justify these attacks as legitimate forms of


That is why this week’s parsha is especially important at this time.

Parshat Noach teaches that the deliberate murder of innocents is wrong

in every culture.

It is an absolute wrong and any culture that condones it is an evil culture.

The laws of Noah, which include this prohibition of the killing of

innocents apply to all of humanity, regardless of culture or ethnicity.

Remember the sign of the covenant between God and Noah? It was the

rainbow, which as Rabbi Michael Gold points out is a natural

phenomenon where many colors join together as one. This teaches that

the covenant joins people of all races.

God gave Noah a series of laws, the most basic being the prohibition of

bloodshed. Whoever deliberately kills their fellow human being deserves

to be put to death. This is for every human being of every race, ethnicity

, and culture for all humanity has been created in the image of God.

The conclusion of the Noah story is that the murder of innocents is wrong. It

does not matter if that murder is being carried out by people in the west

or the East – whether it is Arab terrorists, Muslim fundamentalists or

people on an island carrying out human sacrifice.

The deliberate taking of a human life is immoral and those who have the

power to stop it – must do so.

And if we have the ability to put an end to the taking of innocent life –

that is our obligation.
Moral relativism is very dangerous and a refusal to categorically declare

murder as wrong and to accept the responsibility of fighting against such

immorality will lead the world to a disaster which, although will not

reach the dimensions of Noah’s flood, will still be extremely painful.

My friends, I find Rabbi Farber’s words true today as much as they were

in 2014.

Our liberal arts colleges, in my humble opinion, are doing a great

disservice to the world by encouraging moral relativism. If Black Lives

Matter can align itself with barbaric terrorists who dismember innocent

babies, then they should have no place on an American College Campus.

Wrong is wrong.

No other Arab country in the region wants to absorb these two million

Palestinians from Gaza. Why is that? Because they will kill anyone

who doesn’t follow their idea of religion. They killed Anwar Sadat for

trying to have his country live in peace with Israel. That’s why they

don’t want these Palestinians today.

Having all those Jew haters in their territory could endanger the peace

treaty between Egypt and Israel that came after so much hardship and

loss of life.

Egypt is doing better since it made peace with Israel. Jordan is doing

better since it made peace with Israel. Trade has increased. Sharing of

technology has increased. The lives of their citizens have greatly

improved. These countries don’t want to live in a constant state of


Peace is better than war. Giving up some land for a peace treaty is better

as long as the participants become new allies.

Leaving a better life to our children than we had through endless wars –

is better.

Our Parsha states Noah was a righteous man in his generation.

Righteousness begins with “right”. We all must know right from wrong.

Those that do wrong in society, have to be eliminated from society for

the safety of the vast majority. That’s why we have prisons…so their

evil cannot harm the rest of us.

What Hamas stands for is pure evil. There is no relative morality to

anything about them. They need to be cut off from the rest of us who

live by a basic code of right and wrong!

Shabbat Shalom!