Laws of Noah

August 29, 2014 

torah pic.JPG


The Noachide Laws are seven laws considered by rabbinic tradition as the minimal moral duties required by the Bible on all men. While Jews are obligated to observe the whole Torah – 613 commandments, every non-Jew is considered a “son of the covenant of Noah” and he who accepts these obligations is considered a righteous person who is guaranteed a place in the world to come.


This provision is known as the Noachide Laws. Though the first man and his wife, Adam and Eve, were
commanded to observe them, they emerged fully only after Noah had survived the flood that wiped
away violent sinners whose wrongdoings had engulfed the world in his time. The ancestors of the Jewish
people were also commanded in them until they were given the whole Torah at Mount Sinai, and they
were then reaffirmed through Moses for all the other nations.
The Jewish idea is that the Torah of Moses is a truth for all humanity, whether Jewish or not. The Torah
(as explained in the Talmud – Sanhedrin 58b) presents seven mitzvot for non-Jews to observe. These
seven laws are the pillars of human civilization, and are named the “Seven Laws of Noah” since all
humans are descended from Noah.




1 – Do not worship false gods 
Acknowledge that there is only one G‑d who is Infinite and Supreme above all things. Do not replace
that Supreme Being with finite idols, be it yourself, or other beings. This command includes such acts as
prayer, study and meditation.
2 – Do not curse God.
  Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.
3 – Do not murder.
Respect human life. Every human being is an entire world. To save a life is to save that entire world. To
destroy a life is to destroy an entire world. To help others live is a corollary of this principle.

4 – Do not be sexually immoral.
Respect the institution of marriage. Marriage is a most Divine act. The marriage of a man and a woman
is a reflection of the oneness of G‑d and His creation. Disloyalty in marriage is an assault on that
5 – Do not steal.
Respect the rights and property of others. Be honest in all your business dealings. By relying on G‑d
rather than on our own conniving, we express our trust in Him as the Provider of Life.
6 – Do not eat a limb removed from a live animal.
Respect G‑d’s creatures. At first, Man was forbidden to consume meat. After the Great Flood, he was
permitted – but with a warning: Do not cause unnecessary suffering to any creature.
7 – Set up courts and bring offenders to justice.
Maintain justice. Justice is G‑d’s business, but we are given the charge to lay down necessary laws and
enforce them whenever we can. When we right the wrongs of society, we are acting as partners in the
act of sustaining the creation.
Maimonides explains that any human being who faithfully observes these laws earns a proper place in
heaven. So you see, the Torah is for all humanity, no conversion necessary.
As well, when King Solomon built the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, he specifically asked God to heed the
prayer of non-Jews who come to the Temple (1-Kings 8:41-43). The Temple was the universal center of
spirituality, which the prophet Isaiah referred to as a “house for all nations.” The service in the Holy
Temple during the week of Sukkot featured a total of 70 bull offerings, corresponding to each of the 70
nations of the world. In fact, the Talmud says if the Romans would have realized how much they were
benefiting from the Temple, they never would have destroyed it!
Today, there are many active groups of non-Jews called “B’nai Noach” who faithfully observe the Seven
Laws of Noah.
 These seven laws are implicit in God’s commandment to Adam and Eve in Gen. 2:16-17, “And the Lord
God commanded the man saying ‘From all the trees of the garden you may freely eat’.”
In the Talmud, Rabbi Yochanan explains:
1. The word “commanded” (VaYetzav) is a reference to laws of justice for it says in Gen. 18:19,
“For I have known him so he will COMMAND (Yitzaveh) his children after him to keep the way of
the Lord and righteousness and justice.”
2. “And the Lord” (HaShem) implies the prohibition of blasphemy. As it says in Lev. 24:16, “He who
blasphemes the name of THE LORD (Hashem) shall die.”

3. “God” (Elokim) is a reference to idolatry for it says in Ex. 20:3 “You shall have no other Elokim


before me”.
4. “The Man” (Ha Adam) is the prohibition of murder. God explicitly commands Noah (Gen. 9:6),
“If one sheds the blood of THE MAN (Ha Adam), by man shall his own blood be shed.”

5. “Saying” (Laymor) refers to sexual misconduct or adultery, as the prophet Jeremiah (3:1) says,
“Saying (laymor), if a man divorces his wife…”
6. “From all the trees of the Garden” is an implicit prohibition of theft. It shows that permission is
needed to take something that is not explicitly yours.
7. Likewise, “you may eat” implies that there are things which may not be eaten (the limbs of a live

 For more valuable information visit








1. against stealing 

2. against committing robbery

3. against shifting a landmark

4. against cheating
5. against repudiating a claim of money owed
6. against overcharging
7. against coveting
8. against desiring
9. a laborer shall be allowed to eat of the fruits among which he works (under certain
10. against a laborer eating of such fruit (when certain conditions are not met)
11. against a laborer taking of such fruit home
12. against kidnapping
13. against the use of false weights and measures
14. against the possession of false weights and measures
15. that one shall be exact in the use of weights and measures
16. that the robber shall return (or pay for) the stolen object





1. to appoint judges and officers in each and every community
2. to treat the litigants equally before the law
3. to inquire diligently into the testimony of a witness

4. against the wanton miscarriage of justice by the court
5. against the judge accepting a bribe or gift from a litigant
6. against the judge showing marks of honor to but one litigant
7. against the judge acting in fear of a litigant’s threats
8. against the judge, out of compassion, favoring a poor litigant
9. against the judge discriminating against the litigant because he is a sinner
10. against the judge, out of softness, putting aside the penalty of a mauler or killer
11. against the judge discriminating against a stranger or an orphan
12. against the judge hearing one litigant in the absence of the other
13. against appointing a judge who lacks knowledge of the Law
14. against the court killing an innocent man
15. against incrimination by circumstantial evidence
16. against punishing for a crime committed under duress
17. that the court is to administer the death penalty by the sword
18. against anyone taking the law into his own hands to kill the perpetrator of a capital 
19. to testify in court
20. against testifying falsely* This point is disagreed upon by different writers: “The
    Noahites are not restricted in this way but may judge singly and at once.”




1. against anyone murdering anyone
1. against (a man) having union with his mother
2. against (a man) having union with his sister
3. against (a man) having union with the wife of his father
4. against (a man) having union with another man’s wife
5. against (a man) copulating with a beast
6. against a woman copulating with a beast
7. against (a man) lying carnally with a male 

8. against (a man) lying carnally with his father
9. against (a man) lying carnally with his father’s brother
10. against engaging in erotic conduct that may lead to a prohibited union



1. against eating a limb severed from a living animal, beast, or fowl
2. against eating the flesh of any animal which was torn by a wild beast … which, in part, 
    prohibits the eating of such flesh as was torn off an animal while it was still alive



1. against entertaining the thought that there exists a deity except the Lord
2. against making any graven image (and against having anyone else make one for us)
3. against making idols for use by others
4. against making any forbidden statues (even when they are for ornamental purposes)
5. against bowing to any idol (and not to sacrifice nor to pour libation nor to burn incense 
    before any idol, even where it is not the customary manner of worship to the particular
6. against worshipping idols in any of their customary manners of worship
7. against causing our children to pass (through the fire) in the worship of Molech.
8. against practicing Ov
9. against the practice of Yiddoni
10. against turning to idolatry (in word, in thought, in deed, or by any observance that may 
draw us to its worship)




1. to acknowledge the presence of God
2. to fear God
3. to pray to Him
4. to sanctify God’s name (in face of death, where appropriate)
5. against desecrating God’s name (even in face of death, when appropriate)
6. to study the Torah
7. to honor the scholars, and to revere one’s teacher
8. against blaspheming





The 7 Noahide Commandments:



An Introduction


G‑d gave the first six commandments to Adam and Hava (Eve), the first human beings.
These commandments were repeated to Noah, and a seventh commandment was added, when, after
the Flood, G‑d established the Covenant of the Rainbow with Noah and all of the world’s creatures. This
covenant is not dependent on mankind’s observance of these Seven Laws of Noah. Rather, the Noahide
Code established the context and the eventual goal for a renewed world in which this covenant could be
the open and enduring expression of G‑d’s love for His creation. It was G‑d’s promise to all living
creatures that He would never again obliterate all land-life from the world, as stated in  Genesis 9:11
“never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.” The Covenant of the Rainbow has an inner
meaning as well: it was G‑d’s promise that He would always accept a person’s sincere personal
repentance if it was directed to Him. From that point on, G‑d endowed mankind with the ability to seek
and gain His forgiveness, and with this He insured that a person’s freedom to choose good includes the
strength to prevail over animalistic and self-centered desires.
Still, the Seven Laws received by Noah could have been challenged at a later time by any charismatic
misleader who also claimed to be a prophet, and how would a person know which course to follow? This
points to the singular importance of the revelation at Mount Sinai to the Jewish people, 50 days after G-
d brought them out from slavery in Egypt. At Mount Sinai, the Creator revealed Himself to a nation of at
least three million of people, making them all witnesses to testify to their future children and the world,
so that no person in any generation could arise to seriously refute the prophecy and instruction which
Moses received, which is called the Torah. Included in the Torah was the Noahide Code, to be preserved
for the generations of mankind.
The entire Book of Genesis, and the Book of Exodus up to and including the arrival of the Israelites at
Mount Sinai, were dictated by G‑d to Moses when they arrived there. There was then a first covenant
made between G‑d and the Israelites on that first part of the Written Torah, which included their
acceptance of the Noahide Code. Thus, the universal Divine moral code of seven commandments was
renewed, after it had become neglected by the nations. That was four days before the Ten
Commandments were spoken by G‑d to all of the Israelites, at which point they became the Jewish
At Mount Sinai, G‑d taught the essentials of the Torah’s precepts through Moses, and this is called the
Oral Torah. Included in this are the details of G‑d’s directive for all Gentiles to observe their Seven
Noahide Commandments. These details, as G‑d specified them to Moses, are the true foundation of the
universal Noahide Code. A righteous Gentile merits to receive a place in the eternal future World to
Come, in the Messianic Era, through observance of these commandments. That is a Gentile’s part in the
Torah of Moses, which is G‑d’s “Tree of Life” (Proverbs 3:18). It all begins with recognizing the perfect
Unity of the Creator.

Contemplation in the Seven Noahide Commandments



by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, author of “The Divine Code”



Translated by Rabbi Yosef Schulman, Assistant Director



Edited by Dr. Michael Schulman, Executive Director


Every person is obligated to contemplate the commands given explicitly to him by G‑d and to
understand everything that he is obligated and forbidden to do, and how to better his character.
Therefore, a Gentile should contemplate the 7 Noahide Commandments, and what one can learn from
them to rectify his nature and correct his deeds. Of primary importance is contemplation on the very
fact that G‑d gave commands to mankind. This teaches that G‑d has purpose in the world – and
anticipates the world coming to its proper rectification – through the actions of mankind. G‑d’s
commands teach that a person is able to do meaningful good deeds and rectify himself and his
environment. Surely a person should not view himself as being naturally evil, nor imagine that it is
impossible to change one’s nature to goodness. Rather, a person should know and believe that since G‑d
commanded him and anticipates his doing specific good actions, G‑d surely has given him the power and
capability to accomplish this. To this end, the following lessons can be learned from each of the Noahide
The Prohibition of Idol Worship: Just as this command is central to the other commands, one can also
learn from it advice and correct views for all areas of life. It embodies the truth in all of G‑d’s commands,
that He wants the good of the person. In any situation, a person is obligated to accept that there is only
one G‑d Who rules over all and is the Master of all, and only He has the power to do anything He wills.
The all-powerful G‑d gives commands to humans – giving them this gift of being duty-bound to His will –
to believe in Him, and to repudiate idol worship. This teaches that G‑d does not simply force His will
upon humans; rather, He is a loving Father Who wishes the best for a person – that a person should
actively achieve his rectification, for his own good. This command teaches: “Be with G‑d constantly, in all
your thoughts and actions; I, G‑d, will be with you if you so desire and are fitting for this. You should
cleanse your actions from submission to any false deities, and unify yourself with the truth that I am
always with you.” Together with acceptance of G‑d’s authority as the Master of all, G‑d wants a person
to be complete, rectified, elevated, refined, and connected to Him for the person’s own good.
Therefore, with every action a person takes, he must think through and examine the deed to see how it
is further connecting him to G‑d. A person should not think that there is any action which is neutral and
does not fall on one side or the other. Rather, when a person is scrupulous and examines his actions, he
will see that every action he can take will either be for the good and has positive purpose, or, G‑d forbid,
is bad and destructive. From this a person should understand the importance of every action he takes,
and should not listen to his evil inclination which tries to persuade him that his actions are insignificant
and make no difference.
The Prohibition of Blasphemy: There is no greater denial of G‑d’s sovereignty than the commission of
blasphemy. This command is logically a branch of the prohibition of idol worship, which precludes
separation from G‑d and obligates a person to accept His rulership. Why then was blasphemy assigned a
separate command? This teaches the extraordinary power of human speech. Mankind is distinguished
from all other creations by his power of intellect and choice, and in his power of speech. A person
should not think, “Are my words of any consequence?” For speech is a special gift that G‑d has given
people, and one should use it only for good, and not for evil.  Do not be an ingrate by using this power to
curse the One Who gave you this gift! And do not speak evil about others, for every person was created
in the image of G‑d, and one who curses another person is also cursing the image of G‑d within.

The Prohibition of Murder: This command is not limited to murder; rather any harm caused to another
person or to his honor is a branch of this prohibition. From this we learn the value of a person’s life and
his honor. A person must endeavor to help and save every person to the best of his capability. From this
follows the obligation to give charity and help others. The   Mishna teaches that Adam the first man was
created alone for the purpose of peace, so that a person should not tell his friend, “My father is better
than your father,” and to show G‑d’s greatness: that He creates every person in the image of Adam, and
yet each one is distinct in his appearance and nature. This is unlike a person, who makes only identical
copies from a single mold. Therefore, each person is able to say, “The world was created for my sake,”
along with the recognition that “I was created to serve my Creator.”
The Prohibition of Forbidden Relations: The power of procreation which G‑d gave to humans is
wondrous. With it, a person becomes a partner with the Creator Who forms the child together with the
parents. Therefore, humans are somewhat comparable to and partners with G‑d in this power. Every
precious matter needs protection and proper respect, and the more precious the matter, the more it
needs to be protected. Just as a respectable person would not disgrace himself to run in the streets
naked and filthy, so too a person must respect his abilities and use them in a fashion befitting their
ordained purpose – especially the abilities associated with the powers of consummation and fulfillment
of marriage, and procreation. If not, one degrades himself and degrades the Craftsman Who made him,
and sullies the physical vessel which G‑d created for the spiritual soul. Yet many people foolishly destroy
their honor and Divine image by not guarding and honoring these wondrous abilities. Just as a person
can become imprudent from abundance of wealth or fame if he does not know how to handle it wisely,
and therefore it makes him unbalanced, so it is with one who does not use his G‑d given sexual nature
correctly, as G‑d commanded in Genesis 2:24.
The Prohibition of Theft: One should contemplate that G‑d provides necessary sustenance for everyone,
himself included. That which a person needs and is fitting for him has been provided by G‑d, along with
the lawful means to obtain it. That which he cannot lawfully and honestly obtain, he has no need for.
Though at times it is hard for a person to agree with this, he should know that this is the truth. He
should not desire the possessions and successes of others, but should rather endeavor to reach his G‑dly
ordained potential and income on his own. From this contemplation, a person will come to recognize
even more so the individual Divine Providence which has exact design for each person’s needs. He
should constantly trust and pray that G‑d will provide for his essential needs, and also give charity to
others from what he has.
The Command to Establish Courts of Justice: A person should contemplate that G‑d desires a just
society, with justice based on standards that upright people can agree on among themselves as to what
is just or unjust. All people are partners in the building of a just society with a foundation on good
behavior. Therefore, this is an obligation for every person who is capable of influencing others to do
good – such as parents who must influence their children, or any person who has influence upon others.
Another lesson is that since G‑d guides everything with His individual Divine Providence, it must be that
the evil which appears in the world occurs with G‑d’s knowledge. A person could ask, why then should
he get involved in G‑d’s plan for the world? This command teaches that G‑d wants people to rectify
themselves and the world, and therefore He put some evil and deficiencies in the world, so that
mankind could do His service by rectifying it. If one sees a matter that needs to be fixed, he should not
say, “Others will take care of it.” Rather, since G‑d showed him this problem by Divine Providence, it is
clear that this rectification is relevant to him, and he is fitting to be involved. He shouldn’t say that G‑d
will do the work, or that others will solve it without him.
The Prohibition of Eating Meat Separated from a Live Animal: This teaches us not to be cruel to any
creatures. Even if one has dominion over other people or over animals, he was given this power for a
purpose, but not to cause them undue harm or pain, or to be cruel toward them. It also teaches that G‑d
desires the establishment of the world and the rectification of nature, while also caring about the pain
of animals. Even though they were made available to people for food, they were not given over to be
subjected to cruelty. Likewise, one should not waste things needlessly, which denigrates G‑d’s blessings.
All that G‑d gives to mankind has a special purpose for which it is meant to be used, and not for it to be
wastefully destroyed.