Do non-Torah religions conflict with observance of the 7 Noahide Commandments?  


Question : Do non-Torah religions conflict with observance of the 7 Noahide Commandments?
Answer: There are rungs of ascending spiritual levels that one can achieve as a Gentile. The most basic level of righteousness, which G‑d expects from every Gentile, is to refrain from any actions that would
transgress any of the Seven Noahide Commandments, regardless of what your beliefs are about the
source or basis of those commandments. Thus, adding on observance of the eternal 7 Noahide
Commandments to whatever you are presently following is a very positive and worthwhile step, that will
certainly bring you into a more personal relationship with G‑d.
Beyond the obligation to observe just the letter of the Seven Commandments, a Gentile can progress
further to take on the Torah-based faith of the Noahide Code. The Noahide Code as a faith extends
beyond the general concept that there are Seven Noahide Commandments, and it includes a set of basic
principles about G‑d, prophecy, and the Torah of Moses. By accepting and following the Torah-law
details for the Seven Noahide Commandments because they were given directly by G‑d in the Written
Torah and the Oral Torah, a Gentile can merit the reward of eternal life of the future World to Come.
Certainly, a Noahide on this higher level is anxiously waiting for the Messiah son of David (the
“Moshiach,” in Hebrew) who is promised by G‑d in the Hebrew Scriptures. Also, he/she recognizes that
every Gentile has a personal responsibility to repent directly to G‑d for any transgressions of the Seven
Commandments that are done, G‑d forbid. A person’s sincere repentance brings G‑d’s forgiveness, and
His cleansing of the person’s soul from the stain of a sin.
One of the commandments that G‑d gave through Moses is that all Gentiles should observe the Seven
Commandments of Noah. In fact, the only written proof we have that there are Noahide
Commandments and a Noahide Covenant is that G‑d instructed Moses at Mount Sinai to write about the
generations from Adam to Noah in the Torah’s Book of Genesis, and to preserve the details of those
commandments within the Oral Torah. So ultimately, that is their basis from that time on. The pious
individuals of the nations (who earn a place in the World to Come) are those who follow the Seven
Commandments because G‑d commanded them to Noah, and because all Gentiles must follow those
precepts according to the details of the Noahide Code that G‑d commanded through Moses. Therefore,
a faithful Noahide accepts that G‑d revealed Himself at Mount Sinai to the entire Jewish nation (at least
3 million people), and that Moses was a true prophet and the receiver and transmitter of the Torah.
Unlike Torah-true Noahidism and Judaism that were given by G‑d, there are man-made religions in the
modern world that have a great many recognized branches and sub-branches. In addition, one must
admit that each individual has his/her own personal interpretations of his own religion, which influence
exactly what he/she believes and practices. The compatibility of this with the strict letter of the Noahide
Commandment that forbids idolatry must be considered objectively on a case-by-case basis.
To go into more depth on this issue, you should read the book, “The Divine Code,” Volume I, by Rabbi
Moshe Weiner.
By way of introduction, consider the first of the Principles of Torah Faith enumerated by Maimonides,
which includes the following:


“… there is in existence a Being Perfect in respect of all modes of existence, Who is the Cause of all
things in existence, through Whom their existence is possible, and from Whom their existence ensues.”
This can be expressed as the principle of the Truth of G‑d’s Being, which supersedes and transcends any
other possible Truth, and by virtue of His True Being all the spiritual and physical creations are brought
into existence.
The Noahide principles (some of which are incorporated in the first Noahide Commandment, which
prohibits idolatry) recognize the truth of the absolute unity and non-physicality of G‑d.
Historically, the Noahide Code continued to have a following throughout history up until the destruction
of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the exile of the Jewish People, who up until then had provided a
main source of religious instruction and inspiration for the Noahides. Now that the time for the end of
the exile of the Divine Presence from Jerusalem has arrived, large numbers of Gentiles are again
becoming motivated to return to the Noahide faith.
Question: What is the meaning of full trust in G‑d?
What does it mean to have full “bitachon” (trust) in G‑d?
Answer: From a talk by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson. Presented with permission from
the publisher, Sichos in English. Translated from Likkutei Sichos, Vol. XXXVI, p. 1-6.
… Bitachon/trust is not merely the faith that G‑d has the potential to bestow good [upon a person] and
save him from adversity. Instead, [it implies that] the person trusts that G‑d will actually do this. And his
trust is so absolute that he is serene and does not worry at all. As [the book] Chovos HaLevavos [Duties
of the Heart] states:[1] “The essence of bitachon/trust is the serenity of the person who trusts. His heart
relies on the One Whom he trusts that He will do what is best and most befitting with regard to the
matter he trusts in Him.”
Explanation is required: What is the foundation for this absolute certainty? Even when there is an
explicit promise from G‑d, it is possible that the promise will not be fulfilled because “sin will have an
effect.” Certainly, this applies when there is no such promise. [Moreover,] the possibility that “sin will
have an effect” is relevant to each of us (“for there is man so [wholly] righteous on earth that he always
does good and never sins.”)[2] If even Jacob had this fear [see Genesis 32:8, and Rashi’s explanation
there], certainly, it applies to others.[3]
On the surface, one might offer the following explanation: The concept of bitachon/trust is based on the
faith that everything comes from G‑d, blessed be He. Thus, when a person is found in distress and
difficulty, it is not because [the material factor] causing the distress has, Heaven forbid, [independent]
control in any manner whatsoever. Instead, everything comes from Above.
Therefore the person is absolutely serene. Either way, [he has no reason to worry]. For if it is not
appropriate that any evil be visited upon him, certainly G‑d will save him from it. {This is true even when
there is no way, according to the natural order, that the person will be saved. For there is no one who
can dictate to G‑d, and He has the potential to change the natural order.}
And if the person is not worthy of G‑d’s kindness (but instead is worthy of receiving a punishment), he
should still be utterly serene. For he knows that his difficulty is not a result of any [material] entity, but
rather stems from G‑d alone. It has come about because he did not fulfill his responsibilities to his
Creator; his [neglect of his obligations] brought about the difficulty. Therefore he fears G‑d alone.
{Moreover, he realizes that the difficulty is for his own good. For the punishments ordained by the Torah
[including difficulties in this physical world] are expressions of G‑d’s kindness, cleansing a person from
the blemish of sin. Thus there is no place for worry or fear.}
Accordingly, there is no contradiction. A person may have absolute bitachon/trust in G‑d even though he
knows that sin may have an effect and he will not be saved from the difficulty. This does not disturb his
serenity, for he knows that everything that happens to him comes from G‑d. …
This explanation is, however, insufficient. For it is clearly apparent that the fundamental element of
bitachon/trust is not merely serenity and peace of mind [that comes from the knowledge that
everything is ordained by the hand of G‑d]. Instead, [the desired intent is] that the person who has
bitachon/trust in G‑d will receive manifest and overt good,[4] i.e., that G‑d will deliver him from his
According to the above explanation, it appears that this simple meaning of bitachon/trust is beyond the
reach of the majority … (For “there is no man so wholly righteous one earth that he [always] does good
and never sins,” and who can justifiably declare that he is worthy of having G‑d’s kindness manifest
upon him?) [It would appear that] the concept of bitachon/trust is primarily [reflected in the conviction]
that even when a person does not merit G‑d’s kindness, he has peace of mind because [he realizes that]
everything comes from G‑d. (Moreover, everything is for his own good; it is just not [always] manifest
and apparent good.) {It is only perfectly righteous people, whose Divine service has reached
consummate perfection and who therefore do not have to worry about sin having an effect, who can
trust that they will receive manifest and apparent good.[5]}
[Such an approach, however, contradicts the statements of Duties of the Heart [6] (in the explanation of
“the reasons why bitachon/trust is possible”) that “there is One Who can be trusted because of His
ultimate generosity and kindness which is extended to a person who is worthy and also to one who is
not worthy. His generosity will continue and His kindness will be extended without cessation or end.”
[According to this view,] the concept of bitachon/trust is based on the principle that G‑d will bestow
kindness on a person who is not worthy as well.
Explanation is therefore required: [True,] G‑d’s mercies are extended also to persons who are not
worthy. Nevertheless, isn’t it possible that a person will receive punishment for his undesirable acts?[7]
What is the [conceptual] foundation for a person’s trust that G‑d will act generously to him although he
is not worthy?
The above questions can be resolved by first explaining an adage of the [third Lubavitcher Rebbe, known
as the] Tzemach Tzedek (quoted frequently by my revered father-in-law, the [Previous] Rebbe)[8] who
gave this reply [in Yiddish] after someone begged him to plead for Divine mercies on behalf of a person
who was dangerously ill: [9] “Tracht gut, vet zain gut” (“Think positively, and the outcome will be
good”). It is apparent from the Tzemach Tzedek’s words that thinking positively (having bitachon/trust
[in G‑d]) will bring about a good outcome (in revealed and manifest good).
It appears that the intent can be explained as follows: The obligation of bitachon/trust … is not merely a
particular element (and a natural corollary) of the faith that everything is in G‑d’s hands and that G‑d is
generous and merciful. For there is no need for a distinct obligation for such belief. Instead, the
obligation of bitachon/trust is a separate thrust in Divine service. Its definition is that a person will rely
and depend on G‑d alone to the extent that he casts his lot entirely upon Him, as it is written:[10] “Cast
your burden upon G‑d,” i.e., the person has no other dependency in the world except upon G‑d. … {Even
if according to the natural order it is impossible for a person to be saved, he relies on G‑d Who is not
bound by nature at all, Heaven forbid.}
This itself is the foundation for a person’s trust that G‑d will bestow apparent and manifest good upon
him, even if he is not worthy of this kindness. For the definition of trust is not that because the kindness
of G‑d is totally unlimited and can be extended to a person whether he is worthy or not, he will,
therefore, receive G‑d’s kindness without any effort on his own part. (Were this to be true, the entire
concept of reward and punishment would thus be nullified.) Instead, bitachon/trust involves work and
labor within one’s soul. And this effort and labor in developing bitachon/trust in G‑d evokes G‑d’s
When a person truly trusts in G‑d alone from the depths of his soul, to the extent that he has no worry
at all, his arousal [of trust] itself causes G‑d to conduct Himself with him in an appropriate manner,
granting him kindness (even when, [on his own accord,] without taking this trust into account, he is not
worthy of such kindness).[11]
This is the intent of the command[12] to trust in G‑d: that a person should “cast his burden on G‑d,”
[relying on Him] to grant him manifest and apparent good. Since he trusts G‑d alone (without making
calculations as to whether or not it is possible for him to be saved [according to the natural order]), this
causes a corresponding approach[13] toward him in the spiritual realms. G‑d protects him and showers
mercy upon him even when, were one to make a reckoning, he would not be worthy, and He enables
him to appreciate manifest and apparent good.[14]
This is the intent of the adage of the Tzemach Tzedek [cited above] that [the person's] bitachon/trust
itself will lead to positive results. This is not a supplementary element of our bitachon/trust [in G‑d]. …
[Rather] bitachon/trust itself will lead to and bring about G‑d’s salvation. The opposite is also true.
When a person is not saved from distress, the reason is that his bitachon/trust is [or was] lacking.[15] …
This leads to a directive applicable to our actual conduct. When a person encounters obstacles and
encumbrances in his observance of the Torah and [his] mitzvos [commandments], he should realize that
the elimination of these obstacles is dependent upon him and his conduct. If he has absolute faith in G-
d, that G‑d will help him so that the situation will be good until he is utterly serene without any worry at
all, [his bitachon/trust will bear fruit]. (Needless to say, he must also do whatever he can in a natural
way to remove these obstacles,[16] [but it is his bitachon/trust that will shift the flow of the paradigm].)
[He will see the realization of] the promise: “Think positively and the outcome will be good.” This will
become manifest. All of the obstacles and encumbrances will be eliminated, and he will enjoy actual
good that is apparent and manifest to all.
(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Parshas Shmos, 5726, and Sichos Shabbos Parshas Beshalach, 5723)
Edited Notes:
[1] The Gate of Trust, ch. 1. See also the introduction to that section. Also Kad HaKemach (by Rabbeinu
Bachaye) states that “No doubt should mitigate one’s bitachon/trust.”
[3] Kad HaKemach states that “a person who has faith may not necessarily have bitachon/trust. For at
times, he will fear that perhaps [his] sins will have an effect.” (And in his discussion of this issue, he cites
the example of Jacob the Patriarch.)
[4] [Trans. Note: The intent is that everything granted by G‑d is ultimately good. We desire, however,
good that man can easily and readily appreciate as good.]
[5] According to the opinion in the Midrash that “There is no [secure] promise for the righteous in this
world,” on the contrary, the righteous do not rely (even) on [G‑d's] promise.
[6] The Gate of Trust, ch. 2; see also ch. 3 and the conclusion of ch. 1.
[7] As stated in Duties of the Heart (loc. cit., ch. 3, the fourth introduction): “It is necessary for [a person]
to take great care and [undertake] intense efforts to fulfill what the Creator obligated us in His service,
[i.e.,] to carry out His commandments… so that the Creator will consent to give [a person] the matters
which [that person] trusts he will receive.” Nevertheless, this is [necessary] only so that the person’s
present conduct will not be in contradiction to his bitachon/trust in G‑d. For it is impossible for a person
to have bitachon/trust in G‑d and rebel against Him (as stated in that source. That text gives an example
from mortal conduct: [A person who is entrusted with a mission and ignores it cannot expect that the
person who entrusted him with that mission will pay him generously].)
[Nevertheless, the intent is not that the person's positive conduct evokes G‑d's generosity. Instead,] the
foundation and the reason for his trust [in G‑d] is G‑d’s generosity which encompasses all created
beings. See ch. 2 of the above source which states that the reason for our trust is “His mercy,
graciousness, and love.” And similarly, in ch. 3 he writes: “The Creator shows mercy on man more than
anyone else shows mercy.”
[8] Igros Kodesh of the Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, Vol. II, p. 537; Vol. VII, p. 197.
[9] As appropriate according to the ruling of Rama (Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah, the conclusion of ch.
[11] This concept is explicitly stated in Sefer Ikkarim (Maamar 4, ch. 46): “It is written (Psalms 32:10): ‘A
person who trusts in G‑d will be encompassed by kindness,’ i.e., even if he is not worthy on his own
accord, it is the propensity of bitachon/trust to draw down unwarranted kindness on those who trust in
G‑d.” See also ch. 47: “If a person would place his hope [in G‑d] as is fitting, kindness would not be
withheld from him by G‑d.”
See also Kad HaKemach, loc. cit., which states: “A person who has bitachon/trust in G‑d is lifted above
the difficulty in reward for his bitachon/trust even if [otherwise,] it would have been appropriate for the
difficulty to have been visited upon him.”
See also Yalkut Shimoni, Yeshayahu, Remez 473, which states: “The Holy One, blessed be He, asked: ‘Are
there G‑d-fearing men among you?… Trust in My name and [that trust] will stand by you…. I will save
whoever trusts in My name.’”

[12] Psalms 37:3; 115:9.
[13] See the Zohar II, 184b, which states: “The higher realms impart influence to [the lower realms]
according to the nature of [the lower realms' approach]. If they manifest a bright and eager
countenance, brightness is shined to them from Above. And if they manifest sadness [the opposite
occurs] ….”
[14] See Tanya, Iggeres HaKodesh (the conclusion of Epistle 11): “This faith causes everything to become
truly good in an apparent way.”
[15] See Tractate Berachos [which relates that Yehudah bar Nassan was following after Rav Hamnuna]:
He sighed. He told him: “Do you want to bring suffering upon yourself? It is written (Job 3:24): ‘Because I
feared a fright, it has overtaken me.’ ” The intent is that if he would rely on G‑d without any worry or
fear, he would be saved from suffering.
[16] As is well known, there is no contradiction between true bitachon/trust in G‑d and looking for
reasons [to solve one's difficulties] in the natural order. (See the elaboration on this concept in Duties of
the Heart, loc. cit., ch. 3, the fifth introduction. It is only perfectly righteous people who do not have to
search for reasons in the natural order.

Question: The shedding of blood for atonement for sin, the transgressing of G‑d’s commandments,
runs throughout the Hebrew Bible. How do you respond to this?
Answer: You have pointed out a colossal deception – the fabricated concept that the Jewish service of
sacrifices to G‑d in the Holy Temple brought them forgiveness from sin. That is false, and it is a huge
distortion of the true meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures.
First of all, blood sacrifices of kosher livestock (only) are commanded by G‑d exclusively for the Jewish
people, and that commandment applies only when the Jewish Holy Temple is built and functioning in its
assigned place in Jerusalem. During times when the Holy Temple is temporarily destroyed, the Jewish
service of the blood sacrifices is temporarily suspended, and prayer takes their place, as instructed by G-
d to the Jews through Hoshea 14:3 – “We will render the prayer of our lips in place of the sacrifice of
Leviticus chapters 1-3 have nothing to do with “sin” or “guilt” offerings. Those chapters only speak about
“burnt” offerings, which are brought as worship offerings to G‑d. That also happens to be the only
category of sacrifices that G‑d accepts from Non-Jews as a form of worship, and for them as well, it has
nothing to do with sins or forgiveness. See Genesis 8:20, that Noah (a righteous Non-Jew) sacrificed
kosher animals in worship to G‑d, and he was a righteous man who had no sins, as testified by the
Hebrew Scriptures in Genesis 6:9.
Leviticus chapter 4 speaks about the so-called “sin” offering as it is translated in English, but the Hebrew
term “hatas” (mistranslated as a generic “sin”) means only an *unintentional* (accidental) sin (see Lev.
4:2), for which the Jewish person is not liable to any punishment from G‑d or from a Jewish court on
earth, because it happened by accident!


The various categories of so-called “guilt” offerings are also almost exclusively for *unintentional*
(accidental) sins (Lev. 4:22,27; 5:15,17,18), for which the Jewish person is not liable to any punishment
from a Jewish court on earth or from G‑d. Those offerings apply if a Jew doesn’t even know if he sinned
accidentally, but he became aware that maybe he sinned accidentally.
There is a certain type of “guilt offering” that applies only for 3 very specific sins if done deliberately by a
Jew, but they serve as a financial penalty, and not for procuring forgiveness. These are: (1) a Jew who
committed open robbery, and then took a false oath of denial before the judges of a Jewish court; (2) a
Jew who made personal use of an item that had been dedicated to the Temple for a holy purpose; (3) a
Jewish man who raped or seduced a betrothed half-free Canaanite slave-girl. All of that is specified
explicitely in the Hebrew Scriptures.
Liability to punishment by G‑d only applies for sins that are committed deliberately (the literal
translation of the Hebrew term is “treacherously”). There are no sacrifices (neither “burnt” offerings,
“sin” offerings or “guilt” offerings) prescribed to obtain G‑d’s forgiveness for a sin that was committed
deliberately. What is required is personal sincere prayers of confession and repentance to the One G‑d
alone, and restitution if another person was harmed, and then G‑d forgives: see Numbers 5:6 (where
there is no mention of a need for any blood sacrifice, because it only talks about a deliberate sin, for
which a person is liable for punishment by G‑d).
You should carefully study Psalm 51, which is King David’s prayer of confession and repentance for a
deliberate error, for which G‑d does not specify nor want any blood sacrifices. Rather, G‑d only looks for
the sinner’s personal repentance (see Psalms 51:18,19).
What the Hebrew Scriptures teach is the true meaning of the word “atonement” in connection with the
“hatas” offering after an accidental sin, which is something different than repentance. Rather, it means
(as it sounds):
“At – One – Ment” = coming back to being united with G‑d.
The fact that a Jewish person sinned accidentally (which doesn’t incur any liability to punishment from
G‑d) means that he had let himself get distracted or forgetful of his personal bond with the One G‑d. The
purpose of the “hatas” sacrifice in the Temple was to serve as a gift to G‑d, to re-establish that personal
bond that was interrupted by the person’s distraction or forgetfulness. Again, in the absence of the Holy
Temple, an interruption of the required constant mental bond between a Jew and G‑d (to the extent
that the Jew could accidentally sin) is re-established by prayer. The “atonement” gift to G‑d is
accomplished by giving donations of proper charity from one’s income.
Question: How does the Holy G‑d allow a sinner into Heaven, without atoning for it with blood?
Answer: For a soul to be admitted into Heaven after life on earth, the deliberate sinner must repent
before he dies, because personal repentance is what brings G‑d to remove the deliberate sin from the
person’s soul (see Psalm 51).
According to the Hebrew Scriptures, there is a three-step formula for “repentance” (in Hebrew,
“teshuva” = “return” to G‑d by returning to the proper path). Quoting from “Mishneh Torah” by
Maimonides, where he summarizes this commandment:


“What is repentance? It is when the sinner abandons his sin, removing it from his thoughts [i.e. he will
from now on push out from his mind any impulse to repeat the sin], and is completely resolved not to
do it again.
Consequently he regrets what happened in the past [i.e. what he sinfully thought, said or did] and
accepts G‑d, the Knower of secrets, as his witness that he will endeavor to never return to such a sin
again. And he needs to confess verbally and state the resolutions that he made in his heart.”
Alternatively, if the soul is judged by G‑d to be more worthy of reward than deserving of punishment
(and of course G‑d takes all the factors of the person’s life into account), but the person died with some
unrepentant deliberate sins still attached, G‑d can send the soul into Gehinom (the purgatory) for a
period of time to cleanse those sins from the soul, so it can then enter into Heaven to receive its reward.

Question: If a Gentile breaks a Noahide Commandment and does not repent will he not have Eternal
Here is some information about this from the book “The Divine Code,” Volume I, 2nd Edition (p. 558-
“Any Gentile who recognizes the existence of the One True G‑d, and accepts upon himself the yoke of
the G‑d’s Kingship and the responsibility to keep the Seven Noahide Commandments from the Torah of
Moses, will merit to be resurrected to receive a portion in the future World to Come. This person has
elevated himself to become a Pious Gentile (a Hassid).
A Gentile is judged by G‑d according to the majority of his actions and ways, and if his good deeds
outweigh his unrepented sins, he will merit a reward for his soul in the Heavenly realm after his passing.
[Even if a person’s unrepented sins outweigh his good deeds, G‑d will always grant the person a reward
for his good deeds, either during his lifetime or after his passing.]
The weighing of a person’s deeds, to decide what is the majority for the person’s judgment, is done by
G‑d alone.
If a Gentile’s good deeds and unrepented sins are exactly balanced, then his soul will be saved from
Gehinom [the name for purgatory], but not because he is found righteous in judgment. Rather, G‑d will
tilt a balanced judgment toward kindness.
[However, that only applies to one who does not have the sin of forbidden relations included in his
judgment of being half sinful. If unrepented forbidden relations are part of a Gentile’s judgment of being
half sinful, his soul is assigned to Gehinom for twelve months of purification, and afterwards it will have
a correction (to then receive a reward in the Heavenly realm for the good deeds that the person did).
This is a stringency regarding Divine judgment of the sin of forbidden relations for a Gentile, more than
the judgment for deliberate violations of the commandments prohibiting theft or eating meat that was
severed from a living animal. But the prohibitions of idol worship, blaspheming G‑d’s Explicit Name [in
Hebrew], and murder are the most severe of all, in that one who did not repent from deliberately
committing any of these three sins has no reward at all for his soul in the Heavenly realm.]


The liability to Divine punishment refers to one who did not repent from his sin as required. One who
did the correct repentance is forgiven by G‑d, as explained in Part I, Chapter 9, about repentance.
Note 1, from Part I, footnote 29:
Rambam writes in Laws of Kings 10:1 that a Gentile is liable for transgressing the Noahide
Commandments due to negligence, since he should have learned them. But it seems that [Rambam] is
only referring to a situation in which the general community knows the laws, yet this person excluded
himself and didn’t learn them. If most of the members of the community don’t know the laws, one of
these individuals is not liable unless he was … warned, since it was impossible for him to learn in his
situation. Since the laws of G‑d are true and just, such a person would not be liable under these
unavoidable circumstances. It is clear that this only applies to the Noahide commandments that need to
be taught (since they are not dictated by logic), such as details of the prohibitions against worshiping
Note 2: There is not an explicit reference to reincarnation in the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible). But the holy
writings of Talmud, Midrash, Kabbalah and Chassidus all have many discussions about the fact of
reincarnation of souls, including discussions of the reincarnations of individuals and groups throughout

QUESTION : Can’t a Noahide (or any human being) just live as a good person in their own eyes,
deciding right and wrong based on their conscience?
ANSWER : A person should strive at all times to live and act in accordance with G‑d’s Will. It is thus
incumbent on a person to learn what G‑d’s Will is (as revealed by His true prophets and righteous
sages), since He, in His infinite wisdom, did not choose to program this knowledge into us from birth,
but rather that we should acquire and assimilate this knowledge through the process of education.
There is no guarantee or even expectation that a person’s inherent feelings of “conscience” will
automatically be aligned with the Divine Will, since each person is influenced greatly from the outside by
the secular outlook and the immoralities of the society around him, and from the inside by his own
passions and self-interests.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, explained this in a letter of response (October
’72) to an individual who raised this very question (printed in the “L’Chaim” publication, #318, May 20,
’94). The Rebbe wrote:
This is to acknowledge receipt of your correspondence.
You write that you would love to learn what it means to walk in the presence of G‑d, etc. I trust that you
know of the so-called Seven Commandments given by G‑d to Noah and his children. These are:
1) the establishment of courts of justice; 2) the prohibition of blasphemy; 3) of idolatry; 4) of incest; 5)
of bloodshed; 6) of robbery; 7) of eating flesh cut from a living animal. These Seven Commandments
which G‑d gave to the children of Noah, i.e. to all mankind, are the basic laws, with far-reaching
ramifications, which embrace the whole life of society as well as of the individual, to ensure that the
human race will be guided by these Divine laws of morality and ethics, and that human society will
indeed be human, and not a jungle.


To be sure, Jews, the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were later given many more Divine
commandments which obligate them, but not the rest of mankind. However, this in no way diminishes
the fact that gentiles can and must attain complete fulfillment through the observance of the above-
mentioned Seven Commandments, with all their ramifications, for, inasmuch as they are G‑d-given, they
provide the vehicle whereby to attain communion with G‑d, and thus “walk ever in the presence of G‑d,”
as you write in your letter.
I would like to make an additional essential point. If there was a time when some intellectuals thought
that there was no need to connect the laws of ethics and morality with Divine authority, inasmuch as
these are rational principles, the fallacy of this thinking is now abundantly clear. For we have seen, in
our own day and age, a whole nation which had boasted of great philosophic advancement and ethical
systems sink to the lowest depth of inhuman depravity and unprecedented barbarism. And the reason
for this was that they thought that they could establish a morality and ethics based on human reason,
not subject to the authority of a Supreme Being, having themselves become a super race, as they
thought. There is surely no need to elaborate on the obvious.
From what has been said above, it is clear that no individual can rest content with his own observance of
the Divine Commandments, but it is his responsibility to his friends and neighbors, and society at large,
to involve them in the observance of the Divine Commandants in daily life and conduct.”
This is very well explained in the following address by the Lubavitcher Rebbe. (The following was
translated from the original Yiddish by Rabbi Y. Oliver, and is presented here with his permission.)
If one wishes to ensure that mankind act justly and righteously, it must be founded upon observing the
Will of the Creator and Director of the world!
I wish to point out the theme of the Chapters of our Fathers: Although this tractate deals with “matters
of piety,” i.e., ethics and proper character traits, the Tanna [author of the Mishnah] emphasises at the
tractate’s outset: “Moshe received the Torah from Sinai.” The reasoning behind this is “to tell you that
the ethics and morals [in this tractate] were not thought up from their hearts [i.e., out of thin air] (as
was the case with the ethics invented by the non-Jewish sages), but ‘these too are from Sinai.’”
[Commentary of Bartenura, Ethics of the Fathers 1:1] This is the only guarantee of actual behavior
according to morality and proper character traits. This is relevant both for oneself, and when influencing
others, as the Mishnah continues, “Establish many students.”
This surely applies to mankind as a whole: The only way to guarantee just, righteous conduct is not an
ethical system based on human reason, but on the fulfillment of the Will of the Creator and Director of
the world.
As Maimonides says: “[...He is considered a Pious Gentile] only when he accepts them and fulfills them
[i.e., the Noahide Commandments] (not out of intellectual conviction, but) because the Holy One,
blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us [i.e., the Jewish people] via Moses, our
teacher [that non-Jews are obligated to follow these laws].” [Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings, 8:11]
This is similar to our Sages’ statement: “If one is told that non-Jews possess wisdom, believe it. If one is
told that non-Jews possess Torah [i.e. of their own, not received from the Jews], disbelieve it.” [Eicha
Raba, 2:13] Wisdom alone (without any connection to actual behavior) is not necessarily related to the
Giving of the Torah, so non-Jews can enjoy inherent possession of it. Torah, however, which denotes an
instruction [from G‑d] that is actually put into practice, is only present [originally] amongst the Jewish
people, by virtue of the Giving of the Torah. The Jews are the ones who must influence non-Jews in this
[putting the abstract theory into practice] when it comes to the Noahide Code.
May it be G‑d’s Will that all will increase in all the above, both in spreading Torah and Judaism amongst
Jews, and in spreading the seven Noahide Laws amongst all the world’s inhabitants.
Words that emanate from the heart will surely penetrate the heart and accomplish their effect. This
surely applies when we demonstrate a living example in our personal behavior in all matters of
goodness and holiness. In this way each person will merit to see the fine fruits of his labor. This is a
teacher’s greatest reward – seeing his student go in the path he was taught, coming closer and closer to
the Creator and Director of the world by actually fulfilling His Will, until the student himself becomes an
“illuminating candle,” “moist enough to transmit moisture” [i.e., transmitting his or her knowledge and
enthusiasm about Torah and the Noahide Commandments to others].
Let us occupy ourselves with all this with a sense of newness, with the same enthusiasm that we would
fulfill a command newly given from Sinai, in the words of our Sages, “He who studies Torah, G‑d studies
opposite him.”
Through this we accomplish that “The world will be filled with the knowledge of G‑d” [Isaiah, 11:9] as
much as possible during exile, and we hasten the complete fulfillment of this prophecy, with the arrival
of our righteous Moshiach, may he come and redeem us and take us upright to our land – with an
upright posture, with firmness and pride (but not arrogance, G‑d forbid), at the tremendous privilege of
being G‑d’s emissary to make the world into “A dwelling place [for G‑d] in the lower realms [this physical
world],” and with joy and gladness of heart.
Source: Hisvaduyos 5744, Vol. 4 
, pp. 2169-2170

Question: How should one ask G‑d for forgiveness if he breaks one of the 7 Laws? Does this relate to Yom-  Kippur?
Answer: With regard to repeated sins: at any time, a person can sincerely repent for a past sin, which may have been committed multiple times, and resolve not to repeat it again in the future. (See the book chapter
cited below for important details!) When the person repents, if he feels true remorse, shame and
bitterness in his heart because of the sin that was committed, and he is repulsed by the thought of ever
committing that sin again, then surely that is a sincere repentance that will be accepted by G‑d.
However, if at some later time the person encounters that temptation again, he may face the same
struggle with his evil inclination all over again. Hopefully, with the strength gained from his previous
repentance and his increased understanding of the importance of not sinning, he will be able to
overcome the challenge. But if he weakens and succumbs to his evil inclination (which is extremely
crafty and knows the best way to trick or entice the person), he must as soon as possible come back to
his senses and sincerely repent for the sin that was done again. One should not think that he will not
then be forgiven again, because unlike a human being, G‑d’s attributes are infinite, including His
attribute of forgiveness for the person who is sincerely penitent. A cornerstone of one’s trust in G‑d is
the trust that He always accepts sincere repentance. But the goal of course is that from the outset, one
should not sin.
For an excellent resource, carefully read the chapter on “Repentance” in the book “The Divine Code” by
Rabbi Moshe Weiner. A few Biblical references are included there, and the practical rules that are listed
on how to repent are taken primarily from the “Mishneh Torah” by Maimonides (Rambam), in the
section “Laws of Repentance.”
Another important point is that during the normal course of his daily routine, one must not fall into the
mistake of dwelling on his bitterness and remorse over sins, because that is a trick of the evil inclination
to bring a person to fall spiritually and begin to sin. One must always remember the obligation to “serve
G‑d with happiness” (Psalm 100), and this applies during all your daily activities, since you must “know
G‑d in all your ways.” Therefore, special and limited times should be set aside, in quiet privacy, for one
to turn his thoughts to his past sin and allow himself to concentrate on his remorse and bitterness, and
confess the sin to G‑d and plead for forgiveness. The best time for this is at night, before going to bed.
Once this has been achieved, one should experience relief and thankfulness to G‑d, and go on to serve
G‑d happily. One should especially thoroughly understand and take to heart Psalm 51, and it is strongly
suggested to recite this Psalm after one’s prayers of repentance in the evening.
With regard to Yom Kippur, which relates to the relationship between the Jews and G‑d, Gentiles should
not be concerned that they are lacking in any way in their opportunity at any time for successful
repentance. The fact that only Jews were given Yom Kippur, the day that Moses descended from Mount
Sinai with the second set of Tablets of the Ten Commandments, should only be a positive influence, in
that perhaps it may inspire a Gentile to do his or her own needed repentance on any day of the year.
For deeper spiritual insights into the concept of repentance, please read our web page about the
Covenant of the Rainbow.
Question: Should I punish myself for a sin that I did?
Answer: The true basic meaning of repentance is abandoning sin, and this is one of the universal commandments in the Torah. How is this accomplished? In the preamble to “Laws of Repentance” in Mishneh Torah, the book of Torah Laws compiled by Maimonides (“Rambam”), he writes that repentance entails one positive command: that the sinner turn away from committing his sin before Gd, and confess to G‑d.
This is the basic meaning of the Hebrew word teshuvah (“repentance”, or “return” to G‑d) – to return to
obeying Gd with all one’s heart and soul, to serve Him, and to observe all of one’s commandments. (For
Gentiles, these are the details of the 7 Noahide Commandments and their offshoots.) This is stated in
Isaiah 55:7 – “Let the wicked person abandon his [wicked] path, and the sinful person [abandon] his
[sinful] thoughts, and return to Gd …” Likewise it is stated in Deut. 30:2, “You shall return unto the L-rd
your Gd and hearken to His voice [i.e. His words that He directed to us through His true prophets] …
with all your heart….”
Repentance in general is the process of returning to be resolved to follow Gd’s will, which is that the
person should live in this physical world and observe what G‑d has commanded for him, and to refrain
from committing sins. This can be applied to any particular sin that a person may commit. This differs
from the common misconception that repentance is synonymous with afflicting one’s self (for example,
by fasting or other means) on account of one’s sins.
Even in the case of deliberate sins so severe that one is liable to death as a punishment from G‑d – for
which one’s atonement may need to be made complete by suffering after he repents – this means that
it is Gd Who brings the required suffering upon the forgiven sinner, in the required manner and amount,
in order to complete his atonement. This is clearly specified in Psalms 89:23 which teaches, “With a rod
shall I [G‑d Himself] remember their sin, and with afflictions their iniquity.” In other words, when Gd
finds that the person’s repentance is acceptable, as the person returns to Him with his full heart and
soul, then following this initiative undertaken by the person, this arouses Gd’s love and kindness to
scour away the person’s forgiven sin through affliction in this physical world.[1][2]
This is a kindness extended by G‑d to those who sincerely repent, so there will be no need to subject the
person’s soul to any suffering in the afterlife, which is necessarily a much more severe and painful
process. If a person passes away without having repented for his sin, the required correction might
entail subjecting the soul for an extended time to the much worse pains of Gehinom (the realm of
spiritual purgatory). This is the meaning of the verse (Prov. 3:12), “For he whom the Lrd loves, He [G‑d
Himself] chastises [in this world]…” Therefore, Maimonides and other codifier’s of Torah Law make no
mention any types of self-punishment (not even fasting or self-mortification[3]) in regard to the means
of fulfilling the commandment of repentance, even in the case of capital sins.
From this we learn that self-punishment is not required even for sins that are so severe that the
person’s atonement is completed through suffering. Therefore, if anyone says, “I need to punish (or
harm) myself because of my past sin,” that is a false idea, which is to say that it goes against the
teachings of G‑d’s Torah. The essential point is that even the suffering that (along with repentance)
brings about complete atonement for capital sins is not to be self-inflicted. Rather, it is imposed upon
the person by G‑d through Divine Providence. How much more does this lesson apply for any misdeeds
the person commits, deliberately or accidentally, that are not as severe as capital sins.[4]
[1] That being said, no human has the right or ability to judge as G‑d judges, so we must not be
unsympathetic to another person’s suffering by rationalizing that “he must deserve it.” G‑d obligates us
to cheerfully help others in need, heal the sick, give charity for the poor, etc., and He rewards us for
doing so. Furthermore, we have faith and trust in G‑d that seemingly negative occurrences come from
Him, and since He is the ultimate good, those difficulties really contain hidden good.
[2] However, there is a means by which a person can actively bring atonement for himself, and that is by
generously giving proper charity and doing acts of goodness and kindness for others.
[3] Exodus 23:5 states: “When you see the donkey ['chamor' in Hebrew] of your enemy lying under its
burden, and you would be refraining from helping it, rather, you must help it.” The Baal Shem Tov
taught that in Hebrew, the word “chamor” (donkey) is spelled the same as the word “chomer,” which
means “materiality,” i.e., the physical in general, and in particular, the physical body. So he interpreted
the verse as follows:
“When you see the ‘chomer,’ ” your physical body, as your enemy, and it is “lying under its burden” that
has been placed upon it, you may think of “refraining from helping it” – to fulfill it’s mission from G‑d –
and instead you will follow the path of mortification of the flesh to break down the body’s materiality.
However, not in this approach will the Divine light of Torah reside. Rather, “you must help it” – purify
the body and refine it in health, but do not break it by mortification.
The underlying principle in this teaching is that the physical human body is G‑d’s prized creation and
possession, so much so that He sends a spiritual soul down from the Heavenly realm to enliven it to
fulfill a mission for Him in this world. The reward G‑d gives to one’s body and soul for enduring and
carrying out their lifelong mission, within the context of observing one’s commandments, is resurrection
in the World to Come, at which time G‑d will heal the resurrected body of any and all wounds and
defects it suffered, so it will be an immortal perfect body re-enlivened by that same soul, and the
physical flesh of the resurrected body will experience G‑dliness.
[4] The Talmud discusses the fact that G‑d in His love and mercy brings atonement for lesser sins
through lesser types of suffering – i.e. the minor discomforts, aggravations or inconveniences that befall
a person in the “normal” course of his life by Divine Providence. For example, if a person accidentally
stubs his toe, or reaches into his pocket for a dime and pulls out a penny instead, he should say a quick
prayer to G‑d that this momentary pain, inconvenience or aggravation – which came to him only by G-
d’s individual Divine Providence – should please serve as an atonement for his sins. This realization is
also key to helping a person overcome his natural tendency to get easily angered, aggravated, offended
or stressed.
*This answer is based on Chapter 1 of “Igeret Ha’Teshuva” by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi.

Question: What is the explanation of “new covenant” in Jeremiah 31?
Answer: Here is the translation of Jeremiah 31:30-33 that is printed in the Artscroll Hebrew Bible, or Tanakh.
[Tanakh is an abbreviation with the Hebrew Letters T – N – Kh, which stand for T(orah) = 5 Books of
Moses, N(evi’im) = Prophets, Kh(esuvim) = Holy Writings.]
30. Behold, days are coming, says the L-rd, when I will seal a new covenant with the HOUSE OF ISRAEL
and with the HOUSE OF JUDAH:
31. not like the covenant that I sealed with their forefathers on the day that I took hold of their hand to
take them out of the land of Egypt, for they abrogated My covenant, although I became their Master,
says the L-rd.
32. For this is the covenant that I shall seal with the HOUSE OF ISRAEL after those days, says the L-rd; I
will place my Torah within them and I will write it onto their heart; I will be their G‑d and they will be a
people for Me.
33. They will no longer teach – each man his fellow, each man his brother – saying, “Know the L-rd,” For
all of them will know Me, from their smallest to their greatest, says the L-rd, when I will forgive their
iniquity and will no longer recall their sin.


A fine traditional explanation of the “New Covenant” verses in Jeremiah has been published in chapter
10 of the book “Their Hollow Inheritance,” by Michoel Drazin. Here is an excerpt of the main points from
that chapter:
“Behold, the days are coming,” says the L-rd, “when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel
and the House of Judah. Not like the covenant I made with their fathers on the day I took them by the
hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt – My covenant that they broke, although I was their
Master,” says the L-rd. “But this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel after those days, ”
says the L-rd: “I will place My Torah within them and write it upon their hearts; and I will be their G‑d
and they shall be My people, and no longer shall each man teach his neighbor and each his brother,
saying: ‘Know the L-rd,’ for they shall all know, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” says the
L-rd; “for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.”
This vision of the Messianic Era is not referring to any change in the contents of the Torah, for it does
not say, “I will make a new Law with the House of Israel.” It is rather speaking about the covenant G‑d
made with the Jews at Mount Sinai. A Biblical covenant always denotes an agreement between two or
more parties…
In the Messianic Era, the covenant will be “new” and different in that it will be unbreakable, owing to
the tremendous Godly revelations the Jewish people will experience:
A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will place within you; and I will remove the heart of stone
from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will place My spirit within you, and cause you to walk
in My statutes and be careful to observe My ordinances.
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters
shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. Even upon the
manservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out My spirit.
Through these revelations, the Jews will attain unsurpassed knowledge of G‑d and His Torah, making it
impossible for them to disobey either one. As the passage under discussion states: “I will place My Torah
within them and write it upon their hearts….” It will be so ingrained in the Jew that, “no longer shall
each man [need to] teach his neighbor and each his brother…” Similarly:
Thus says the L-rd of hosts: “On those days ten men out of all the languages of the nations shall take
hold and seize the robe of a Jew, saying: `Let us go with you, for we have heard that G‑d is with you.’”
They shall never hurt nor destroy in all My holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of
the L-rd as the waters cover the sea.
Hence, the Torah itself is eternal, as are each of its precepts [Ask Noah notes: i.e., its 613 Mosaic
precepts for the Jews, and its 7 Noahide precepts for the Gentiles]:

And G‑d said to Abraham: “And you shall keep My covenant, you and your seed after you throughout
their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your seed after
you: every male among you shall be circumcised.”
And you shall observe the [commandment of] unleavened bread, for on this very day I brought your
hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore, you shall observe this day throughout your generations as an
ordinance forever.
Therefore, the children of Israel keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath throughout their generations
as a perpetual covenant.
Missionaries mistakenly contend that it was necessary to replace the Torah because its commandments
are too difficult to observe. They try to convince the nations of the world of this by claiming that G‑d’s
Torah covenant with the Jews implies that the only way for any person to be righteous in G‑d’s eyes and
earn a place in the eternal reward of the World to Come was through strict observance of all the 613
Jewish commandments. They hide (or do not know) the truth that there is a separate Torah covenant
for Gentiles, which is that for a Gentile to be righteous in G‑d’s eyes and earn a place in the eternal
reward of the World to Come, he or she should observe the letter and spirit of the Seven Noahide
commandments. This universal covenant includes G‑d’s promise of the acceptance of personal
repentance, which is implicit in the Covenant of the Rainbow.
Here are some additional classic commentaries on these verses as they relate to the future Messianic
Era, quoted from The Book of Jeremiah, Volume Two, p. 254-255, by Judaica Press:
verse 30: “a new covenant” – Ibn Nachmiash explains that the Torah must always seem new and fresh.
The only reason it may seem old and boring is that the evil inclination makes it seem so. In the future,
however, when the evil inclination will be destroyed, it will indeed [always] be a “new Torah”.
verse 32: “I will inscribe it upon their hearts” – It will not be forgotten from their hearts. It will be as
though it had been inscribed there. -[Mezudas David] 
verse 33: “no longer shall one teach his neighbor” – Scripture does not say that they will all be equal in
wisdom, for that is impossible. It is surely impossible that the smallest should be as wise as the greatest.
The intention is that in “knowing the L-rd,” i.e. in fearing Him and in walking in His ways all will be equal.
verse 33: “for I will forgive their iniquity” – that they committed in exile, and I will give them a new heart
to know Me. -[Redak] Since they will be pure of sin, they will be able to perceive that the L-rd is G‑d. -
[Mezudas David ]
While on this subject, we have taken the opportunity to provide some of our own additional insights
into another meaning of the “New Covenant.” This explanation was presented to our rabbinical advisor,
who certified it as a novel but completely acceptable Torah insight.
Here is this explanation of the above quoted verses, Jeremiah 31:30-33:


30. Here it is clear from the plain words of the verse that G‑d is speaking about a new covenant He will
make specifically with all the Tribes of the Jewish People, both with the House of Judah (the 2 Tribes in
the Kingdom of Judah, which were Judah and Benjamin, and also including Levi), and with the House of
Israel (the remaining 10 Tribes in the north of the Holy Land, which split off from the Kingdom of Judah
after King Solomon’s son Rekhavam became king).
31. The covenant that is being described here can also be viewed as the covenant of Redemption of the
Jewish People from exile, since it is being compared to the covenant that was made “on the day that I
took hold of their hand to take them out of the land of Egypt.” That was the day that the Covenant of
Redemption was actualized. It was first promised to the enslaved Israelites at the burning bush, when G-
d told Moses to tell the Israelites that His Name is “I-Shall-Be-As-I-Shall-Be,” meaning “I shall be their
Redeemer from this exile in Egypt, as I shall be their Redeemer from their future exiles.” The new
covenant in the future will be different in that, unlike the original redemption led by Moses, the final
redemption led by the Messiah will never be followed by any further national exiles.
32. “After those days” refers to after the days of the future Final Redemption, which will include the
Messiah’s ingathering of all the Jews to the Land of Israel. In that time of the Messianic Era, G‑d will
open the mind and heart of every Jew to know and understand the entire Written and Oral Torah and all
of their commandments, in a way of an “instinctive” knowledge that they will know automatically and
completely, as part of their essential being. From then on, their eternal occupation will be only to learn
about the hidden spiritual secrets of the Torah and the Essence of G‑d. The Hebrew translated as “I will
be a G‑d (Elo-kim) for them” means that the unlimited and utterly transcendent Divine Essence (referred
to as “I”) will be the normal and natural life force (which is presently the function “Elo-kim”) for every
Jew. Furthermore, the promise “they will be a people for Me” will fulfill G‑d’s original motivation to
bring about the creation of a physical realm, so that His transcendent Essence will eventually be
revealed there to the Jewish People, and through them to the Righteous Gentiles who have earned a
share in that eternal revelation.
33. Because G‑d will open the mind and heart of every Jew to know and understand the entire Written
and Oral Torah and all of their commandments, in a way of an “instinctive” knowledge that they will
know automatically and completely, as part of their essential being, there will be no need or use for one
Jew to teach another Jew these laws and texts (as today a parent teaches a child or a teacher teaches a
student). Rather, G‑d will teach His secrets to the entire people through His Righteous Messiah. And the
Messiah will have a special knowledge of G‑d’s secrets which will always surpass the growing capacity of
knowledge of all other human beings.