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The 7 Noahide Laws: Universal Morality

The 7 Noahide Laws: Universal Morality

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What Are the Seven Noahide Laws?

The 7 Noahide Laws are rules that all of us must keep, regardless of who we are or from where we come. Without these seven things, it would be impossible for humanity to live together in harmony.

  1. Do not profane G‑d’s Oneness in any way.
    Acknowledge that there is a single G‑d who cares about what we are doing and desires that we take care of His world.
  2. Do not curse your Creator.
    No matter how angry you may be, do not take it out verbally against your Creator.
  3. Do not murder.
    The value of human life cannot be measured. To destroy a single human life is to destroy the entire world—because, for that person, the world has ceased to exist. It follows that by sustaining a single human life, you are sustaining an entire universe.
  4. Do not eat a limb of a living animal.
    Respect the life of all G‑d’s creatures. As intelligent beings, we have a duty not to cause undue pain to other creatures.
  5. Do not steal.
    Whatever benefits you receive in this world, make sure that none of them are at the unfair expense of someone else.
  6. Harness and channel the human libido.
    Incest, adultery, rape and homosexual relations are forbidden.
    The family unit is the foundation of human society. Sexuality is the fountain of life and so nothing is more holy than the sexual act. So, too, when abused, nothing can be more debasing and destructive to the human being.
  7. Establish courts of law and ensure justice in our world.
    With every small act of justice, we are restoring harmony to our world, synchronizing it with a supernal order. That is why we must keep the laws established by our government for the country’s stability and harmony.

These laws were communicated by G‑d to Adam Noah, ancestors of all human beings. That is what makes these rules universal, for all times, places and people:

Laws made by humans may change according to circumstance. But laws made by the Creator of all souls over all of time remain the same for all people at all times..

If we would fulfill these laws just because they make sense to us, then we would change them, according to our convenience. We would be our own god. But when we understand that they are the laws of a supreme G‑d, we understand that they can not be changed, just as He does not change.

Why Are the Noahide Laws Especially Important Today?

Today, we are on the verge of a new era for humankind, a time when we will finally live together in peace and the world will be filled with divine wisdom. Those who keep these basic rules will have a share in that world, since, after all, they took part in making it possible.

Although these teachings were recorded in the sacred Jewish texts, for many centuries Jews were not able to speak about them to the people they lived amongst. But in recent times, the foremost rabbi of the Jewish people in the 20th century, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, encouraged Jews to publicize these teachings, so that the world can prepare for the times of peace and wisdom that are swiftly approaching.

Why Are They Called the Noahide Laws?

These are called the Noahide Laws because they are the heritage of humanity from our oldest ancestors. Since all humanity are descendants of Noah, who survived the Great Flood, all people today are Noahides.

Jewish tradition tells that six of these laws were given to the first human being, Adam. A seventh law, the prohibition against eating the limb of a living animal, was given to Noah when humankind was permitted to consume meat.

More Noahide Laws

These seven principles are general ones. Many other teachings, all intuitive to the upright human mind, branch out from these.

These include the practice of charity and acts of kindness, honoring and respecting parents, prayer to G‑d and contemplation of His wisdom and greatness.

This also means not acting recklessly towards the magnificent creation that has been entrusted to our stewardship.

Who Keeps the Noahide Laws?

Nobody needs to convert or join a particular church or temple to keep these principles and laws. But it is important to keep them because this is what the supreme G‑d wants of every one of us, and not only because they are wise and good laws.

Anyone who keeps these basic rules for that reason—regardless of race, nationality or culture—is considered a righteous person and granted eternal life upon leaving this world.

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Dan December 9, 2017

Since I do not beleive that any group of people have the right to insist other people beleive in God and not be qble to be with the person that they love regardless of gender, I made a choice to become Tibetan Buddhist,
Where does that leave me according to Jewish law? Reply

Jack U.S. December 8, 2017

I see no law against lying or "bearing false witness" . I would think that lying is just as bad as murder or blasphemy. Why the 7 Noahide laws rather than the 10 explicitly given to Moses? Another point entirely, is that I see a lot of similarity between the beliefs of Islam and Judaism. The belief that God has no son, beheading as punishment, its almost as if Mohammed was influenced greatly by Judaic philosophy. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org December 11, 2017
in response to Jack:

The seven Noahide laws are unique in that each one contains several (and sometimes many) other laws. For example, the command against stealing actually includes anything related to theft, such as lying and bearing false witness. Reply

Jack U.S. December 14, 2017
in response to Eliezer Zalmanov:

Thank you very much for the explanation. I figured it had to be in there somewhere. Reply

Jorge Texas via chabadelpaso.com November 21, 2017

So when someone may ask, "What is your religion?" What is the answer to this, being a Noahide???? And also, where should I go to hear the word of G-d, as others have churches; where should I go? Reply

Anonymous Tucson November 11, 2017

I think my understanding is during wartime there are conquered and conquered. Mosiac law and Noahide law in the past were concerning laws of power and administration of both the nobility and vassal states nobility. These separate laws were in operation simultaneously and most likely have an Assyrian origin. Reply

Esther Herat St John's, Newfoundland October 20, 2017

Thank you, thank you and thank you for every inch of Chabad - a resource HaShem has been using to train me, develop me and teach me more about Himself. Reply

Anonymous UK October 14, 2017

Noahide Where did the name Noahide come from? I thought we were called Bnei Noah. Reply

B B Glasgow August 21, 2017

I am a gentile living in the UK. I don't feel the need to convert to Judaism as G.d has given us gentiles our holy laws the simple and beautiful noachide laws. I follow these laws and feel the Jewish people have an obligation to remind gentiles who have no interest in idolatry or new religions that these rules exist, I only found out about them by accident and they fit my life perfectly. I am a happy monotheist who looks forward to his portion of the world to come. Peace to all men. Reply

Charcoal July 25, 2017

Too bad society has broken every one of these laws. . . Reply

Anonymous August 24, 2017
in response to Charcoal:

Society is a collective, the group, or the mob The laws must be upheld by the individual, at the core. We know how groups can act. Reply

Menachem Posner January 23, 2017

Regarding the 4th law It would mean that all intimacy be reserved for marriage as it is defined by the Torah, between a man and woman. Reply

Stephan Sundkvist Bucharest, Romania January 11, 2017

Only one way I am a believer of Orthodox Judaism, although I have not been able to convert yet. I love the Torah, the whole Tanakh and the Talmud. I pray from my Siddur. I love Israel, the Jewish people and I await Moshiach.

I am 70 years old and I have lots of experience of Christianity. I will never ever turn back to the belief of Jesus as God and Moshiach. It is nothing but idolatry to believe in Human sacrifice and in the blood of Jesus (found in the Eucharist). Leave it, and stay with the original, the Orthodox Jewish Faith. Reply

Hadassah Virginia, USA October 26, 2017
in response to Stephan Sundkvist:

Stephan,
HaShem sees your faithfulness and knows your heart. If location etc. are keepin you from formal conversion just remember how our sister Ruth converted. You are a Jew in heart. Shalom Reply

Tara December 28, 2016

I am Catholic. If we all lived by these important laws, there would be a lot less suffering.
Peace. Reply

Anonymous NEW YORK October 19, 2016

I am gay and a Reform Jew, I believe in G-d and in the love he sets on all of us.
It is a profound sadness that we Jews are still divided.
I love my husband and we are good people living in oneness w/G-d. Reply

Matt August 10, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

How can one say they love G_d and live in sin which is the only one G_d says G_d abhors? Remember humans did not set the laws. G_d set them so no point being upset with humans. Reply

al ben usa October 10, 2016

n# 3
It was also reported in 2007 and 2011 that about 40,000 abortions take place in Israel every year, about half of them legal.[2][4]

:-( Reply

Demi Sharese Brooklyn November 29, 2017
in response to al ben:

Am I making sense on why i responded? When we lose ego, our path becomes clearer, whats wrong for one may be right for one at THEIR moment, it is not your job to reflect on their life, you do not have to understand their experience, understand your own experience to build total dependency on Hashem.

"Who ever follows the Noahide laws become the holiest of holy."
Irregardless, we are all gods creatures

The definition of praying - Bonding - Attachment - Connection - to be close to god; The root of praying is to judge A "self reflected act"

Our natural soul yearns to connect to god, praying fills our hearts w/proper thought w/gods vision.

The question is not if god is hearing our prayers the question is are "we" hearing our prayers.

Prayer helps us out of this mundane world; away from physical attachments taking our souls away from god.

God wants a relationship with me, I am prayer secluding myself to call out on gods name.

Sincerely, (technically) A non Jew seeking conversion Reply

Anonymous Washington State September 28, 2016

Hello, excellent article but what are the 70 paths of the 70 nations? I've tired to research the answer to no avail. Thank you for your help. Reply

Yeshurun Jeruslam April 28, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

The Table of Nations is in Genesis 10, wherein the lineage of each of the 70 nations is described, and each is named. Reply

Emanuele Brescia September 26, 2016

Thank you. Reply

Antar Brown Philadelphia June 14, 2016

Spread the truth Thees Laws are what I want to convey to my fellow man and woman. Although first there is redemption of self with the people. Reply

Anonymous Australia June 6, 2016

These are lovely laws and Law No 3 is true, indeed we are each a world unto our own, our own kingdom which is fashioned by the words we speak, the thoughts we think, the actions we do. If only each person realised they are making their own kingdom and eternity... Reply

farah sajid Pakistan May 5, 2016

Thank you for this lesson. Reply

Stephan Sundkvist February 15, 2016

Teach the torah The Torah should be a mandatory reading for all children at school, no matter where. Torah gives all examples of halakha and all other things needed for a decent and good life. At least the 13 principles of the Maimonides should be taught. Reply

Dr Billy Levin South Africa February 14, 2016

The 7 laws For anyone with good and sincere intentions the 7 laws should not be suggestions but absolute observance. Reply

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