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.