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Universal Morality

Universal Morality

The Seven Noahide Laws

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According to the sages of the Talmud, there are 70 families with 70 paths within the great Family of Man. And each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet, there is one universal basis for us all.

At the dawn of human history, G-d gave man seven rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace.

At the heart of this universal moral code is the acknowledgement that morality - indeed, civilization itself - must be predicated on the belief in G-d. Unless we recognize a Higher Power to whom we are responsible and who observes and knows our actions, we will not transcend the selfishness of our character and the subjectivity of our intellect. If man himself is the final arbiter of right and wrong, then "right", for him or her, will be what they desire, regardless of its consequences to the other inhabitants of earth.

At Mount Sinai, G-d charged the Children of Israel to serve as His "Light unto the nations" by bringing all of humanity to a recognition of their Creator and adherence to His laws.

For most of Jewish history, however, circumstance did not permit our people to spread these principles, other than by indirect means. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe began speaking about publicizing them as a preparation for a new era, he was reviving an almost lost tradition.


What is most beautiful about these laws, is the breathing room they provide. They resonate equally in a hut in Africa or a palace in India, in a school in Moscow or a suburban home in America. They are like the guidelines of a great master of music or art: firm, reliable and comprehensive -- but only a base, and upon this base each people and every person may build.

"The Seven Noahide Laws" are a sacred inheritance of all the children of Noah, one that every person on the face of the earth can use as the basis of his or her spiritual, moral and pragmatic life. If enough of us will begin to incorporate these laws into our lives, we will see a different world very soon. Sooner than we can imagine.

THE 7 LAWS

1
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
Respect the Creator. As frustrated and angry as you may be, do not vent it by cursing your Maker.

3
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
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 oneness.

5
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
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
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.

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Discussion (47)
November 11, 2014
Dan re: rights of Jews
Jews do not roam the Earth forcing people to convert to Judaism. Christians do that now as they have since their inception - they had to in order to have control.

Jews do not murder people who aren't Jewish.

Jews do not force people out of their homes and businesses and into ghettos.

So, I ask you: what gives Christians the right to force people into converting? What gives Christians the right to say that everyone who does not believe in Jesus will go to Hell?

As for consensual relationships -- well, Jews, as well as the Pope are working on that, to some degree of success.

The 21st Century isn't the 1st Century. But some of the mindsets continue to be back into times and writings that our brains and experiences cannot comprehend.

Loving-kindness - tikkun olam -- respect of all -- all will be accepted into the hereafter. THAT is Judaism.

Unfortunately, those have NOT been given to Jews.

"Old Testament" is the Christians' term for the Hebrew bible. It's not old to us.
Meira Shana
San Diego
November 2, 2014
Re: Beheading
There are certain commandments in the Torah for which capital punishment is prescribed. Nevertheless:

A) In our discussions of these commandments here you will generally not see reference to the prescribed punishment, as fulfillment of the Torah is not meant to be out of fear of punishment but out of conviction.

B) The punishment is no more than an indicator of the gravity of a given act, not a license to do violence. It is only administered by the Jewish court, and only under specific conditions.

C) Today the courts do not have the power to enforce capital punishment, and so the subject is essentially moot. One's choice to observe any commandment is entirely based on its being a form of worshiping G-d, as it should be.
Rabbi Shmary Brownstein
For Chabad.org
October 26, 2014
What's interesting is that the punishment for not following the noahide laws is beheading. Why not discuss that?
Anonymous
July 13, 2014
@Anonymous USA (June 22, 2014)
Laws 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 I can not even think of one nation on the planet which hasn't come to value these. Unless you are simultaneously a murderer, adulterer and a thief, who tortures animals and has no regard for justice whatsoever. You are already complying with them.

1 & 2 are definitely not forcible by any means. They're strictly a matter of what's going on in your heart and mind. But essentially all of these laws are in fact, it's about you embracing them within yourself as opposed to complying with them because they are the law of your society.
Anonymous
USA
July 4, 2014
Thank you I strongly believe in what is written. I am Roman Catholic.I believe in the old testament as well as the new.
Although I have never read these words until today. I know the word of God when I feel joy in my heart.
Thank you for bringing this teaching to my attention.
Anonymous
California
June 27, 2014
Thank you for this article. I found it very insightful and profitable.
Ruth
USA
June 25, 2014
@Anonymous USA (June 22, 2014)
Are you a Native American? If not then your statement is completely hypocrisy.
Think about: Who invaded countries all over the world, destroyed the cultures of the Native peoples and forced them to obey their rule? Who invaded once Israel? Who invaded once America? Answer: Romans - Europeans (and there is no denying that USA is a [independent] European colony)

The European-Christian imperial madness caused great harm in this world and there is much too learn about true righteousness.

"In relation to Judaism, for us it can not be about mission, but first of all, we as Christians have to learn from the Jews."
- Nikolaus Schneider, Chairman of the Council of the EKD (Protestant Church in Germany)
Stefan Bach
Europe
June 22, 2014
Not for me
I will not comply. Force it upon my people and you will pay. When you try to activate this "law" upon us "goyim" as you call us, you will see what happens. We are peaceful and we don't seek power or money as your people do. We do not see the meaning of life as how much power and wealth we can acquire. When you try to trample our rights and religion, as you have been doing for centuries now, eventually our kindness and humbleness will run out. I see that time is nearly here. Good luck with your imposition as the price will be extremely heavy.
Anonymous
USA
March 12, 2014
Do you have the entire source in the Talmud?
The quote you mentioned on this article: "there are 70 families with 70 paths within the great Family of Man. And each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet, there is one universal basis for us all.", it is said it comes from the Talmud. Could anyone give me the complete source of the quote? Where in the Talmud is mentioned. I believe it is a beautiful quote and I want to use it on the universality of religion. Thanks!!
Inigo
Spain
February 24, 2014
Be gentle Rafael. G-d is gentle. He gives us free will, He invites. We are serving G-d when we live the law and our love of G-d spills into the lives of others. How we live and relate to the world and others is the best message we could give a wounded world. You are a gift to the world!
Gemma Sharkey
Ireland
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