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Universal Morality

Universal Morality

The Seven Noahide Laws


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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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

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

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

Stephan Sundkvist Bucharest, Romania January 16, 2016

Torah and Tanakh I am not a Jew, but I certainly believe in the Torah and the whole Tanakh. I read it on a regular basis (every day) and I also read the prayers in the Koren Mesurat Harav Siddur.

Unfortunately, I do not inderstand Hebrew, but I do my best to follow all the Commandments.

I try to understand Judaism by reading a lot. And I love Israel and the Shema is also my belief.

G-od bless you all! Reply

Anonymous California November 1, 2015

Universal Morality and the Seven Noahide Laws Universal Morality and the Seven Noahide Laws sound no different than the Ten Commandments. We would have peace on Earth, indeed, if those believed in their truth, just followed them! Reply

Ryan Gelb Woodmere NY September 11, 2015

Acknowledgment, Respect, and Justice are the first words used to describe these laws according to and I agree with that. Reply

MaggieMcC The South, USA August 5, 2015

Meira: Christians do not "roam the earth, forcing people to convert and though from the beginning of their faith they did spread their gospel, they neither force nor kill those who refuse these days and not for centuries and then only in certain countries. It was Christians who issued the Balfour Declaration and later, voted for the creation of Israel.American Christians, as Bibi admits, are a bulwark of support for him and for Israel. You are disturbed that we call The Torah the OT? In terms of centuries, it is old.
Christians who think Jews will go to Hell for lack of faith in Jesus, have not read their religious texts. They should, as it will erase their concern.
Shalom. Reply

Ray Ca. July 23, 2015

The 7 Laws Very impressive I'm not Jewish but I do stand with Isreal. The wisdom in those words if only everyone could live that way all would be right in this world. Thank you for saying that. Reply

Rachel los angeles July 22, 2015

Beautiful. Haven't read such a clear, meaningful, concise article in a long time. Good work anonymous author! Reply

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