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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 (39)
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
February 14, 2014
Peace and happiness
v

We are taught that our ultimate purpose and therefore the ultimate source of our peace and happiness is know our Creator.

The path to know Him, whether one is Jewish or a Ben Noach, is to trust Him and obey His will which is found in the Torah.
David
February 14, 2014
Do the laws of God tell us about what makes us happy & gives us peace
v
February 13, 2014
The Noahides Laws dilemma
In the controversy regarding The Noahides I felt compel in writings my views in the subject. I am still learning but felt the urgency of showing my points and request feedback. Some people act like if those laws never existed and where made up by rabbis.
In order for Noah to be righteous in the sight of G-d Noah must had a set of rules to be measured by? I am a 100% sure Noah was not a murder, like the xtians hitler or like the inquisitions. Noah was neither a thief like xtians steal the tithes from their victims, nor an idolater like xtians idolaters worshiping images. Neither was sexually immoral touching altar boys neither he blaspheme by claiming a man to be "G-d" Noah was also understood to have justice. Those are the six laws I am pretty sure existed before the flood, if anyone don't want to believe that, that’s their prerogative. These six laws can be branched and even make more out of them meaning lying is part of injustice, just like be disrespectful and so on. However before the flood everyone was a vegetarian and after the flood most eating plants where destroy, in order to let the seeds regrow G-d allowed man to eat flesh thus the 7th commandment to Noah.
The Laws of Noah are not of Noah’s as the feast of the Jews is of the Jews. Meaning the feast is G-d’s feast and the Laws are G-d’s laws. By concept people referred to them as the Law of Noah’s and the feast of the Jews. They were established by G-d in some point in History.
The Torah or 613 laws are given to the Israelites on Mt Sinai after leaving Egypt. These Laws are to be practice in the land and these laws were never meant to be for the whole world! And the sacrificial systems were not necessarily for forgiveness of sin and are the least important method of atonement. In other words Jews don't need to sacrifice’s for forgiveness of sin; burnt offerings of flour, repentance, charity compassion and even prayers are mentioned way more than any sacrifice! The sacrificial system was also a picnic! In order for a sacrifice to be made for whatever purpose, first the animal to be sacrifice have to be approved and prescribed by G-d and not by the catholic church or her daughters. As a matter of fact G-d condemned human sacrifice more times that he condemns the use of any other abominable unclean animals!
So if the 613 are for Jews and willing converts then the rest of humanity must have a code and is the 7 Laws of Noah. The 10 commandments could in a way fit in the 7s or any other justice law of love will fit in the 7s.
G-d did not destroy the world with the flood because they were not following the 613’s but perhaps they were not following the 6’s just common sense! Why destroy them if there was no code or law to follow?
rafael
January 29, 2014
Thank you!
I think this is great. What I find fascinating is that there are some folks out there that see this and think "Jews are imposing their laws on us, believe in a creator, and interfere between 'consenting adults.'"

I don't think such people understand that following these rules are a personal choice. The Jews have a responsibility to let the world know about the rules. Following them is essentially a decision one has to make for himself/herself.

I'm Catholic and find nothing in these rules that is contradictory or against what we teach.
Ray
Maryland
January 8, 2014
Dan,

I appreciate your point of view and understand it.

All I can say is that, from the Jewish, and by extension, Noahide, point of view, if a person desires to have a place in Olam Haba, the world to come, they must acknowledge the true Creator and serve HIm through seeking to do His Will, which is His Torah.

That being said, we are also taught that Hashem is merciful and understands the situation, upbringing etc. of every person.

And in addition, we are also taught that all who do good and act morally will be rewarded in some way.

Hashem is good. His ultimate desire is to bestow good on those who trust Him.

But I don't expect to convince you with these arguments.

My suggestion/challenge is, in addition to your Budhist practice, try hisbodedus, praying to Hashem in your own words for just a few minutes each day, and see what happens.

This has made all the difference in the world in increasing my faith and trust in Hashem.
David
December 25, 2013
David,

There are millions of decent moral people in this world who do not beleive in God. Buddhists, Taoists etc. While it is true that the word god has been used in relationship to American rights, it is not acceptible to state that every other person on Earth must have a relationship with a God.

Three of the 7 laws of Noah really have nothing to do with maintaining a stable moral culture but are an outgrowth of the Judaic mindset.

I was raised in a Jewish home but choose to follow the Buddhist path as I never really connected with the Jewish Teachings. While I respect them, I cant follow them as I never really beleived in God.

But many Jews insist that I must follow these seven laws no matter what , including those that directly relate to a creator..

How is that fair ir reasonable?
Dan Gussin
December 24, 2013
Right or Respsonsibiltiy?
From the Torah point of view it isn't a rights issue. Rather, Jews as well as Gentiles have the responsibility, the moral obligation, and in fact, the commandment to inform and educate others regarding these laws.

Rights have to do with freedoms. Society should be free. However, any civilized nation sets limits on what people are free to do or not do. This includes everything from murder to speed zones. These limits are meant to protect both the individual and the community.

Therefore disagreements about rights are based on differences of opinion about what others should have the right to do or not do and what is good for individuals/society.

In America, we have the bill of rights. And no one can force another to believe or practice any religion nor prevent others from doing so.

That said the constitution itself is based on the idea that a person's basic rights are given to them by their Creator. So whether one believes in God or not, our rights are based on belief in God.
David
December 22, 2013
What gives Jews the right to insist that the entire world beleives in a creator god ?

and what gives Jews the right to interfere with what people do in a consensual relationship?
Dan Gussin
New York
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