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The B'nei Noachidim (or "Children of Noah," "Noahides" in general usage) are those who embrace the "Rainbow" or "Universal" Covenant established between HaShem and all the world following the global flood. While all humans are descended from Noah, only those who observe the Noahide Covenant may correctly be referred to as Noahides.
While many B'nei Noahidim believed in and worshiped the G-d of Noah, as time passed most abandoned the Covenant and became idolators (i.e. placed other things ahead of G-d including false gods and material possessions and conceptions). The people we think of as "Noahides" today began with those who left Egypt with the people of Israel, as recorded in the Torah, during the Exodus. For the most part these Gentiles (Hebrew: Goyim) gradually assimilated into Klal Israel (i.e. the "people of Israel") because they lived "in the camp of Israel" (Exodus 14:20). Throughout our history there have always been Noahidim who chose not to convert for various reasons but to dwell with us and who were accepted as "the righteous among the other nations." The belief of some that the Noahide Covenant is limited and only for those in the process of formally converting to Judaism is incorrect. This practice provides everything needed by the righteous Gentiles.
It is important to understand that the Seven Noahide Laws do not establish a "Noahide religion" any more than the Sinai Covenant established an "Israelite religion." Both establish a community of people whose G-d is HaShem. Within each Covenant there exists certain laws and principles intended to make its adherants pure in the presence of Hashem. For Jews there is a religious or ritual element because the Jews are the "Nation of Priests" to the other nations. For the Noahidim there is no ritual elements.
Both Covenants establish a moral and ethical legal code of behavior to be followed by civilized people under authorized authority. Judaism is not a race, a religion, etc. It is best thought of as an extended family. The same is true of the Noahides who come from all races and ethnic groups. Noahides are to embrace those elements of the Sinai Covenant that apply to them. Likewise Jews embrace those parts that apply to them -- an "Israelite" for instance is not to usurp restrictions and laws of Cohainim. Each person does well to embrace his own derech as prescribed by Torah.
The Noahide Covenant is authorized under the authority of the Sinai Covenant. Noahidim are to look to the rabbis for instruction even as Japheth dwelt in the tents of Shem. Derech Noahide is specifially discussed in the writings of our great sage Rashi.
Our family religion, also called "Judaism," is the "ism," which is to say the distinctive practice, system, and philosophy of the House of Judah. Included in this is the political ideology and artistic movement of Judah and its people. The totality of Israel today exists only within this House and its religion. Many Jews today are not religious, some are sadly even Atheists, some practice the religions of the other nations (which for us is avodha zarah: condemned foreign worship) and yet we all are Jews because each of us, past, present and future, personally accepted the Sinai Covenant when it is given. That Covenant is eternal and is never negated. Hence, Am Y'israel Chai! we continue on!
The Seven Law Covenant is incumbent upon all nations other than Israel. It is through this Covenant the nations aquire their redemption. Those Gentiles (goyim) who choose to cling to the God of Judah will observe this Noahide Covenant as best they can, even as those Jews who wish to cling to the G-d of Israel will practice Judaism properly. In both cases of course everyone is free to choose their path.
Christians, Muslims, and other religious practitioners are not counted among the Noahidim, even though they, like everyone else, are physical descendants of Noah as explained above. Unlike non-religious Jews, who remain Jews, non-observant descendants of Noach are not (or no longer are) Noahides. This is because Israel established its eternal redemption at Mount Sinai when we embraced the Torah. In the Olam Haba the righteous among the other nations will do the same. The first of the Sheva Mitzvot is the forbiddence of foreign worship (or avodah zarah) hence those who practice any of the other religions is not counted among the Noahidim.
Christian dogma violates the Noahide Covenant:
They worship something other than HaShem (that being Jesus/Yeshua and a 'holy ghost').
They are polytheists (worshipers of a trinity of gods).
By worshiping a mortal they dishonor the Name (reputation etc) of HaShem.
Most reject Torah and biblically mandated Rabbinic authority and embrace their 'New Testament' which frequently contradicts Torah.
They elevate Jesus above Moshe, who was and remains the greatest of all prophets.
Therefore Christians (including Messianics, Hebrew Roots, etc) can not be viewed as Noahidim. They practice a "religion of the nations" and have no association with Judaism beyond the heretical Jewishness of Yeshua.
Muslim dogma violates the Noahide Covenant:
While there are a few small outreach programs like our 1God7Laws to the Noahidim, mainstream Judaism, whether Orthodox or non-Orthodox, does very little to educate and assist sincere seeking Goyim. Much more is needed. The Goyim are coming, as prophesied, but we are offering very little assistance:
They plagiarize the Torah and transfer the blessings of Isaac to Ishmael.
They deny the eternally binding Abraham - Isaac - Yaakov and Sinai Covenant.
They elevate Muhammad and Jesus (Isa) above Moshe, who was and remains the greatest of all prophets.כֹּ֥ה אָמַ֖ר יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת עֹ֚ד אֲשֶׁ֣ר יָבֹ֣אוּ עַמִּ֔ים וְיֹשְׁבֵ֖י עָרִ֥ים רַבּֽוֹת׃It is our sacred duty as Jews to assist these sincere seekers. In Rambam's Laws of Kings and their Wars, Chapter 8 we read the following:
Thus said the LORD of Hosts: Peoples and the inhabitants of many cities shall yet come—
וְֽהָלְכ֡וּ יֹשְׁבֵי֩ אַחַ֨ת אֶל־אַחַ֜ת לֵאמֹ֗ר נֵלְכָ֤ה הָלוֹךְ֙ לְחַלּוֹת֙ אֶת־פְּנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה וּלְבַקֵּ֖שׁ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה צְבָא֑וֹת אֵלְכָ֖ה גַּם־אָֽנִי׃
the inhabitants of one shall go to the other and say, “Let us go and entreat the favor of the LORD, let us seek the LORD of Hosts; I will go, too.”
וּבָ֨אוּ עַמִּ֤ים רַבִּים֙ וְגוֹיִ֣ם עֲצוּמִ֔ים לְבַקֵּ֛שׁ אֶת־יְהוָ֥ה צְבָא֖וֹת בִּירוּשָׁלִָ֑ם וּלְחַלּ֖וֹת אֶת־פְּנֵ֥י יְהוָֽה׃ (ס)
The many peoples and the multitude of nations shall come to seek the LORD of Hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the LORD.
כֹּ֥ה אָמַר֮ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָאוֹת֒ בַּיָּמִ֣ים הָהֵ֔מָּה אֲשֶׁ֤ר יַחֲזִ֙יקוּ֙ עֲשָׂרָ֣ה אֲנָשִׁ֔ים מִכֹּ֖ל לְשֹׁנ֣וֹת הַגּוֹיִ֑ם וְֽהֶחֱזִ֡יקוּ בִּכְנַף֩ אִ֨ישׁ יְהוּדִ֜י לֵאמֹ֗ר נֵֽלְכָה֙ עִמָּכֶ֔ם כִּ֥י שָׁמַ֖עְנוּ אֱלֹהִ֥ים עִמָּכֶֽם׃ (ס)
Thus said the LORD of Hosts: In those days, ten men from nations of every tongue will take hold—they will take hold of every Jew by a corner of his cloak and say, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.” -- Zechariah 8:20-23.8.9 A Yefas to'ar that does not want to put down idolatry, after the twelve month receives capital punishment. Likewise with the city that submits, no treaty is made with them until they have denounced idolatry, destroyed all its places, and have taken upon themselves the rest of the commandments that were commanded to Noahides. Any non-Jew who does not accept the laws that were commanded to Noahides receives capital punishment if he is within our jurisdiction.Referencing 8.9 above:
8.10 Moshe Rabbenu gave the Torah and the commandments as an inheritance only to Israel, as it is written: "[The Torah is...] an inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deuteronomy 33:4). Anyone who wants to may convert from the other nations, as it is written "as with you, [the same shall be] as with the convert" (Numbers 15:15). Anyone who does not wish to is not compelled to accept the Torah and commandments. Instead Moshe Rabbenu commanded, at the word of the Almighty, to compel all those who come into the world to accept the commandments which were commanded to Noah. Anyone who will not accept, receives capital punishment. One who accepts these [basic laws] is called: Ger Toshav [or as we say today, a Noahide] in every place.
8.11 Everyone who accepts the Seven Laws and is careful to do them, this person is one of the Chasidei Umos HaOlam (very pious of the nations of the world), and he has portion in the world to come. This applies to one who accepts them and will do them because the Kodosh Baruch Hu commanded them in the Torah, and informed us by means of Moshe Rabbenu, that Noahides were previously commanded concerning these laws. But if he does them because of an intellectual decision, then he is not a Ger Toshav, and is not of the Chasidei Umos HaOlam, he is [only] one of their wise men (of the nations of the world).A Yefas to'ar [can be] a middah [i.e. a virtue or value] that we see is associated with the yetzer hara [i.e. the negative impulse] that we feel can be used for avodas Hashem [works of righteousness]. We want to take that middah into our houses and put it to use -- Ki Sei'tzei, Devarim 21:11.To clarify, while Jews should not study with the Goyim due to concerns about avodah zarah (in this case, coming into contact with foreign gods and ideas), one should assist seeking Gentiles, even if it requires "getting ones hands dirty."...serve Hashem with your good traits and harness your bad traits [so as] to serve Hashem well. Rav Hutner was once learning by himself in Slabodkeh. The Alter [Rebbe: i.e. Shneur Zalman of Liadi] asked him, Reb Yitzchok, where is your chavrusa [i.e. study partners]? He answered, I have a chavrusa! I'm learning with my Yeitzer Hara [i.e. negative impulse]. The Alter responded, Reb Yitzchak, if you're already learning with a Yeitzer, why don't you learn with your Yeitzer Hatov [i.e. your positive impulse]? Rav Hutner answered "because the Yeitzer Hara is a bigger masmid and a bigger baal kishron [i.e. pushes me harder to master myself].This is directly related to our present discussion. Assisting the Noahidim and potential Converts requires us to evaluate ourselves, to more fully understand Torah and our Derech HaShem, our own Way to G-d. By helping them elevate their Sparks we elevate ourselves as well. By loving the Noahide and the Giyur (converts) we demonstrate and advance our own love of G-d and devekut, our desired attachment to HaShem.
This is what we Jews have believed since the days of the Exodus. Today many rabbis are hesitant to work with Noahidim, in part because of concerns over the missionary menace, in part because of the time demands to do so, in part due to a lack of understanding of the Noahide Covenant, in part because of the current exclusionary and politically based rules on conversion, etc. This is truly unfortunate since the influx of the Noahidim during the days before the Hamashiach and on into the Olam Haba or World to Come is clear in the writings of our prophets and sages, especailly Rambam. We need to assist everyone who is seeking truth and understanding!
While much of the Torah, Tanach, Mishna, Talmud, Kabbalah, Zohar, etc. is only intended for Jews (as stated above by Rambam), under rabbinic supervision some Noahides may be permitted to go beyond their peers in both study and practice as they progress, according to the verdict of their mentoring rabbis. It is important to remember however that Noahidim are not members of the Sinai Covenant. They should live according to the Covenant granted to them and not that of another. Those wishing to embrace the Noahide Covenant need to seek guidance from qualified rabbis in order to determine what is required, permitted, and forbidden of them. If the Noahide eventually converts into the Covenant, they are no longer to be considered Noahidim (nor converts) but rather they become Jews just like all others (again as Rambam explains).Just as it is a mitzvah [blessing/command] to direct someone onto the path where he belongs, so too it is a crime to direct someone onto a path that does not belong to him.
Each person is born with a path particular to his or her soul, generally according to the culture into which he or she was born.
There are universal truths, the inheritance of all of us since Adam and Noah. In them we are all united. But we are not meant to all be the same.
Our differences are as valuable to our Creator as our similarities -- Tzvi Freeman
Sheva Mitzvot B'nei Noach
The Seven Laws of the Children of Noah
We humans have free will. Our societies are not static. The Seven Noahide Laws require and empower humanity to unite and to organized self-rule that is harmonious with the divine revelations granted by HaShem. Such rulings are always harmonious with Torah and Rabbinic rulings:
- Avodah Zarah: The prohibition against idolatry.
This includes all forms of idolatry including placing anything before ones service and devotion to HaShem. This includes worshiping images or people as gods. The positive practice includes worshiping the One True God alone.
- Birchat HaShem: The prohibition against blasphemy and cursing the Name of HaShem. The positive aspect of this commandment is to bless the Name of HaShem.
Inherent in this is the prohibition against blasphemy, cursing and dishonoring the Name of God in any way. For this reason we typically say/write HaShem ("The Name") rather than utter or write the Holy Name of four letters. The commandment also references living in a way that brings honor to HaShem and avoiding all acts that dishonor Him. The Sacred Name is the most sacred utterance in existence. It must be carefully honored and guarded by all who would bring honor to the Holy One.
- Shefichat Damim: Prohibition on murder.
"Murder" refers to the unjustified taking of human life (self or other defense, just warfare, killing animals for food, etc. is not murder biblically speaking). There is a righteous taking of life and an unrighteous taking of life.
- Gezel: Prohibition on robbery and theft of any kind.
- Gilui Arayot: Prohibition on immorality and forbidden sexual relations.
- Ever Min HaChay,: Prohibition on removing and eating a limb from a live animal and other acts of animal cruelty.
This is broadly interpreted and has its origins in practices long since abandoned, but essentially it forbids all cruelties and perversions done to animals. Noahides are commanded to treat all life with respect and to protect it within the confines of Dinim (in other words, taking matters into ones own hands through violence etc. is generally not supported by this law).
- Dinim: The requirement to establish justice systems and courts of law to enforce the other 6 laws.Zechariah 8:23 So said the Lord of Hosts: In those days, when ten men of all the languages of the nations shall take hold of the skirt of a Jewish man, saying, "Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you."
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