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Sukkat Shalom B'nei Noach



When you talk to people about the 7 Mitzvot – the 7 Commandments for the descendants of Noah – people are sometimes disappointed. This is always good to hear, one thereby indirectly shows that one wants to do more for G-d, than what is strictly necessary in the first place.

In the Talmud Sanhedrin 56b the Sages explain that the descendants of Noah have 7 Commandments.

The descendants of Noah, i.e., all of humanity, were commanded to observe seven mitzvot: 1 The mitzva of establishing courts of judgment; 2 and the prohibition against blessing, i.e., cursing, the name of God; 3 and the prohibition of idol worship; 4 and the prohibition against forbidden sexual relations; 5 and the prohibition of bloodshed; 6 and the prohibition of robbery;7 and the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal.

In Talmud Chullin 92a, we read that there are 30 mitzvot for the descendants of Noah. However, there is no enumeration there of what those 30 Mitzvot are.

In The Noahide Laws [1], Rabbi Avraham Chaim Bloomenstiel cites the “earliest surviving statement of the Noahide laws with their expanded derivations from the Torah commentary of Rabbi Shmuel ben Chofni Gaon” and lists 30 categories as follows: 

I. Idolatry
1) Belief in the unity of G-d
2) Prohibition of idolatry
3) To offer ritual sacrifices
4) To honor one’s father and mother
5) Prohibition of worshiping the Molekh
6) Prohibition of witchcraft
7) Prohibition of soothsaying and soothsayers
8) Prohibition of conjuring and conjurers
9) Prohibition of sorcery and sorcerers
10) Prohibition of sciomancy
11) Prohibition of demonomancy
12) Prohibition of theurgy
13) Prohibition of necromancy

II. Blasphemy
14) Prohibition of blasphemy
15) To Pray
16) Prohibition of false oaths

III. Murder
 17) Prohibition of suicide
 18) Prohibition of murder

IV. Sexual Immorality
19) Prohibition of adultery
20) To engage in formal marriages
21) Prohibition of incest with a sister
22) Prohibition of homosexuality
23) Prohibition of bestiality
24) Prohibition of castration

V. Not to Eat a Limb Torn From a Living Creature
25) Prohibition of eating the limb of an animal that died naturally
26) Prohibition of eating the limb of a living animal
27) Prohibition of eating or drinking blood
28) Prohibition of crossbreeding animals

VI. Justice
29) To establish courts of justice

VII. Theft
30) Prohibition of theft and robbery

In addition, we have the list of Rabbi Menachem Azaria da Fano, who presents his list in his work “Asara Maamarot.” Rabbi L Rabinowitz [2] gives us the following summary of the list of Rabbi Menachem Azaria da Fano.

Note that everything in Italics, are positive commandments.

I 1) Idolatry Avodah Zarah / Avodat Elilim – עבודת  אלילים
2) Passing a child through fire in the worship of Molech – Ma’avir Ba’esh – מעביר באש
3)  Stick divination – Kosem – קוסם
4) Divining of auspicious times – Me’onen – מעונן
5)  Interpreting of omens / Superstition – Menachesh – מנחש
6)  Witchcraft / Sorcery – Mechashef – מכשף
7)  Charming / using incantations – Chover Chaver- חובר חבר
8)  Consulting mediums – Ov – אוב
9)  Consulting oracles – Yidoni – ידעוני
10)  Necromancy -Doresh El ha’Mesim- דורש אל המתים שנית

II 11) Sexual sins – Giluy Arayos – גלוי עריות
12)  Be fruitful – Peru פרו
13) Multiply seed. – Revu – רבו
14)  Don’t draw up marriage contracts for homosexuals – Ba Al ha’Zechur – אסור הזכור אפילו יחדו בכתוב
15)  Cross-breeding of animals – Kilayei Behemah- כלאי בהמה
16)  Castration – Sirus- סרוס
17)  Grafting trees – Harkavas ha’Ilan- הרכבת אילן

III 18) Murder – Damim Shefichus – שפיכות  דמים
19) Striking a Jew – Soter Lo’o Shel Yisroel- סוטר לועו של ישראל

IV 20) Blasphemy – Birkas Hashem – ברכת ה׳
21)  Honour the Torah (and Torah scholars) – Kavod ha’Torah – כבוד התורה
22)  Studying parts of the Torah relevant to Noahide observance – la’Asok ba’Torah she’Nitnah Lahem – חמישית

V 23) Theft – Gezel – גזל
24)  No to study nonrelevant parts of the Torah – Shelo la’Asok ba’Torah Shel Yisrael – שלא לעסוק בתורה מורשה אלינו

VI 25) Establishment of a system of Justice – Hadinim Leyishuvo shel olam – הדינין לישובו של עולם
26)  No to observe the Sabbath – Velo Yishbosu – ולא ישבותו

VII 27) Eating all or part of a living creature – Eiver min Hachay – אבר  מן  החי
28)  Blood of a living creature – Dam Min ha’Chay- דם מן החי
29)  Eating an animal that died (without slaughter) – Nevelah נבלה
30) Human flesh – Basar Hames – בשר המת

The enumeration of the above 30 details of the 7 Commandments are examples from Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein, in his book “The Seven Laws of Noah” which lists 66 precepts of the 7 Commandments.

Moreover, it is not necessary to specifically list all the laws that are logical. There are commandments that every person can think of to observe to create a healthy society in this way, which have a social benefit.

In addition, Noahide may adopt all Jewish Mitzvot, provided they have a practical social benefit. These include

1) Honoring one’s parents
2) Tzedaka (charity)
3) Observing the prohibitions against Tzaar Baalei Chayim, animal cruelty
4) Observing the laws of prohibited speech [3]

In short, Noahide need not be “disappointed” that they have “only” 7 Commandments.

By Angelique Sijbolts

[1] The Noahide Laws, pp. 49-50

[2] List of Rabbi L Rabinowitz

[3] The Divine Code, pp 60

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