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History of Noahides
07-25-2007, 12:43 PM (This post was last modified: 04-24-2012 04:35 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #1
Historical Ger Toshav & Heaven Fearers
Director Michael Wrote:
Donny Wrote:Someone asked: Could somebody be really righteous and not accept or believe in Torah? ... Doesn't a person have to believe in Torah to accept the 7 Noahide Laws?

...Higher than this is righteous in piety (a "chassid," doing more than is required by the letter of the law). These are the Chassidei Umos Ha'olom, the Pious of the Nations. This is a Gentile who accepts and fulfills the Noahide Laws because the Holy One, blessed is He, commanded them in the Torah, through Moses. Through this connection to the Torah (the "Torah of Moses," which is the "Tree of Life") the Gentile merits a share in the World to Come...

The Rambam wrote about righteous gentiles in his Mishneh Torah. And other rabbis hundreds of years ago also mentioned Chassidei Umos Ha'olom in their writings (in the book "Lesson in Tanya" it says that the first Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote about Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom in his commentary on the Jewish prayer book). But back then, there was no Noahide movement and Jews were not allowed to teach the 7 mitzvos of Noah to non-Jews. My question is, were there any Chassidei Umos Ha'olom before the Lubavitcher Rebbe started the modern Noahide movement? There seems to have been (for example, from what the first Lubavitcher Rebbe wrote in his commentary on the Jewish prayer book), but it's hard to understand, because the formal Noahide laws could not really have been taught until recent times. So I am perplexed.
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07-28-2007, 02:22 AM (This post was last modified: 04-24-2012 04:37 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #2
RE: Historical Ger Toshav & Heaven Fearers
The obligation of Gentiles to observe the Seven Noahide Commandments, the details of these commandments, and the praises of Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom who connected with G-d's Will, have always been part of the Written and Oral Torah. Throughout history, Gentiles who had the opportunity to learn, or just hear about, the Hebrew Bible have had Noahide role models to follow, such as Noach, Shem, Eliezer, Yisro/Jethro, Rachav/Rahab, Naaman and Iyov/Job (although Yisro and Rahab eventually decided to convert).

The institution of Ger Toshav, observant Noahides who lived as legally protected citizens in the Holy Land, was active as long as the conditions for this were in place (as long as the 12 Tribes were settled in their areas, up until the exile of the Ten Lost Tribes by the Nebuchadnezzar).

Historically it is known that there were large numbers of Gentiles in the Roman Empire who lived as Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom, up until they were repressed by the idolatrous government after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Many aspects of the Torah's Noahide Commandments were discussed by the Jewish sages as recorded in the Talmud, and practical details of these commandments were included in the codification of the Oral Torah by Rambam (Maimonides) in the Mishneh Torah.

We know of individual cases in Talmudic times, extending up through the past several hundred years, of Righteous Gentiles who followed the One G-d of Israel and came to Rabbis for spiritual advice and direction. The term "Noahide" was coined by a Rabbi in France in the late 1800's, and the Noahide path began to be publicised in the early 1900's in Europe. However this was interrupted by WWI and WWII.
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07-28-2007, 02:47 AM (This post was last modified: 04-24-2012 04:37 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #3
RE: Historical Ger Toshav & Heaven Fearers
Director Michael Wrote:Historically it is known that there were large numbers of Gentiles in the Roman Empire who lived as Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom, up until they were repressed by the idolatrous government after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Thanks a lot for this answer!
Is the source for this in the Talmud? In the Midrash?

Director Michael Wrote:We know of individual cases in Talmudic times,

I should have added this question to my previous post...but could you give us an example from the Talmud of a Chassid Umos Ha'olam who Noahides could use as a role model?
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07-29-2007, 05:39 PM (This post was last modified: 07-30-2011 06:17 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #4
RE: Differences between Righteous Gentile and Noahide Chassid
Mike Wrote:
Director Michael Wrote:Historically it is known that there were large numbers of Gentiles in the Roman Empire who lived as Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom, up until they were repressed by the idolatrous government after the destruction of the Second Temple.

Thanks a lot for this answer!
Is the source for this in the Talmud? In the Midrash?

The Talmud and Midrash use the term "yirei shamayim" (Heaven Fearers) for these Chassidei Umos Ha'Olom, but not much information is given about their numbers or their geographics. Instead, these Jewish sources focus on describing their great merit, and some noteworthy individuals are mentioned.

It is virtually impossible to find any unbiased resources on this subject outside of the Talmud and Midrash, because these "G-d fearing" Gentiles became the prime targets for the missionizing activities of Paul and his followers, and they are almost always referred to in that slanted context. The best historical sources are in the writings of Josephus:

Josephus, The Jewish War 2.454.
Josephus, The Jewish War 2.463.
Josephus, The Jewish War 7.45.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 14.110.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.41.
Josephus, Against Apion 1.166–167.
Josephus, Against Apion 2.282.

Mike Wrote:
Director Michael Wrote:We know of individual cases in Talmudic times,

I should have added this question to my previous post...but could you give us an example from the Talmud of a Chassid Umos Ha'olam who Noahides could use as a role model?

The Midrash Genesis Rabbah states that some of the cities around the Mediterranean Sea which were deserving of extermination were saved by the merit of producing even just one "Heaven Fearing" Gentile per year.

There is a famous story in the Talmud about a Noahide in Israel during the Second Temple period, who exemplified the ideal of honoring parents. Dama the gem merchant passed up the opportunity to earn a fortune, when it would have required that he compromise in his respect for his father. As a message to all mankind, G-d rewarded Dama in a miraculous way. This story is the subject of a wonderful children's book:

http://asknoah.org/books/the-key-under-the-pillow

Here is another interesting point of history. The sage Shimon Ha'Tzaddik was the High Priest during the years that Alexander the Great was conquering much of Europe, Asia and Africa. After Shimon Ha'Tzaddik died, there was brief struggle between his two sons for the postion of High Priest. The son that Shimon Ha'Tzaddik preferred, Chonyo, ended up fleeing temporarily to Egypt, and Shimon Ha'Tzaddik's brother became the High Priest. While Chonyo was in Egypt, he began teaching many Egyptians about monotheism and the One True G-d (Noahidism). He built an altar there, and taught these Egyptians how to bring sacrifices to G-d (but Chonyo himself did not sacrifice there, since Jews are not allowed to bring sacrifices outside of the Temple in Jerusalem). Eventually he returned to Jerusalem and became the next High Priest, after his uncle.
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07-30-2007, 12:21 PM (This post was last modified: 04-24-2012 04:38 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #5
RE: Historical Ger Toshav & Heaven Fearers
Director Michael Wrote:Josephus, The Jewish War 2.454.
Josephus, The Jewish War 2.463.
Josephus, The Jewish War 7.45.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 14.110.
Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.41.
Josephus, Against Apion 1.166–167.
Josephus, Against Apion 2.282.

Thanks so much for this answer and for all your research!

When you say 2.454 or 7.45, is this the chapter and page or does it mean something else? And which edition of these books should I use so that the places you give will be the right ones?
Thanks!
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07-31-2007, 10:00 AM (This post was last modified: 04-24-2012 04:38 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #6
RE: Historical Ger Toshav & Heaven Fearers
The works by Josephus are referenced as

[Title] [Book#.Paragraph#]

The works of Josephus are available in English translation from Harvard University Press:

http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog/L186.html

Another site has a partial translation of the works of Josephus, and some of these references can be found there. However, the site does not work well for navigation. Here is one that I found:

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/cgi-bin/pte...;loc=14.92

Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews (ed. William Whiston, A.M.)

14.110 (Book 14, Paragraph 110) [Capital letters added here for emphasis]

"There were four classes of men among those of Cyrene; that of citizens, that of husbandmen, the third of strangers, and the fourth of Jews. Now these Jews are already gotten into ALL CITIES; and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this tribe of men, and is not possessed by them; and it hath come to pass that Egypt and Cyrene, as having the same governors, and a great number of other nations, IMITATE THEIR WAY OF LIVING, and maintain great bodies of these Jews in a peculiar manner, and grow up to greater prosperity with them, and make use of the SAME LAWS with that nation also...."
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12-24-2008, 12:57 PM (This post was last modified: 01-09-2011 06:55 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #7
RE: Noahides
Noahides have been around for a very long time!

The first observers of G-d's universal commandments were Adam and Hava (Eve). Between their creation and the great flood, people increasingly abandoned the six commandments that were given to Adam and Hava and their descendents, but there were righteous individuals over the course of those generations who did keep the commandments. After the flood, G-d renewed those commandments with Noah and his family, and added a seventh. This is why they are called the "Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah," or the Seven Noahide Commandments.

Noah's son Shem maintained a house of learning where he taught the Seven Commandments, and he was joined in this effort by his righteous descendent Eber. Although people in general again were abandoning the commandments as the generations passed, and almost everyone turned to idolatry, eventually Abraham and his wife Sarah arose as a light to the nations, teaching vast numbers of people about the Noahide Commandments, and especially to worship only the One True G-d, Who created everything in the spiritual heavens and the physicial universe. Although the influence of the following Patriarchs, Isaac and Jacob, was not so far-reaching to the nations of the world, from that point on the Hebrew Bible includes mention of a number of notable Righteous Gentiles who observed the Noahide Code.

As detailed in the thread http://www.asknoah.org/forums/showthread...d=8&page=1 :
historically it is known that there were large numbers of Gentiles in the Roman Empire who lived as Righteous Gentiles, up until they were repressed by the idolatrous Roman government after the destruction of the Second Temple. We know of individual cases in Talmudic times, extending up through the past several hundred years, of Righteous Gentiles who worshiped only the One True G-d. The term "Noahide" was used by a Rabbi in France in the late 1800's, and the Noahide path began to be publicised in the early 1900's in Europe. However this was interrupted by WWI and WWII.

After a world-wide Noahide movement was launched by the Lubavitcher Rebbe beginning in the 1980's, the number of Gentile individuals, families and communities who are turning to the Noahide faith has been constanly increasing.
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02-10-2010, 08:48 PM
Post: #8
RE: History of Noahides
Hi,
I wanted to know about the History of Noahides but I can not find it.
I want to say thanks to you for sharing the history of Noahides.
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02-22-2010, 04:46 PM (This post was last modified: 11-20-2012 10:35 AM by Rabbi Moshe Weiner.)
Post: #9
RE: History of Noahides
Chukjones: even i have not complete idea regarding that, but i read somewhere that Noahidism is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah. According to Torah, non-Jews are not obligated to convert to Judaism, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah. Those who subscribe to the observance of such commandments and their supporting organizations are referred Children of Noah or Noahides.
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