Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Principles of Noahide Faith
Randy Wrote:My question is, can the promises in the second part of the Shema (Deuteronomy 11:13-21) noting the statement in Deuteronomy 11:2 "And know ye this day; for I speak not with your children that have not known, and that have not seen the chastisement of the L-RD your G-d, His greatness, His mighty hand, and His outstretched arm" does this statement apply only to gentiles or to all Jews and can one abstractly assume that if one does what is outlined in Deuteronomy 11:13-21 that one, regardless of heritage, could reasonably assume to receive the same promises? And can these promises abstractly be assumed to what they seem to imply that if you do good, good will come to you and if you do bad that bad will come to you or are these statements to be considered exactly literal?

I often wonder how much is literal to specific people in a specific time in a specific place and how much is guidelines and not actual rules? What promises and actions are to whom?

The verses Deut. 11:12-21 are G-d's message exclusively to Jews, which can be readily seen from the fact that within these verses there are seven positive Jewish mitzvot commanded, which are not commanded upon Gentiles, and it also mentions the eternal covenant of G-d's gift of the Land of Israel to the Jews, as He swore to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The promises in these verses of miraculous Divine blessings for the bounty of the Land of Israel apply during a time of Divine favor and redemption for the Jews, when they are serving G-d properly in the Land of Israel. This was experienced somewhat during the 40 splendorous years of the reign of King Solomon. This will be fully realized during the Messianic Era, may it come very speedily.

The fact that the principle of "if you do good, good will come to you, and if you do bad, bad will come to you," is universal for all mankind is not based on these verses. It happens to be the 11th of the 13 Foundations of Torah Faith, as enumerated by Maimonides (Rambam). He cites the source verses:

The Eleventh Foundation is that G-d, blessed be He, gives reward to one who obeys the commandments of the Torah and punishes one who violates its prohibitions. The greatest reward is the World to Come, and the greatest punishment is kareis (spiritual excision, "cutting off" [of the soul]). We have already said enough on this topic [earlier in the Commentary]. The verse which teaches this foundation is [when Moses says to G-d], "And now, if you will forgive their sin; and if not, please remove me [from Your book which You have written]" to which G-d responds, "...Whoever has sinned against Me, him will I blot from My book" (Exodus 32:32-33). This indicates that He knows the servant and the sinner, to give reward to this one and punishment to the other.
Good day.
I have two questions.

The Seven Laws of Noah are seven categories of laws. Do you hold by one certain enumeration of mitzvot therein?

Are the 13 Principles of Faith to be held by non-Jews in their entirety? For I have also seen a count of 7 for non-Jews.
Both are listed below (I put the 13 Principles in my own wording):
- - -

1. The fact that G-d exists
2. The fact that He is one and unique
3. The fact that He has no body
4. The fact that He is eternal
5. That one may only direct one's prayers to G-d Himself
6. The truth of prophecy
7. The truth of the prophecy of Moses
8. The fact that the entire Torah we now have, both Oral and Written, were given to Moses
9. The eternity and immutability of Torah
10. The fact that G-d knows all of man's deeds and thoughts
11. The reality of reward and punishment
12. The fact that the Messiah will come
13. The fact that there will be a Resurrection of the Dead
(As counted by the Rambam)

1. Faith in the existence of God the Creator
2. Faith in the Oneness of God
3. We should worship only God
4. The verity of prophecy
5. The eternal truth of the Torah
6. Reward and punishment
7. The ultimately good destiny of creation
(Source - Rav Yitzchak Ginsburgh)

Thank you.
Joachim ben Noach Wrote:The Seven Laws of Noah are seven categories of laws. Do you hold by one certain enumeration of mitzvot therein?

The "Seven Laws of Noah" are themselves seven Divine Commandments ("Mitzvot") that G-d decreed for Gentiles. Each of these seven Mitzvot encompass almost countless details (precepts/"halachot"), in accordance with many possible situations and considerations that could arise. The general principles by which we know what is the proper observance or judgment in any situation is referred to as the "Noahide Code" (as detailed and expounded in "The Divine Code," by Rabbi Moshe Weiner).

The fact that some of these detailed Noahide precepts are similar to some of the 613 Jewish Mitzvot does not mean that there are more than 7 Mitzvot for Gentiles.

For example: one of the Noahide Mitzvot is that the Noahide "Arayot" are forbidden, i.e. that one should not engage in intercourse with a forbidden partner. So if a Gentile man has intercourse with his mother or his maternal sister, G-d forbid, he is transgressing the same Mitzvah (not to have forbidden relations). If a Jewish man were to do that, G-d forbid, he would be transgressing a different one of the 613 Jewish Mitzvot in the two cases.

Rabbi Moshe Weiner Wrote:In the Torah itself (in regard to the Jewish commandments) we find a mitzva and its details. For example: Jewish Sabbath observance is 1 negative commandment, "do not do any work on the Sabbath." The details of this command are so many, beginning with the Torah-law enumeration (in the Oral Torah) of 39 basic categories of activities that are the types of "work" (that were needed in the construction and service for the Tabernacle at Mount Sinai) that are scripturally forbidden for Jews to perform during the Sabbath day.

Likewise for Noahide, a mitzva is one mitzva, with many details. [The example cited above is Forbidden Relations.] The fundamental difference between counting a detail as a different and separate mitzva, or whether it is one of several details within one general mitzva, is based on the teachings of Torah Law (halacha), and this also extends to spiritual considerations.

But at the most basic level, we can understand this as follows:
The term "mitzva" in Hebrew is a "command." The command makes an association between the Commander (G-d) and the commanded [a person]. For example, a Jew is commanded to refrain from the 6 sexual relations that are forbidden for Gentiles as well. But for a Jew they are 6 different (separate) commands/connections (between G-d and the Jewish person), whereas for a Gentile those six details are all aspects of one connection (between G-d and the Gentile person).

This is what G-d told the Jewish people on the eve of giving them His Torah at Mt. Sinai: "and you shall be for me a nation of priests and a holy people" - where "holy" means more separated from things of the mundane world." Just as the Jewish priests that served in the Holy Temple were given more commandments than the non-priest Jews because they were more involved in serving G-d, likewise the Jewish people as a whole were given more commandments than the rest of mankind.

Joachim ben Noach Wrote:Are the 13 Principles of Faith to be held by non-Jews in their entirety? For I have also seen a count of 7.

The "13 Principles of Faith" are the 13 essential beliefs of the holy Torah and its fundamental principles of (Jewish) faith, that were enumerated by Rambam, who was a great "Rishon" Sage. In other words, if a Jew denies the truth of any one of those 13 Principles, G-d forbid, then he is a Jew who has excluded himself from accepting his true Jewish identity (because a Jew only exists as such because he is defined as such in G-d's Torah).

Rambam and the great Jewish Sages since his time did not enumerate a concise list of "essential principles of Noahide faith." Rambam's concept was a list of beliefs that would guarantee a Jew's share in the World to Come. But in "Laws of Kings" 8:11, Rambam states that the guarantee of a Gentile's share in the World to Come must include observance, and not just belief. Therefore, the meaning of a list that only enumerates beliefs for Noahides is not clear.

Instead, Rambam made this statement in "Laws of Kings" 8:11 -

"Any [Gentile] who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven [Noahide] mitzvot/commandments and is precise in their observance is considered one of "the pious among the Gentiles" ["Hassidei Umot Ha'Olam"] and will merit a share in the World to Come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah, and informed us [the Jewish people] through Moses, our teacher, that Noah's descendants had been commanded to fulfill them previously."

We can outline main points in this statement, which defines what is required of a Gentile so that he will receive the ultimate reward of a share in the future World to Come. The following is my own personal, non-authoritative list of *main points* for pious Gentiles in the teaching from "Laws of Kings" 8:11. These are not to be understood as "Principles of Faith."

1. Acceptance upon one's self of the specific 7 Noahide commandments that Rambam enumerates in "Laws of Kings" 9:1.

2. Precise observance of these 7 Noahide commandments [as their observance was precisely explained to Moses by G-d in the Oral Torah].

3. This acceptance and precise observance is because of the Gentile's belief that these 7 Noahide commandments were commanded by THE [one and only] Holy G-d, in the Torah.

4. This acceptance and observance is also because the one and only Holy G-d informed the Jewish people, through His prophet Moses, that Noah's descendants were previously commanded [through Noah and Shem, as prophets of G-d] to fulfill them. [I.e., the Jewish people from the revelation at Mount Sinai are G-d's witnesses to the Gentiles that G-d commanded Noah's descendants about these 7 commandments; see Exodus 24:3,7-8.]

5. The above presupposes belief in the existence of the one and only Holy G-d.

6. The above presupposes G-d's unique oneness and holiness (which is included in acceptance of the Noahide prohibition of idolatry).

7. The above presupposes belief in prophecy.

8. The above presupposes belief in the prophecy of Moses.

9. The above presupposes belief that the Written Torah and the Oral Torah of Moses are both from G-d.


Rabbi Moshe Weiner Wrote:Even though these 9 points are correct, I don’t think it is correct to define them as 9 "principles of faith." For example, the 2nd point mentioned in the list is not a principle of faith.

The 13 Principles of Rambam are correct for a non-Jew as well, since they all stem from Rambam's volume "Yesodei Ha'Torah" (Foundational Principles of the Torah), which are true for a Gentile as well. It is only that a Gentile is not *commanded* in regard to these concepts (at least for most of them), whereas a Jew is commanded. [But even for a Jew, not every one of the 13 Principle of Faith is a distinct commandment].

Both a Gentile and a Jew are commanded by G-d, and this command [the essence of such a command-connection] between G-d and a person are basically one.

The 13 basic principles that Rambam counts teach the fundamental belief of Judaism, so therefore they apply equally for a Gentile/Noahide who believes in G-d in the way taught by traditional Judaism [i.e., according to the Torah of Moses that was given at Mt. Sinai].
These basic principles teach:
a. Acceptance of the one and only G-d
b. G-d has interest in people and He gave commandments to mankind [mankind was not created for nothing, but for the purpose of serving G-d in physical activity]
c. G-d gives reward and punishment for a person's deeds
d. G-d connects Himself to mankind through prophecy
e. G-d gave commands in the Torah that are of an eternal nature and that will not change or bend forever.

I would conclude: there is no written set of 13 Principles for a Gentile, and we are not commanded that we must convince Gentiles to believe in a particular set list of beliefs. Nevertheless, for a truly faithful Noahide who believes in the One True G-d, it is of the greatest importance to understand and meditate at length on the 13 Basic Principles of the Jewish faith, because these are the fundamental issues of faith in G-d.
In "The Divine Code" Part I, Chapter I, Rabbi Moshe Weiner lists the three categories of "deviant believer" ("min" in Hebrew), "scorner," ("epicurus" in Hebrew), and "denier of Torah." He also lists principles of faith that each of them reject. In total, those are the principles that one must accept after he has been taught about the truth of Torah, in order to be worthy of receiving a part in the World to Come as a Pious Gentile ("hassid umot ha'olom" in Hebrew).

All of the detailed principles of faith which Rabbi Weiner listed there fall within the following 5 general principles:
a. Acceptance of the one and only G-d.
b. G-d has interest in people and He gave commandments to mankind [mankind was not created for nothing, but for the purpose of serving G-d in physical activity].
c. G-d gives reward and punishment for a person's deeds.
d. G-d connects Himself to mankind through prophecy.
e. G-d gave commands in the Torah that are of an eternal nature and that will not change or bend forever.

The following is a restatement of those 5 general principles, with all of their details from "The Divine Code" (loc. cit.) included:

a. Acceptance of the one and only G-d, Who is the only First Existence and the Creator of everything else that exists, Who oversees and controls the universe with no intermediary independent powers, and Who has no body and no form.

b. G-d has interest in people and knows all of their actions, and He gave commandments to mankind [i.e., mankind was not created for nothing, but rather for the purpose of serving G-d in physical activity].

c. G-d gives reward and punishment for a person's deeds.

d. G-d connects Himself to mankind through prophecy, and the primary prophecy of all was to Moses our teacher.

e. G-d Himself - through His prophecy to Moses - gave the commandents in the Written Torah, and the explanations of those commandments in the Oral Torah, and these are of an eternal nature and will not change or bend forever, nor will any of them ever be replaced or nullified.
A question that was recently received:
Quote:What is the best term to use for the true righteous faith that Gentiles should follow: Noahidism or Noahism?

It is better to call it "Noahidism" instead of "Noahism."

The term "Noah-ism" could be taken to imply that the person is only a follower of Noah, similar to the way that, l'havdil, "Buddhism" implies that the person is a follower of Buddha, etc. Also, Noah lived before the Torah was given, to it could be interpreted as being disconnected from the Torah Laws given by G-d through Moses at Mount Sinai.

What is needed to be communicated is the distinction of Gentiles who are observant of the Sheva Mitzvot Bnai Noach - the Seven Commandments for the Children of Noah, based on the Torah. In modern times, by Divine Providence, it became very widespread that these are now called the Seven Noahide Commandments, and a righteous Gentile who observes them is called a Noahide.

The pious path for Bnai Noach encompasses more than just the basic Seven Commandments that G-d gave through Noah. More details within these Seven Commandments were given by G-d at Mount Sinai, where He established them eternally as part of the Torah of Moses. For example, in the Noahide prohibition of adultery with another man's wife, before Mount Sinai the definition of marriage was relevant only in regard to Non-Jews (since there were no Jews in that time). But after Mount Sinai, the Noahide prohibition of adultery was extended by G-d to include adultery with a wife in a Jewish marriage, which has an extension in definition that does not apply for Non-Jews (that marriage for Jews takes effect at the time of betrothal, as it is defined in Torah Law).

Also, the Torah Law from Mount Sinai includes the authority bestowed by G-d upon the Torah Sages to enact obligatory Rabbinical decrees that will "make a fence" around the Torah's commandments - including even the Noahide Commandments, for which a few decrees were enacted. For example:

(1) If meat was removed from a living land mammal or a bird, one of the Noahide Commandments prohibits a Gentile to eat that piece of meat if he knows it was (or was probably) removed from a living creature, as long as the creature is still alive. The Sages extended the prohibition of eating that piece of meat (which was removed before the creature died) to be in effect for Gentiles even after the creature has died (but in the extension it is no longer a capital sin).

(2) In the Noahide Commandment that prohibits theft, it is forbidden for a Gentile to knowingly benefit from a stolen item as long as the rightful owner (the victim of the theft) has not despaired of recovering his stolen item (at which point he relinquishes his ownership). During that time, if a Gentile knows that the item was stolen and he goes ahead and benefits from it, he is sinning by participating in the act of the theft. The Sages extended this prohibition to be in effect even after the victim has despaired of recovering the stolen item (but in the extension it is not a capital sin).

So overall, we talk about the "Noahide Code," which includes the full range of obligations and prohibitions for Gentiles within Torah Law. See the book "The Divine Code," 4th Edition, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner:

All of this is only known to us because G-d included it as part of the Torah's precepts that He instructed to Moses at Mount Sinai, and is not limited to only the precepts that were included in the Seven Commandments when they were given through Noah.

Likewise, in regard to the great number of Gentiles who are now taking on this true faith and observance, it is now popularly known as the "Noahide movement."

So overall, "Noahidism" is a better term to use than "Noahism."

Forum Jump:

Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)