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Principles of Noahide Faith
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.

Messages In This Thread
Principles of Noahide Faith - by Director Michael - 06-04-2007, 02:30 PM
Principles of Noahide Faith? - by Joachim ben Noach - 07-04-2009, 12:01 AM
RE: The Principles of Faith - by Director Michael - 07-10-2009, 03:43 PM

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