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Righteous Gentile & Pious (Hassid) Noahide
Hi Donny,

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?

There is righteous, and then there is really righteous :-)
More specifically, there is a continuous spectrum of righteousness which a Gentile can aspire to.

At the lowest level, there is "righteous" only in terms of the judgment of an earthly court of law (a Beis Din). This means that the Gentile doesn't actively transgress any prohibition for which he could be convicted in a Torah-based court of law (i.e. the Noahide Laws). The person only merits that he will not be punished by the earthly court. There are several reasons why a person might fulfill the Noahide Laws in practice, without accepting them as Torah-based commandments. This could be based on fear of punishment by the ruling authorities. Or perhaps the person wants to appear righteous in the eyes of others. Or perhaps it is only out of intellectual conviction.

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.

It is from the Torah, through which G-d renewed the Noahide Laws, that we learn what these Laws are. The fact that Noah's descendants who lived before the revelation at Mt. Sinai had been commanded to fulfill certain laws does not have a bearing on mankind in terms of the Divine Law. G-d's revelation of Himself to the entire Jewish people at Mt. Sinai was for the purpose that the world would believe in the authority of Moses as the transmitter of G-d's eternal commandments to mankind.

In a similar way, the Jews do not gain spiritual merit through the commandment of circumcision because Abraham was commanded to do so. Rather, it is because G-d commanded the Jewish people through Moses, as recorded in Lev. 12:3 and explained in the Oral Torah.

Beyond this basic level of spiritual piety as one of the Chassidei Umos Ha'olom, a Gentile can choose to be more strict upon himself and/or to be involved in more deeds of goodness and kindness. He is also permitted to perform other (Jewish) mitzvos of the Torah (but not all), for the sake of a benefit that it will bring to his life, or to the lives of others, or to his society.

Messages In This Thread
RE: Noahide Path - by rabbiyitz - 06-16-2007, 02:54 AM
RE: Differences between Righteous Gentile and Noahide Chassid - by Director Michael - 06-29-2007, 09:44 PM
Minimum observance - by Joachim ben Noach - 12-15-2009, 08:14 AM
RE: Minimum observance - by Director Michael - 12-20-2009, 08:16 PM
RE: Minimum observance - by Daniel2 - 01-21-2010, 09:35 AM

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