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Prohibition of In-Depth Torah Study Not Related to Noahide Code
#11
There is a level of deep Torah knowledge that does require knowledge of Hebrew and Aramaic. But numerous Oral Torah writings include in-depth Torah information based on the topics and the information itself that are being covered. So even in straightforward translation into other languages, they constitute in-depth Torah learning, and therefore Gentiles aren't permitted to study the parts of those sources that don't pertain to the Noahide Code, even in translation.

A prime example is the Talmud, which has been translated into several languages including English, alongside main in-depth commentaries or compilations of those commentaries, such as those of Rashi, Tosafot and others. Another example is the Zohar, which has been translated into several other languages.

Those are examples of sources that are sufficiently in-depth that the prohibition applies even for studying them in translation, if the part being studied does not pertain to the Noahide Code. Even for parts that do pertain to the Noahide Code, if it is in-depth, the prospective Noahide student will need prerequisite learning and the guidance of a qualified and reliable teacher in order to navigated and properly understand the material. Trying to learn a subject in Torah and getting a wrong understanding can be significantly worse for a Gentile than not learning it at all.

Please also refer to our forum sub-thread on the topic "Is ok to learn Hebrew and learn the Torah in Hebrew?"
https://www.asknoah.org/forum/showthread.php?tid=139
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#12
Thank you so much for the answer. I have received The Divine Code and have begun reading it with great interest- What incredible scholarship! My wife had never even heard of the concept of Noahide much less The Seven Universal Laws.
Kind Regards- Wendell

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#13
I am new to this forum, as well as to the 7 Noahide commandments. I come from a Christian background, and have dabbled foolishly in other religions as well.

I realize this thread has been addressed in great detail, but I wanted to ask a further question.

As an example, I am including a passage from numbers 15:

38 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. 39 You will have these tassels to look at and so you will remember all the commands of the L-rd, that you may obey them and not prostitute yourselves by chasing after the lusts of your own hearts and eyes. 40 Then you will remember to obey all my commands and will be consecrated to your G-d.

It is common sense for me that I, as a gentile, would not read this and think I should wear tassels, but it is clear and plain to me that remembering all of gods commands (Noahide commandments) is of vital importance and should strive to always be mindful and not chase after the lusts of my own heart and eyes.

The lives of Biblical figures give examples of how Holy people live, as well as temptations and mistakes we can make. The Tenach is the very words of G-d, so I want to read all of it, and often.

Is there any part of the Tenach we are forbidden to read, without any special reasons or needs?
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#14
(07-19-2014, 02:44 AM)l_cloud Wrote: Is there any part of the Tenach we are forbidden to read, without any special reasons or needs?

The majority opinion about this is cited by Rabbi Moshe Weiner in "The Divine Code", Part I, Chapter 5 (Torah Study for Gentiles), topic 3 (p. 89, in bold text):

"It is permissible for a Gentile to read the [entire] twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible ("Tanach"), even with traditional explanations of the simple meaning (like the explanations by Rashi), in order to correctly understand the verses."

In order to be sure that the translation in the Tanach he is using is reliable, the Gentile should use a Tanach translation that is published by a reliable, expert, Orthodox Jewish publishing company. (Note that the entire Tanach with the explanations by Rashi is on-line in English on Chabad.org.)
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#15
Is learning any part of Tanakh by heart and constantly repeating it considered as in-depth Torah study?
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#16
No, that is not in the category of in-depth Torah study.
On its own, the written text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is in the category of the straightforward ("peshat") level of Torah (even though there are many verses for which the *meaning* is not clear from the written words of the text).
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#17
(09-20-2016, 10:00 PM)Director Michael Wrote: No, that is not in the category of in-depth Torah study.
On its own, the written text of the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is in the category of the straightforward ("peshat") level of Torah (even though there are many verses for which the *meaning* is not clear from the written words of the text).

Dear Director

Could you explain where "peshat" ends and the next level of study starts? My tanakh (translation) has no commentaries but still I find myself unable to not reflect about HaShem and his will for mankind when reading in it. Should I abort my studies alltogether?

Also, does the prohibition of "delving" extend to the prophets and writings?

Thank you. The book is a blessing. Thomas
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#18
The three levels of Torah study are (in ascending order):

(1) Peshat - straightforward meaning of the "Written Torah." This is permitted for Noahides.
The "Written Torah" refers to the 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible, which is the "TaNaCh." TaNaCh is an abbreviation for Torah (the Five Books of Moses), Nevi'im (the Books of the Prophets), and Chesuvim (the Books of Holy Writings).
Study of Peshat encompasses the written text of the Hebrew Bible itself, along with the traditional explanations by the Sages of the straightforward meanings of the verses. Some examples are the explanations of the Bible text by Rashi, Ramban (Nachmonides), Sforno, and Ibn Ezra.

(2) Mishnah - texts of plainly stated Torah laws. This is also permitted for Noahides, to read for informational purposes.
Examples: The 6 Orders of the "Mishnah" compiled by Rabbi Yehuda HaNassi, the "Mishneh Torah" and "Sefer HaMitzvot" by Rambam, the main text of the "Shulchan Aruch" (Code of Jewish Law) and the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, and modern Rabbinical texts of plainly stated Torah laws.

(3) Gemara - texts of in-depth analysis, or esoteric texts that require further deeper knowledge in order for the text itself to be correctly understood.
Examples: the Gemara (the Talmud), the books of Midrash, books of Kabbalah (e.g. the Zohar), in-depth Chassidic teachings.

See "The Divine Code" by Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem, Part I, ch. 5 (Torah Study for Gentiles). This is now available in an e-book:

https://asknoah.org/books/the-divine-code

It is explained there that the Torah study permitted for Noahides encompasses the above categories of Peshat and Mishnah. With proper guidance from a qualified teacher, Noahides may also study those parts of the category of Gemara that are relevant to the Noahide Code.

Within this permitted Torah study, it is not a problem for a Noahide to mentally reflect on what he reads, and in fact, that is certainly encouraged!

But he should not apply himself with concentrated effort to deeply analyze through in-depth comparative analysis, or to discover inner reasons for Divine commandments, or to innovate new explanations, or to reason out his own rulings of Torah Law. Those are examples of "delving" in Torah study.
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#19
The Divine Code, Third Edition, page 75 states "possibly the first two Torah portions, Bereishit and Noah, are permitted for in-depth study, because they relate to humanity in general."

Isn't this ruling too restrictive? For example, Numbers 23:19 and Deuteronomy 4:15 relate directly to the Noahide command to know God. 

 
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#20
B"H
Here are those two verses, with some explanation:

In Numbers 23:19, Bilaam said these words that G-d put into his mouth: "G-d is not a man, that He should be deceitful, not a human being, that He should relent; would He say and not do, or speak and not confirm?"
Rashi explains,
- "not a man, etc.": He [G-d] has already sworn to [the Jewish people] to bring them [into] and to bequeath them the land of the seven [Canaanite] nations, and you [Balak] are under the impression to [think that you can] put them to death in the wilderness?
- "would He say, etc.?": [this is] an expression of astonishment [that you would think such a thing].
- "relent": they [human beings] come back [to a matter] and reconsider whether to retract.

In Deuteronomy. 4:15, Moses tells the Jewish people, "But you should take great care for your souls, for you did not see any likeness on the day G-d spoke to you at Horeb [Mt. Sinai], from the midst of the fire."
The straightforward explanation is that G-d revealed to them that He has no likeness to any physical or spiritual created thing.

The general rule for these and any other verses in the Hebrew Bible  (Tanach) is that Noahides may study the traditional Rabbinical explanations of the simple meaning of the verses, and that includes the explanations by a number of traditional Jewish commentators (Rashi, Ramban, Sforno, etc.).
Noahides can also study the *subject matter* of any verses of Tanach at the level of "Mishnah", which in general includes any part of the Oral Torah that is recorded for the sake of basic knowledge. The topics of those verses that I think you're interested in as being relevant to the Noahide Code are the absolute noncorporeality of G-d, and that can be studied in numerous "Mishnah"-level texts such as Rambam's "Mishneh Torah" (Vol. I, "Laws of the Foundations of the Torah"), his "Guide of the Perplexed" and his "Thirteen Principles of Faith", and several works of Chassidus such as "The Gate of Unity and Faith" (Tanya, Book II).

Since this general subject is related to the Noahide Code, a Noahide can also do in-depth study by reading parts of Talmud and classic Kabbalah texts on this subject, if he has a proper teacher and proper guidance. The restriction that is being referred to in topic 5:3 of "The Divine Code" is in-depth analysis and investigation of the exact words of the verse itself. Rather, you start with the simple fact that the verse is coming to teach that G-d is not a human being, an He is non-corporeal, and based on that, you can learn the explanations from Oral Torah about G-d's noncorporeality.
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