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Noahide Torah Study
Hello I'm new here. And I am just learning what it is to follow the laws for the Noahide. I have a question regarding why a Noahide is forbidden to study the Torah commands that concern Jews? Even though the Torah for certain areas may not apply to me, I would think it would still be OK to study those commandments. Please help me to understand.


In fact, a faithful Noahide is allowed to learn the basics of what the Jews are required to do in fulfillment of their 613 Jewish commandments (many of which are temporarily not able to be followed during the present era of the Diaspora, before the rebuilding of the Holy Temple). This information is found, for example, in "The Book of the Commandments" (Sefer HaMitzvos) by Maimonides, and the other classical codifications of Jewish Torah Law.

It is the in-depth learning of Talmudic, Midrashic and Kabbalistic commentaries and analyses, on the deeper levels of Torah and its detailed laws for Jews, which should be learned exclusively by Jews (if the material does not relate to the Noahide Code).
In the Chumash [the Five Books of Moses], are the classic commentaries by Rashi, Ramban, Rashbam, Sforno, etc. considered Oral Torah?  If so, how do we explain the different renderings on the same topic?  Often times there will be a commentary followed by, "alternatively, ..."  My mother-in-law is finding this to be inconsistency and I'm not sure how to answer as I can see her point.

[Answer follows in Post #12 - Director Michael]
Hello Rabbis and Director! I was wondering: although it is not required, how would a Noahide set up daily study of Tanakh [or Tanach, which is the full Hebrew Bible]? i.e., I normally read a portion of the week's Torah portion daily, along with a few passages from the early prophets after my prayers.
You are really free to set up any schedule of your choosing if you are interested in daily study of the Hebrew Scriptures.

The Five Books of Moses are divided into portions to be read in the synagogue for each week of the year (in the Hebrew calendar), and each weekly portion is divided into seven sections. So that is just one convenient schedule that can be followed.

You could create your own schedule for completing the entire Tanakh (the 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible) every 3 years, every year, etc., or even every month.

An important principle is not to take on more than you are going to be able to reasonably accomplish, along with your other responsibilities for family, work, community, exercise, etc. If you take on too much and then get discouraged and give up because you can't accomplish your original goal, that is definitely counterproductive. Start with a schedule you know you can accomplish without a lot of difficulty and stress, and then if you want to do more you can work up from there.
Director Michael Wrote:You could create your own schedule for completing the entire Tanakh (the 24 Books of the Hebrew Bible) every 3 years, every year, etc., or even every month.
I understand that Bereishit [the Book of Genesis] deals with people who were not yet Jews, so to say, and that therefore it is relevant for all human beings, whereas the following four books [Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy] deal primarily with the Jewish people.
Are those four books nevertheless relevant for B'nei Noah? Is it OK to study the Pshat [simple meaning] of those books? And furthermore, are the Haftaros [selections from the books of the Prophets] of the Book of Bereishit relevant and allowed to be studied by B'nei Noah? I am very interested in the historic events, but I am unsure as to how far I should read those texts.
The answer to all three of your questions is "Yes." Please see Post #14 above:

"A Noahide may learn the p'shat [simple meaning] of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), and if once in a while the p'shat explanation happens to briefly mention a teaching from one of the other levels, it is not a problem."

A Noahide may read the Hebrew Bible, or any part of it, from a translation into a language he understands, and it should be a reliable translation by an Orthodox Jewish publishing company. To understand the correct "simple meaning" of the text, one may refer to the classic explanations by Rashi.

Or one may read an edition with a summary of straightforward explanations by one or several of the classic Rabbinical commentators. For example, the complete Hebrew Bible with the verse-by-verse explanations by Rashi is available on-line.

Director Michael Wrote:A Noahide may learn the "p'shat" of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh), and if once in a while the "p'shat" explanation happens to briefly mention a teaching from one of the other levels, it is not a problem.

Now, what of very clear Chassidic commentaries on the Chumash?
The following synagogue Chumash volume (Five Books of Moses), with English translation and selected traditional commentaries, are recommended by our overseeing Rabbis:

The Soncino Chumash with Introductions and Commentary, (Editor Rev. Dr. A. Cohen)

Also recommended are volumes of Chumash with Rashi in linear translation, such as:
The Pentateuch and Rashi's Commentary, translated by Rabbi Abraham Ben Isaiah and Rabbi Benjamin Sharfman.

Dear Academy Rabbis;
Discernment is the path to uprightness, and my questions continue.

1) You have recommended Chumashim with selected commentaries. Thank you. Is it understood that one may also learn selected commentaries on the other books of Tanakh? (Such as the Artscroll Tanach series.)

2) One may only learn p'shat level commentary. Does this refer only to the actual texts of classic commentary?
There are many fine lectures found on the internet teaching Tanakh, that blend simple, allegorical, mystical, philosophical, historical and so on teachings in a smooth, comprehensive understanding of the sacred scriptures. Are such lectures permissable?

3) What about teachings on self improvement, science, history, and other topics suggested for Noahides, that bring out deeper meanings of one or more verses? (For "The Divine Code" vol. 1 lists the specific verses Gentiles may delve into.)

Thank you for your many answers, and for your time.

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