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Torah Basics
Though Moses received the entire Tanach, he did not see fit to transcribe it during his lifetime.
Here is a list of the Tanach and who actually transcribed each book
Joshua - Joshua (Phineas wrote the last few verses regarding Joshua's death)
Judges - Samuel
Samuel - Samuel (through I Samuel 25:1), Gad, Nathan
Kings - Jeremiah
Isaiah - School of King Hezekiah
Jeremiah - Jeremiah, Men of the Great Assembly
Ezekiel - Men of the Great Assembly
Twelve Prophets (Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi) - Men of the Great Assembly
Psalms - David (included Psalms by Adam, Abraham, and Moses)
Proverbs - Solomon
Job - Moses (or possibly Men of the Great Assembly)
Song of Songs - Solomon
Ruth - Samuel (or possibly Men of the Great Assembly)
Lamentations - Jeremiah
Ecclesiastes - Solomon
Esther - Men of the Great Assembly
Daniel - Men of the Great Assembly
Ezra - Ezra
Nehemiah - Ezra
Chronicles - Ezra (through II Chronicles 21:1), Nehemiah
Rabbi Yitz

Using the logical rule that one can infer the positive from the negative, Rabbi Weiner derives several positive aspects from the Noahide prohibition of idolatry, such as belief in G-d, knowing G-d, and love of G-d. Similarly, the positive aspect of fearing G-d is inferred from the Noahide prohibition of blasphemy. The aforesaid positive aspects are not logical obligations. They are express commandments that are included in the Noahide commandments.

On the other hand, Part I, topic 6:3 clearly states that „prayer, blessings and praise to God, even though they are not strictly required for Gentiles because they were not commanded explicitly in the Noahide Code to observe these things, are nevertheless an intellectual obligation...“

Why is prayer a logical obligation instead of an express commandment inferred from the Noahide prohibition of idolatry?
If you say that something (e.g. don't blaspheme G-d) is an obligatory commandment *from G-d*, then the absolute foundation of accepting that injunction *as a commandment* (upon which basis the person would merit to receive Divine reward) is that the person must believe there is G-d, and that this G-d issued that commandment, along with a Divine promise of reward and punishment for the individual. Since that belief in G-d is an absolute foundation of the commandment, is it therefore part of the commandment (the positive part), and as such that part also has the status of a commandment. Likewise for a belief in G-d to be a true belief, one must know the basics of Who it is that he is believing in. If a person doesn't at least in some minimal way love and fear G-d (at least when he thinks about it), it is clear that he doesn't know Who G-d is, and therefore his belief is not a true belief, and his acceptance of the commandment is not a true acceptance, and his observance is not a true observance (of the actual commandment).

On the other hand, for Gentiles, to pray or not pray is not a foundational requirement for the observance in truth any of the Seven Noahide Commandments. One can be properly observing the Noahide Commandments at any given time without engaging in prayer. Therefore, for Gentiles, prayer itself does not have the status of a Divine commandment. But it follows logically - for a Gentile who has already accepted the foundation of these commandments (i.e., belief in G-d and knowledge of Him) - that in certain situations (which might or might not arise), he will be logically obliged to choose to pray.
(10-13-2013, 07:58 AM)israel Wrote: Dear AskNoah team,

First of all, thank you for setting-up such a helpful resource as this forum.

You are welcome! That is what we are here for.

(10-13-2013, 07:58 AM)israel Wrote: I would appreciate to hear your response to the following question:
A sizable portion of the world's roughly 7 billion population lack believe in the very existence of H-m [HaShem / G-d]

I don't think that this is a fair perspective to take. With the miraculous fall of atheistic communism in the Former Soviet Union countries, the last *major* bastion of official national atheism is communist China and its few vassal countries that are attached to it. But even in communist China, religion is making inroads as the country becomes more capitalistic and communications with the rest of the world are opening up. And in those eastern communist vassal countries, the historical traditions of pagan beliefs among the common people are still very prevalent.  Although the present major eastern religions include idolatry to a greater or lesser extent, even idolators - including pagans - have the concept that there is a "g-d of the gods". So I think it is fair to say that the concept that there is some type of "Super Power" in or over the universe does still encompass a sizable portion of the world population.

(10-13-2013, 07:58 AM)israel Wrote: and lead lives that are based on egoistic/materialistic inclinations

That is not mutually exclusive to belief in G-d. A person can have a belief even if it is not so internalized that it affects his actions. The classic analogy is a thief who prays for G-d to help him succeed in his act of robbery.

(10-13-2013, 07:58 AM)israel Wrote: - and, therefore, may bear the consequences of not following H-m's will. At the same time, it may probably be argued that if H-m sent supernatural signs or made people aware of his existence in some other way (similar to the events that are described in the Tanakh - e.g. 1 Kings 18:30-39), this would lead large part of the world's population (who could learn of these events relatively easily given modern means of communication) to amend their ways and lead more righteous lives (and potentially avoid the negative consequences of the egoistic/materialistic lifestyles that they currently have).

This is an incorrect premise. In the example you quoted, the open miracle that occurred motivated the *Jewish people" to repentance. a) They had never really abandoned belief in G-d. They only took on idol worship because it was fashionable among the surrounding nations at that time. b) The other factor is that they had been pushed into official national idolatry by the wicked kings who were ruling at that time. c) The Jewish people have inherent underlying basic faith in G-d, despite occasionally outwardly straying from the true faith.

On the other hand, we see from Biblical history that open miracles from G-d did not have so much of an effect on Gentiles. For example: a) The Egyptians were stricken by a series 10 miraculous national plagues because they defied G-d's word, yet as soon as the Israelites went out in their Exodus, the Egyptians reverted to open rebellion against G-d, and even chased the Israelites into the sea that G-d had split before their eyes. b) Likewise the Amalekites attached the Israelites on the way to Mount Sinai, even though the Israelites were surrounded by clouds of glory and led by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. c) There were 10 ongoing open miracles that occurred in the first Holy Temple on a daily basis, yet the Torah Law states that if an *idolator* comes to bring a sacrifice to G-d in the Temple, it must be accepted and offered on his behalf - despite the fact that he maintains and continues in his idolatry! d) The open miracle you cited in 1 Kings 18:30-39 did not arouse any movement of repentance among the surrounding nations. e) Neither did the world-wide miracle when G-d stopped the sun and the moon in the sky for Joshua.

(10-13-2013, 07:58 AM)israel Wrote: In your view, why did H-m decide not to send any supernatural signs (similar to those described in the Tanach) to (1) convince the unfaitheful of His existence and (2) turn the sizeable part of mankind back to His service (and away from their current wicked ways).

The opposite is true. In the examples above and many others, G-d sent miraculous signs in open view of the unfaithful, who did not turn to the service of G-d in large numbers even when they witnessed His undeniable miracles.
Furthermore, as we have entered the time of the "Footsteps of the Messiah" and the "End of Days", G-d is again showing open miracles to the world. For example:
a) First and foremost, the miraculous continuation and perseverance of the Jewish people, throughout two thousand years of world-wide dispersion and physical and spiritual persecution.
b) The open miracles of the Israeli War of Independence in 1948.
c) The open miracles of the Israeli Six Day War.
d) The open miracles of the Israeli Yom Kippur War.
e) The open miracles that happened in Israel when they were attacked during the First Gulf War.
f) The return of open prophets and miracle-workers among the spiritual leaders of the Jewish people, most noticeably from the time of the Baal Shem Tov:

What we are also witnessing as we come closer and closer to the coming of the true Messiah speedily in our days, is a modern international Noahide movement:
The lesson is that a real and lasting turn to G-d has to come from *within* the person.
Over just a few decades, some tens of thousands of Gentiles from around the world have embraced true faith in the One True G-d, the G-d of Israel. This is growing, even though it was not precipitated (at least not so much) by any of the particular open miracles that have been witnessed, but rather by a new spiritual awakening to the truth of the Torah of Moses, and the falsehood of any alternative, man-made religions.

Nevertheless, the universal faith and miraculous goodness of the Messianic Era will come into actuality, speedily in our days, as a result of our desire and our efforts to bring it about, since that is G-d's will. Everyone who sincerely follows through by dedicating him/herself to this on a personal, family, community, or national level will accrue significant merit in the eyes of G-d.
(10-14-2007, 04:31 PM)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.

In Genesis 26:5 when Hashem states that Abraham obeyed G-d's voice, commandments and decrees and Torahs. Does this mean Sheva Mitzvot and the Sinai revelation both oral and written? Or only the 7?
As a faithful Noahide, if you have a question about the meaning of a verse in the Hebrew Bible, you are permitted to look up the explanation by Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki), who was the foremost classical commentator. His verse-by-verse explanations are posted on

Abraham lived before the Jewish covenant at Mount Sinai, so in terms of practical Torah Law, he was still bound by the 7 Commandments (Sheva Mitzvot) for Non-Jews. That is what the verse means by G-d's "commandments".

Abraham also withstood the tests which G-d subjected him to, and that is what the verse means by obeying G-d's "voice".

He was also spiritually the first Jew, and through his prophetic knowledge, he "observed" all of the Jewish commandments of the Written Torah in accordance with the Oral Torah. This is what the verse means by G-d's "decrees". But for many of the Jewish commandments, Abraham could only observe them on a spiritual level, since the physical means to to observe them did not yet exist.
in Devarim/Deutoronomy 4:2

2 Do not add to the word which I command you, nor diminish from it, to observe the commandments of the L-rd your G-d which I command you.

My question is, why our Sages created many books (i.e. Shulchan Aruch)
The verse is telling us not to add to nor diminish from the OBSERVANCE of the commandments that G-d commanded in the Five Books of Moses.

First of all, the Jews are commanded to write copies of the Torah scroll of the Five Books of Moses, exactly as the first one was written by Moses.
This means that when a Torah scroll is written (by hand, on parchment), in order to be valid, it must not have any extra letter added, nor any letter missing, and every letter must be written in its correct form (or else it is not counted as a correct letter).

Beyond that, the meaning of "the word which I command you" is the definition that G-d gave for each of His commandments. "Adding" or "diminishing" means changing the definition of the commandment, to make it more than G-d commanded, or less than G-d commanded. Rashi gives this explanation for the meaning of the verse:

"Do not add": for instance,
- by inserting five sections [of written Torah verses] into the tefillin [instead of the four sections that G-d commanded],
- by using five species [of plants] for the [commandment of] lulav [the palm branch waved on Sukkot] instead of four [species of plants, as G-d commanded],
- or by attaching five fringes [to the tallit prayer shawl, instead of four as G-d commanded].
And so too, "nor diminish" [from it, i.e., three fringes on the tallit, instead of four fringes].

The books of Torah Law created by the Sages (e.g., the Shulchan Aruch / Code of Jewish Law) only explain and clarify HOW to do the commandments, as G-d commanded them. I.e., how to make the tallit fringes, how to make the tefillin, how to inspect a lulav / palm branch to know if it is valid or invalid to be waved on Sukkot. So they are not adding or diminishing anything from the basic definitions of the commandments.

Where exactly does name "torah" come from? Why was this word chosen as a name for Jewish teachings? Might it be interpreted as an acronym like
TOda RAba H-sh-m?

B"H. The literal translation of the word "torah" is "teaching." "Torah" is the holy teaching which is given and taught by G-d to the Jewish People. It is the specific title given to the Five Books of Moses, and it is also the name for the overall body of Jewish religious teachings that encompassing all of traditional Jewish law, practice and tradition.

Why did G-d call the Five Book of Moses by this name specifically? The answer is in the verse Deuteronomy 33:4 -
"The Torah that Moses commanded us is a legacy for the congregation of Jacob."

The Sages explained that the gematria (numerical value) of the Hebrew letters in the word "Torah" indicates that there are 613 eternal Jewish Commandments in the Five Books of Moses. To which they challenged, how is this so, since the gematria of "Torah" is only 611?

They answered: the number of commandments in the Torah that we [the Jewish People] received from G-d through Moses was 611, and 2 commandments we heard directly from G-d Himself during the public revelation at Mount Sinai:
(1) "I am the L-rd, your G-d, Who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage"; and
(2) "You shall not have the gods of others in My presence."

Beyond this, the Gentiles (Non-Jews, the Children of Noah) have 7 commandments from G-d in the Torah (the 7 Noahide Commandements), so the total number of commandments in the Torah is 613+7=620. This is indicated by the fact that the number of Hebrew letters in the "Ten Commandments" is 620.

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