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The Noahide Commandments & source locations
sodergard Wrote:Sh'lom! I wonder, what does the oral Torah say about the seven commandments? Maybe it's very much? What is the basic things said about them? Does it say how HaShem gave them to Adam and Chavah and then to Noah?

First, it's good to review a basic introduction to the Oral Torah:

The Mishnah, written down by Rabbi Judah the Prince, has 63 sections, or Tractates. The Babylonian Talmud, which explains and expounds on the Mishnah, covers 37 of those Tractates. The Jerusalem Talmud covers a few less, and in a more concise format. When a reference in the book "The Divine Code" is cited as "Tractate Xxx," that means it is in the Babylonian Talmud, and sources in the Mishnah or Jerusalem Talmud are indicted as such.

The Oral Torah includes, and explains in detail, the Seven Noahide Commandments. That is the only source from which we know there are Seven Noahide Commandments. (Similarly, it is the Oral Torah that tells us there are 613 Jewish Commandments.) You can find this outlined, with sources given, in the Author's Introduction to the book "The Divine Code," Volume 1, by Rabbi Moshe Weiner:

Midrash stories are also part of the Oral Torah, and this includes stories that tell us about those who observed, and those who transgressed, the Noahide Commandments throughout biblical times, going all the way back to Noah, and to Adam and Havah (Eve).

However, in general, just the straight text of the Hebrew Bible, of the Mishnah, of the two Talmuds, and of the Midrash does not give all the information needed to make rulings on how one must correctly fulfill either the Noahide or the Jewish Commandments. For this is needed the explanations from the leading accepted Torah scholars, going all the way back to Moses himself, and extending to our own times. It is the chain of these leading accepted Torah scholars that is the mainstay of G-d's Torah Law. In almost every case, in each generation since the Talmud was completed and the Jews were dispersed, the leading accepted Torah scholars transmitted their teachings in books and commentaries on Torah Law. Well-known examples are the "Mishneh Torah" by Rambam (Maimonides), the "Shulchan Aruch" by Rabbi Yosef Karo.

sodergard Wrote:Can a Noahide study the parts of the Oral Torah which are written about the Seven Commandments, or is it to be read only by Jews, who are supposed to tell the Noahides what is written for them?

Rambam explains that the entire Oral Torah can be divided into two general categories, described as either "mishnah" (straightforward statements) or "gemara" (in-depth discussions and deep meanings). All of the category called "mishnah" can be read by faithful, observant Noahides. Within the category called "gemara," the parts that relate to the Noahide Code can be read by faithful, observant Noahides. However, you should first have a good understanding of the Noahide Code, so you know what you need to accept and follow in order to be an observant Noahide. This information can be found in the book series "The Divine Code," Volumes 1 and 2. Still, even a faithful and observant Noahide needs a reliable teacher/mentor in order to advance properly in learning from any parts of the Oral Torah without going off-track. Historically, we see that even great Jewish Torah scholars have gone off-track and become heretics because they didn't learn the Oral Torah properly (for example Korach, who rebelled against Moses). How much more does must anyone who isn't a great Torah scholar need to accept for him/herself a reliable and expert teacher and mentor, in order to avoid a spiritual downfall, G-d forbid.

sodergard Wrote:The Torah is the only source of the Commandments (of course it is). And HaShem is of course the real Source, because HE is the Source of the Torah). But have the rabbis written much about them (the Commandments) that is a guidance for Noahides?

For the past 2000 years approximately, since the Roman conquest and their destruction of the Holy Temple and their dispersion of the Jewish people from Israel, the expert and reliable rabbis have been writing and teaching about the Jewish Commandments, as a guidance for Jews.

Their job (as Moses was commanded by G-d at Mount Sinai) is also to do so about the Noahide Commandments, as a guidance for Noahides. However, the time in history when it would finally be possible for them to fulfill this in an open, public way, did not arrive until our generation. Thus the book series "The Divine Code," by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, was produced to provide a correct and comprehensive Torah-law foundation as needed to keep this process on-track (i.e. based on authentic Torah principles).

sodergard Wrote:And, a question that maybe goes a bit outside the real question: Is only the Torah (the Written and the Oral) from HaShem, or has HaShem inspired the rabbis so that they have written HaShem's words? Or has the Torah (the Written and the Oral from HaShem) been their only guiding light (or, of course, if Torah is their guiding light, HaShem is, because they know Him from His Torah.).
For example, is the Rambam's writings about the Noahide Commandments as reliable as the sayings from the Torah? I don't think so, but I can't know.
The first thing i think is that Torah is from HaShem, and the Rambam's writings are from the Torah, not directly derived from HaShem Him Self.

The following statement from the Rebbe Yosef Yitzchak is quoted from the book "HaYom Yom" that was compiled by his son-in-law, the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe:

"My father wrote that he heard in the name of the Alter Rebbe that all rabbinic authors until and including Taz* and Shach,** composed their works with ruach hakodesh [Divine Inspiration]. An individual's ruach hakodesh, as explained by Korban Ha'eida ... means that the mysteries of Torah are revealed to him."
*Acronym of "Turei Zahav," a fundamental book on Torah law by Rabbi David Halevi, d. 1667 C.E.
**Acronym of "Siftei Kohein," a fundamental book on Torah law by Rabbi Shabtai Ha'Cohen, 1622-1663 C.E.

Still, G-d Himself established that from the Divinely revealed wisdom and mysteries of Torah, the expert, faithful and reliable rabbis must apply their G-d given intellect through deliberation to arrive at the practical Torah precepts that Jews and Gentiles must follow, in regard to details that were not openly revealed by G-d to Moses. See for example the deliberation and resolution between two great prophets, Moses and Aaron, on a point of Torah Law that was not openly revealed by G-d to Moses: Leviticus 10:16-20. Note that verse 16 contains the **middle two words** of the entire Five Books of Moses: "Moses **inquired insistently** ..." This provides us with an indespensible lesson.

sodergard Wrote:The question: can we trust the rabbis like we can trust the Torah? Or i think we HAVE to trust the rabbis, because they had knowledge about the entire Torah so they could interpret the Torah correctly. Am i right?

If a rabbi is truly faithful, reliable, and knowledgeable of the entire Torah, you can assume that he can be trusted to interpret the Torah (G-d's words) in a holy way. Still, Moses himself, who was more trusted by G-d than any other person, erred in his own personal interpretation of a point of Torah Law, as we see from the verses quoted above, and it was necessary for him to deliberate in the proper way with Aaron in order to arrive at the interpretation that was truly G-d's Will. This happened and was recorded in the Torah so it would serve as a lesson for all rabbis and laypersons, for all time.

sodergard Wrote:Is it the best to read the Laws straight from the Torah, or is it better to read, for example, "The Divine Code"? I think it would be very hard to just read the Torah, because one needs so much wisdom to understand it.

As G-d purposefully designed the Written and Oral Torah, it is impossible to fully understand the Jewish or the Noahide Commandments just from reading straight from the written text of the Hebrew Bible, or of the Mishnah, or of the Talmud. That is why the Jews need the Shulchan Aruch, and it's why Gentiles need "The Divine Code."

sodergard Wrote:Or shall we read both the Torah and books about it?
Can we read only books about the Torah instead of the Torah itself, or do we need to read BOTH the Torah and those books?

Since Gentiles aren't commanded to read the Torah, or books about Torah, that's not an absolute requirement. Gentiles are only held responsible that they must not transgress the actual requirements of the Noahide Commandments. Therefore, it's well understood that Gentiles must corectly learn the actual requirements of the Noahide Commandments. Beyond that, a pious Noahide who strives in his/her allowed Torah learning and becomes a wise scholar of the Noahide Code should be given as much honor as a High Priest who serves in the Holy Temple.

sodergard Wrote:And another, maybe completely irrelevant, question: from where did the rabbis and the Rebbe get their wisdom? Is it from the Torah, or does HaShem make them wise? Are they wise because they have been reading the Torah much, or do they read the Torah because they are so wise?


sodergard Wrote:It maybe sounds like a silly question, but i dont know. I know one can get very wise by reading the Torah, but maybe one needs wisdom to read it?

Correct. And what is the needed wisdom? It explains this in the Mishnah Tractate Avot ("Ethics of the Fathers") 3:17 -
Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah said: ... If there is no wisdom, there is no fear [of G-d]; if there is no fear [of G-d], there is no wisdom.

sodergard Wrote:Sorry for this long and maybe strange question. The main questions are: "what is the main source of the Noahide Commandments: the Written Torah or the Oral Torah?" and: "Can we always trust the writings from the rabbis, or do we (or maybe someone who knows the Torah well) have to look if they are Torah true?" and "What is wisdom?"

1) The main source of the Noahide Commandments: The Oral Torah.

2) Anyone can put the title "Rabbi" in front of his/her name. That title by itself does not automatically make the person's writings trustworthy and Torah-true. Conversely, if the person does not put the title "Rabbi" in front of his/her name, that does not automatically make the person's writings not trustworthy and Torah-true. Sometimes it is obvious, but not always, so it's good to find out from someone who's observant and reliable, and who knows *that particular* Torah subject well. By analogy, one doctor might be a reliable expert specialist in brain surgery. But for heart surgery, a patient is best advised to go instead to a doctor who's a reliable expert specialist in heart surgery.

Messages In This Thread
RE: the law of Noah - by Director Michael - 08-17-2007, 03:12 PM
RE: The Noahide Commandments & source locations - by Director Michael - 11-09-2009, 09:38 AM
Location of the 7 universal laws - by jjny76 - 09-24-2009, 12:21 PM

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