This week’s Torah portion is Noach. This is the perfect time to again publicize the sheva mitzvahs Bnei Noach.
The following 7 commandments (sheva mitzvahs Bnei Noach) were given to Noah by God for all humankind to keep. The Jewish nation was given 613 commandments at the time of the giving of the Torah but the non Jewish nations have the following 7 Noachide laws to keep in order to insure that they will be righteous, moral people:
Do not profane God’s Oneness: acknowledge there is a Creator, only one God, and do not worship idols or attribute power to any other deity in any form. Acknowledge Divine Providence over creation. Nothing happens randomly. Nothing happens unless decreed by God and even a leaf does not turn over in the wind without God willing or allowing it. How much more so is God is involved in every aspect of a person’s individual life and one must recognize that and acknowledge God’s constant involvement. One must be humble and worship God, realizing that we are obligated to fulfill the commandments of God because He said so, whether we understand them or not. Every human being is created in the image of God and needs to be respected and cared for. We have to strive to emulate the good character traits of our Creator and do good.
Do not curse the Creator (respect Him and His creation), no matter how angry you may become in life. Accept that whatever happens is part of God’s plan and is for the good, whether we understand it or not. We need to accept that God Almighty is in charge of the world and does what is best for His creations. Only He knows what is best. There is no place for anger or cursing if something happens that one does not like. We need to be humble and accept that everything that happens is from God. We also learn not to curse any person (including oneself). We must respect all of God’s creations.
Do not murder (this includes abortion at any stage of pregnancy) It also includes not committing suicide: you cannot murder yourself either! Be humble and realize that only God Almighty has the ability to bestow life to His creations and nobody has the right to take life, other than God.
Do not steal (which includes kidnapping a human being). Be grateful for whatever blessings you have, look at everything as an undeserved gift and do not try to steal what belongs to another.
Do not eat the limb of a living animal (this includes not causing pain to any living creature and being sensitive to all of God’s creations). This refers to not cutting off the limb of an animal while it is still alive since the soul is within it.
Do not commit adultery (this includes any type of sexual immorality, rape, incest or sexual abnormality) Included in here is the underlying commandment to get married and establish a family (having as many children as God wants to give), which is also an obligation for a non Jew. Be devoted and faithful to one’s spouse and do not look outside marriage for happiness. Also, before marriage men and women must not live together as that affects one’s emotions and can interfere later with one’s marriage. True happiness can only be achieved in a proper marriage relationship between man and woman. This also includes the idea of being fruitful and multiplying when one is married: every human being is meant to do their utmost to have children.
Establish courts of law and make sure there is justice in the world. Every society needs law and order and each society needs a system of true justice without racism, anti Semitism or any type of unjustified prejudice. Do not try to take justice into your own hands. Instead, add in deeds of goodness and kindness in order to make this world a better place.
These 7 Noachide laws have further details and ramifications but this is the basis. Part of a non Jew’s obligation is also to respect one’s parents (and in fact we learn a lesson in true respect from a non Jew who refused to wake his father up, even though he was promised riches if he did so).
If all the nations of the world observe these seven commandments faithfully, the world will certainly be a better place!