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Noahide Laws

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The Noahides laws are the laws that Judaism teaches that all of mankind is morally bound to follow.

All denominations of Judaism hold that gentiles (non-Jews) are not obligated to follow Jewish law and custom; only Jews are obligated do so. Since traditional rabbinic Judaism has always affirmed a fairly strong view of religious pluralism, it teaches that gentiles are not obligated to convert to Judaism; as long as people live in accord with a basic set of moral laws, they can and do have a meaningful relationship with God.

The Noahide laws are those laws of God which are seen as binding upon all people, due to the agreement of Noah and his family to abide by them. According to the biblical account, the great flood killed all of mankind except Noah's family, hence all people now alive are held to be descendants of Noah.

There are differing accounts of the obligations thereby imposed on man: Islam for instance interprets them with additional tales of Noah.

In Judaism, these rules were derived in the Talmud (Tractate Sanhedrin 57a), and are listed here:

  1. To not engage in idolatry
  2. To not blaspheme God
  3. To not murder
  4. To not engage in sexual immorality
  5. To not steal
  6. To not eat flesh cut from a living animal
  7. To establish courts and a system of justice.

Anyone who lives by these laws is termed a Noahide (follower of the covenant of Noah), also called a righteous gentile.

Theft, robbery, and stealing covers the appropriate understanding of other persons, their property, and their rights.

The establishment of courts of justice promotes the value of the responsibility of a corporate society of people to enforce these laws, and define these terms.

The refusal to engage in unnecessary lust or cruelty demonstrates respect for the Creation itself, as renewed after the Flood.



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