Sheva Mitzvot & the Covenant of Noah

After the flood, God sealed a covenant with Noah with the following admonitions (Genesis 9):

  • Flesh of a living animal: “However, flesh with its life-blood [in it], you shall not eat.” (9:4)
  • Murder and courts: “Furthermore, I will demand your blood, for [the taking of] your lives, I shall demand it [even] from any wild animal. From man too, I will demand of each person’s brother the blood of man. He who spills the blood of man, by man his blood shall be spilt; for in the image of God He made man.” (9:5–6)

The Seven Laws

The seven Noahide laws as traditionally enumerated are the following:

  1. Not to worship idols.
  2. Not to curse God.
  3. To establish courts of justice.
  4. Not to commit murder.
  5. Not to commit adultery or sexual immorality.
  6. Not to steal.
  7. Not to eat flesh torn from a living animal.

Maimonides stated that God commanded Moses to compel the world to accept these seven commandments. In 1983 Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson urged his followers to actively engage in activities to inform non-Jews about these seven commandments, which had not been done in previous generations.

Sefer Sheva Mitzvot Hashem

After Rabbi Schneerson started his Noahide Campaign in the 1980s, a codification of the exact obligations of the Gentiles in the spirit of the classical Shulchan Aruch was needed. In 2005, Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem accepted to produce an in-depth codification of the Noahide precepts. The work is called Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem, (The Book of Seven Divine Commandments) published 2008/2009. As it was approved by both of the then presiding chief rabbis of Israel (Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar and Rabbi Yonah Metzger) as well as by other Hasidic and non-Hasidic halachic authorities, it can claim an authoritative character and is referred as a Shulchan Aruch for Gentiles at many places.

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