The Essence of Being Noahide

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As gentiles leave the religions of this world and return back to the One Creator of heaven and earth, religion has left a scar and religious baggage. Religious baggage does not go away overnight or sometimes even in years. It is one of our hardest struggles.

Being a Noahide includes accepting the 7 Universal Laws, their sub-rulings and a correct understanding of where they come from and what it means for them to be an obligation.

There is one scar that many have been inflicted with by certain religions of the world. When a Torah (Chumash) or Tanach (Hebrew Scripture) is read, they are confused by ‘who’ is being spoken to on those pages. So many open a Tanach and the religious scar misleads them to continue in the belief that every word is spoke to them, that they are the subject of the words read.

The Tanach is a conversation that the Creator is having with Israel. Even the parts that include the 7 Laws. They were all part of the Sinai package to Israel.

According to Jewish tradition it was offered to the world but the world’s majority turned it down and Israel was the only nation to accepted it and that includes the 7 Noahide Laws.

Lets take a look at something together.

Exodus 24: 3-4a
And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said: ‘All the words which the LORD hath spoken will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD,

According to Rashi on these two verses, Moses reiterated the 7 Noahide laws and those given at Marah and then he, Moses, wrote down everything God spoke to him; at the time of these verses, Genesis to Exodus 20 was written down.

The very essence of becoming a Noahide is what I call an Adam or Noah state of being. With Adam there was God, Adam and an obligation but no religion – Noah was the same and he was called righteous in his generation and again there was no religion in his walk with the Creator.

So this non-religious walk with the Creator is what God wanted from the beginning. This is what we Noahdes are striving for. It is our duty to know what our commanded obligation is.

If some one quotes a verse where God says that we are to keep the commandments of God without detailed explanation then that person has not learned proper Torah study.

As I have written in other blogs, not every commandment that God commands is for everyone. It is important to know who we are and which commandments are given to us.

Israel in the Torah is our prime example of this. Not all commandments were designed to fit every Jew.

My friend Pesach shared this point with me this week. He is a Jew but he is not a Cohen. A Cohen has other commandments to do that he is not obligated to.

If one day Pesach wanted to start doing the commandments given to the Cohen, he would be in a transgression of adding to the Torah given to him by God – and if he did it out of spiritual desire then he could also be guilty of creating a new religion.

The same is with us, we are taught by Israel that the nations have 7 categorical commandments, we are not to add to them – if we choose to do a commandment in the Torah other than those 7  that are permissible to us, we can only do it on a temporary basis with out spiritual intent. If so then we can also be guilty of adding to the Torah that we were given and creating a new religion.

It is in my humble opinion, we should follow an example we find in Torah Judaism and that is, it is not recommended for a Jew to study Kabbalah until he is well studied in Torah and a certain age – but the age really means he has studied Torah since a child. He needs to be in a complete understanding of all the commandments he is obligated to before he tries to add something else to his plate.

I suggest a similar thing – before a Noahide tries to do any extra commandments that he/she is not obligated to, they need to be well knowledgeable and trained in their obligation and have spiritual desire under control as to not to try an extra command and fall into transgression over it. And I would also recommend that it not be done without a learned teacher’s instruction. Again that is my opinion.

This is advice, our friends and brothers the Jews who are serious in their service to God follow. I know this because I have been an eye witness to this very fact several times. One in particular, I was staying in a rabbi’s home and his wife, who was born in Jerusalem and was in her 70s had a question about the status of a particular vegetable. She picked up the phone and called her rabbi in Jerusalem to get advise on it.

Noahides, gentiles, God Fearers or whatever title you choose for yourself, lets fine tune our understanding and observance of the 7 laws and all their details. They are our obligation and our service to the Creator. There is nothing more we can do to enhance our walk with the Creator. Trying to enhance your walk with added commandments is pushing your will and spiritual desires above what the Creator has already given us.

Terry W. Hayes – ben Noach

Photo Credit: Me

9 thoughts on “The Essence of Being Noahide

  1. Just a question about a small part of your article. There is a paragraph about what the essence of a “noahide” is (accepting God, a conscious acceptance of the seven laws), and a sentence about becoming a “noahide.” Based on those comments, you are saying there are gentiles who are “noahides” and there are gentiles who are not. Is that correct?

  2. Yes and no,

    Technically all people on the face of the earth today are descendants from on of the three sons of Noah – in the broad sense the term Noahide just means ‘son/daughter of Noah.

    In Rabbinic literature the term Noahide is used as a term that describes the difference between an observant gentile vs a non- observant gentile.

    I sent a question to some of my Orthodox Jewish friends that are not rabbis and asked them to define the term Noahide for me. The one thing they all had in common was that they described a Noahide as a non-idolatrous gentile that has accepted the one God of Israel.

    In their and rabbinic circles this includes the observance of the 7 Laws out of obligation that the God of Israel in His Torah commanded them.

    There is a status change when a gentile either volunteers out of reason not to murder or commit theft and so on. They are rewarded for their action in this life. But a gentile that takes on the 7 laws out of obligation because it is commanded by the Creator who gave these commands to Noses to write down and give them to Israel – then his Noahide status changes to be a pious one of the nations and his reward goes beyond this life into the next.

    Because of what happened at Sinai the authority of the Noahic covenant shifted to the Sinai covenant. The nations are still judged from heaven the same on the laws but the route of obligation shifted. Gentiles are still rewarded good or bad in this world for their keeping but it only goes as far as this life. Just like Israel had to accept the obligation of their Laws we also have to do the same. Rabbi Moshe Feinstein stated that there is but one Torah not two and thus Jew and gentile both had to accept the obligation to do their part of the Torah given to Moses from God.

    Exodus 19 states that Israel would believe in Moses forever because God spoke to him in front of all the people. In this God gave Moses the authority over all the Torah including the 7 Laws.

    So a Noahide has two meanings depending on how and who uses it. It is every person on the planet or in a religious (I do not like that word but it is one the average person knows) way, it points to gentiles that have rejected the gods of this world and accepted the One God of Israel and His obligations for them.

    1. By the way, “noahide” by which you mean “ben noah,” doesn’t mean either all people on the face of the earth (which would include Jews) or a righteous Gentile. That’s not an accurate description of how it is used in Rabbinic literature. As I’ve shown on my own blog by use of many quotes from rabbinic sources, “ben noah” means mainly all non-Jews that are not bound by the 613 laws, not just the good Gentiles. That’s its main usage and that’s how it is used in talmud sanhedrin 56a-60b and many other places, like Bava Kamma 38a and Avodah Zarah 2b from which your rabbis teach you that Gentiles (bnei Noah) were released from the seven laws. So in the Talmud and other writings like that of Ramban and Rambam, its main meaning is every non-Jew. There’s only a few places where it is used to distinguish one sort of Gentile from the main group. Then there are other sources that use it, as you say, for non-Jews who keep the seven laws. This is shown in footnote 1 of rabbi Broyde’s work seen here:

  3. Christians were taugh in Texas… Moshiach would pick them up first then the Jews would accept their Messiah. Kinda wierd being the only 2 Jews( my husband and myself) to live and now see former goyim to see maybe you had it backwards and delayed the real Mochiach’s arrival.You join us Jews then Moshiach will come. Happy to see the change of theology and to see new Noahides accept and love Hashem. welcome and we Jewish sisters and brothers are here to listen and help. We want the best for you. hashem is not a man that he should lie. His covanant is for real!!!

    1. Thank you for the kind words.
      My wife and I studied for conversion for almost 7 years before coming to the conclusion that was not Hashem’s will for us. This has played a key role in my Noahide studies.

  4. So based on this article and according to those Jewish friends of yours, there are Gentiles who are noahide and some who are not. Ok.

    I’ve seen how people use the word “technically.” I believe you’ve used it the same way. It’s like asking someone “did you lie?” and then they respond “well, technically I didn’t lie …” followed by ways in which they deceived another person, for example, by omitting some facts or relying on ambiguity. If you spend the first paragraph on “technically” and then the vast majority of the rest of the statements on “actually,” then the answer to my question that started with “based on these [the article’s] comments,” was only and simply “yes” and the “technically” was mainly unnecessary to my question.

    Anyway, thanx for the answer.

    1. As I pointed out, yes and no, yes physically and no spiritually. It is evedent that a secular view and Torah view don’t mix. I have had 7 years of Orthodox Jewish studies and it has framed my understanding of Torah issues. The 7 laws to day are only know from the Torah and other Jewish writings, they can not be separated.

      1. I don’t know how you’re using the word “secular,” so I don’t know that your statement is evident.

        My question was “there are some gentiles who are noahides and some who are not, correct?” Your answer is “yes physically and no spiritually.” That answer makes no sense.

        Were those seven years of study in order to convert to becoming a Jew?

        I agree that the codification of the seven laws is only known from the oral tradition and what Jews write about. I don’t what you mean by some separation.

  5. But then again, you may have just been giving a general clarifying statement before giving a more specific answer to my question. I think is more likely. In that case, you were just emphasising your point of view bringing back the idea that you gave before that Israel has rule over the seven laws.

    Ok. That’s fair.

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