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The Seven Noahide Laws

To the Jewish people G-d gave the entire Torah [teaching] as their Law. They therefore have a special responsibility—with special commandments—to be the priesthood of the world, a "light unto the nations."

What about the rest of the world? What is G-d's will for them?

G-d gave Noah and all his descendants (B'nei Noach or "children of Noah") seven commandments to obey. These seven universal laws (known as the "Seven Noahide Laws") were reaffirmed with Moses and the Jewish people at Mt. Sinai in what is now known as the Oral Torah, establishing modern observance of these laws. These seven commandments (mitzvos), actually seven categories of hundreds of specific laws, are G-d's will for all non-Jews.

Non-Jews who (1) reject all idolatrous ideas and accept the kingship of the One G-d, (2) accept the priesthood of the Jewish people as the guardians and teachers of Torah, and (3) commit to following the Seven Noahide Laws as revealed in the Oral Torah from Mt. Sinai are "Hasidic Gentiles" or "Noahides." The term "Hasidic Gentile" is derived from a classic commentary by the Rambam, Rav Moshe ben Maimon (Maimonides), in The Laws of Kings 8:11:

"Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these Seven Mitzvos [commandments] and is precise in their observance is considered one of the hasidei umos ha'olam ["Hasidim of the nations of the world"] and will merit a share in the World to Come."

The Seven Noahide Laws are the minimal observance for non-Jews. The source of these laws and the basis of their understanding is the Oral Torah, which G-d gave to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai along with His Written Law. By learning from the Jews and performing the mitzvos, non-Jews have a crucial role in G-d's Creation.

The Seven Noahide Laws actually encompass numerous details and applications within hundreds of laws, each with specific applications. One should also keep in mind that these laws are only the minimal basis for a Hasidic gentile's service to G-d, since there are many Jewish mitzvos that non-Jews are encouraged to adopt to accomplish more. Through these laws a gentile refines himself and the Creation as a whole, fulfilling his purpose for existence.

For a detailed listing of the Noahide Laws, visit our sister site Hasidic University.

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