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"30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
07-02-2010, 02:05 PM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2010 04:53 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #1
"30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
In accordance with what Rabbi Yitz has said, everything in the English volume of "The Divine Code" has been scrutinized carefully. For me, the only thing that has remained in doubt is the interpretation of the "30 laws" that is mentioned in the Talmud, which was only published in Rabbi Weiner's Hebrew text of "Sheva Mitzvot HaShem," Volume 1. According to all published opinions, there remains much research into what these 30 laws exactly were. However, whatever the 30 laws were, I have come to believe that the answer has been handed down by Oral Torah, and theretical exegesis does not give the accurate answer. What is obvious is that honoring parents is one of the thirty. Next, it seems most probable that giving charity is also one of the thirty. Beyond this, there is much research to be done.
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07-04-2010, 04:49 PM (This post was last modified: 07-04-2010 06:44 PM by Director Michael.)
Post: #2
RE: "30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
Please allow me to clarify this subject. The comment in the Talmud is that the descendants of Noah "accepted upon themselves" 30 laws in the time period after the Flood. It also says that before the time of Mt. Sinai, the behavior of the descendants of Noah deteriorated, and they stopped observing those 30 laws. The discussion in the Talmud does not say what those laws were.

a) It's clear that the Talmud is not saying that those "30 laws" were specifically commanded by G-d, because in regard to Divine commandments, the issue of "accepting upon themselves" each particular law is irrelevant. Rather, these were rules of righteous conduct that they established for themselves (including, and over and above, the 7 Divine commandments that G-d gave to Noah after he left the ark).

b) The Talmud also says that because the descendants of Noah eventually stopped observing those 30 laws, therefore, before the time of Mt. Sinai, G-d rescinded the obligations they had taken upon themselves for keeping them. Then through Moses at Mt. Sinai, G-d re-issued, re-detailed and re-commanded (for all Gentiles) the 7 commandments that He gave to Noah, which have many (much more than 30) details. G-d communicated these details through Moses, and these details are called "the Noahide Code."

c) Because their self-imposed obligation to observe 30 pre-Sinai laws was rescinded, therefore in terms of practical observance after Mt. Sinai, it's irrelevant what those 30 laws were. That's why the Talmud doesn't enumerate them, and the later Sages who commented on the Talmud were only able to speculate as to what they had been. I.e., there was no tradition handed down in the Oral Torah about a listing of those 30 pre-Sinai laws, so it's open to speculation about what they were, as a purely academic subject.

d) To find out the many details of the post-Sinai Noahide Code, one needs to study the series by Rabbi Moshe Weiner - "Sheva Mitzvot HaShem" in Hebrew, and/or "The Divine Code" in English.
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07-13-2010, 08:13 AM (This post was last modified: 07-15-2010 08:26 AM by Director Michael.)
Post: #3
RE: "30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
Everything you have said is insightful. I have understood the post-Flood and pre-Sinai thirty laws as "above and beyond the call of duty."

The Post-Flood societies saw them as necessary on a practical basis to make a fence around the "Seven Noahide Laws," so they would not fall too far into sin and arouse G-d's wrath and incur G-d's destruction of their societies, for example, as G-d did to the metropolis of Sodom.

The seven commandments are broad legal categories, i.e. seven categories of sins, although the Seven Commandments include the prohibition of some very specific actions.

However, the thirty laws are specific mitzvot. Literally, "mitzvoth" are commandments from G-d. The majority of the 30 laws were added on and accepted by the societies, so as to make a fence around observance of the Sheva Mitzvoth.

So if the thirty included the seven, then really there would be only 23 additional laws. The statement is that they "observed 30 laws" - meaning 30 prohibited actions in total.

Also, capital punishment, whether by a court or by the hand of heaven, was only inflicted for violation of the seven laws, so capital punishment was not to be inflicted for a mere violation of the thirty laws, except as provided for in Gentile governments who enforced the thirty laws, not by G-d Himself. (See the story of Tamar and Yehuda in Genesis.]

In all practicality, that we, as post-Sinai Noahide chassid, have an optional set of laws- more than the thirty laws-- so all that means on a practical basis, is that we are permitted to accept upon ourselves additional obligations from the 613 mitzvoth of the Torah, with certain specific exceptions. So it follows, that post-Sinai, the "thirty laws", i.e. added-on observances are different for every Noahide Chassid, and that there is no need of having literally only "thirty" laws. Just that we are permitted to accept upon ourselves additional mitzvot as we become logically and morally compelled to. Some things are logically and morally compelling on a universal basis.

Except for academic reasons, there remains no need to enumerate the post-flood/pre-Sinai thirty laws. It just needs to be remembered that those who already keep the seven commandments, they are permitted to take upon themselves additional observances from the 613 mitzvot for personal and societal practical benefits, rather than for the idea of getting purely divine reward, and that reward, including the personal and societal practical benefits, is not to be underestimated.

And don't forget the civil laws that are enacted by the ruling governments, as long as they don’t command a violation of the seven laws and as long as they don’t prohibit you from performing a good deed, are all obligatory under the seventh law of Noah, which prohibits lawlessness.

"Thirty" is a figurative word ever since the Torah was given at Sinai. It just means the mitzvot that a Noahide chassid takes upon oneself, within the guidelines of what is allowed.

My first impulse is to say I will have a long-term goal to keep the whole of the Torah, except what is forbidden to me. And that would be my "thirty laws."

Once someone has kept a mitzvoth three times in a row, there might become some obligation to keep doing so.

(This response was written by myself, "bdschuh," after discussions I had with Director Michael.)
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07-27-2010, 11:30 AM
Post: #4
RE: "30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
Director Michael Wrote:Please allow me to clarify this subject. The comment in the Talmud is that the descendants of Noah "accepted upon themselves" 30 laws in the time period after the Flood. It also says that before the time of Mt. Sinai, the behavior of the descendants of Noah deteriorated, and they stopped observing those 30 laws. The discussion in the Talmud does not say what those laws were.

Were these Laws on the order of "Honoring Father and Mother," or something like that, ones the sons of Noah had accepted but had not been commanded?
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07-30-2010, 01:18 PM (This post was last modified: 07-30-2010 01:52 PM by Rabbi Moshe Weiner.)
Post: #5
RE: "30 Laws" for the Children of Noah
The suggestion of "Honoring Father and Mother" as one of the pre-Sinai "30 laws" was made by a prominent Rabbi in the 19th century, in his work called "Nachal Eshkol." I read what he wrote there: he questions if Gentiles are obligated in "Honoring Father and Mother," and he suggests that it *might be* one of the 30 laws that the descendents of Noah took upon themselves after the
Flood. He has no sources to back up his suggestion.

From a discourse by the Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutei Sichot, vol. 5, p. 154), it is clear that he holds that Gentiles (all non-Jews) are obligated in "Honoring Father and Mother" because it is a *logical* obligation.

In any event, the Talmudic statement that the descendents of Noah took upon themselves 30 laws after the Flood is Midrashic, which means that it comes to teach a lesson, but it has no weight in and of itself in actual Torah Law.

The Talmud in Tractate Sanhedrin lists some extra obligations that the descendents of Noah took upon themselves after the Flood, to guard themselves from transgressing the actual Seven Noahide Commandments. "Honoring Father and Mother" is not mentioned in Tractate Sanhedrin or anywhere else in the Talmud as an obligation for Gentiles. It also doesn't say that it's not an obligation.

The Talmud does recount a story about a Noahide in ancient Israel who exemplified the ideal of honoring parents. This person was a gem merchant, and he passed up the opportunity to earn a fortune, because it would have required that he wake up his sleeping father, which he felt would be disrespectful. As a message to all mankind, G-d rewarded Dama in a miraculous way, with an even greater fortune than the one he gave up.

It is important to explain that "Honoring Father and Mother" is not a Divine commandment for Gentiles, but instead it is one of their fundamental logical moral obligations, in the same way as giving proper charity. For Gentiles, the most stringent part of "Honoring Father and Mother" is that one should not embarass or disgrace his or her parents.
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