by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
Commentor annie asked…
are there 7 Noahide Laws or 66? Please explain... and if there are only "7"... where do we find the Oral Laws explaining in depth these 7 Laws? Please help us noahides to find our way as well... Thank you...
(Someone on the previous article commented that there are 66 Noahide laws. We’ve only heard of 7…)
According to the sages of the Talmud, there are 70 families with 70 paths within the great Family of Man. And each individual has his or her path within a path. Yet, there is one universal basis for us all.
At the dawn of human history, G-d gave man seven rules to follow in order that His world be sustained. So it is recounted in the Book of Genesis as interpreted by our tradition in the Talmud. There will come a time, our sages told us, that the children of Noah will be prepared to return to this path. That will be the beginning of a new world, a world of wisdom and peace.
At the heart of this universal moral code is the acknowledgement that morality - indeed, civilization itself - must be predicated on the belief in G-d. Unless we recognize a Higher Power to whom we are responsible and who observes and knows our actions, we will not transcend the selfishness of our character and the subjectivity of our intellect. If man himself is the final arbiter of right and wrong, then "right", for him or her, will be what they desire, regardless of its consequences to the other inhabitants of earth.
At Mount Sinai, G-d charged the Children of Israel to serve as His "Light unto the nations" by bringing all of humanity to a recognition of their Creator and adherence to His laws.
For most of Jewish history, however, circumstance did not permit our people to spread these principles, other than by indirect means. When the Lubavitcher Rebbe began speaking about publicizing them as a preparation for a new era, he was reviving an almost lost tradition.
What is most beautiful about these laws, is the breathing room they provide. They resonate equally in a hut in Africa or a palace in India, in a school in Moscow or a suburban home in America. They are like the guidelines of a great master of music or art: firm, reliable and comprehensive -- but only a base, and upon this base each people and every person may build.
"The Seven Noahide Laws" are a sacred inheritance of all the children of Noah, one that every person on the face of the earth can use as the basis of his or her spiritual, moral and pragmatic life. If enough of us will begin to incorporate these laws into our lives, we will see a different world very soon. Sooner than we can imagine.
Annie asked… where do we find Oral Laws explaining these in depth. I did a brief search and found that Pirche Shoshanim, an online Torah learning program, has gathered up the information into a nice presentation. They share the first lesson, but do charge for the rest.