The Thirty Mitzvot of the Bnei Noach

The Talmud (Chullin 92a) mentions that Bnei Noach have thirty mitzvot (commandments):

'Rav Yehuda Says:  This verse (Zacharia 11:12) refers to the thirty righteous persons among the nations of the world, whose merit sustains the nations of the world.

Ulla said: This verse refers to the thirty commandments which the Noachites have accepted. But they keep only three of them. One, they do not draw up marriage contracts for  homosexuals. Two, they do not merchandize (human) flesh in the marketplace. Three, they do have respect for the Torah (and for Torah scholars).'

 

As Rashi (Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki) tells us, Chazal (the Sages) do not elaborate on the nature of the 30 commandments, but various commentaries offer suggestions. The basic thesis with which they work is that the 30 commandments are subdivisions of the seven Noachide commandments.

There are two versions of the 30 Noachide Commandments:

  1. The  30 Noachide Commandments recorded by Rabbi Shmuel ben Hofni, Gaon.
  2. The  30 Noachide Commandments recorded by Rabbi Menachem Azaria de Fano

 


Rabbi Menachem Azaria de Fano רבנו מנחם עזריה מפאנו 1548-1620 (also known as the REMA mi'PANU רמ״ע מפאנו) in his book ספר עשרה מאמרות Asarah Ma'amaros (Ma'amar Chikur Din 3:21) מאמר חקור דין ־ חלק ג פרק כא (Published in Amsterdam 1649), enumerates the 30 laws as follows:

 

The REMA Mi’Panu’s  30 laws in transliterated Hebrew

And translated into English

in the original Hebrew

 

1st Category

 

ראשונה

1

 AVODAH ZARAH / Avodat Elilim

IDOLATRY:

עבודת  אלילים

2

 Ma'avir Ba'esh

Passing a child through fire in the worship of molech

מעביר באש

3

 Kosem

Stick divination

קוסם

4

 Me'onen 

Divining of auspicious times

מעונן

5

 Menachesh

Interpreting of omens / Superstition

מנחש

6

 Mechashef

Witchcraft / Sorcery

מכשף

7

 Chover Chaver

Charming / using incantations

חובר חבר

8

 Ov 

Consulting mediums

אוב

9

 Yidoni

Consulting oracles

ידעוני

10

 Doresh El ha'Mesim

Necromancy

דורש אל המתים

 

2nd Category

 

שנית

11

GILUY ARAYOS

SEXUAL SINS:

גלוי עריות

12

Peru *

Be fruitful

פרו

13

Revu *

Multiply seed

רבו

14

Ba Al ha'Zechur

Don’t draw up marriage contracts for homosexuals.

אסור הזכור אפילו יחדו בכתובה

15

Kilayei Behemah

Cross-breeding of animals

כלאי בהמה

16

Sirus

Castration

סרוס

17

Harkavas ha'Ilan

Grafting trees

הרכבת אילן

 

3rd Category

 

שלישית

18

SHEFICHUS DAMIM

MURDER:

שפיכות  דמים

19

Soter Lo'o Shel Yisroel

Striking a Jew

סוטר לועו של ישראל

 

4th Category

 

רביעית

20

BIRKAS HASHEM

BLASPHEMY:

ברכת ה׳

21

Kavod ha'Torah *

Honour the Torah (and Torah scholars).

כבוד התורה

22

la'Asok ba'Torah she'Nitnah Lahem *

Studying relevant parts of the Torah.

לעסוק בתורה שניתנה להם

 

5th Category

 

חמישית

23

GEZZEL

THEFT:

גזל

24

Shelo la'Asok ba'Torah Shel Yisrael

No to study non-relevant parts of the Torah.

שלא לעסוק בתורה מורשה אלינו

 

6th Category

 

ששית

25

HADINIM LEYISHUVO SHEL OLOM *

ESTABLISHMENT OF A  SYSTEM OF JUSTICE:

הדינין לישובו של עולם

26

Velo Yishbosu

Not to observe the Sabbath

ולא ישבותו

 

7th Category

 

שביעית

27

EIVER MIN HACHAY

EATING ALL OR PART OF A  LIVING CREATURE:

אבר  מן  החי

28

Dam Min ha'Chay

Blood of a living  creature

דם מן החי

29

Nevelah

Eating an animal that died without proper slaughter.

נבלה

30

Basar Hames

Human flesh.

בשר המת

 

Commandments 2 to 10 are from Deut. 18:10-11

The Seven Noachide Commandments are shown in capital  letters.

The commandments that are followed by an * are positive commandments, and those that do not are to be understood as prohibitions.

 

ADDITIONAL LAWS:

Rav Saadiah Gaon adds:

  1. Tithing *
  2. Levirate marriage *

Rav Nissim Gaon adds:

  1. Obedience to God *
  2. Knowledge of God *
  3. Worship of God *

Ran and Rama add:

  1. Charity *


These 30 commandments of the Bnei Noach are from
the Cairo Genizah and were authored by Rabbi Shmuel ben Hofni, Gaon.

Bio: Chabad.org - Rav Shmuel bar Hofnii

(see the book by A. Greenbaum, 'Thirty Commandments According to R. Samuel ben Hofni.' Published in Hebrew, Sinai, 1973).

(See also the appendix of the Encyclopedia Talmudica, Vol.3, in the section headed 'Ben Noah').

1

The singularity/unity of G-d (That is, to believe in G-d) *

Genesis 2:16

“and the L-rd G-d commanded man…”

2

No idolatry

Genesis 2:16

“and the L-rd G-d commanded man…”

3

No blasphemy

Genesis 2:16

“and the L-rd G-d commanded man…”

4

To pray *

Genesis 20:7

“and he shall pray for you…”

5

No taking of oaths in vain

Genesis 21:23

“Therefore swear to me here by G-d…”

6

No suicide

Genesis  9:5

“But for your own life-blood I will require a recokning…”

7

No murder

Genesis  9:6

“Whoever sheds the blood of man…”

8

No adultery

Genesis 20:3

“for she is a married woman”

9

Formal marriages by dowry and marriage gifts *

Genesis 34:12

“Ask of me a dowry ever so high, as well as gifts, and I will pay…”

10

No incest with a sister

Genesis 12:3

“Please say that you are my sister…”

11

No homosexuality

Genesis 2:24

“…and cling to his wife”

12

No bestiality

Genesis 2:24

“…and cling to his wife”

13

No castration

Genesis 8:17

“…and let them swarm on the earth and be fertile and increase upon the earth”

14

Not to eat an animal that died naturally or without proper slaughter

Genesis  9:3

“Every creature that lives shall be yours to eat…”

15

Not to eat a limb of a living creature

Genesis  9:4

“You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it”

16

Not to eat or drink blood

Genesis  9:4

“You must not, however, eat flesh with its life-blood in it”

17

Not to crossbreed animals

Genesis 8:20

“…and, taking of every clean animal”

18

 [Justice]   (the original manuscript was damaged here)

 

 

19

To offer ritual sacrifices *

Genesis 8:20

“…and, taking of every clean animal”

20

No theft (including kidnapping)

Genesis 2:16;6:11

“When G-d saw how corrupt the earth was…”

21

To respect / honour father & mother *

Genesis  9:22-23

“Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness…But Shem and Japheth took a cloth… and…covered their father’s nakedness”

22

No Molech worship (passing a child through fire)

Deuteronomy 18:10

“Let no one be found among you consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or that who is an augur, a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, or one who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquires of the dead. For anyone who does such things is abhorrent to the L-rd and it is because of these abhorrent things that the L-rd your G-d is dispossessing them before you”

23

No divination

Deuteronomy 18:10

24

No Divining of auspicious times

Deuteronomy 18:10

25

No Interpreting of omens / Superstition

Deuteronomy 18:10

26

No Witchcraft / Sorcery

Deuteronomy 18:10

27

No Charming / using incantations / conjuring / casting spells

Deuteronomy 18:10

28

No consulting mediums or a ghost

Deuteronomy 18:10

29

No consulting oracles or a familiar spirit

Deuteronomy 18:10

30

No consulting the dead (necromancy)

Deuteronomy 18:10

 

The laws that are  followed by an * are positive admonitions, and those that do not are to be  understood as prohibitions.


N.B. - Please note that these additional commandments should be treated as a list of recommendations and not as the actual accepted Halacha. For further explanation of this you should consult your Local Orthodox Rabbi or the new Shulchan Aruch for Bnei Noach: The Divine Code.

 

The Noachide Code: The 7 Commandments of the Covenant of Noah, the universal moral code for all mankind.

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