|Printable Version Rainbow Laws (PDF)||Noah's Rainbow Menorah an essay by Rabbi Aba Wagensberg|
All humanity on the Earth--as well as the creatures of the land--were uprooted and destroyed by the waters of the Flood in Noah's time. Noah and his family alone--along with the selected animal species--remained afloat on the waters until G-D's fury subsided. The reason for the destruction was disregard for the first Six Laws which G-D gave to Adam and Eve and their descendants. People were unwilling to change their evil ways. Humanity had become so corrupt that no repair was possible. The waters subsided. After 365 days in the ark, Noah and his family--along with all the animals--made their way onto dry ground into a new, cleansed world. Noah sacrificed to G-D, and G-D caused a rainbow to appear and said that it would be an eternal sign of the covenant between G-D and Noah (and his descendants), and all the Earth. That rainbow covenant symbolized a vow that G-D would never again bring a flood into the world to destroy all flesh. The Almighty reaffirmed to Noah the original Six Laws given to Adam and Eve to regulate human societal behavior (the relationships between G-D and individuals, and person to person) and added the Seventh Law after the Flood, hence the Seven Laws of Noah. This was a fresh beginning for the world.
G-D loves us and all His creation absolutely! He gave us the Seven Laws to protect us from destroying ourselves. The Seven Laws are the foundation for a G-dly human, earthly society. People are created in G-D's image. We are loved.
It's said by rabbis and scholars of the Torah and Talmud that to actually see a rainbow is something negative. It means that there is the need for judgment, but there is restraint from on High. It is known that in the generation of the Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar Yohai) that a rainbow was never seen due to his extraordinary holiness - he protected the world. This was in the the mid second century CE. (See Noah's Rainbow Menorah by Rabbi Aba Wagensberg)
The Seven Laws of Noah are directly taken from the first of the five books of the Torah which is called Genesis (Bereishis). The Torah is the first and holiest section of the Bible. These Seven Laws are binding upon all humanity. The descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who are known as the Jewish people received the Torah from G-D directly with an additional set of laws that are binding upon them for a total of 613 laws. The Jewish people, the "Light Unto Nations", have the stewardship of teaching humanity the Seven Laws of Noah.
Acknowledgment of One Almighty Timeless Creator (G-D). As well as not giving credibility to any other natural or unnatural entity, idol or phenomena. Even if there is an illusion of creative, supernatural or magical powers. G-D stands alone, no partners.
Not to take any of G-D's various names in vain. Not to use one of G-D's names in any disrespectful fashion or out of context. Fear of G-D has a very close interrelationship with this law and concept.
Mankind is G-d's most precious creation. Both body and soul are created in His image. The act of murder includes the intentional killing of a human being, suicide, and by most scholarly opinions, aborting a fetus after a 40 day period of gestation except to save the mother's life. The act of killing for self defense at any time or during times of war is not included in the prohibition against murder.
Sexual relations are forbidden with certain relatives. This includes a son with a mother (even if his birth was a result of rape or seduction), a daughter with a father, a son with a father, a father with a daughter or a son with his father's sister or a mother's sister. Other totally forbidden relationships include a man with another man's wife, a man with another man (homosexual relations), any person whether male or female with an animal. Lesbianism is considered an immoral and unnatural relationship (though not stated as forbidden) that destroys the order of the world. Prostitution goes under the same category (not strictly forbidden according to the law) but is outside the realm of morality and violates the spirit of the Seven Universal Laws of Noah.
Theft is the broadest category with the most intricacy of all Seven Laws. The prohibition of theft is equally applicable to men and women in every aspect, detail and category. Theft is punishable regardless of whether the act was secretive or public. The courts will deal with revealed, known lawbreakers. Secretive theft will ultimately be punished by the Hand of Heaven. Stealing includes any amount of money or material goods, large or small, even the insignificant. Intellectual property such as music, books, formulas, programs and photographs is owned by the copyright, trademark or patent holder. Kidnapping is a form of theft as is rape or seduction. False weights and measures, overcharging, misrepresentation and lying are all forms of stealing. A dispute or the injuring of another person carries a liability that must be paid. Trespassing is a form of theft as well as the moving of landmarks on property. The withholding of wages that come due to a worker according to agreed upon terms is a form of theft as well as the failure to return a borrowed object. Dealing in stolen property falls into this category. An insidious form of theft is pollution and environmental destruction as well as quality of life issues. This includes the damaging of air, water, sight (offensive eyesores) and sound (decibel increases). Toxic chemical and/or radioactive level increases in the environment is a form of theft and may lead to the killing and/or damaging the health and well-being of the resident population.
The establishment of courts of law to institute justice, truth, righteousness and morality over society is an essential institution. The primary job of the court system is to uphold the Seven Laws of Noah as well as to establish a police force and army as needed. A judge in the Noahide court system should have as much of these seven qualities as possible given the society of the day: 1) wisdom, 2) humility, 3) fear of Heaven, 4) fear of sin, 5) contempt of ill-gotten money, property, or gain, 6) love of truth and 7) beloved by his fellow men as well as an excellent reputation. The judicial system of any country is a branch of the government. In a democratic society where judges are either elected by the people or appointed by elected government officials, each voting citizen needs to really consider, based on the Seven Laws of Noah, "who would G-d vote for?". An important quote to ponder upon: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says: "The world endures on three things - justice, truth, and peace, as it is said: 'Truth and the verdict of peace are you to adjudicate in your gates.'"
Most authorities agree that this commandment was given by G-D to Noah and all of his descendants after the Flood (Mabul). The reason for this is because human beings were vegetarians before the Flood and for the act of saving the land animals, G-D gave us the right to consume them as well as to give us nutritional strength. The law states that an animal must be completely dead before any of its flesh can be consumed.
The above Laws are merely a very brief explanation of each of the Seven Laws of Noah. To learn more contact us for recommended reading materials and to find an authoritative and reliable teacher in your area.
Failure of a society to recognize, enforce and uphold, on a personal and official level, these Seven Laws of Noah will lead to its eventual destruction. G-D has given the Seven Laws to humanity as instructions for living. Their observance will lead to personal fulfillment and Peace on Earth.
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