Chapter One. Who are Noahides?
1. The Creator of the universe singled out the uniqueness of the human species from all created beings, as the Torah says that Adam was created “in the image of God.”2
2. The Jewish tradition holds that the Creator has sealed a covenant with human beings, which primarily includes seven commandments known as the “Noahide Laws.”3
3. Every person has an obligation to accept the binding validity of the seven commandments that were commanded to the children of Noah.4
4. Aside from accepting the validity of these laws, each person must actually observe them in practice.5
5. Whoever does not accept the Noahide laws and observe them is referred to in rabbinical literature as a “goy”6 or “foreigner.”7
6 .Whoever accepts and observes these laws is called a “child of Noah” (or Noahide).8
7. Whoever accepts these laws before a rabbinical court of three rabbis is also called a “ger toshav”9 (resident alien) and is permitted to settle in the Land of Israel.10
8. Whoever accepts these laws out of recognition of the truth of the Torah of Moses, as transmitted by the Children of Israel, is called “a righteous gentile” and has a portion in the world to come with the Jewish people.11
9. Whoever accepts these laws not out of belief in the Torah, but as an intellectual or ethical imperative, is called a “wise gentile.”12
10. The seven Noahide laws are: 1) the prohibition of worshiping false gods, 2) the prohibition of cursing G-d, 3) the prohibition of murder, 4) the prohibition of sexual immorality, 5) the prohibition of robbery, 6) the prohibition of eating a limb from a live animal, and 7) the requirement to establish a court system.13
11. These laws will be elaborated in detail in the chapters that follow.
12. Although these laws form the foundation of the Noahide Torah, many other matters, essential to a life of cleaving to the Creator, are included in this Torah, such as study, prayer, charity, character improvement, and others.14 These, too, will be elaborated in detail in the chapters that follow.
13. In this framework, only laws pertinent to non-Jews have been included. Laws pertinent to Jews in their relationships with non-Jews are not included.
2 Genesis 1: 26-7. This matter is discussed at length throughout rabbinic literature. See for example: The Guide for the Perplexed, Part 1:1; Maharal from Prague, Derech Chaim Chapter 3 on Mishnat Chaviv Adam (Mishnah Avot 3:14); Chaim Vital, Sha’arei Kedusha Part 1; Nefesh HaChaim Gate 1.
3 Genesis 9: 1-17, Bavli Sanhedrin 56a-b, Kuzari 3:73, Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 9:1.
4 Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 8:10.