AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NOAHIDE LAWS

 

Marriage

Since Noachides do not have a marriage contract there must be some way of determining who is married and who is not. A marriage is not only a private agreement between two people but also a publicly known (assuming they live around people) exclusive relationship (exclusive between a man and a woman although it is still possible for a man to have several wives).

The Torah says30“Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and be united with his wife and they shall become one flesh.” This verse implies that a man will leave the home of his parents and create a new home with his wife. Meaning, they will live together.  Living together in a home is a public statement that the couple is exclusive to one another. Once the public and private (the relationship has been consummated) nature of the relationship has been established the couple is considered married.

Divorce

A Couple is considered divorced when either partner leaves the common domain (or home).31 This method is far easier than having to get a “Get” or article of divorce (as is necessary for the Jewish people who sign a marriage contract). It allows either partner to end the relationship, not just the husband as is true under Jewish marriage.

V. Theft

Theft was the first sin committed in the Torah when Adam ate the fruit. God specified that everything in the Garden was available to Adam except for the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Theft is the most common sin that human beings commit against one another. It is also one of the most complex of the Noachide Laws.

For many this law seems rudimentary; easily avoided by even a child. It just isn’t true, what constitutes theft is a very difficult issue. It is an issue that is treated in great detail by the Jewish people  It is possible to steal in many different ways. If someone takes pens from the office or sits at their computer at work playing Tetris instead of working they are stealing. If someone takes something without the express permission of the owner they are stealing. What is even worse is that for Noachides there are no minimum amounts. Although punishment, ultimately, is the prerogative of the court, a Noachide could be liable for death.

It is very important for Noachides to understand the Noachide laws thoroughly to avoid violating any of the prohibitions. In order to do this one must first understand the boundaries of ownership. Only then is it possible to know when something has been stolen. It is not the purpose of this paper to explicitly detail ownership and theft, but it is our aim to give a basic introduction to this issue.

Business

We are constantly confronted every day with the decision to steal or not in our lives. The most common way we face this challenge is with our business dealings. These dealings can take the form of business, work, and private commerce.

When merchants deal with each other or their customers it is important that their dealings be honest. Anyone who gives less than they promised at time of sale or takes more than they paid for is committing theft.

The “ethical” technicalities allowed by most countries are unacceptable by the Torah standard. The Torah requires us to be exacting in our business dealings. Abuse of money exchanges is the surest sign of a corrupt society and is very often complained of by the Biblical prophets.

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