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Deuteronomy 5 - Why Does the Seven Noahide Laws not Name Honoring Parents?

For August 10th 2022

Verse 16:

כַּבֵּ֤ד אֶת־אָבִ֙יךָ֙ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֔ךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר צִוְּךָ֖ יי אֱלֹהֶ֑יךָ לְמַ֣עַן ׀ יַאֲרִיכֻ֣ן יָמֶ֗יךָ וּלְמַ֙עַן֙ יִ֣יטַב לָ֔ךְ עַ֚ל הָֽאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יי אֱ"לֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃

"Honor your father and your mother, as your G-d has commanded you, that you may long endure, and that you may fare well, in the land that your G-d is assigning to you."

It is clear that it is forbidden for a Noahide to shame his parents, because it goes against logical human respect. As we can see in the story of Cham (Genesis 9:22), who shamed his father Noah. From logical reasoning, it is quite possible that honoring parents is an intellectual obligation for a Noahide, just like charity. It is necessary to establish a proper society and laws (dinim).

So a Noahide do have a logically mitzvah to honoring one’s parents. Aas we can read in Sefer Ha-Chinuch:

"It is appropriate for a person to recognize and do kindness with those who have done so for him. One should not act as a degenerate, alienating [those who have helped him] and being ungrateful, for this is a bad and completely repulsive trait before both God and man. One should remember that his father and mother are the cause of him being in this world. Therefore, in truth, he should accord them all due respect and benefit, for they brought him into this world."

There are many ways/rules how we should do this. The most basic one is to make sure our parents have their basic needs when they are older.

One of the reasons it is not explicitly mentioned in the 7 Noahide laws and is in the 10 Commandments is the transmission of basic religious values.

On the 2 Stone tablets we see that on the first are the commandments between G-d and man and on the second are the commandments between man and man. However, the commandment to honor parents is last on the first. This is to show that parents and G-d work together in creation of the child, but also that parents have the role of giving their children the proper guidance to their religious obligations.

And the latter is often precisely not desired by Noahides, whose parents in many cases are not Noahides. And their religious values and norms should precisely not be passed on their children.

Brought By Angelique Sijbolts


Angelique Sijbolts is one of the main writers for the Noahide Academy. She has been an observant Noahide for many years. She studies Torah with Rabbi Perets every week. Angelique invests much of her time in editing video-lectures for the Rabbis of the Academy and contributes in administrating the Academy's website in English and Dutch. She lives in the north of the Netherlands. Married and mother of two sons. She works as a teacher in a school with students with special needs. And is a Hebrew Teacher for the levels beginners en intermediate. She likes to walk, to read and play the piano.



Likkutei Sichot deel 5 blz. 154;

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