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Noahides and the Oral Torah

Updated: Nov 13, 2022



13 Principles of Torah-based Faith that were enumerated by Rambam (Maimonides):


8. I fully believe that all of the Torah, as we possess it today, was given to Moses by G-d.


We believe that G-d gave Moses both the Written and Oral Torah.


The “Written Torah” was transcribed by Moses “from the mouth of the Almighty” and is contained within the Torah scroll.


They are the first five books of the Tenach and they are also called the Chumash.

Not all of the commandments in the Written Torah are clear or detailed. For example, we read about the Tefillin. Tefillin are special boxes and straps placed on one's head and arm, as the Torah says: "Bind [these commandments] as a sign on your arm, and as totafot between your eyes" (Deutronomium 6:8). But the text does not specify how they should be made, or what they look like, what texts they should contain. Another example is that the Jews are not allowed to do any work on Shabbat, but the Written Torah does not specify what is meant by work.(Leviticus 23:3)


G‑d told Moses (Exodus 24:12) that He will give him "the Torah and the commandments." Why did G-d add the word "commandments?" Are there any commandments which are not included in the Torah?


And it is written:


אֵ֠לֶּה הַֽחֻקִּ֣ים וְהַמִּשְׁפָּטִים֮ וְהַתּוֹרֹת֒ אֲשֶׁר֙ נָתַ֣ן יי בֵּינ֕וֹ וּבֵ֖ין בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל בְּהַ֥ר סִינַ֖י בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ (פ)


These are the decrees, the ordinances, and the Torot (plural) that G-d gave, between Himself and the Children of Israel at Mount Sinai, through Moshe. (Leviticus 26:46)


This verses (amongst others) are a clear inference to the existence of the Oral Torah. The “Oral Torah” incorporates the traditions handed down from Sinai but not (initially) put in writing. She was passed on orally from Moses to Aaron, from Aaron to the elders, from the elders to the prophets until they were written down by Yehuda the Prince. This was done because it was feared that in the Diaspora the Oral Torah would be lost. She also includes the interpretations and rulings formulated by the sages of each generation.


Pious Noahides have to believe in this principle because only non-Jews who accept the Seven Commandments as given by the Holy One, blessed be He, did commanded them in the Torah, and made them know through Moses are pious Noahides and merits an eternal portion in the futere World to Come.



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.


 

Sources

The Divine Code p. 45

Chabad Article: What is the "Oral Torah

Aish Article: Tefillin: A Primer

 

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