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Traditionally speaking, there are no mitzvot found in this parashah. It is interesting that the only mitzvah found in last week's parashah (be fruitful and multiply) is found again in this week's parashah in Genesis 9:1.

It may be that G-d did not want any commandments included in the parashah that described a world so filled with sin that He felt it was necessary to destroy the entire world in the Flood.


Noachide Laws

Since the Middle Ages traditional Judaism has identified seven "Noachide Laws" although there are actually only three commandments found in this parashah:

  • Do not eat flesh with its life blood still in it (Genesis 9:4)
  • Do not commmit murder (Genesis 9:6)
  • Be fruitful and multiply (Genesis 9:1,7)

This last command to be fruitful and multiply is surprisingly not found among the Noachide Laws. The other five (prohibitions against idolatry, blasphemy, theft, sexual immorality, and establishing courts of justice) are generally attributed to Genesis 2:16 which states:

Genesis 2:16

The LORD God commanded the man, saying, "From any tree of the garden you may eat freely;"

It would seem to be a great leap in logic to deduce the additional five Noachide Laws from this simple passage.

FFOZ made this observation regarding the Noachide Laws in their "Messiah Journal":

The rabbis of early Judaism made some logical inferences to derive seven general laws that they believed to be binding on all of humanity. They assumed monotheism to be self-evident, so they created laws pertaining to belief in [G-d], a prohibition on idolatry, and a prohibition on sexual immorality. They derived the prohibitions on idolatry and sexual immorality from the Torah's condemnation of the Canaanite nations' practice of both. The Canaanites were punished and driven from Canaan for those sins. The rabbis also noted that the sin of violence and robbery was one of the moral deficiencies which brought about the Flood, so they added a prohibition on theft. They saw that the requirement for man to spill the blood of a murderer could be misunderstood as an endorsement of vigilante-styled justice, so they steered it toward a more civil form of jurisprudence by mandating the establishment of courts of law.1



1. Messiah Journal, Issue 101, Summer 2009/5769, page 59. [back]

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Yom Rivi'i, 14 Iyar, 5784 - Pesach Sheini

Wednesday, May 22, 2024


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