«Brit Shalom» – a guide to practical Noahide daily life, brief version

Chapter Twelve. Additional Laws

Of every bird according to its species and of every animal according to its species, and of every creeping thing upon the ground, according to its species. (Genesis 6:20)
And my covenant shall be upon your flesh as an everlasting covenant (Genesis 17:13). And they shall keep the way of the Lord to practice charity and justice. (Genesis 18:19)

This is a brief version.

To get a full version [hide] Aside from the seven principle laws, Noahides were commanded to observe other laws as well.


1. It is forbidden to hybridize fruit trees and animals of different species.382 However, there is no punishment for doing so383, and the fruit or offspring are permitted to eat or to use.384

2. The definition of what distinguishes one species from another is determined by what is agreed upon by the sages who are experts in these subjects.385


3. A Noahide male may be circumcised for the sake of fulfilling the commandment.386 And there are those who say that it is an obligation for those of the Arab nation, and they should be circumcised on the eighth day of life.387 If the father of the child is a Jew and the mother is not, a sage should be consulted.388


4. There are those among the sages of Israel389 who included giving charity390 among the Noahide laws. Therefore it is most appropriate to uphold this commandment.

5. The Rambam wrote:391 There are eight levels of tzedakah, each greater than the next. The greatest level is to support one’s fellow who extends his hand asking for help, to give him a gift, a loan, form a partnership with him, or find work for him, until he is able enough not to need to ask others [for sustenance].

– One level lower than this is one who gives tzedakah to the poor and does not know to whom he gives, and the poor person does not know from whom he receives. Close to this level is one who gives to a tzedakah fund; but one should not contribute to the tzedakah fund unless one is certain that the one who supervises it is trustworthy, wise and behaves competently.

  • One level lower is one who gives tzedakah and the giver knows to whom he gives but the poor person does not know from whom he takes. Such was the custom of the great sages of Israel who secretly left money in the doorways of the poor. This is a viable alternative when those managing a tzedakah fund do not behave competently.
  • One level lower is when the poor person knows from whom he takes but the giver does not know to whom he gives. Such was the way of the sages who would tie bundles of coins to the back of their cloaks so the poor could come up from behind and take them without embarrassment.
  • One level lower is to give to someone in need before he even asks.
  • One level lower is to give to him after he has asked.
  • One level lower is to give to him less than one should but cheerfully.
  • One level lower is to give to him with a sad countenance.

The most esteemed sages used to give a penny to the poor before praying and only after doing so would they pray, as it is said, Then I, being justified, will behold Your face.392 (Psalms 17:15)

6. Sodom and Gemorrah were destroyed because they did not give charity.393

7. Laws of donating and tithing to the Kohanim (priests) apply to Jews in the Land of Israel and are not demanded of Noahides. Nevertheless, it is a great virtue for a person to separate a portion of his income for tzedakah (charity), acts of loving kindness, or any other activity that strengthens and spreads the knowledge of Gоd.

Behavioral Guidelines

8. The prohibition against sowing seeds of different species together in the Land of Israel,394 deriving benefit from sowing a mixture of seeds in a vineyard,395 the commandment to leave the corners of fields unharvested for the poor,396 allowing the poor to glean from harvested fields,397 leaving for the poor produce that was dropped and forgotten while harvesting,398 leaving for the poor grapes dropped while picking,399 leaving odd-shaped grape clusters for the poor 400 – even though all of the above laws are not obligatory for Noahides, it is desirable to practice them.

9. Whoever sees someone who needs his help, such as a person whose vehicle has stalled or whose belongings have fallen over, should make himself available to help.401

10. Someone who is owed money should not pressure the debtor, especially if he knows that the debtor does not have the money to pay him back.402

11. It is not proper to take as a pledge from a borrower any tool the borrower needs for his livelihood or which he needs for cooking.403 He should not take a pledge by force,404 and should return the pledge if the borrower needs it.405 A pledge should not be taken from a widow.406

12. Letting land lie fallow in the sabbatical year407 and canceling debts in the sabbatical year408 are not practiced by Noahides.


378 Bavli Ketubot 111b.

379 Mishnah Avot 1:16; commentary of Rambam and Bartenura loc.sit.

380 Bavli Shabbat 130a.

381 See Ruach Chaim 1:4; Rav Ovadia Yosef, Responsa, Part 4, Siman 55, (footnote).

382 Genesis 6:20; Rashi, Sanhedrin 57a ד”ה מן העוף למינהו ; Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 10:6; and there are those who ruled leniently, see Chidushei HaRan, Sanhedrin 56b and Ritva, Kiddushin 39a.

383 Mishneh Torah ibid.

384 For Jews, produce from a hybrid made with a grapevine is forbidden for food or for benefit of any kind.

385 And not according to the accepted definitions found in Jewish halacha (Torah law); Rav Kook, Etz Hadar, Alef.

386 Mishneh Torah, Milah 3:7; see Responsa (Blau edition)of Rambam, Siman 148, whose opinion there is not like Responsa, Igrot Moshe, Yoreh De’ah, Siman 2:7 (end).

387 Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 10:8, and not as Rashi, Sanhedrin 59b ד”ה לרבות בני קטורה.

388 See Responsa, Da’at Cohen, Siman 147.

389 Ramah (Rabbi Meir Halevi Abulafia) and Ran (Rabbeinu Nissim), Sanhedrin 56b. cf. Meiri ibid.

390 Deuteronomy 15:7-8.

391 Mishneh Torah, Matanot Aniyim 10:7-15, with minor changes.

392 Psalms 17:15.

393 Ezekiel 16:49.

394 Leviticus 19:19; Mishneh Torah, Kilayim Chapter 1, practiced only in the Land of Israel, ibid. 1:1.

395 Deuteronomy 22:9; Mishneh Torah, ibid. Chapter 5.

396 Leviticus 19:9; Mishneh Torah, Matanot Aniyim 1:1-2.

397 Leviticus ibid.; Mishneh Torah ibid. 1:4.

398 Deuteronomy 24:19; Mishneh Torah ibid. 1:5-6.

399 Leviticus 19:10; Rashi loc. cit.

400 Ibid.

401 Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:4; Mishneh Torah, Rotzei’ach Chapter 13.

402 Exodus 22:24.

403 Deuteronomy 24:6; Mishneh Torah, Malveh VeLoveh 3:2.

404 Deuteronomy 24:10-11; Mishneh Torah, Gezeilah Ve’Aveidah 3:16, Malveh VeLoveh 3:4.