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

Chapter Thirteen.Taking on Additional Commandments

Let not the foreigner say, who has attached himself to the Lord, “The Lord will keep me apart from His people.” (Isaiah 56:3)

This is a brief version.

To get a full version [hide] 1. A Noahide who properly took upon himself the seven Noahide laws and wanted to perform a certain commandment – from among all the other Torah commandments – in order to receive spiritual reward409 is allowed to perform it as prescribed.410

2. There are those who hold that the above applies even to observance of the Sabbath and festivals and Torah study.411

3. A Noahide is to refrain from writing a Torah scroll, tefillin or a mezuzah, and from putting on tefillin.412

4. The commandment of Sabbath observance413 serves as a testimony to the world’s creation. Therefore it is fitting to honor this day and to sanctify it.414 The Sabbath is also a day of rest, a remembrance of the exodus from Egypt. Therefore work is not done on this day.415 Unlike its definition according to Jewish law, work for a Noahide is anything that involves exertion.416 What qualifies as work is to be determined by the judges of each nation for their own people.417

5. The Pesach festival, which commemorates the exodus from Egypt, especially the Seder on the first night, includes many commandments, contained in the “Passover Seder Haggadah” book.418 A Noahide who participates in a seder is to refrain from eating the afikoman (a piece of matzah consumed at the end of the meal).419

6. Festival days,420 prescribed by the Torah, and enhanced by the prophets and sages, and fast days as well,421 are designated in the Hebrew calendar.

7. Festival commandments are as follows: hearing the shofar blown on Rosh Hashana,422 fasting on Yom Kippur,423 waving of the four species424 and sitting in the Sukkah on Sukkot,425 lighting Hanukkah candles,426 reading the Megillah and having a festive meal on Purim,427 and others.

8. Someone who places a mezuzah428 at the entrance of his house should make every effort to make it recognizable as the house of a Noahide which can be done, for example, by engraving the number “7” on the mezuzah case.

9. It is a commandment not to wear sha’atnez,429 that is, a garment that is a mixture of wool and linen.

10. The Torah delineated many types of ritual impurity applicable to Jews, but these do not apply to Noahides.430 However, it is a good practice for men to immerse in a mikveh (Jewish ritual bath) after a seminal emission431 and for women to do so at the conclusion of their monthly period.432

11. It is a commandment to wash one’s hands after awakening from sleep in the morning,433 after relieving oneself,434 or before eating a meal with bread.435


405 Deuteronomy 24:12-13; Mishneh Torah, ibid. 3:5.

406 Deuteronomy 24:17; Mishneh Torah, ibid. 3:1.

407 Leviticus 25:1-7;Exodus 23: 10-11; Mishneh Torah, Shemittah VeYovel 4:24.

408 Deuteronomy 15:2; Mishneh Torah, ibid. 9:1.

409 Yerushalmi Pe’ah 1:1, ד”ה כיבוד אב ואם, Bavli Avodah Zarah 2a; Kohelet Rabbah (Widow and Brothers Romm Edition) 1:9, ד”ה מה שהיה הוא שיהיה.

410 Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 10:10; there are those who hold that such a mitzvah should be done exactly as prescribed and there are those who hold that, ideally (a priori), it should be done in an irregular manner. This is not the place to expand on this matter, but the main opinion is the first one. See the opinion of ‘Others’ in Bavli Avodah Zarah 64b and the point derived from it in Biur Halacha, Mishnah Berurah, on Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, Siman 304 and in Chaim Kanievsky, Shoneh Halachot loc. sit. and in Emet VaTzedek on Tractate Gerim, Chapter 3, Yud-Gimmel; Rambam, Peirush HaMishnah, Mishnah Terumot 3:9; Meiri, Avodah Zarah 3:1.

411 Rashi, Yevamot 48b, ד”ה גר תושב; Meiri, Avodah Zarah 3a; Chatam Sofer, Chidushei Chulin 33a, ד”ה ועיין רמב”ם; Aruch LaNer, Yevamot 48b; Keritot 9a; see Torat Shlomo, Addenda to Parashat Beshalach, Siman 20.

412 See Radbaz (David ben Solomon ibn Zimra) on Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 10:10.

413 Exodus 20:8-11.

414 Pesikta Rabbati, Chapter 23, Siman 1; The Guide for the Perplexed 2:31; see Yisrael VeHa’enoshut pp. 208-9. (Mossad HaRav Kook edition).

415 Deuteronomy 5: 12-15; Rashi, Shemot 23:12, ד”ה והגר; The Guide for the Perplexed, ibid.; Kli Yakar, Exodus 20:8.

416 Responsa, Binyan Tzion 127, quoted in Etz Hadar, Alef; Aruch LaNer, Yevamot 48b ד”ה זה גר תושב; Keritot 9a ד”ה כישראל ביו”ט.

417 See Etz Hadar, Alef.

418 We published a Pesach Haggadah appropriate for a Noahide Seder in the “Brit Olam” prayer book.

419 Because it is a reminder of eating the Pesach offering, a practice of the Children of Israel alone (Exodus 12:45), and so I heard personally from Rav Avigdor Nebenzahl, shlita.

420 And these are: Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh (new moon/month), Pesach (Passover), Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (Israeli Independence Day), Lag BaOmer, Yom Shichrur Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Liberation Day), Shavuot, Rosh HaShanah, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, Chanukah, Tu Bishvat, and Purim.

421 And these are: 17th of Tammuz, 9th of Av, 3rd of Tishrei (Tzom Gedaliah), Yom Kippur, 10th of Tevet, 13th of Adar (Fast of Esther).

422 Numbers 29:1.

423 Leviticus 23:27.

424 Ibid. 23:40; Mishnah Sukkah, Chapters 3-4.

425 Ibid. 42-3.

426 Mishneh Torah, Chanukkah Umegillah 3:1-3.

427 Esther 9:17-28; Mishneh Torah ibid. 1:1.

428 Deuteronomy 6:6-9; see Yerushalmi Pe’ah 1:1 ותלמוד תורה כנגד כולם ד”ה; see Bereishit Rabbah, Parasha 35 (end); She’iltot DeRav Achai Gaon , 145; Sefer Ha’eshkol Beit, Hilchot Mezuzah, p.72, where it is proven that it is not as stated in Yafeh Mareh (Shmuel Yafeh Ashkenazi) on the Yerushalmi, והיא מנטרא ד”ה ; see Responsa, She’ilat Ya’avetz Part 2, Siman 121 (end) and Responsa, Be’er Sheva, Siman 36.

429 Deuteronomy 22:11.

430 Bavli Nazir 61b.

431 Leviticus 15:16; an allusion to this matter is found in Kings II, 5:10-14.