Ask the Rabbi - Customs and Practices

Noahide halacha and rewards

Q: Should a Noahide follow the halacha as written in Jewish sources? What is the difference between a Noahide and a ger toshav?

— Questions by Mattitjahu; replies by Rabbi Oury Sherki in bold type.

Q: In Mishneh Torah [Hilchot Melachim 10:10] is written that a Noahide can perform all the mitzvot of the Torah, but KEHILCHATAH.

(Rabbi Sherki: not BUT, EVEN Kehilchatah.) 

1. Does this mean to follow the halacha as written in the Jewish-halachic sources ? A: Yes.

2. Or can they be performed according to the Noahide’s own interpretation? A: Of course he can do this, except for the specific rules concerning the Seven Laws as written in Jewish sources.

Sachar (reward):

3. Will a Noahide recieve a reward ONLY if he perforsm the mitzvot according to the Jewish tradition ? A: No.

4. Is a Noahide punished (by Heaven only?) or does he lose his reward if he does the mitzvot according to his own interpretation ? A: No

5. What does Rambam means here with respect to a reward ? A: This is not clear. It may refer to this world or to the next one.


6. Why does the Rambam write ‘Noahide’ and not ‘ger toshav’ (a righteous resident)? (I ask because I understand and understood from you that a Noahide is allowed to do the mitzvot based on his own logic and understanding).

A: The concept of a ger toshav is related to being granted permission to live in Eretz Yisrael and is not connected to this rule. A Noahide performs the mitzvot after accepting them in front of a bet din. The “hakham” does the mitzvot following his own reasoning.


My extra note to explain the underlying problem:

I refer to the story of Shimon den Hollander on facebook who said clearly that without oral tradition there is no central authoritative tradition and therefore no possibility to create a movement of Noahides. Everybody can create practices and act according to his own interpretation and conviction but then there will not be any halachic unity way. Conflicting practices can even arise, and nobody will be able to another. It is necessary to have an authoritative system of halacha to build a movement.

A: For this reason I would like to establish an official rabbinical authority for Noahides within the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.

Rabbi Oury Cherki

Rav Oury Cherki was born in Algeria in 1959 and grew up in France, and he made Aliyah in 1972. He studied at Merkaz Harav Yeshiva, which was founded by Rav Avraham Yitzchak Kook. He performed his military service in the artillery branch of the IDF. He studied with Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook, Rav Yehuda Leon Ashkenazi (Manitou), Rav Shlomo Binyamin and Achlag. Rav Cherki heads the Israeli department of Machon Meir, and he is the Director of Brit Olam - the Noahide World Center. He teaches in many places throughout Israel. Rav Cherki is the spiritual leader of the "Beth Yehuda" community in Kiryat Moshe (Jerusalem). He has written many books on Jewish thought and philosophy.

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