Noahidism (/ˈnoʊə.haɪd.ɪsm/) or Noachidism (/ˈnoʊə.xaɪd.ɪsm/) is a monotheistic ideology based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and on their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism. According to Jewish law, non-Jews are not obligated to convert to Judaism, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah to be assured of a place in the World to Come (Olam Haba), the final reward of the righteous. The Divinely ordained penalty for violating any of these Noahide Laws is discussed in the Talmud, but in practical terms that is subject to the working legal system that is established by the society at large. Those who subscribe to the observance of these commandments are referred to as Bene Noach (B'nei Noah) (Hebrew: בני נח), Children of Noah, Noahides (/ˈnoʊ.ə.haɪdᵻs/), or Noahites (/ˈnoʊ.ə.haɪtᵻs/). Supporting organizations have been established around the world over the past decades, by either Noahides or observant Jews.
Historically, the Hebrew term Bene Noach has applied to all non-Jews as descendants of Noah. However, nowadays it is also used to refer specifically to those non-Jews who observe the Noahide Laws.According to the Book of Genesis, Noah and his three sons Shem, Ham, and Japheth survived the Flood aboard the Ark, along with their wives. When Noah's family left the Ark, God made a covenant with them (Genesis 9:8–10) and all the animals they had aboard the Ark that He would never again destroy the Earth with a flood, and He set the rainbow in the sky as a symbol of the covenant. The account in Genesis 9 had earlier referred only to a requirement for the eating of meat (Genesis 9:2–4) (that the animal must be dead before the meat is removed) and the prohibition and punishment of murder (Genesis 9:5–6), but according to the Talmud this covenant included all of the Seven Laws of Noah. Therefore, the B'nei Noah – all humans, as descendants of Noah – are subject to the Noahide laws. (Later, God established a separate and more detailed covenant with the Israelite people at Mount Sinai.)
Rabbi Meir Kahane organized one of the first Noahide conferences in the 1980s. In 1990, Kahane was the keynote speaker at the First International Conference of the Descendants of Noah in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Chabad-Lubavitch movement has been the most active in Noahide outreach, believing that there is spiritual and societal value for non-Jews in at least simply acknowledging the seven laws, and even more so if they accept or observe them. In 1991, they had a reference to these laws enshrined in a Congressional proclamation: Presidential Proclamation 5956, signed by then-President George H. W. Bush. Recalling Joint House Resolution 173, and recalling that the ethical and moral principles of all civilizations come in part from the Seven Noahide Laws, it proclaimed March 26, 1991 as "Education Day, U.S.A." Subsequently, Public Law 102-14 formally designated the Lubavitcher Rebbe's 90th birthday as "Education Day, U.S.A.," with Congress recalling that "without these ethical values and principles, the edifice of civilization stands in serious peril of returning to chaos," and that "society is profoundly concerned with the recent weakening of these principles, that has resulted in crises that beleaguer and threaten the fabric of civilized society."
In April, 2006, the spiritual leader of the Druze community in Israel, Sheikh Mowafak Tarif, met with a representative of Chabad-Lubavitch to sign a declaration calling on all non-Jews in Israel to observe the Noahide Laws as laid down in the Bible and expounded upon in Jewish tradition. The mayor of the Galilean city of Shefa-'Amr (Shfaram) — where Muslim, Christian and Druze communities live side-by-side — also signed the document.
In March, 2007, Chabad-Lubavitch gathered ambassadors from six different countries to take part in a gathering to declare, in the name of the states they represent, their support of the universal teachings of Noahide Laws. They represented Poland, Latvia, Mexico, Panama, Ghana, and Japan. They were part of a special program organized by Harav Boaz Kali.
In April, Abu Gosh mayor Salim Jaber accepted the seven Noahide laws as part of a mass rally by Chabad at the Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv. In May, the newly elected president of France, Nicolas Sarkozy, met with a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi, Dovid Zaoui, who presented him with literature on the universal teachings of the Noahide Laws.
In 2016 Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef taught that Jewish law requires that the only non-Jews allowed to live in Israel are Noahides: "“According to Jewish law, it’s forbidden for a non-Jew to live in the Land of Israel – unless he has accepted the seven Noahide laws.” The Anti-Defamation League issued a strong denunciation of Yosef’s comments, and called on him to retract them.
Judaism does not require non-Jews to keep all of the Ten Commandments. Some within Orthodox Judaism view the keeping of certain of the Ten Commandments as being forbidden to non-Jews.
The Ten Commandments are actually only 10 from among the total number of 613 Jewish commandments in the Torah. Some of this disagreement arises from the English translation of the Hebrew term for the Ten Commandments. In Biblical Hebrew, the ten commandments that were inscribed by God on the tablets at Mount Sinai are called עשרת הדברות, meaning "the ten sayings," because of the 613 Jewish commandments ("Mitzvot"), those 10 are the only ones that were spoken openly by God to the entire Jewish nation when they were assembled at Mount Sinai. The rest of the 613 Mitzvot were taught to Moses by God, and Moses taught them to the rest of the Jewish people. Mitzvot is the Hebrew term for commandment.
The Seven Laws of Noah (Hebrew: שבע מצוות בני נח Sheva Mitzvot B'nei Noah), also referred to as the Noahide Laws or the Noachide Laws (from the English transliteration of the Hebrew pronunciation of "Noah"), are a set of imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God  as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" – that is, all of humanity.
Accordingly, any non-Jew who adheres to these laws because they were given by Moses is regarded as a righteous gentile, and is assured of a place in the world to come (Hebrew: עולם הבא Olam Haba), the final reward of the righteous.
The seven Noahide laws as traditionally enumerated are the following:
According to the Talmud, the rabbis agree that the seven laws were given to the sons of Noah. However, they disagree on precisely which laws were given to Adam and Eve. Six of the seven laws are exegetically derived from passages in Genesis, with the seventh being the establishing of courts.
According to the Talmud, the Noahide Laws apply to all humanity. In Judaism, בני נח B'nei Noah (Hebrew, "Descendants of Noah", "Children of Noah") refers to all of humankind. The Talmud also states: "Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come". Any non-Jew who lives according to these laws is regarded as one of "the righteous among the gentiles".
The rabbis agree that the seven laws were given to the sons of Noah. However, they disagree on precisely which laws were given to Adam and Eve. Six of the seven laws are exegetically derived from passages in Genesis. The Talmud adds extra laws beyond the seven listed in the Tosefta which are attributed to different rabbis, such as the grafting of trees and sorcery among others,: 30–31 Ulla going so far as to make a list of 30 laws. The Talmud expands the scope of the seven laws to cover about 100 of the 613 mitzvoth.Historically, some rabbinic opinions consider non-Jews not only not obliged to adhere to all the remaining laws of the Torah, but actually forbidden to observe them.
Noahide law differs radically from Roman law for gentiles (Jus Gentium), if only because the latter was enforceable judicial policy. Rabbinic Judaism has never adjudicated any cases under Noahide law, Jewish scholars disagree about whether Noahide law is a functional part of Halakha ("Jewish law").
Some modern views hold that penalties are a detail of the Noahide Laws and that Noahides themselves must determine the details of their own laws for themselves. According to this school of thought – see N. Rakover, Law and the Noahides (1998); M. Dallen, The Rainbow Covenant (2003) – the Noahide Laws offer mankind a set of absolute values and a framework for righteousness and justice, while the detailed laws that are currently on the books of the world's states and nations are presumptively valid.
In recent years, the term "Noahide" has come to refer to non-Jews who strive to live in accord with the seven Noahide Laws; the terms "observant Noahide" or "Torah-centered Noahides" would be more precise but these are infrequently used. Support for the use of "Noahide" in this sense can be found with the Ritva, who uses the term Son of Noah to refer to a Gentile who keeps the seven laws, but is not a Ger Toshav. The rainbow, referring to the Noahide or First Covenant (Genesis 9), is the symbol of many organized Noahide groups, following Genesis 9:12–17
The Jewish scholar Maimonides (12th century) held that Gentiles may have a part in the world to come just by observing Noahide law and accepts them as given by Moses. Such children of Noah become the status of Chasidei Umot HaOlam - Pious People of the World, and are different from children of Noah who only keep the seven laws out of moral/ethical reasoning alone. He writes in his book of laws:"
Anyone who accepts upon himself and carefully observes the Seven Commandments is of the Righteous of the Nations of the World and has a portion in the World to Come. This is as long as he accepts and performs them because (he truly believes that) it was the Holy One, Blessed Be He, Who commanded them in the Torah, and that it was through Moses our Teacher we were informed that the Sons of Noah had already been commanded to observe them. But if he observes them because he convinced himself, then he is not considered a Resident Convert and is not of the Righteous of the Nations of the World, but merely one of their wise.
Some later editions of the Mishneh Torah differ by one letter and read "Nor one of their wise men." The later reading is narrower. Spinoza read Maimonides as using nor and accused him of being narrow and particularistic. Other philosophers such as Hermann Cohen and Moses Mendelssohn have used more inclusive interpretations of the passage by Maimonides. In either reading, Maimonides appears to exclude philosophical Noahides from being Righteous Gentiles. Thus Maimonides wants to emphasis that a truly Righteous Gentile follows the seven laws because they are divinely revealed and thus are followed out of obedience to God.
Maimonides stated that God commanded Moses to compel the world to accept these seven commandments. In 1983 Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson urged his followers to actively engage in activities to inform non-Jews about these seven commandments, which had not been done in previous generations.After Rabbi Schneerson started his Noahide Campaign in the 1980s, a codification of the exact obligations of the Gentiles in the spirit of the classical Shulchan Aruch was needed. In 2005, Rabbi Moshe Weiner of Jerusalem accepted to produce an in-depth codification of the Noahide precepts. The work is called Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem, (The Book of Seven Divine Commandments) published 2008/2009. As it was approved by both of the then presiding chief rabbis of Israel (Rabbi Shlomo Moshe Amar and Rabbi Yonah Metzger) as well as by other Hasidic and non-Hasidic halachic authorities, it can claim an authoritative character and is referred as a Shulchan Aruch for Gentiles at many places.
In 1987 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation speaking of "the historical tradition of ethical values and principles, which have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws, transmitted through God to Moses on Mount Sinai", and in 1991, Congress stated in the preamble to the 1991 bill that established Education Day in honor of the birthday of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the leader of the Chabad movement:
Whereas Congress recognizes the historical tradition of ethical values and principles which are the basis of civilized society and upon which our great Nation was founded; Whereas these ethical values and principles have been the bedrock of society from the dawn of civilization, when they were known as the Seven Noahide Laws [...]
In January 2004, Sheikh Mowafak Tarif, the spiritual leader of Israeli Druze, signed a declaration, which called on non-Jews living in Israel to observe the Noahide Laws. He was joined by the mayor of Shefa-'Amr.