TORAH WATCHMAN #174: THE PLIGHT OF A PEOPLE WITHOUT TRUTH (NOAHIDES)
Jewish Views on Non-Jews
Though the Jewish vision for the idealized, messianic future does not call for a world full of Jewish converts, Jewish law has plenty to say about what it expects of non-Jews, namely a righteous life guided by the Seven Mitzvot B’nei Noah. In classic Talmudic fashion, once the rabbis examined, explored, extrapolated, and otherwise developed the Sheva Mitzvot, the "seven" laws were much more than just seven. Applying the single commandment against sexual immorality, for example, the rabbis found it to include numerous particular prohibitions against incest, adultery, and other specific practices.
But are these rules a Jewish version of natural law–a set of universal moral imperatives that people are assumed to intuit on their own–or are they something that Jews must actively go out and bring to the world?
According to the great medieval Jewish philosopher and legal authority Moses Maimonides, teaching non-Jews to follow the Noahide laws is incumbent on all Jews, a commandment in and of itself. However, most rabbinic authorities rejected Maimonides’ view, and the dominant halakhic (Jewish law) attitude had been that Jews are not required to spread Noahide teachings to non-Jews.
And that’s where things stood in Jewish law for centuries–until an aging Hasidic rebbe turned that on its head. "Every Jew has the obligation to ensure that all the peoples of the world observe the Seven Noahide Laws," Rabbi Schneerson said, according to Noahide.org. "An integral component of the Jew’s task is to see to it that all peoples, not just Jews, acknowledge God as creator and ruler of the world."