I know of a certain person who attempted an Orthodox conversion some time ago, but had to stop in the middle for various reasons, including, but not limited to, opposing hashkafic views. This person then went on to complete a conversion course from a different denomination. This person told me that their Orthodox rabbi considers them to be a Noachide, not accepting, naturally, the legitimacy of their conversion. I am aware, also, that this person believes in the Documentary Hypothesis and that many of the stories in the Torah are myths (which is one aspect of the original Hypothesis by Graf-Wellhausen), including, ironically, the story of Noach and the flood.

Which brings me to my question: The story of Noach includes the covenant between Hashem and Noach and the giving of the Noachide commandments. Must a Noachide accept the story of Noach as true, or may a Noachide view it as mythic, coming to teach some such idea?

  • 5
    Just to be clear, you could (in theory) accept the documentary hypothesis and also take the flood narrative to be historically true - and conversely, believe the flood narrative to be a myth while rejecting the documentary hypothesis. The two things need not be related, and I feel that your question (which is a good one) is about the historicity of the flood narrative only.
    – Shimon bM
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 10:11
  • @ShimonbM You're right, I edited the question.
    – Harel13
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 8:43

1 Answer 1


The requirements of one fulfilling the 7 commandant's of Noach is clearly mentioned in the Rambam laws of kings towards the end, that one must accept them because Hashem commanded Moshe at mount sinai, that Noach was earlier commanded regarding them, and the Rambam adds that if one merely fulfills them because one logically understands them etc then they are not considered one of the "chasidei umos haolam", rather, just like one of the "wise" amongst the nations, and another version says that they are not even considered as part of the "wise" amongst the nations

So if this person doesn't believe in Noach that means it wouldn't be possible in this current situation for him to accept the 7 mitzvos because Moshe was commanded at mount sinai that Noach was earlier commanded regarding them

This is also assuming he believes in Moshe and mount sinai in general, if not then based on the language of the Rambam, and I personally don't know of anyone who explicitly argues, then seemingly I can't think of any way, according to the text itself, that he would be considered amongst the "chassidei umos haolam"

Rambam hilchos melachim last halacha of chapter 8:

י משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ לֹא הִנְחִיל הַתּוֹרָה וְהַמִּצְוֹת אֶלָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לג, ד) "מוֹרָשָׁה קְהִלַּת יַעֲקֹב". וּלְכָל הָרוֹצֶה לְהִתְגַּיֵּר מִשְּׁאָר הָאֻמּוֹת. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו, טו) "כָּכֶם כַּגֵּר". אֲבָל מִי שֶׁלֹּא רָצָה אֵין כּוֹפִין אוֹתוֹ לְקַבֵּל תּוֹרָה וּמִצְוֹת. וְכֵן צִוָּה משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ מִפִּי הַגְּבוּרָה לָכֹף אֶת כָּל בָּאֵי הָעוֹלָם לְקַבֵּל מִצְוֹת שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בְּנֵי נֹחַ. וְכָל מִי שֶׁלֹּא יְקַבֵּל יֵהָרֵג. וְהַמְקַבֵּל אוֹתָם הוּא הַנִּקְרָא גֵּר תּוֹשָׁב בְּכָל מָקוֹם. וְצָרִיךְ לְקַבֵּל עָלָיו בִּפְנֵי שְׁלֹשָׁה חֲבֵרִים. וְכָל הַמְקַבֵּל עָלָיו לָמוּל וְעָבְרוּ עָלָיו שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ וְלֹא מָל הֲרֵי זֶה כְּמִן הָאֻמּוֹת:

11 Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come.

This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher, that Noah's descendants had been commanded to fulfill them previously.

However, if he fulfills them out of intellectual conviction, he is not a resident alien, nor of 'the pious among the gentiles,' nor of their wise men.

יא כָּל הַמְקַבֵּל שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת וְנִזְהָר לַעֲשׂוֹתָן הֲרֵי זֶה מֵחֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ חֵלֶק לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְהוּא שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל אוֹתָן וְיַעֲשֶׂה אוֹתָן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁצִּוָּה בָּהֶן הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בַּתּוֹרָה וְהוֹדִיעָנוּ עַל יְדֵי משֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ שֶׁבְּנֵי נֹחַ מִקֹּדֶם נִצְטַוּוּ בָּהֶן. אֲבָל אִם עֲשָׂאָן מִפְּנֵי הֶכְרֵעַ הַדַּעַת אֵין זֶה גֵּר תּוֹשָׁב וְאֵינוֹ מֵחֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם וְלֹא מֵחַכְמֵיהֶם

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    This just argues that he must accept the person noah existed and was commanded. Not that the flood happened historically anything like the simple reading of the text
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 12:58
  • @double ok interesting, possibly, but the approach mentioned in the question contradicts the notion that Moshe recieved the entire Torah shebal peh and shebichsav from Hashem, including the notion that Noach was commanded earlier. Meaning he has to not only accept Noach but that Moshe Rabeinu was commanded from Hashem regarding Noach being commanded about them, something the above mentioned claim contradicts Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 22:16
  • See my comments to the q&a here.
    – Mordechai
    Commented Mar 25, 2021 at 22:27
  • I've edited my question a little. It's now focused solely on the story detailed in Parshat Noach.
    – Harel13
    Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 8:47
  • @harel13 ok interesting, still seemingly the above would apply, as one has to believe that Moshe recieved directly from Hashem that Noach was commanded regarding them earlier, perhaps as doubleaa mentioned there might be a difference between believing Noach was commanded them and the rest of his life, but I haven't seen any commentaries that make this distinction, and in the surface level the entire reason why Hashem commanded them the last one, about not eating the limb of an animal etc, was based on the idea of the flood as some commentaries say, Commented Mar 26, 2021 at 23:37

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