The commandment to "Be fruitful and multiply" was given to Adam HaRishon. Why, then, is this not included in the Sheva' Mitzvoth Bnei Noaḥ?

  • BS"D Usually when expounding on the Torah bases for the miswoth ben Noahh, "be fruirtful" and "cling to" are the foundation for law #4. I dont have the exact sources off hand so when i find them ill make a post, but its basically Proper Sexual conduct = with a spouse (to cling to) = you have a spouse in order to multiply. Hope that ties you over till some one posts a answer with sources.
    – Qoheleth
    Aug 10, 2012 at 18:13
  • 1
    I noticed that the Pru Urvu to Adam was given in the Garden, not after. Perhaps that was a changing point (ie does the command not to eat the from the Tree of Knowledge still apply?).
    – Double AA
    Aug 12, 2012 at 2:51
  • @doubleaa, are you saying it's not part of 613, either?
    – Seth J
    Aug 12, 2012 at 4:33
  • No, it is part of 613 but not based on the statement to Adam, but rather the statement to Noach (8:17) or perhaps some statement/drasha to Moshe.
    – Double AA
    Aug 12, 2012 at 4:36
  • 2
    Wait, I just made your question better.
    – Double AA
    Aug 12, 2012 at 4:37

3 Answers 3


The simple answer is that they aren't obligated (Sanhedrin 59b).

As a general rule for understanding how the Talmud views learning these things from verses, anything said exclusively before Sinai is only for Jews (because there can't be anything that Jews are not obligated in but non-Jews are), but if it is said before Sinai and after Sinai, then it applies to non-Jews (as well as Jews) (this is covered in Sanhedrin 59a-b). And then there are things that are said in both places that only apply to Jews for technical reasons (of which Puru U'Rvu is one).

All that being said, there are more obligations to non-Jews than just the seven. The seven kind of correspond to the 613. There are more obligations than the 613, but there is a meaning and reason behind that specific classification. In this case, one of the rules for inclusion in the 7 is that it has to be a negative commandment ("sit and don't do") - Sanhedrin 58b at the very bottom. Establishing courts of justice is included because it has a negative aspect (the Talmud - Sanhedrin 59a at the very top - doesn't elaborate what that is, but Rashi explains it as VaYikra 19:15 - לא תעשו עול במשפט - do not do injustice).

The Talmud (Chulin 92a at the bottom) refers to 30 Mitzvos for Bnei Noach, and some have claimed you can get up to 66. The whole question isn't well explored for historical reasons (there were limited practical Halachic questions in this regard over the years).

So the upshot is: Puru U'Rvu is not a Mitzvah for Bnei Noach (at least according to that part of the Talmud, I don't know if that is the conclusion - so CLOR), even if it were it wouldn't be counted because it is a positive obligation (however, see the first Tosfos Sanhedrin 59b where it includes a negative aspect, but that follows the opinion that it is not a Mitzvah for Bnei Noach), and as long as it is a positive obligation there are many more potential obligations beyond the 7 (plus the Talmud in Sanhedrin lists individual opinions that include more than the 7 in the negatives).

  • It doesn't make sense to me that something commanded to all humanity only counts for non-Jews if it was commanded again at Sinai. If it was given to humanity, then everyone, Jewish and Gentile, is part of that in the same way, right?
    – Annelise
    Aug 8, 2013 at 2:48
  • @Annelise, I think that has the making of a separate question. But I'll throw in two points that fit in a comment. The Rambam writes that the Sheva Mitzvos are (re)given at Sinai, so the placement in the chumash is more about the lesson, not a recounting of who was commanded and what obligation that makes. And second the general view is that "נתנה תורה נשתנה הלכה" The giving of the Torah wiped the slate clean on Mitzvos. It is not cumulative.
    – Yishai
    Aug 8, 2013 at 14:35
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/a/1149/759
    – Double AA
    May 22, 2017 at 15:15

The answer is because it was not repeated at Sinai, and any mitzvah which was said only once but not repeated is understood to be exclusively a Jewish mitzvah. (מצוה שנאמרה ולא נשנית, לישראל נאמרה ולא לבני נח--סנהדרין נט ע"א). The reason for this is that there is nothing which is mutar for a Jew which is prohibited for a non-Jew (Sanhedrin ibid.).

  • 1
    For the second point, do you have a source, or can you explain your reasoning?
    – Seth J
    Feb 21, 2013 at 4:44
  • @SethJ See the source given, in Sanhedrin 59a: "ליכא מידעם דלישראל שרי ולעובד כוכבים אסור".( You could have asked Yishai the same question 6 months ago.)
    – Tamir Evan
    Feb 21, 2013 at 11:01
  • Yeah I don't agree wiht your second point
    – SAH
    Dec 26, 2017 at 18:55
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    @SAH as mentioned by Tamir Evan (5 years ago) this is the reason stated by the Gemara: אדרבה מדלא נישנית בסיני לבני נח נאמרה ולא לישראל?! ליכא מידעם דלישראל שרי ולעובד כוכבים אסור
    – wfb
    Dec 26, 2017 at 20:53

The Minchas Chinuch, mitzvah #1 mention one source who claims that mankind were indeed commanded (and obligated) in Peru Urvu but only until Matan Torah when this mitzvah was taken away from them (and put on the responsability of Am Yisroel). The reason is, perhaps, that once mankind's population increased so much they didn't need it anymore and since then the mitzvah only apply to jewish people who were small in number (Devorim 4:27 and 7:7).

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