Would a Noahide be allowed to add or subtract from the seven laws of Noah?

  • 7
    This is the start of an intriguing theoretical question. Could you please edit to flesh it out some more? Why might one think they could or couldn't?
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:26
  • 3
    Indeed, it is interesting. But, it could also be paradoxical.
    – DanF
    Feb 28, 2017 at 15:30
  • @mevaqesh I mean could a Noahide add forced conversion and killing apostates as a part of the Noahide laws Feb 28, 2017 at 16:29
  • 2
    @mevaqesh Your edit, if I'm not mistaken, invalidates an existing upvoted answer, which we don't do. Am I missing something? If not, we should probably go back to the previous version of the question, and build from there, sticking within the scope of the question that was already answered.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:50
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    @mevaqesh and YiddenForYiddishkeit, completely changing the scope of the question is unfair to Avrohom Yitzchok, who put effort into answering the previous question. As I mentioned above, there was an interesting question here that needed some fleshing out. The viable path forward now is doing that fleshing-out. You're welcome, of course, to also post a new question about killing.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 28, 2017 at 20:09

3 Answers 3


Rambam says in Melachim uMilchamot - Chapter 8 (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.

It can therefore be deduced that any changes he makes out of his own thoughts will not attract the rewards associated with the 7 Noahide laws. He may think he has made changes but the results of the changes will not be the same as the Noahide laws.

  • very interesting answer.
    – kouty
    Feb 28, 2017 at 16:18
  • @kouty I plan on adding a few more commandments to the laws of Noah, like for for example: forced conversion and killing apostates Feb 28, 2017 at 18:49
  • @YiddenForYiddishkeit Forced conversion to what? Noahidism? What do you mean that you plan to add commandments; that you plan on performing these yourself, or codifying them somehow?
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:15
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    @YiddenForYiddishkeit Before you start killing anybody, you should do a heck of a lot more than ask anonymous internet characters. In fact, you shouldn't be killing anybody at all! (Unless that person is trying to kill others).
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:15
  • @YddenForYiddishkeit I don't understand what you want to add. Have you found that this is already a duty of bene Noach or you want to add your new invention?
    – kouty
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:30

According to Sefer Sheva Mitsvos Hashem vol I, Perek 3 (which deals with the prohibition of creating a new religion) they are forbidden both to add or subtract. The "adding laws scenario" would imply, of course, one to know exactly which laws are derivations or subdivisions of its own legislation and not merely additions to a particular law instead.


The Rambam in Hilchot Melachim 10:9 writes:

The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their statutes without adding or detracting from them.

However, in the next halacha, the Rambam writes:

We should not prevent a gentile who desires to perform one of the Torah's mitzvot in order to receive reward from doing so, provided he performs it as required. If he brings an animal to be sacrificed as a burnt offering, we should receive it.

If a gentile who observes the seven mitzvot gives charity, we should accept it from him.

According to R. Moshe Feinstein, when the Rambam writes that a gentile may perform one of the Torah's mitzvot, he refers only to mitzvot such as charity which we find gentiles fulfilling in Tanach, but not other mitzvot. R. Moshe bases his position in part on the first halacha quoted herein. However, in a responsum the Rambam clearly does not hold this distinction (see here). The Beiur Halacha too (end of 304) writes that a ger toshav can accept additional mitzvot. Although the Rambam writes that a Noahide may not add to his mitzvot, there may be a difference between "adding" and volunteering.

  • 3
    But are the Noahides obligated to hold by the Rambam's ruling Feb 28, 2017 at 19:14
  • @YiddenForYiddishkeit If you don't care about Jewish statements about Noahidism, then why ask the question here in the first place?
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:16
  • This answer does a pretty bad job of expressing Rambam's much more complex view.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:17
  • @mevaqesh I just didn't know that Noahides had to hold by Rambam's ruling Feb 28, 2017 at 19:50
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    @YiddenForYiddishkeit Strictly speaking, Jews don't have to either. They listen to him inasmuch as they think that he accurately reflects Jewish teachings.
    – mevaqesh
    Feb 28, 2017 at 19:52

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