Seven Noachide Laws

Shavua Tov. Today's Parsha lists the seven Noachide Laws or the שבע מצוות בני נח. The seven laws are: No idolatry, murder, immorality, stealing, tearing the limb from a live animal, blasphemy, and setting up courts of justice. The penalty for violating any of these commandments is death. Because they only have seven laws, we are very strict about enforcing them. Special courts were set up to judge cases of בני נח. When there was a Sanhedrin, and Israel ruled, these laws applied to the גר תושב, who was expected to observe these laws. The Rambam in הלכות מלכים, explains the details of these laws. For example, under the heading of immorality, the Rambam writes that there are six that are prohibited in this category. They are: mother, father's wife, a married woman, sister from mother, homosexuality, and bestiality. These seven laws represented the minimum for a society to function on a level where there is law and order.