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Talmud forbids Noahides to have even one day of rest (sabbath)

After the Flood, the Most High swore to Noah (Bereshit 8:22) that "For all the days of the earth, sowing and harvesting, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease." This means that the system of nature will never again be in a state of complete rest, as it was during the Flood. And these are not only promises, but the establishment of the law of nature, the law of the universe, the existence of the universe.

The Talmud (Sanhedrin, 58:2) interprets the words of the Torah "will not cease" as a prohibition for representatives of the Bnei Noah to be completely removed from constructive activity. And this prohibition applies not only to the observance of Shabbat like the sons of Israel. According to the Talmud, the sons of Noah are forbidden even to set any day of the week for complete removal from constructive activity, in other words, never indulge in complete rest.

This means that the command and promise “let them not cease!” refers not to nature, whose laws operate according to the word of the Most High, but also to people who, like nature, should not indulge in complete rest. From here, the Rambam decreed (Commandments of Kings, part 10) that a non-Jew who arranged Shabbat for himself was worthy of the punishment of Heaven. However, Rambam added a new rationale for this offense, specifying: “since they are forbidden to add any commandments and make innovations in the faith” (just as the Jewish court imposes this prohibition on non-Jews, so the non-Jewish court must act accordingly). In other words, the addition of the Sabbath Commandment to the seven commandments for the Bnei Noah represents a violation of the faith intended for the Bnei Noah, received from Moshe Rabbeinu on Mount Sinai, and turning it into another faith.

An example of a coin should be given here, where each of its sides serves to ultimately constitute one whole coin.

Each commandment allows you to see the command in two aspects:

  1. Aspect of a person: a commandment commands a person to perform or not to perform certain actions, while the main object to which the commandment is directed is a person, and not the result of his actions.
  2. Aspect of the commandment: the essence of the commandment is that reality should be such and such, and in no way should it be otherwise, while the person who does or does not perform any action is only a factor whose actions lead to this reality.

Example. “Do not kill”: is the essence of this prohibition that a person will not commit murder, or that as a result of this prohibition no one will be killed? This issue was described by me in the book "The Seven Commandments of the Most High", Laws of Murder, Part 1. Here I have presented several judgments on this matter.

The situation is similar with the observance of Shabbat - the words of the Talmud refer to the reality of nature not to stop its course, therefore people do not have the right to allow nature to come to a state of complete rest, since this will be a violation of the commandment and promises of the Almighty “let them not stop”, and thereby the reality of the course of nature in the world will be violated.

Rambam's words mean that even if a person's actions do not have any impact on reality, he is forbidden to stop constructive activity, because by doing so he takes himself out of the framework of nature, which was commanded by the Creator not to stop even for a moment. Moreover, a person seems to create a new faith, ordering himself to fulfill a new commandment, which is not among the commandments of the Creator. In other words, such a person behaves completely unworthy.

Thus, regarding the observance of Shabbat by representatives of Bnei Noah, it can be said that both from the point of view of the result and from the point of view of behavior - Bnei Noah is forbidden to observe Shabbat by virtue of the command of the Almighty "let them not cease."


Here we should add about the new view on this problem, which was expressed by Hatam Sofer (the book "Torat Moshe", new views on the passage from the Torah about the command "let them not cease"):

“... May the day and night not cease” - the Creator promises that he will not destroy the peoples of the world, despite the fact that the Almighty could conclude an alliance with Noah that he will not destroy his offspring by giving life exclusively to the sons of Israel, however, promising that day and night (namely, creative, constructive activity days and nights) will not stop, G-d determines the existence of Bnei Noah with constant, constructive activity, continuous on Shabbat as well (unlike the children of Israel, who were commanded to keep Shabbat).

In addition, having entered into an alliance with Noah, the Almighty gave Noah a promise about the existence of Bnei Noah.

It follows that the representative of the Bnei Noah, who violates the union of the Creator with Noah and completely withdraws from constructive activity, nullifies the existence of all Bnei Noah, and for this he is punished by Heaven.

Author: Rabbi Moishe Weiner