Rabbi Oury Cherki

Writing a Noahide Siddur

A summary of the response to opponents of writing a prayer book for Bnei Noah - translated from French

Published at the Noahide World Center website.

Prayer is part of the "rational" commandments (mitzvot sichliot) that all of mankind are obligated to perform. That is why our master Rabbi Shmuel ben Chophni Gaon, head of the academy of Sura (Babylonia tenth century) listed prayer among the "thirty Noachide commandments", that is to say among recommended behavior for Noachides, even if it is not one of the seven basic laws (see Biur Halacha on Orach Chaim 304 and Chatam Sofer on Chulin 31a).

The prohibition of Maimonides for a Noahide to perform additional commandments includes at least four limitations:

a) It does not apply to deeds related to natural morality (Derech Eretz), for example, charity or sacrifices.

b) Matters related to the knowledge of God are excluded (Shmita ve-Yovel XII, 13).

c) It does not concern Noachides who have officially declared before three rabbis their commitment to observe the seven Noachide laws (Melachim X, 10).

d) Most important, the prohibition does not apply to a situation where the Noachides ask rabbis to educate them in prayer, which is exactly the opposite of the prohibition to invent a cult "according to their own understanding" (mida'atan).

Establishing prayers as a regular activity falls within the realm of the Sanhedrin, but nothing prevents others from making recommendations, such as that of Birkat HaMazon (Grace after meals). Abraham gave recommendations to the Gentiles of his day. The prophets proclaimed that the day will come when nations will come to Jerusalem to learn paths (general laws) and trails (detailed laws) of God.

One of the great masters of Lithuania and a Talmudic scholar in Kabbalah at the beginning of the 20th century, Rabbi Pinhas HaCohen Lintop, suggests in his writings that the Noachide laws are only a negative pattern for building an entire edifice of serving God, and that the mission of the Jewish people's is to develop this.

It goes without saying that prayer of a pure heart and without any preset ritual is obviously pleasing to the Creator.