Monday, October 30, 2006

korban of a ben Noach - are mitzvos bnei noach issurei gavra

The gemara (Avodah Zarah 5b) derives from the pesukim describing the animals which Noach took on the ark that a ben Noach is prohibited from sacrificing an animal which is missing a limb. Tosfos asks why this should not count as an additional mitzvah in the count of the mitzvos applying to a bnei Noach, i.e. there should be 8 mitzvos bnei Noach, not 7. Tosfos answers that the 7 mitzvos are a count of issurim. The halacha of not offering an animal with a missing limb is a mitzvah is b’kum v’aseh – if a ben Noach wishes to donate a korban, we demand that he fulfill his pledge with a complete animal and not one missing limbs. R’ Akiva Eiger asks how this can be so. If a Jew pledges a korban, his words bind him to bring a kosher korban because of the issur of “bal yachel” and the mitzvah of “motza sefasecha tishmor”. However, these mitzvos do not apply to a ben Noach. If a ben Noach pledges a korban, what indeed is the mitzvah that would compel him b’kum v’aseh to fulfill his pledge?
With respect to Tosfos’ question (which I mentioned over lunch on Shabbos), my wife gets credit for the ingenious observation that the 7 mitzvos bnei Noach are issurei gavra on the person. The issur of offering a missing limb may be an issur cheftza which blocks the korban from being offered and hence is placed in a different category.


  1. Bill Selliger1:05 PM

    As an aside, Maharitz Chiyus proves that 7 MB"N is "lav davka"; there are many more than 7.

  2. SO how do you understand Tos. kashe (Tos asks the same other places as well)?

  3. yehuda2:18 PM

    I think Rav Saadya Gaon says nonjews are commanded in all that common sense morality would require which (1)is a lot more then 7 mitzvos(2)OTOH would explain why a nonjew may not bring a Korbon missing a limb as common sense would indicate you don't bring such korbonos.(Although there is special limud of 'mechuser aiver' from 'hakriveyhu l'peshcech?' the posek itself implies that it is a common sense issur.

  4. Yehudah, you are not quoting the right pasuk - ayen sham. Don't see how this is a common sense issur at all?

  5. Yehuda4:19 PM

    I stand corrected about the posuk but I still think that it is common sense that in the same maner one wouldn't give an animal missing a leg to a king one surely can't give it to king of all kings.

  6. anon14:21 PM


    the Chinuch on the mitzvah of lo sachmod writes that goyim are metzuveh in lo sachmod because it is an extension of gezel and the 7 mitzvos benei noach are not specifics but rather categories and therefore this falls within the general category of gezel. Now I recognize that not everyone necessarily agrees with the chinuch and within this specific point it is not clear that all rishonim agree that lo sachmod is based on gezel ve-ein kan mekomo. But I think this approach is fairly muchrach from the sugyos in perek arba misos. For purposes of this discussion, even if you say 7 is lav davka, I think what it means is that there are 7 categories and more may be included in one category but not that there are more than the 7 categories. The gemara in Sanhedrin itself asks this question when it is suggested that there are more than 7 mitzvos. Again if you cant fit into a category. Thus, since mechusar aiver would arguably NOT fit into any existing categories Tosfos' question is still valid.

    One other approach is that perhaps there can be issurim for benei noach which are not within the categories (e.g. hitting a yisrael -- see Rambam perek 10 of melachim). THe ohr sameach seems to divide the issurim into true issurim that fall within the major categories for which there is a chiyuv misah which beis din is mandated to implement and other issurim learned out from pesukim. perhaps mechusar eiver falls into that category. More to say but I will stop for now.

  7. Bill Selliger7:41 PM

    Chaim and Anon1:

    I looked it up. It's in Part 1 Chapter 10 of Kol Kisvei. He does not mention the Tosafos in A"Z, but he does discuss the gemaros in Sanhedrin. Briefly, it appears that he holds that the "7 MB"N" refer to the 7 that can be learned out from p'sukim, but there are other mitzvos that gentiles are obligated in that are "derech remez" or "m'pi hakabala". He has some interesting sources.

    Mareh makom ani lachem. It's usually worth it to look him up...

  8. Anonymous5:20 PM

    isn't eiver min hachai also an issur cheftza?