Universal Theocratic Law
for Non-Jews

1. Commandments Against Idolatry

(57 commandments)

Many of the commandments that apply to gentiles do not easily lend themselves to classification into any one of the “Seven Noahide Laws,” treated here as seven categories for other commandments and rules. To decide under which heading a given commandment belongs, we must first define the category according to its essence.

Strictly speaking, idolatry is believing in the power of any entity besides the one G-d, or any act of worshiping such an entity. But many commandments may seem relevant to both idolatry and blasphemy, a related concept. What differentiates idolatry from blasphemy? Lichtenstein, in his book The Seven Laws of Noah, tries to define them thus: “…the Idolatry area regulates man’s theistic affairs in his relationship with the mundane, and… the Blasphemy area regulates man’s theistic affairs in his relationship with the Divine” (p. 78). This scheme tries to classify commandments from the vantage point of man in the physical world, groping in the darkness and searching for G-d; it starts with the material and looks for the spiritual. It is a definition of superficial, external characteristics, and thus leaves many gray, undefined areas between idolatry and blasphemy.

Hasidus (the inner meaning of Torah), on the other hand, starts from “G-d’s perspective” and looks downward into the creation, defining things according to their essence.

From this vantage point, one can better define idolatry, and its close relative heresy, as: the refusal to acknowledge Truth and its sources.

Who is the idolater? He is one who credits a false deity for his success or failure; he believes a false religion, listens to false prophets and teachers, and reveres and studies false “scriptures.” He does not recognize the Truth or its sources. One who rejects idolatry, on the other hand, is one who believes in and worships only the true G-d, listens only to true prophets and teachers, and studies the authentic Torah only according to its true meaning.

Idolatry, then, is best defined as the rejection of Truth as such, whereas blasphemy involves ignoring or opposing the permeation of holiness into the physical world. Consequently, we classify here all commandments related to the acknowledgement of G-d’s Truth and its authentic sources.



To acknowledge G-d’s existence


To acknowledge G-d’s unity (that He is only One, and Infinite)


To teach and study Torah


To heed and obey every true prophet


To obey the judges of the Sanhedrin


To destroy all idols, their temples, and other idolatrous items


To honor Torah sages


- 1)

Not to believe in the existence of any gods other than G-d

- 2)

No having idols made for oneself

- 3)

No making idols for others

- 4)

No making human statues or figures

- 5)

No idol-worship in four standard ways

- 6)

No idol-worship according to its established rituals

- 7)

No offering one’s children for Molech-worship rituals

- 8)

No practicing the cult of Ov

- 9)

No practicing the cult of Yidoni

- 10)

No studying idolatrous rituals

- 11)

No erecting a pillar for worship purposes

- 12)

No making a stone pavement for bowing

- 13)

No planting trees as religious decorations

- 14)

No swearing in the names of false gods

- 16)

No enticing another person to idolatry

- 17)

No loving an idolatry-enticer

- 18)

No minimizing hatred of an idolatry-enticer

- 19)

No rescuing an idolatry-enticer from danger

- 20)

No vindicating an idolatry-enticer in his court trial

- 21)

No withholding evidence on an idolatry-enticer in his court trial

- 22)

No benefiting from idol adornments

- 25)

No owning idolatrous items

- 26)

No prophesying in the name of a false god

- 27)

No false prophecy, even in the name of the true G-d

- 28)

No listening to the prophet of a false god

- 29)

No being afraid to punish a false prophet

- 30)

No imitating the customs of idol worshipers

- 31)

No divination or fortune telling

- 32)

No astrology or magical illusion

- 33)

No omen reading

- 34)

No witchcraft

- 35)

No charming or bewitching

- 36)

No inquiring of an Ov

- 37)

No inquiring of a Yidoni

- 38)

No necromancy

- 39)

No women wearing men’s clothes

- 40)

No men wearing women’s clothes

- 41)

No tattooing

- 43)

No shaving off the temples (upper sideburns)

- 44)

No shaving the beard

- 45)

No cutting oneself in mourning

- 47)

No indulging wayward thoughts or sights

- 50)

No compassion for idol worshipers

- 64)

Not to test G-d’s promises through His prophets

- 73)

No Temple service or Torah teaching while drunk

- 171)

No tearing out one’s hair in mourning

- 194)

Not to drink idolatrous wine of libation

- 310)

Not to allow a witch to live

- 313)

No adding to the written or oral Torah

- 314)

No subtracting from the written or oral Torah