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Commandments
#1
Why, according to Judaism, did G-d give 613 commandments to the Jews and to the Gentiles he only gave us 7 commandments? Why did He put that extra burden on the Jews?
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#2
Mauriac,

Great question!

The answer I am about to give is strictly my thoughts.

If you'll notice the 7 Noahide laws were given before Abraham and the promise of the Jewish people. So at that time there were seemingly 7 laws for everyone.

Later on, once G-d determined who His chosen people would be, He gave them additional laws as they were to be "a priest and light" unto nations. So I wouldn't say it is a burden at all, it is a mission to help improve the world.

Deuteronomy 6 gives us some insight  (JPT) -

5 - Behold, I have taught you statutes and ordinances, as the Lord, my God, commanded me, to do so in the midst of the land to which you are coming to possess.

6 And you shall keep [them] and do [them], for that is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the peoples, who will hear all these statutes and say, "Only this great nation is a wise and understanding people. "


Maybe others here will chime in as well.
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#3
The actual case, I would speculate, is quite the opposite of what we have been taught. That is, we are taught that God initially made a covenant with all life that he would not destroy it again with the waters of a flood, that mankind was given seven commands that apply universally. Only later was a covenant established with the people of Israel that brought Torah into the world.

I think how it happened was very different from this.

Those who composed the Torah (who came to it from different perspectives, especially from the initial priestly caste that was charged with leading the people and the later monotheistic deuteronomist author who sought to reform Jewish faith) didn't have non-Jews in mind at all while composing the history of the people. The only thing in mind initially was the temple cult and instilling dependence on and obedience to the priestly caste. Later, it was for purposes of the elimination of Baal worship and the worship of other diverse deities, who had earlier on been worshiped right alongside Yhwh even in the Jerusalem temple.

Once Judaism had been forged as a monotheist religion, relegating other deities to a lower status (even making them demon-like or simply dead), the question of the zulat came before them. What do you do with people who are not Jewish? How do they relate to God? Only then did the idea of proselytization come to mind. In the time of the second temple, religious thinkers developed the idea of various levels of gerim. There were those who did not convert to Judaism but worshiped the God of Israel. These were called ger toshav. This would be something more than a Noahide, someone who basically took Torah observance upon themselves without converting. The ger tsedek was one who joined himself to Israel and took on full Torah observance. This is what we call a "convert" today.

So, what was the difference between a ger toshav and what came to be called a Noahide? I think the ger toshav actually lived among Israel. That is, they lived within the nation of Israel at the time of the temple and in Jewish communities thereafter. They observed Torah as the command states that there would be one and the same law for the stranger who lives among us and for the native-born Israelite (see Ex 12:49 - תּוֹרָ֣ה אַחַ֔ת יִהְיֶ֖ה לָֽאֶזְרָ֑ח וְלַגֵּ֖ר הַגָּ֥ר בְּתוֹכְכֶֽם׃). Since there was to be one law for both, those who lived among the Jews would take upon themselves the obligation of Torah, not because they wanted to become Jews, but because they lived with them and sought community sharing.

The Noahide, however, doesn't need to live among Jews to give religious devotion to the God of Israel, since (as we found from the absolute monotheism of later Judaism) there was only one God. Since God was a covenant maker in the Bible, one only needed to go back far enough in the line of covenants to see where there was such a covenant that would include those who were not Jewish. Several commandments were given to Noah in the Torah as a result of his covenant, and those were turned into universal principles that could allow a non-Jew to relate to the universal God without needing to take Torah upon himself.

So, we started with the reformation of Judaism that rid it of polytheism and monolatrism, resulting in monotheism. Then, we created a way in which Jewish faith could be centralized and unified. Then, we questioned how to relate to those who were outside of Judaism. This is why Torah is the center of Jewish faith, and the Noahides are left with far fewer commandments.
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