In The Beginning Bible Study, Lesson 9
The Noahide Laws
Genesis 9:1-7 goes on to tell us about what we call the Noahide laws.
And God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth. The fear of you and the terror of you will be on every beast of the earth and on every bird of the sky; with everything that creeps on the ground, and all the fish of the sea, into your hand they are given. Every moving thing that is alive shall be food for you; I give all to you, as I gave the green plant. Only you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood. Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man. As for you, be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.”
We see here that God passes on these seven laws, that were originally given to Adam, to Noah. They are:
1. Establish laws.
2. Don’t curse God.
3. Do not practice idolatry.
4. Do not engage in illicit sexuality.
5. Do not participate in bloodshed.
6. Do not rob.
7. Do not eat flesh from a living animal.
These were the terms of the covenant which God was now making with Noah and his descendants. God declared that He would never again flood the world, and for their part Noah and his descendants would abide by a particular set of laws. The rabbis thought of these as universal laws that were incumbent on all of humanity, as opposed to the Torah which they felt was exclusively for God’s chosen people. They reasoned that there must be a standard which the other peoples are judged by, otherwise, as Paul says (understood in the general sense), “Where there is no law there is no transgression.” There must have been some universal law that, for example, the Canaanites were judged by. One of the rabbis referred to the punishment of the Canaanites in Deuteronomy 18:9-12 and deduced, “Evidently, the Canaanites were punished for these practices; and since God would not have punished them for an action unless He first prohibited it, these practices are clearly prohibited to gentiles” (b. Sanhedrin 56b). Since all of humanity is descended from Noah, and these are the laws designated for the Gentiles, this set of laws was termed the Noahide laws.
It’s possible that an early tradition of the Noahide laws is preserved in the book of Jubilees. Some time after the flood ends and Noah’s sons have born children of their own, Noah observes that they are not walking according to righteousness, so he begins to instruct them:
And in the twenty-eighth jubilee Noah began to enjoin upon his sons’ sons the ordinances and commandments, and all the judgments that he knew, and he exhorted his sons to observe righteousness, and to cover the shame of their flesh, and to bless their Creator, and honor father and mother, and love their neighbor, and guard their souls from fornication and uncleanness and all iniquity. . . . “There shall be no blood seen upon you of all the blood there shall be all the days in which ye have killed any beasts or cattle or whatever flies upon the earth, and work ye a good work to your souls by covering that which has been shed on the face of the earth. And ye shall not be like him who eats with blood, but guard yourselves that none may eat blood before you: cover the blood, for thus have I been commanded to testify to you and your children, together with all flesh.” (Jubilees 7:20, 30-31)
Additionally, according to this passage Noah also teaches his grandchildren about the proper way to give first-fruit offerings, passing on the instructions which he received from Enoch.
This list of commandments preserved in Jubilees is different from the commands which the rabbis would later determine had been given to Noah, the seven commands which we listed above. The rabbis looked into the Scriptures and discovered seven laws which Gentiles (called “sons of Noah”) were obliged to follow. Two of these commandments were given in Genesis 9 (do not eat meat with the blood and establish courts of justice), and the others were drawn from other passages of Scripture: “The children of Noah were admonished regarding seven religious duties: setting up courts of justice, idolatry, blasphemy, fornication, murder, thievery, and concerning a limb cut from a living beast” (t. Avodah Zarah 8:4-6).
Although there was general agreement about these seven laws, there was also some dispute over whether there were other laws in addition to these seven:
The Sages taught in a baraita: The descendants of Noah, i.e., all of humanity, were commanded to observe seven mitzvot [commandments]: The mitzvah of establishing courts of judgment; and the prohibition against cursing the name of God; and the prohibition of idol worship; and the prohibition against forbidden sexual relations; and the prohibition of bloodshed; and the prohibition of robbery; and the prohibition against eating a limb from a living animal. Rabbi Hananya ben Gamla says: The descendants of Noah are also commanded concerning the prohibition against consuming the blood from a living animal. Rabbi Hideka says: They are also commanded concerning castration, i.e., they are prohibited to castrate any living animal. Rabbi Shimon says: They are also commanded concerning the prohibition against engaging in sorcery. (b. Sanhedrin 56a-b)
In practice, these seven laws function more like general categories than as precise laws. A medieval explanation of the Torah and the rabbinic commentaries makes this point explicit:
And do not err, my son, with this well-known tally of the seven commandments of the Noahides mentioned in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 56b); as truthfully these seven are [only] like general principles, but they have many details. (Sefer HaChinuch 416)
In fact, these seven commandments, once the details are fleshed out, become more than 60 precise commands.
The command concerning idolatry, in addition to its traditional definition of worshiping other gods or any created thing, also includes the prohibition of witchcraft and magic practices. This command also forbids the worship of any physical representations of God.
“Blasphemy” encompasses the prohibition on taking the Lord’s name in vain (swearing false oaths). The rabbis determined that this applies to non-Jews based on the book of Job: Job is a non-Jew, and yet he knows that it would be a sin to blaspheme God. “His wife said to him, ‘Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!’ He replied, ‘You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?’ In all this, Job did not sin in what he said” (Job 2:9-10).
The prohibition of murder is based on the command to Noah in Genesis 9:6, “Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in His own image.” Murder is also condemned, as we have seen, after Cain kills his brother Abel. This command also prohibits gossip, which the Torah says is equivalent to making an attempt on your neighbor’s life: “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:16).
What exactly qualified as fornication for Gentiles was debated among the rabbis. Some rabbis felt that Gentiles were obligated to observe all of the Torah’s laws governing sexual relationships. On the other hand, Maimonides, for example, said that the Noahide laws forbid six sexual relationships: with one’s mother, father’s wife, maternal sister, a married woman, an individual of the same sex, or an animal.
The prohibition of theft additionally includes all of the laws of the Torah which describe taking advantage of another person or cheating them in any way.
The prohibition regarding a limb cut from a living beast refers to eating meat without cooking it, or eating meat without first draining the blood as God commands Noah in Genesis 9:3-4, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. And as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything. But you shall not eat flesh with its life, that is, its blood.” The laws of slaughter are not as strict for Gentiles according to the Torah, since in Deuteronomy 14:21 a Gentile sojourner is not forbidden from consuming meat from an animal which died a natural death (rather than being slaughtered properly). An additional implication of this rule is that one should not be cruel to animals.
The final command is to establish courts of justice. This follows from Genesis 9:6, which decrees retributive justice for murderers. A surface reading would accommodate vigilante justice, so the rabbis determined that this requires a judicial system. Additionally, of necessity there must be some kind of legal system to enforce the other six laws, making it necessary to establish courts of justice.
Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot [commandments] and is precise in their observance is considered one of “the pious among the gentiles” and will merit a share in the world to come. This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher, that Noah’s descendants had been commanded to fulfill them previously. However, if he fulfills them out of intellectual conviction, he is not a resident alien, nor of “the pious among the gentiles,” nor of their wise men.” (Melachim uMilchamot 8:11)
In other words, Maimonides is saying that the outward practice of these laws would be of no benefit to the son of Noah if they obeyed for the wrong reasons. According to Maimonides, the only obedience which is acceptable is that which comes from a pure heart which loves God.
Some scholars understand the decision of the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15 to be a variant form of the Noahide commandments. This passage records the deliberation of James and the other apostles and elders regarding the question of whether Gentiles need to be circumcised, that is, convert to Judaism, in order to be saved. As part of his concluding statement, James says the following:
Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. (Acts 15:19-20)
There are definitely some similarities here. It is a subset of rules applied specifically to Gentiles. The rules themselves are very similar, although there are only four in this list, versus the seven rules in the list developed by the rabbis. As mentioned earlier, some scholars draw a strong connection between the two ideas. The Jewish Encyclopedia says,
On the initiative of Peter, and of James, the head of the Jerusalem church, it was agreed that acceptance of the Noachian Laws—namely, regarding avoidance of idolatry, fornication, and the eating of flesh cut from a living animal—should be demanded of the heathen desirous of entering the Church.
Others believe that the four commandments in Acts 15 go beyond the universal Noahide commandments and advocate a stricter form of the commandments for Gentile believers in the Body of Messiah. A closer look reveals that the commandments given by the Jerusalem Council seem to be modeled after Leviticus 17-18 rather than Genesis 9:
The first rule given by the Jerusalem Council is that gentiles are to abstain from things sacrificed to idols. We find here a connection to Leviticus 17:7-9, which forbids both the Israelites and the Gentiles who live among them from practicing idolatry:
So they shall no more sacrifice their sacrifices to goat demons, after whom they whore. This shall be a statute forever for them throughout their generations. And you shall say to them, “Any one of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice and does not bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to offer it to the Lord, that man shall be cut off from his people.”
The rule set forth by the Jerusalem Council goes beyond the mere forsaking of idolatry and makes consumption of food sacrificed to idols unlawful. This is something that the Israelites were specifically commanded not to do: “Do not make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, for when they prostitute themselves to their gods and sacrifice to them, they will invite you, and you will eat their sacrifices” (Exodus 34:15).
A second rule given by James and the elders is to abstain from blood. This commandment is based on Leviticus 17:10: “If any one of the house of Israel or of the strangers who sojourn among them eats any blood, I will set my face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.” Again we see that the Torah commanded Gentiles who were living among Israel to abstain from consuming blood.
The third rule decided upon by the meeting at Jerusalem was that Gentiles must abstain from things strangled. In other words, they were now being held to a higher standard of slaughtering meat. This is based on Leviticus 17:13: “Any one also of the people of Israel, or of the strangers who sojourn among them, who takes in hunting any beast or bird that may be eaten shall pour out its blood and cover it with earth.” In order for meat to be eaten, the animal must be slaughtered in such a way that the blood is drained out. This means the Gentile believers are now being held to this Biblical standard of ritual slaughter.
Lastly we have the command to abstain from fornication. A long list of unlawful sexual relationships is listed in Leviticus 18, and the chapter is summed up in verse 26: “But you shall keep my statutes and my rules and do none of these abominations, either the native or the stranger who sojourns among you.”
Thus the four apostolic laws seem to be an additional requirement on top of the Noahide laws, which were already required of Gentiles in the days of the apostles. These specific observances which they advocated in Acts 15 seem to be based on the laws given in the Torah which regulated the behavior of Gentiles who wished to join themselves to the Israelites. The rules given by James and the elders would functionally drive a wedge between the Gentile believers and the pagan world in which they lived, while facilitating relationships between Gentile believers and observant Jewish believers. It would create an atmosphere where they could eat together and live together as the Body of Messiah. It would also set the Gentiles on the path toward Torah-obedience.
In mainstream Judaism, evangelism of Gentiles has not been a common practice. If a Gentile expresses to them a desire to become a Noahide, they will happily accept this but rarely openly encourage it. There have been some changes to this fairly recently. There is a movement within Orthodox Judaism known as Hasidism, and the most famous Hasidic group is called Chabad. A prominent leader of Chabad Hasidism, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, began a campaign to actively evangelize to Gentiles in the hope of getting them to observe the Noahide laws. He has said, “It is now the time for Jewish people to fulfill their Torah obligation to reach out to Gentiles, to encourage them to follow the Seven Mitzvot.” For Schneerson, this campaign was, among other aims, an attempt to bring humanity to a higher level of spirituality in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. In his own words, “We are so close to the Messianic Era, that now is the most appropriate time to prepare the world and make it fitting for Moshiach’s coming through Gentiles following their 7 Mitzvot.”
Returning to Genesis, we see that life now is able to go on despite its many flaws, but God has been faithful in keeping His covenant. When we see the rainbow in the sky it should encourage us that God is still with us, and He is faithful. Over the years this sign of the covenant with the world has been used for other reasons, and this is as much as a mockery of God as saying that we evolved from animals. The things of God are holy and we must keep them holy, for they represent Him.
The Tower of Babel
So God laid down His bow and said that He would never destroy the earth again by a flood. Life went on after the flood, and so did the fall of man. But God shows Himself as a faithful covenant-keeping God. He has kept His word and His covenants throughout every generation. What we will continue to see in Genesis is that God may not bring about total destruction, but He still deals with sin.
Genesis 11:1-9 tells us this:
Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. It came about as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.” And they used brick for stone, and they used tar for mortar. They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.” The Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.” So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the whole earth; and they stopped building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of the whole earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.
The Tower of Babel was located in Babylon in the country today known as Iraq in the city we call Baghdad. For this reason, the rabbis connected the Tower of Babel to the Biblical character of Nimrod. In Genesis 10:10 we are told of Nimrod, “The beginning of his kingdom was Babel and Erech and Accad and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.” Since Nimrod was king of Shinar, they suggest that he led the building of the tower.
Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer records the words of Rabbi Akiva, who says of the builders of the tower: “They cast off the Kingdom of Heaven from themselves, and appointed Nimrod king over themselves” (Pirke de Rabbi Eliezer 24).
Josephus also preserves this tradition:
Now it was Nimrod who excited them to such an affront and contempt of God. He was the grandson of Ham, the son of Noah, a bold man, and of great strength of hand. He persuaded them not to ascribe it to God as if it was through his means they were happy, but to believe that it was their own courage which procured that happiness. He also gradually changed the government into tyranny, seeing no other way of turning men from the fear of God, but to bring them into a constant dependence upon his power. He also said he would be revenged on God, if he should have a mind to drown the world again; for that he would build a tower too high for the waters to be able to reach! and that he would avenge himself on God for destroying their forefathers! (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 1, 4:2).
Nimrod had a bad reputation even divorced from these traditions. In Hebrew his name means “we will rebel.” Nimrod was interpreted as a person opposed to God mainly because of Genesis 10:9. This verse says that Nimrod was, “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” However, in Hebrew the word translated as “before”, if literally translated, would mean “in the face of”, signifying opposition. Regarding the description of Nimrod as a mighty hunter, Rashi says that Nimrod hunted for men’s souls: “He ensnared people’s minds with his speech and misled them to rebel against the Omnipresent.”
Why was God so concerned about the people building this tower? The Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Genesis 11:4 preserves the tradition that they put an idol on top of the tower, the image of a man with sword in hand thrusting toward heaven:
And they said, Come, we will build us a city and a tower, and the head of it shall come to the summit of the heavens; and we will make us (an image for) worship on the top of it, and put a sword in his hand to act against the array of war, before that we be scattered on the face of the earth.
Other traditions say that this was an image of Nimrod himself, and that he set himself up as a god to be worshiped.
Was it because they wanted to reach heaven? We know that would have been impossible. Or did God see something that seemed too familiar? The people said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”
First, the people wanted to make a name for themselves. What’s in a name? Remember Adam named all the animals and that gave him control and dominance over them. The builders of the tower wanted to make a name for themselves and not God. There was no glory in it for God. This is what Satan’s intentions were, to make a name for himself. This is the continuation of what Satan had begun in his revolt against God. The flood may have destroyed the people and the world but not him, for he too wanted to go up to heaven and sit upon God’s throne. This is what he did in the Garden when he got Eve to question God’s commands. He said, “If you eat from this tree God knows that you will become like Him.” This is Humanism, the religion of Satan.
Humanism says we can all be gods. You see that the people did not want to be scattered, but this is just what God did to them. He scattered them and confused them by changing everyone’s language. God saw what man could do if they were united.
Today we see this very thing happening again. We are trying to bring man together and unite us. This is globalism, the one world order. If God divided us then we have no right to unite us. Globalism is what the Antichrist will use to bring about his reign. God saw this at the Tower of Babel.
The rabbis connected this incident at the tower of Babel with the final battle of Gog and Magog, when mankind will once again rebel against God.
R. Aibu stated in the name of (R. Eliezer the son of) R. Yosé the Galilean: Mankind rebelled against the Holy One, blessed be He, three times. The first rebellion was this one [the Tower of Babel]; the second occurred in the days of Joshua, as it is said: They gathered themselves together, to fight with Joshua and with Israel, with one accord (Joshua 9:2); and the third will transpire in the days of Gog and Magog, as it is said: The kings of the earth stand up and the rulers take counsel together against the Lord (Psalm 2:2) (Midrash Tanchuma, Noach 18:8).
We have seen from the beginning how God created the world. We have seen how God recreated the world at the time of the flood. All of history has come and gone to this point, and we have seen the Creator of this world interact with His creation and how He made right the wrong of the Garden of Eden through the Messiah Yeshua. We see now in the book of Acts a window through which God reveals life at the time of the Tower of Babel:
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.” And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Acts 2:1-12)
On the day of Pentecost God showed us that one day we will all understand each other because we will once again have one language and we will be united. But we also learn that it will be God who will bring this about and not man. The rabbis believed that originally, everyone spoke Hebrew, and that this only changed at the Tower of Babel. The Midrash Tanchuma says, “Originally, they had spoken to each other in Hebrew, the language with which the world was created” (Midrash Tanchuma, Noach 19:1). Because of this, they believe that in the Messianic Age everyone will once again speak Hebrew:
The Holy One, blessed be He, said: In this world My creatures opposed Me, and therefore they were divided into seventy languages because of the evil inclination, but in the world-to-come they will all be of one accord, calling upon My name and serving Me, as it is said: For then will I turn to the peoples one pure language that they may call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent (Zephaniah 3:9). (Midrash Tanchuma, Noach 19:2).
So let us now take a closer look into the religion of Satan called Humanism. At the Tower of Babel the people wanted a name for themselves. They did not build to bring honor to God, but to themselves. If we are not living for God then we are living for ourselves, and the worship of ourselves is the worship of the Evil One. When Yeshua was tested in the wilderness, what did He say to him? As we see in Matthew 4:8-10,
Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give You,” he said, “if You will bow down and worship me.” Yeshua said to him, “Away from Me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only.’”
The Father of Lies has been telling a lie from the beginning—that we can be gods. We hear it today: “You deserve a break today,” “You owe it to yourself,” “You earned it,” “If it feels good do it,” “Experience all that life has to offer.” In Genesis we see that the lie he spoke to Eve was that it is okay to question the Word of God. Man cannot trust God because God lies. Satan lied when he said, “We can be like God,” “We all can be gods,” “If God cannot be trusted then He is not supreme and therefore there are no absolutes, no morals, no truth, and so this now allows us to rebel against God, because God was and is the liar.” We are now free from all restraints.
Humanism’s emphasis is on secular concerns: “I am the center of the universe.” We have replaced the Word of God with science, philosophy, and man’s reason. We seek for man’s enlightenment and knowledge.
Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:1-4,
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Paul also tells us in Romans 1:18-25,
For [God does not overlook sin and] the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who in their wickedness suppress and stifle the truth, because that which is known about God is evident within them [in their inner consciousness], for God made it evident to them. For ever since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through His workmanship [all His creation, the wonderful things that He has made], so that they [who fail to believe and trust in Him] are without excuse and without defense. For even though they knew God [as the Creator], they did not honor Him as God or give thanks [for His wondrous creation]. On the contrary, they became worthless in their thinking [godless, with pointless reasonings, and silly speculations], and their foolish heart was darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory and majesty and excellence of the immortal God for an image [worthless idols] in the shape of mortal man and birds and four-footed animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their own hearts to [sexual] impurity, so that their bodies would be dishonored among them [abandoning them to the degrading power of sin], because [by choice] they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
And again in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21,
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
So what do Humanists believe? Let’s take a look at their own manifesto.
In 1933, the Humanist Manifesto I was published. Here are 15 key points.
- It begins with there is no Creator.
- Man is an animal and all life is a product of evolution.
- Man has no immortal soul so there is no future judgement.
- Religion is a by-product of evolution and social development. Secular Humanism must replace outdated concepts as in Christianity and Judaism.
- There are no absolute values
- Humanism rejects all religious morals and concepts of “right and wrong.”
- Humanism is a religion.
- Humanists are social engineers out to remake the world in their image.
- Humanists want to create a heaven on earth through collectivistic (communist) socialistic utopia.
- In that socialistic amoral utopia there is no room for traditional religion of any kind.
- There is no faith or hope beyond this present world.
- There can be no restraints put on humans in their pursuit for sensual pleasure (hedonism).
- There is an emphasis on living for the moment.
- Traditional religion and religious expression must give way to a global Humanistic one world religion.
- Humanists have a collectivistic/Marxist view of economics.
In 1973, the Humanist Manifesto II was published with an updated blueprint for a new One World Order. Even though the manifesto was updated, not much has changed because Humanism was founded upon principles of self-empowerment, critical thinking, reason, curiosity, and doing good for the sake of the other. Humanism requires no authoritarian figures to control one’s thinking or motivate one’s actions because what is right for me may not be right for you.