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    forbidden mitzvot?

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    walker

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    forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  walker on Thu Oct 14, 2010 3:13 pm

    I read Wikipedia:
    "It is actually forbidden by the Talmud for non-Jews to elevate their observance of the Torah's mitzvot as the Jews do"
    What does that mean?
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    Yehudah

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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Yehudah on Thu Oct 14, 2010 8:47 pm

    It means that there are certain mitzvos that are forbidden for goyim:

    Shabbos is one, so is learning Torah, donning Tefillin....


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    walker

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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  walker on Fri Oct 15, 2010 12:53 am

    What does "learning Torah" mean?
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    Arik
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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:06 pm

    I never really understood the resistance to let Gentiles observe Shabbat. It would seem since among other things, it deals with celebrating the creation of the world, all would be wanting to celebrate it to remember the creation, for without it, we wouldn't be here.
    Huddy, can you give me the exact place in the Talmud where it states these prohibitions?
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    Yehudah

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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Yehudah on Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:47 pm

    Nope, not off the top of my head.

    If memory serves, it was either in one of the Bava's or Gittin or Kiddushin.

    The fact is that Torah is for the world, but the mitzvot of learning It is only on Jews. Nothing in the sheva brachos about learning Torah.


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    Arik
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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:07 pm

    Are you saying that The Gentiles are simply not required, or that they are forbidden?
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    Arik
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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Sat Oct 16, 2010 9:07 pm

    Yehudah wrote:Nope, not off the top of my head.

    If memory serves, it was either in one of the Bava's or Gittin or Kiddushin.


    Oy!
    That's quite a bit of material lol.
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    Yehudah

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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Yehudah on Sun Oct 17, 2010 10:26 am

    It's forbidden to teach Torah to a Goy, unless that Goy is working on gerus. I think it is a gemarah in Gittin. But there are at least 2 other gemarahs that say basically the same thing, just can't remember which ones they are.

    The fact is that 99.99% of all Goyim would not and do not learn Torah leshma, they would or do learn it because of an ulterior motive (to enhance or bolster their avodah zarah).

    You don't have to agree, but I've seen it personally countless times... as well as have heard countless stories by friends, Rabbaim, etc.


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    Arik
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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Sun Oct 17, 2010 12:57 pm

    But Gemarah is not Misnah correct? so in some ways there could be other opinions on this as well?
    Just curious.
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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:06 am

    OK from here:
    http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=142&letter=G#543

    Inasmuch as the Jews had their own distinct jurisdiction, it would have been unwise to reveal their laws to the Gentiles, for such knowledge might have operated against the Jews in their opponents' courts. Hence the Talmud prohibited the teaching to a Gentile of the Torah, "the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob" (Deut. xxxiii. 4). R. Johanan says of one so teaching: "Such a person deserves death" (an idiom used to express indignation). "It is like placing an obstacle before the blind" (Sanh. 59a; Ḥag. 13a). And yet if a Gentile study the Law for the purpose of observing the moral laws of Noah, R. Meïr says he is as good as a high priest, and quotes: "Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments, which if a man do, he shall live in them" (Lev. xviii. 5). The text does not specify an Israelite or a Levite or a priest, but simply "a man"—even a Gentile ('Ab. Zarah 26a).

    Resh Laḳish (d. 278) said, "A Gentile observing the Sabbath deserves death" (Sanh. 58b). This refers to a Gentile who accepted the seven laws of the Noachidæ, inasmuch as "the Sabbath is a sign between God and Israel alone," and it was probably directed against the Christian Jews, who disregarded the Mosaic laws and yet at that time kept up the observance of the Jewish Sabbath. Rabbina, who lived about 150 years after the Christians had changed the day of rest to Sunday, could not quite understand the principle underlying Resh Laḳish's law, and, commenting upon it, added: "not even on Mondays [is the Gentile allowed to rest]"; intimating that the mandate given to the Noachidæ that "day and night shall not cease" (="have no rest ") should be taken in a literal sense (Gen. viii. 22)—probably to discourage general idleness (ib. Rashi), or for the more plausible reason advanced by Maimonides, who says: "The principle is, one is not permitted to make innovations in religion or to create new commandments. He has the privilege to become a true proselyte by accepting the whole Law" ("Yad," Melakim, x. 9). R. Emden (), in a remarkable apology for Christianity contained in his appendix to "Seder 'Olam" (pp. 32b-34b, Hamburg, 1752), gives it as his opinion that the original intention of Jesus, and especially of Paul, was to convert only the Gentiles to the seven moral laws of Noah and to let the Jews follow the Mosaic law—which explains the apparent contradictions in the New Testament regarding the laws of Moses and the Sabbath.

    Present Status of the Gentile.

    With the conversion of the Gentile to Christianity or to Islam, the heathen and pagan of the civilized or semi-civilized world has become almost extinct, and the restrictions placed on the ancient Gentile are not applicable to the Gentile of the present day, except in so far as to consider him a Noachian observingall moral laws, in contradistinction to the Jew, who as one of the chosen people observes in addition the Mosaic laws. That the laws against the Gentile as a barbarian were not entirely expunged from the rabbinic literature after the advent of Christianity, was due to the persecutions and the barbaric treatment of the Jews in the Middle Ages. The gradual decrease of animosity may, however, be noted by comparing the various codes and collections of responsa. For example, that a Jewish physician should be forbidden to offer his services to a Gentile was contrary to the general practise of the Jews in the Middle Ages. Maimonides himself became the physician of Sultan Saladin in Egypt. The prohibition against the employment of a Gentile nurse or midwife "except a Jewess stands by her" was modified by an eminent authority with "so long as there is a Jew living in that town who is liable to come into the house" (Moses of Coucy, "Semag," § 45). That no such distinction exists anywhere nowadays is an acknowledged fact, proving conclusively that the Rabbis regulate their decisions in accordance with the spirit of the Jewish law.

    The special Jewish jurisdiction in civil cases is still maintained in the Orient, in some parts of Europe, and even in America, where the bet din administers the law, mostly by arbitration, effecting a compromise between the litigants for the sake of avoiding the "law's delay" and of saving the expenses of trial in the secular courts


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    Re: forbidden mitzvot?

    Post  Arik on Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:10 am

    Continued:

    The opinions of a few of the noted and authoritative scholars are here cited to show the favorable change which the attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles underwent in post-Talmudic times.

    R. Sherira Gaon, president of the college in Pumbedita in the tenth century, permitted Jews to bring suit in a Gentile court on the defendant's refusal to have the case adjudicated by a Jewish tribunal. "Even if the Jew be the robber and the Gentile the one robbed, it is the duty of those who know it to so testify before the justice" (quoted in "Be'er ha-Golah" to Shulḥan 'Aruk, Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ; see also ib. 426, 5).

    Maimonides (twelfth century), in his code written in Egypt, says: "It is forbidden to defraud or deceive any person in business. Jew and non-Jew are to be treated alike. If the vendor knows that his merchandise is defective, he must so inform the purchaser. It is wrong to deceive any person in words, even without causing him a pecuniary loss ("Yad," Mekirah, xviii. 1). In his Mishnaic commentary Maimonides remarks: "What some people imagine, that it is permissible to cheat a Gentile, is an error, and based on ignorance. The Almighty—praised be His Name!—instructed us that in redeeming a Hebrew servant from the services of a Gentile owner 'he shall reckon with him that bought him'" (Lev. xxvi. 50), meaning to be careful in his calculation not to cheat the Gentile. This was in Palestine, where the Jews had the upper hand over the Gentiles. How much more should the law be observed at the present time, when they have no sovereignty over the Gentiles. Moreover, neglect of the precept would cause the desecration of His Name, which is a great sin. Deception, duplicity, cheating, and circumvention toward a Gentile are despicable to the Almighty, as "all that do unrighteously are an abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deut. xxv. 16; commentary to Kelim xii. 7).

    Moses of Coucy (thirteenth century) writes: "I have been preaching before those exiled to Spain and to other Gentile countries, that, just because our exile is so prolonged, it behooves Israel to separate from worldly vanities and to cleave to the seal of the Holy One, which is Truth, and not to lie, either to Jew or Gentile, nor to deceive them in the least thing; to consecrate themselves above others, as 'the remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity nor speak lies.' . . . Behold, the visitation of the Flood for the violence done to the wicked Gentiles!" ("Semag," § 74).

    Opinions of Jewish Scholars.

    About the same period R. Judah of Ratisbon, compiler of the "Sefer Ḥasidim," quotes: "It is forbidden to deceive any person, even a Gentile. Those who purposely misconstrue the greeting to a Gentile are sinners. There can be no greater deception than this" ("Sefer Ḥasidim," § 51, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1817). "If either a Jew or Gentile should request a loan, he should get a frank answer. Do not say, 'I have no money,' when the reason is the fear to trust" (ib. § 426). "One shall not act in bad faith even to Gentiles. Such acts often bring down a person from his rank; and there is no luck in his undertaking. If perchance he succeeds, punishment is visited on his children" (ib. § 1074).

    In the fifteenth century R. Isaac b. Sheshet, who lived in North Africa, in response to an inquiry regarding the status of a non-Jew, quotes authorities to prove that the Gentiles nowadays are not ultraidolaters, and consequently are not subject to the Talmudic restrictions mentioned above. He further says: "We must not presume that such restrictions were fixed rabbinical ordinances, not to be changed. On the contrary, they were made originally to meet only the conditions of the generations, places, and times" (Responsa, No. 119).

    Caro (sixteenth century), the author of the Shulḥan 'Aruk, decides that "the modern Gentiles are not reckoned as heathen with reference to the restoration of lost articles and other matters" (Bet Joseph to Ṭur Ḥoshen Mishpaṭ, § 266; see also Ṭur Yoreh De'ah, § 148, ed. Venice, 1551).

    R. Benjamin (seventeenth century), replying to an inquiry regarding an error of a Gentile in overpayingeighteen ducats, says: "For the sake of consecrating the Holy Name, a Jew shall correct and make good the error of a Gentile. . . . Jacob charged his sons to return to the governor of Egypt the silver put, perhaps by oversight, in the sacks of corn purchased by them from him. One must not take advantage of an error made either by a Mohammedan or by a Christian. Otherwise, the nations would rightly reproach the chosen people as thieves and cheats. I myself had occasion to restore to a Gentile money received through error" (Benjamin Beer, Responsa, No. 409, Venice, 1539).

    Eliezer of Mayence writes: "The commandment prohibiting theft, like those against murder and adultery, applies to both Jews and Gentiles" ("Sefer Ra'aban," § 91, Prague, 1610).

    Ezekiel Landau (eighteenth century), in the introduction to his responsa "Noda' bi-Yehudah" (ib. 1776), says: "I emphatically declare that in all laws contained in the Jewish writings concerning theft, fraud, etc., no distinction is made between Jew and Gentile; that the titles 'goi,' ''akkum,' etc., in no-wise apply to the people among whom we live."

    Senior Zalmon (d. 1813), the representative authority of the modern Ḥasidim, in his version of the Shulḥan 'Aruk (vi. 27b, Stettin, 1864), says: "It is forbidden to rob or steal, even a trifle, from either a Jew or Gentile, adult or minor; even if the Gentile grieved the Jew, or even if the matter devolved is not worth a peruta [mite], except a thing that nobody would care about, such as abstracting for use as a toothpick a splinter from a bundle of wood or from a fence. Piety forbids even this."

    Israel Lipschütz (nineteenth century), in his commentary to the Mishnah, says: "A duty devolves upon us toward our brethren of other nations who recognize the unity of God and honor His Scriptures, being observers of the seven precepts of Noah. . . . Not only do these Gentiles protect us, but they are charitably inclined to our poor. To act otherwise toward these Gentiles would be a misappreciation of their kindness. One should say with Joseph: 'How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?'" ("Tif'eret Yisrael" to B. Ḳ. iv. 4).

    Bibliography: Hamburger, in Hebrew Review, i. 145-164, Cincinnati, 1880.E. G. H. J. D. E.


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