The general rule is that any Jewish mitzvah between man and man, or between man and God, which has a reason and a logical benefit for a person or society, is permitted for Gentiles to perform. But this does not apply for any commandment that does not have a logical, natural benefit, but instead is a sign for the Jews (e.g., wearing ritual fringes [tzitzit] or phylacteries, or affixing a mezuzah on a doorpost), or is a Godly statute for Jews without reason or benefit understood to a person.
A Gentile should be prevented from performing such commandments
and should be taught that it is improper for him to observe them.
It is not problematic that male Gentiles are allowed to have themselves circumcised as a spiritual observance (although it is meant to be a sign in the flesh of a Jew), since many Gentiles are circumcised for medical purposes, and not to add a commandment or a new religion.
Thus, a male Gentile who wishes to be circumcised in order to refine his personality and his body and its desires may do so. But if he is not descended from Keturah, he should not do so as a commandment (today it is very difficult to know this!)
His “reward” (schaar) in this context refers to the practical benefit he receives from doing even just a part or an aspect of the commandment, if doing so brings a specific benefit for the person or his society.
A Gentile may validly choose partial observances of this type; for example:
- to marry a woman only to refine himself, without committing himself to
have children or to engage in marital relations as a regular obligation;
- to return some lost objects, but not every type of lost object, or not to every
- to take upon himself an obligation to pray to God, but not on a daily or regular basis (which Jews on the other hand are obligated to do on a daily
- to honor an old person or a Sage, but only if he recognizes the person’s wisdom or achievements.
- to circumcise only his thick foreskin, as opposed to the Jewish ritual circumcision which also includes removing the underlying thin foreskin;
The Radvaz on Hilĥot Melaĥim, ch. 10. See Rambam, Laws of Tzitzit 3:9 and
Shulĥan Aruĥ Oraĥ Ĥayim ch. 20, that it is forbidden for a Jew to give or sell
a Gentile tzitzit, so the ritual garment will not come to be used by a Gentile
for the purpose of disguising himself as a Jew. Rema writes in Yoreh De’ah
ch. 291, in the name of Maharil, that a Jew should not give a mezuzah scroll
to a Gentile for the same reason. It appears that beyond this, there is a general
reason that Gentiles should not be compared completely to Jews. Therefore,
they should not perform uniquely commanded Jewish signs.
The abovementioned rule applies only to Jewish commandments that are not duty-bound by logic (even if they have a logical reason) such as circumcision or tithes. However, those that are duty-bound by logic, such as honoring one’s parents,64 and kindness and charity, are obligated to be kept, because such is the correct way for a person to act, as befitting the image of God in which he was created. However, a Gentile may not keep them because it is a commandment from God, but rather because one is obligated to be a good, moral person.
Many prohibitions that are commanded upon Jews are obligations for Gentiles to observe based on logic, such as the prohibitions against hating others, taking revenge or bearing a grudge. A Gentile should observe these prohibitions out of human decency, and not as Divine commandments of their own.
This duty is an absolute obligation upon Gentiles, and they are liable to be punished for transgressing these obligations and for acting against moral and logical practices.
Brought by Rabbi Moshe Perets
Rabbi Moshe Perets is the Founder and Executive Director of NoahideAcademy.org, the world’s largest Noahide informational website. He has established the Noahide Academy of Israel website under the non-profit organisation - אור לעמים - Light Unto the Nations since 2016. He accomplished his Rabbinical Studies at the Chabad Yeshiva of Brussels in 2011. He has a medical degree by the University of Louvain in Brussels as well a Masters in Biomedical Research by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He has for the past years focused on Psychotherapy and developed a new approach: Deep Soul Therapy. He is a spiritual mentor, teacher, coach, and healer who has helped facilitate profound shifts for hundreds of people around the globe. His teaching activities at the Noahide Academy allowed students from all over the world to live passionate, purposeful lives, connect more intimately with G-d, and reveal the hidden light and power of their souls. Rabbi Moshe Perets lives currently in Israel with his wife and 5 children.
Used Sources: The Divine Code
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further.
NoahideAcademy.org's copyright policy.