According to Jewish Law and tradition, is it acceptable, discouraged or totally unacceptable for a Gentile to keep the Sabbath according to the regulations spelled out in the Torah and the Talmud and expounded upon by the Rabbis?
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A non Jew is not allowed to keep Shabbos. Those that are in the process of converting make sure to do at least one thing on Shabbos that would normally not be allowed. For example they might carry something in their pocket.
The Torah says "The Children of Israel shall observe the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath an eternal covenant for their generations. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever that in a six-day period Hashem made the heaven and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed." (Exodus 31:16,17 Artscroll Translation).
The Sabbath was given as a sign and covenant to Israel, a Gentile is forbidden to observe the Sabbath or to make a Sabbath of their own, a Halachah codified in the Mishneh Torah, Laws of Kings 10:9.
It is important to realize, however, that it is generally forbidden to instruct a non-Jew to perform anything on Shabbos that a Jew is prohibited to do by law (Orach Chaim 307:2).
I agree with Gershon Gold's answer.
I have had several Christian guests in our home over the years. Many of them wish to experience authentic Jewish practices, since they view Judaism as the source of their own religion.
I asked, on a practical level, if I have violated anything by allowing a non-Jew to keep shabbos in my house.
The answer I received was; the obligation to not keep shabbos is incumbent upon the Gentile. Therefore, I was not responsible in any way to encourage my Gentile guests to break shabbos while in my home.
(In every case, they all used their cell phones and / or computers at some point during shabbos, which may or may not be a d'oraisa, but certainly removes them from the category a shomer shabbos.)
The source for the Halacha is Talmud Sanhedrin 58B:
Interestingly, the simple meaning of Bereshit 8:22 is not referring to people working, but rather that the heavenly bodies will never cease to function again (as they did in the flood).
Rashi on the Talmud says that the verse also refers to people (in addition to the heavenly bodies).
There is a Sicha (in Yiddish) (Likutei Sichot 15, pg 49) from the Lubavitcher Rebbe, which discusses the connection between the simple meaning of the verse and the prohibition of a gentile to keep Shabbat according to the Rambam.
RMB"M writes that gentiles are not allowed to rest during any day of the week, be it shabbat, sunday, or even wednesday.
YHWH says in Exodus 20:10:
the Hebrew word, translated "stranger" is גֵּר.
Rashi, in his commentary on verse 10, indicates in regard to the son, and daughter, that they have already been warned to not work on Sabbath, and that this passage speaks to the adult warning him to not allow the child to work on the Sabbath. Applying similar logic, the address is to the people of Israel (see chapter 19 for context) but regarding the stranger. Just as the child must be taught and warned, so, a stranger may be unaware of the law, and thus should be taught it and warned of the consequences; Israel is responsible to see that none of these work on Sabbath.
The Hebrew word, translated, "foreigner" is נֵכָר.
Rashi, in his commentary for verse 7, interprets the "foreigners who join themselves to YHWH," as proselytes.
Jewish sages assert that the non-Jew who has put off foreign worship and embraced the One true God of Israel, must observe Shabbath; the non-Jew who does not put off foreign worship and keeps Sabbath would be "Chayav Misah (death penalty)."
I just came upon a presentation from an Orthodox Rabbi, Chaim Clorfene who has done extensive study in Torah, written and oral. He says this is happening more and more among gentiles and offers explanation. These are my notes--semi transcription/summary. I welcome anyone else listening and editing to make it a true transcription:
@1:00-5:00 minutes: Beginning with the patriarchs spoken of in the Sabbath afternoon prayer, he points out that the Patriarchs were all Noahides, because Israel became Israelites at Sanai.
Sanhedrin 56 BC 7 says HaShem taught them at Marah they were taught laws of Noah Honoring Father and mother, Civil laws and Shabbat. It cannot just be that he taught them not commanded but they traveled fro sin to monafel, and instructed/commanded them and it says "the people (Ha am)" as opposed to bene Israel, rested that day and thus it includes the mixed multitude. It does not weigh in that they were going to accept the Torah on Sanai; you are judged according to what you are at that time, not what you will be.
A slave does not have a day of rest. So, if you want to say that the Noahide cannot keep the Sabbath, you are sending everyone in the world but the Jews to Egyptian slavery. Yur saying that you cannot have a day of rest. Is that what you think God wants? That the world cannot have a day of rest? That is clearly against the whole point. God is a liberator, .... He identifies Himself as a liberator..."I am the Lord your God, who took you out of the house of bondage" that's who God is, and your going to make Him into a slaver!
The whole world can keep the Shabbat, almost, certainly the Noahide.
But look what it's saying, it's saying look what you CAN do! The presumption is you CAN't do anything! The presumption is you have to rest on the Sabbath, and here are the leniencies given! ...according to the Talmud, the ben Noach is expected to rest on the Sabbath and these three perspectives are that there is a leniency, compared to the Jew, that he is allowed to do on the Sabbath. Obviously we are saying that the Talmud is saying that the Noahid must rest on the Sabbath.
Ramban, this is the main teaching that those who say a Noahide cannot observe the Sabbath they base it on this: "the hacom who rests on the Sabbath is liable to the death penalty" An acom is an idol worshipper one who serves stars and constalations. What could be a bigger desicration than an idol worshipper keeping Sabbath.
The Ramban is very explicit and exacting in his expression, when he says the acom, he means the idol worshiper. The very next halacha is about the noahide giving charity. If a ben noah, we should accept it and give it to the Jewish poor. But if an idol worshiper gives charity we should take it and give it to the idol worshipers poor. The Ramban explicitly makes the distinction between acom and noachide.
The ones who say that according to the Ramban which is the one they all quote for this is just wrong, it is just wrong, its just a mis-translation. If you look at the most popular translation of the Ramban, it says gentile there for both acum and ben noach, in the next, so the translators are not making the distinction and neither are the rabbis make the distinction.
The ger toshoav is permitted to keep shabbat and the acum is forbidden to keep shabbat.
protected by Double AA♦ Nov 18 '13 at 9:33
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