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.)
RMB"M writes that gentiles are not allowed to rest during any day of the week, be it shabbat, sunday, or even wednesday.
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.
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).".
protected by Double AA♦ Nov 18 '13 at 9:33
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