Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

There is an idea mentioned by the Rambam, but not in the Mishneh Torah as I recall, that it is permissible to teach Wrtitten Torah to Christians because they accept it as Divine and don't study it in a strictly academic/detached way. Where does he, and does he in fact, rule this way? How would this apply to teaching Oral Torah to someone such as a b'nei Noach who accepts it?

share|improve this question
Are you asking specifically about the Rambam, or the halacha in general? (I had thought the former, but existing answers address the latter, though one mentions the Rambam in passing.) –  Monica Cellio Jul 11 '13 at 12:58

2 Answers 2

It is not only permissible to teach written Torah to the Gentiles but also highly recommendable. Prophet Isaiah himself says that in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountains, many people shall go and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the House of the G-d of Yakov, and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (Isa. 2:2,3) "And in those days it shall come to pass that the nations shall take hold of the garment of him who is a Jew and beg of him to let them join Israel, because they have finally acknowledged that HaShem is with us." (Zech. 8:23) I know we have stopped proselytizing Gentiles, because of Antisemitism. But if we think it through, the best way to fight Antisemitism is by making a Jew out of the anti-Semite.

A few years ago, a family of five Christians from the Seventh-Day Adventist Church knocked at my door and, very politely, asked me to be allowed to speak a word to me about Jesus. I invited them in. It was on a Shabbat afternoon. After about two months, I realized a change in their attitude. They were listening more and speaking very little, and more in terms of questions. They ne'elemu (disappeared) for about eitht months when I got an invitation for their ceremony of conversion. And Orthodox style conversion, according to Halacha, mind you. And I was presented as the reason why they had decided to join Judaism. The two daughters of the family got married with two nice Israeli youngmen, while I was chosen to be the best man. Today, each one has two born Jewish children. It means I have contributed with nine very happy souls to Judaism. Baruch HaShem.


share|improve this answer
@Ben how lovely, thanks for sharing that beautiful story. –  Sam Feb 7 '12 at 9:08

The Maharatz Chiyos to Sotah 35b writes that a Jew can teach Tanach to a gentile. The Netziv (Meshiv Davar, Yoreh Deah 77) and R. Yehudah Assad (Yehudah Ya’aleh, Orah Hayim 4) agree. Also the Rambam in Responsa Pe’er Ha-Dor 50. The Meor Veshemesh (Parshas Chukas) writes that it is permitted to teach the Written Law to an idolater. This is like Moshe who wrote the Torah in seventy languages. The prohibition of teaching Torah to Christians applies only to the Oral Law. Also the Netziv again in his Pirush Al Hatorah in Vayikra 18:5 says explicitly that a non-Jew can learn Torah shebiktav. Also The Divrei Chaim (Chanukah) says that the Torah was written on the stones and the nations of the world copied it over. The Medrash says that Hashem allowed them to study the Written Law. For more See here: http://dafnotes.blogspot.com/2007/06/teaching-torah-to-gentile-planning-on.html And just to be Jewish you Know that the gemara says a non-Jew who learns torah is like the Kohen Gadol? (A"Z 3a) ?

share|improve this answer
Is it even possible to teach Tanach in a strictly written sense? "You shall bind them on your hand and they should be for a sign before your eyes" How do you teach this?? As soon as you describe tefillin, isn't that Torah she ba'al peh? –  Jeremy May 17 '10 at 15:01
YS, look at the meforshim on that Gemara. It is talking about Torah that pertains to him; i.e. anything about the 7 Noahide commandments, (perhaps including the oral Torah that pertains to them?!) –  Yahu May 21 '10 at 5:09

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.