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Does the Jewish religion have any guidelines to help a God-fearing non-Jew choose a spouse? Suppose this person used to be a part of another religion, but left it. Now he/she uses Tanakh as a guide, but is still not Jewish.

What type of religious or non-religious person should such a person marry? I am assuming that he/she should not marry a Jew. Is that a correct assumption? What is a good choise so as not to disrespect Hashem according to Judaism?

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Welcome to Mi Yodeya, Mark, where you may be interested also in our 290 other questions about gentiles. I hope you stick around and enjoy the site. Please consider registering your account, which will give you access to more of the site's features. –  msh210 Aug 9 '13 at 4:47
    
Hi Mark. Thanks a lot for your question. I have edited it to make it fit our guidelines a little better. If you feel that my edit has changed the meaning of your post, please feel free to edit it again or to reply to this comment by clicking on the "Add Comment" button and pinging me by typing @Daniel at the beginning of your message. –  Daniel Aug 9 '13 at 13:10
    
Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/1114/… –  Daniel Aug 9 '13 at 14:31
    
Somewhat related: noahidenations.com/… –  Seth J Aug 9 '13 at 17:08
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5 Answers

There's a growing movement of people like you, devoted to God but not Jewish, and I suggest that hooking up with that movement may help you find a wife from within it. See Wikipedia on Noahidism.

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You are correct, it's best not to marry someone Jewish.

As said above, you may find someone Noahide.

Otherwise, your best bet is likely to find someone who affiliates (to whatever degree) with a faith that is strictly monotheistic, and if you can have some honest discussion (don't pretend to be something your not for the sake of dating) and work out the personal differences between the two of you, go with that. Unitarianism, the Bahai faith, Sikhism, and Islam would all qualify.

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As others have stated, it is forbidden for a Jew to marry a non-Jew. In fact, "forbidden" is kind of a poor word choice, though it is commonly employed. In the eyes of Judaism, such a marriage cannot exist, and a living arrangement modeled on a marriage is what is forbidden.

In any case, the advice about investigating the Noahide movement is good advice, and you'll likely find your most religiously compatible mate from that set, although there might be limited numbers in that movement.

However, there are likely others like you who are unaffiliated with any particular movement but see worshiping HaShem as correct religious practice. There are many people these days who list themselves on surveys as spiritual or religious/unaffiliated. If any of those surveys are to be believed, there's good likelihood that you'll find your religiously-compatible mate in due time.

If that fails, you could speak to a local rabbi about either 1)converting to Judaism or 2)finding out if they know of anyone who has pursued conversion but dropped it for one reason or another, who might be compatible with your beliefs.

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You're right that a Gentile can't marry a Jew, no matter what you believe, because it's an important commandment that Israelites shouldn't intermarry with other nations.

My personal comment is that I would not marry someone of a different faith than mine (including not believing / seeking God at all), even if it were monotheistic, because they would believe certain things to be revealed from God and important to Him and thus think you were violating them if you didn't follow... or they would have values in life that were so different from yours... or both. In some of those religions, a really devoted person would also feel that you might not be going to Paradise in future etc. and that would be very painful for them. Your belief in Tanach would also mean that they had certain attitudes about Jews and Judaism that you felt were really disregarding certain things that God revealed. Surely you could work around some of those issues but really, it isn't a situation you want to be in, I think.

It is definitely worth getting to know the 'Noachide' community, but don't do it just to get married. I guess you don't want to start off a marriage on the terms that you really wanted to get married and she was the only person of the right religion so...! From personal experience I can say be patient and just keep serving God and growing closer in your relationship with Him and with friends. If you want to become Jewish that is also totally an option for you, but keep in mind that the reason for doing that has got to be that you see the covenant between them and God and want to be a part of it.

If you still have a lot of questions about whether the Jewish faith is true, then it is worth putting the idea of marriage into the background for now. It is hard but worth it to have the space to seek God just for His own ways, in His own time. And you don't want to marry someone who isn't on the same page as you regarding faith.

But know that when you do find someone, if you really seek wisdom about it and ask for God's blessing and very deep integrity in the whole thing... then you should go for it and not worry about whether you or she might change your mind about faith in the future. Having experienced changes in your own faith during life, that might be a fear. But the main thing is that you make your decisions in the truth that you understand, as long as it is solid beneath you, and then keep following God... wherever He leads, whatever He shows you and calls you to respond to. He will help you make your decisions both in the present and the future, the more so as you offer your life to Him more and more.

The kind of person to look for is someone who is on that same page as you about religion, but who even beneath that, even more deeply than her ideas about religion and faith, actually just loves God and wants to seek Him. You should be able to see that her commitment to a faith system is just a product of her relationship with God and complete commitment to following Him. And also, if you don't get married for a long time or at all, I know that would be very hard... but Hashem will lead you and you know, we are never alone because of knowing Him. Keep journeying and although it seems like your marriage options are limited if you listen to the standards I'm saying, I really think (it's only from my perspective) that you'll be so blessed in it. And may God make you a blessing to others as well!

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This a interesting question. Let me clarify my personal religious position before I give my research. I'm a Christian (from gentile background). There is no Jewish blood in me (as far as my knowledge goes).

As a Christian, I also read the Torah. And there was I time in my life that I tried to uphold the commandments from the Torah.

I'm giving examples from Jewish history to argue this point. And this is what I read in the Christian version of the history, as it's recorded in the book we call the Old Testament.

God gave a law to prevent his people to marry gentiles. The purpose for this law is to prevent the Israelites to fall into idolatry. See Deut 7:3-4

Ahab married Jezebel, an gentile who encouraged the worship of Baal. I Kings 16:29-34

Solomon married lots of heathen women, for political reasons. Yet he also started to serve the idols of his foreign wives. Because of this the kingdom divided in the Northern Kingdom and Southern Kingdom. This is one of the best examples that God was not pleased with his disregard of the law not to marry gentiles.

Nehemiah made it very clear that marrying gentiles led to idolatry. He also referred to Solomon. Neh 13:23-27

Yet there are two exceptions to the rule. Ruth and Rehab. Both were gentile women and both married Israelite men. Ruth's statement clarified why she was a well respected women within Bethlehem. Your God, is my God. (Ruth 1:16) This is a statement of faith, in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. We read nowhere a similar statement from Rehab. But through God's mercy, Rehab survived the commandment that everybody in Jerigo should be killed.

The law clearly said that no Moabite may become part of God's people. Yet, Ruth were the great-grandmother of David. Rehab is also one of David's ancestors.

Esther, as another example married a gentile king. God used her in this position to save her people from execution.

When the Hebrews left Egypt, there were Egyptians who joined them and became part of them.

Conclusion: Although God commanded his people not to marry gentiles, there were the exception where God blessed the marriage between a Jew and a gentile.

How should you make the distinction whether it's good to marry someone from a different faith that yours? My best advice is to discuss it with one of the rabbi's you trust, asking questions about these accepted gentile women and the commandment about idolatry.

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