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.

אַתָּה וּבִנְךָ וּבִתֶּךָ עַבְדְּךָ וַאֲמָתְךָ וּבְהֶמְתֶּךָ וְגֵרְךָ אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ

Why would the Torah List animal before the Geirim?

share|improve this question
Although this does not answer the question, it is interesting to note that Yonasan Ben Uziel leaves out the animals in this Posuk! –  Gershon Gold Jan 17 '11 at 0:05
Very intresting indeed maybe check the perushim on the targum –  SimchasTorah Jan 17 '11 at 0:13

1 Answer 1

up vote 13 down vote accepted

I would think it's simply this:

The first few items - "your sons, daughters, servants, maidservants, and animals" - are all under your direct control. It is your personal responsibility to make sure that they rest and don't work on Shabbos.

The convert, on the other hand, doesn't belong to you. You should teach him what to do and what not to do, but you don't have the power to compel his observance - that would be up to the beis din.

So the convert is in a separate category, and naturally has to be listed separately.

share|improve this answer
I'll point out that the ger mentioned here is not a convert, but rather a ger toshav (resident non-Jew). The convert is addressed by "you", earlier on the verse (i.e. he himself is obligated to observe shabbat, like any other Jewish person). The ger toshav then may not be used as a Shabbos goy, which created problems for Rav Kook at one point when he endeavored to argue that Muslims were by definition gerei toshav (he said this in the context of selling the land for shmittah). –  Ze'ev Felsen May 12 '11 at 15:34
@Ze'ev Felsen, first of all, welcome to Judaism.SE. And thanks for pointing that out - it actually never occurred to me that it could be talking about a ger toshav, but you're right, that's how Ramban explains the verse. (Although then he quotes the Mechilta which says that it is indeed referring to a convert - with a later verse, Ex. 23:12, speaking of a ger toshav.) –  Alex May 12 '11 at 17:03
This is somewhat supported by the Trop –  Double AA May 4 '14 at 20:55
@DoubleAA could you please elaborate on what you mean by your statement? I'm ignorant of what you're referring to, but this directly relates to my study of bnei Noach and ger toshav so I'm highly curious. –  EhevuTov Feb 9 at 21:15

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.