Moshe's wife was the daughter of a Midianite priest so she was not Jewish. Does this in fact mean Moshe's sons Gershom and Eliezer were not Jewish as well? There are various questions on Mi Yodeya regarding Moshe's offspring but I did not find anything regarding their being Jewish or not.

  • 2
    Moses' sons are Jewish axiomatically, as Moses could not have relations with a gentile woman, he must have converted her first.
    – Al Berko
    Jul 23, 2019 at 19:53
  • Prior to mattan Torah patrilineal descent was common; in fact, it was the norm Jul 23, 2019 at 20:28
  • @JoshK If you can find a source for this, by all means, contradict my answer!
    – DanF
    Jul 23, 2019 at 20:30
  • They at the very least converted along with everyone at Mount Sinai. You're asking if they were born Jewish?
    – robev
    Jul 23, 2019 at 23:18
  • @robev there's debate as to whether or not they were there (dependant on when Yitro arrived with them, after all) Jul 23, 2019 at 23:23

2 Answers 2


I'm inferring yes.

We see that God was angry that Moshe had not circumcised Gershom, and Tzipporah had to do it. While we know that technically, Gentiles have circumcised their children, there is no obligation to do so. The fact that God was angry implies that Moshe was obligated to do this meaning that Gershom (and, by further inference, Eliezer) were Jewish

  • It seems from the simple reading of Bereshit 17:10-14 that the mitzvah of milah is incumbent on all of Avraham’s descendants. Which would include the descendants of Ishmael, Zimran, Yakshan, Medan, Midyan, Yishbak, and Shuach. There’s also the descendants of Esav. However since Hashem’s promise was fulfilled through all of Yaakov’s descendants, which Gershom and Eliezer were, it should be fit that they’re included with klal Yisroel. Jan 4, 2021 at 17:33
  • @menachem Eliyahu .. mitzva of mila is for zera avraham abd pasuk says biyitschak kara licha zera. And not all of yitschak. That comes to exclude yishmael and Esav from mila.
    – Shlomy
    Jan 4, 2021 at 21:02

The Zais Ranaan on the Mechilta shemos 18:2 says it's a machlokes tanaim whether Moshe converted his wife tzipora or not before marrying her. The one that holds he didn't convert her would hold Moshes sons were not Jewish. Most mefarshim indeed argue with the Zais Ranaan and hold everyone agrees Moshe converted his wife.

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