Firstly, is it a sin for a gentile to marry a Jew?

Second, if so, what Noahide law does it break?

Lastly, what is the Teshuvah for that?


2 Answers 2


The rambam's laws of isurei bia chapter twelve (https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/960660/jewish/Issurei-Biah-Chapter-Twelve.htm) talk about this issue:

For starters:

When a Jew engages in relations with a woman from other nations, [taking her] as his wife or a Jewess engages in relations with a non-Jew as his wife, they are punished by lashes, according to Scriptural Law.1 As [Deuteronomy 7:3] states: "You shall not intermarry with them. Do not give your daughter to his son, and do not take his daughter for your son."

This prohibition applies equally to [individuals from] the seven [Canaanite] nations and all other gentiles.2 This was explicitly stated in Ezra3 [Nechemiah 10:31]: "That we will not give our daughters to the gentiles in the land and that we will not take their daughters for our sons."

א יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁבָּעַל עַכּוּ''ם מִשְּׁאָר הָאֻמּוֹת דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁוּת. אוֹ יִשְׂרְאֵלִית שֶׁנִּבְעֲלָה לְעַכּוּ''ם דֶּרֶךְ אִישׁוּת הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ לוֹקִין מִן הַתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים ז ג) "לֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם בִּתְּךָ לֹא תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ וּבִתּוֹ לֹא תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ". אֶחָד שִׁבְעָה עֲמָמִין וְאֶחָד כָּל אֻמּוֹת בְּאִסּוּר זֶה. וְכֵן מְפֹרָשׁ עַל יְדֵי עֶזְרָא (נחמיה י לא) "וַאֲשֶׁר לֹא נִתֵּן בְּנֹתֵינוּ לְעַמֵּי הָאָרֶץ וְאֶת בְּנֹתֵיהֶם לֹא נִקַּח לְבָנֵינוּ":

2 The Scriptural prohibition applies only to marital relations.4 When, by contrast, one engages in relations with a gentile woman with a licentious intent, he is given "stripes for rebellious conduct" according to Rabbinic Law. [This is a] decree, lest this lead to marriage.

If [a Jew] designates [a gentile woman] for licentious relations, he is liable for relations with a niddah, a maid-servant, a gentile woman, and a licentious woman.5 If he did not designate her for himself, but instead, [engage in relations with her] spontaneously, he is only liable for relations with a gentile woman. All of these liabilities are Rabbinic in origin.6

ב וְלֹא אָסְרָה תּוֹרָה אֶלָּא דֶּרֶךְ חַתְנוּת אֲבָל הַבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית דֶּרֶךְ זְנוּת מַכִּין אוֹתוֹ מַכַּת מַרְדּוּת מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים. גְּזֵרָה שֶׁמָּא יָבוֹא לְהִתְחַתֵּן. וְאִם יִחֲדָהּ לוֹ בִּזְנוּת חַיָּב עָלֶיהָ מִשּׁוּם נִדָּה וּמִשּׁוּם שִׁפְחָה וּמִשּׁוּם כּוּתִית וּמִשּׁוּם זוֹנָה. וְאִם לֹא יִחֲדָהּ לוֹ אֶלָּא נִקְרֵאת מִקְרֶה אֵינוֹ חַיָּב אֶלָּא מִשּׁוּם כּוּתִית [ג.] וְכָל חִיּוּבִין אֵלּוּ מִדִּבְרֵיהֶן:

3 When does the above apply? When the man who engaged in relations was an Israelite. If, however, a priest engages in relations with a gentile woman, he is liable for lashes according to Scriptural Law, because of the prohibition against relations with a zonah.7 [This prohibition applies] both to a non-Jewish zonah and a Jewish one. He receives lashes for relations alone, for he cannot consecrate her.8

ג בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁהָיָה הַבּוֹעֵל יִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל כֹּהֵן הַבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית לוֹקֶה מִן הַתּוֹרָה מִשּׁוּם זוֹנָה. וְאֶחָד זוֹנָה כּוּתִית וְאֶחָד זוֹנָה יִשְׂרְאֵלִית. וּבִבְעִילָה בִּלְבַד לוֹקֶה שֶׁהֲרֵי אֵינָהּ בַּת קִדּוּשִׁין:

and then, slightly more relevant to your exact question:

This matter causes one to cling to the gentile nations from whom the Holy One, blessed be He, has separated us, and to turn away from following God and to betray Him.

ח וְדָבָר זֶה גּוֹרֵם לְהִדָּבֵק בְּעַכּוּ''ם שֶׁהִבְדִּילָנוּ הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מֵהֶם וְלָשׁוּב מֵאַחֲרֵי ה' וְלִמְעל בּוֹ:

9 When a gentile engages in relations with a Jewish woman, if she is married, he should be executed.22 If she is single, he is not executed.

ט עַכּוּ''ם הַבָּא עַל בַּת יִשְׂרָאֵל אִם אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ הִיא נֶהֱרַג עָלֶיהָ וְאִם פְּנוּיָה הִיא אֵינוֹ נֶהֱרַג:

10 If, by contrast, a Jewish male enters into relations with a gentile woman, when he does so intentionally, she should be executed.23 She is executed because she caused a Jew to be involved in an unseemly transgression, as [is the law with regard to] an animal.24 [This applies regardless of] whether the gentile women was a minor of three years of age,25 or an adult, whether she was single or married. And it applies even if [the Jew] was a minor of nine years old, [she is executed].26

This [punishment] is explicitly mentioned in the Torah, as [Numbers 31:16-17] states: "Behold they were [involved] with the children of Israel according to the advice of Balaamו.27 Execute any woman fit to know a man through lying with a male."

י אֲבָל יִשְׂרָאֵל הַבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית בֵּין קְטַנָּה בַּת שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד בֵּין גְּדוֹלָה בֵּין פְּנוּיָה בֵּין אֵשֶׁת אִישׁ וַאֲפִלּוּ הָיָה קָטָן בֶּן תֵּשַׁע שָׁנִים וְיוֹם אֶחָד כֵּיוָן שֶׁבָּא עַל הַכּוּתִית בְּזָדוֹן הֲרֵי זוֹ נֶהֱרֶגֶת מִפְּנֵי שֶׁבָּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל תַּקָּלָה עַל יָדֶיהָ כִּבְהֵמָה. וְדָבָר זֶה מְפֹרָשׁ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר לא טז) "הֵן הֵנָּה הָיוּ לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּדְבַר בִּלְעָם" (במדבר לא יז) "וְכָל אִשָּׁה יֹדַעַת אִישׁ לְמִשְׁכַּב זָכָר הֲרֹגוּ


nowadays we don't do executions by the court, but someone should at least know what punishment they deserve, as part of teshua, as we say in krias shmia sheal hamita that people are really "worthy" of the arba miss beis din, and we confess them, although I haven't seen a source that the exact concept applies to goyim, but just knowing the source of the prohibition is important


According to the Rambam one must confess one's sin, privately, although other rishonim disagree. See Rambam's hilchos Teshuva for mroe details:

If a person transgresses any of the mitzvot of the Torah, whether a positive command or a negative command - whether willingly or inadvertently - when he repents, and returns from his sin, he must confess before God, blessed be, He as [Numbers 5:6-7] states: "If a man or a woman commit any of the sins of man... they must confess the sin that they committed."

This refers to a verbal confession. This confession is a positive command.

How does one confess: He states: "I implore You, God, I sinned, I transgressed, I committed iniquity before You by doing the following. Behold, I regret and am embarrassed for my deeds. I promise never to repeat this act again."

These are the essential elements of the confessional prayer. Whoever

confesses profusely and elaborates on these matters is worthy of praise.

Those who bring sin offerings or guilt offerings must also [confess their sins] when they bring their sacrifices for their inadvertent or willful transgressions. Their sacrifices will not atone for their sins until they repent and make a verbal confession as [Leviticus 5:5] states: "He shall confess the sin he has committed upon it."

Similarly, those obligated to be executed or lashed by the court do not attain atonement through their death or lashing unless they repent and confess. Similarly, someone who injures a colleague or damages his property, does not attain atonement, even though he pays him what he owes until he confesses and makes a commitment

never to do such a thing again as implied by the phrase [Numbers, loc. cit..], "any of the sins of man."

כָּל מִצְוֹת שֶׁבַּתּוֹרָה בֵּין עֲשֵׂה בֵּין לֹא תַּעֲשֶׂה אִם עָבַר אָדָם עַל אַחַת מֵהֶן בֵּין בְּזָדוֹן בֵּין בִּשְׁגָגָה כְּשֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה תְּשׁוּבָה וְיָשׁוּב מֵחֶטְאוֹ חַיָּב לְהִתְוַדּוֹת לִפְנֵי הָאֵל בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה ו) "אִישׁ אוֹ אִשָּׁה כִּי יַעֲשׂוּ" וְגוֹ' (במדבר ה ז) "וְהִתְוַדּוּ אֶת חַטָּאתָם אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ" זֶה וִדּוּי דְּבָרִים. וִדּוּי זֶה מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה. כֵּיצַד מִתְוַדִּין. אוֹמֵר אָנָּא הַשֵּׁם חָטָאתִי עָוִיתִי פָּשַׁעְתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ וְעָשִׂיתִי כָּךְ וְכָךְ וַהֲרֵי נִחַמְתִּי וּבֹשְׁתִּי בְּמַעֲשַׂי וּלְעוֹלָם אֵינִי חוֹזֵר לְדָבָר זֶה. וְזֶהוּ עִקָּרוֹ שֶׁל וִדּוּי. וְכָל הַמַּרְבֶּה לְהִתְוַדּוֹת וּמַאֲרִיךְ בְּעִנְיָן זֶה הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח. וְכֵן בַּעֲלֵי חַטָּאוֹת וַאֲשָׁמוֹת בְּעֵת שֶׁמְּבִיאִין קָרְבְּנוֹתֵיהֶן עַל שִׁגְגָתָן אוֹ עַל זְדוֹנָן אֵין מִתְכַּפֵּר לָהֶן בְּקָרְבָּנָם עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה וְיִתְוַדּוּ וִדּוּי דְּבָרִים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא ה ה) "וְהִתְוַדָּה אֲשֶׁר חָטָא עָלֶיהָ". וְכֵן כָּל מְחֻיְּבֵי מִיתוֹת בֵּית דִּין וּמְחֻיְּבֵי מַלְקוֹת אֵין מִתְכַּפֵּר לָהֶן בְּמִיתָתָן אוֹ בִּלְקִיָּתָן עַד שֶׁיַּעֲשׂוּ תְּשׁוּבָה וְיִתְוַדּוּ. וְכֵן הַחוֹבֵל בַּחֲבֵרוֹ וְהַמַּזִּיק מָמוֹנוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁשִּׁלֵּם לוֹ מַה שֶּׁהוּא חַיָּב לוֹ אֵינוֹ מִתְכַּפֵּר עַד שֶׁיִּתְוַדֶּה וְיָשׁוּב מִלַּעֲשׂוֹת כָּזֶה לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר ה ו) "מִכָּל חַטֹּאת הָאָדָם":

In chapter two the Rambam goes into more details regarding this , specifically the issue mentioned here, and adds the other fundamental detail that one must "abandon the sin", which other rishonim generally agree with as well, and adds that confession without abandoning it is nothing:

[Who has reached] complete Teshuvah? A person who confronts the same situation in which he sinned when he has the potential to commit [the sin again], and, nevertheless, abstains and does not commit it because of his Teshuvah alone and not because of fear or a lack of strength.

For example, a person engaged in illicit sexual relations with a woman. Afterwards, they met in privacy, in the same country, while his love for her and physical power still persisted, and nevertheless, he abstained and did not transgress. This is a complete Baal-Teshuvah. This was implied by King Solomon in his statement [Ecclesiastes 12:1] "Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, [before the bad days come and the years draw near when you will say: `I have no desire for them.'"]

If he does not repent until his old age, at a time when he is incapable of doing what he did before, even though this is not a high level of repentance, he is a Baal-Teshuvah.

Even if he transgressed throughout his entire life and repented on the day of his death and died in repentance, all his sins are forgiven as [Ecclesiastes, op. cit.:2] continues: "Before the sun, the light, the moon, or the stars are darkened and the clouds return after the rain..." - This refers to the day of death. Thus, we can infer that if one remembers his Creator and repents before he dies, he is forgiven.

א אֵי זוֹ הִיא תְּשׁוּבָה גְּמוּרָה. זֶה שֶׁבָּא לְיָדוֹ דָּבָר שֶׁעָבַר בּוֹ וְאֶפְשָׁר בְּיָדוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ וּפֵרַשׁ וְלֹא עָשָׂה מִפְּנֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה. לֹא מִיִּרְאָה וְלֹא מִכִּשְׁלוֹן כֹּחַ. כֵּיצַד. הֲרֵי שֶׁבָּא עַל אִשָּׁה בַּעֲבֵרָה וּלְאַחַר זְמַן נִתְיַחֵד עִמָּהּ וְהוּא עוֹמֵד בְּאַהֲבָתוֹ בָּהּ וּבְכֹחַ גּוּפוֹ וּבַמְּדִינָה שֶׁעָבַר בָּהּ וּפָרַשׁ וְלֹא עָבַר זֶהוּ בַּעַל תְּשׁוּבָה גְּמוּרָה. הוּא שֶׁשְּׁלֹמֹה אָמַר (קהלת יב א) "וּזְכֹר אֶת בּוֹרְאֶיךָ בִּימֵי בְּחוּרֹתֶיךָ". וְאִם לֹא שָׁב אֶלָּא בִּימֵי זִקְנוּתוֹ וּבְעֵת שֶׁאִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹ לַעֲשׂוֹת מַה שֶּׁהָיָה עוֹשֶׂה אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינָהּ תְּשׁוּבָה מְעֻלָּה מוֹעֶלֶת הִיא לוֹ וּבַעַל תְּשׁוּבָה הוּא. אֲפִלּוּ עָבַר כָּל יָמָיו וְעָשָׂה תְּשׁוּבָה בְּיוֹם מִיתָתוֹ וּמֵת בִּתְשׁוּבָתוֹ כָּל עֲוֹנוֹתָיו נִמְחָלִין שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (קהלת יב ב) "עַד אֲשֶׁר לֹא תֶחְשַׁךְ הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ וְהָאוֹר וְהַיָּרֵחַ וְהַכּוֹכָבִים וְשָׁבוּ הֶעָבִים אַחַר הַגֶּשֶׁם" שֶׁהוּא יוֹם הַמִּיתָה. מִכְּלָל שֶׁאִם זָכַר בּוֹרְאוֹ וְשָׁב קֹדֶם שֶׁיָּמוּת נִסְלַח לוֹ:

2 What constitutes Teshuvah? That a sinner should abandon his sins and remove them from his thoughts, resolving in his heart, never to commit them again as [Isaiah 55:7] states "May the wicked abandon his ways...." Similarly, he must regret the past as [Jeremiah 31:18] states: "After I returned, I regretted."

[He must reach the level where] He who knows the hidden will testify concerning him that he will never return to this sin again as [Hoshea 14:4] states: "We will no longer say to the work of our hands: `You are our gods.'"

He must verbally confess and state these matters which he resolved in his heart.

ב וּמַה הִיא הַתְּשׁוּבָה. הוּא שֶׁיַּעֲזֹב הַחוֹטֵא חֶטְאוֹ וִיסִירוֹ מִמַּחֲשַׁבְתּוֹ וְיִגְמֹר בְּלִבּוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשֵׂהוּ עוֹד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה נה ז) "יַעֲזֹב רָשָׁע דַּרְכּוֹ" וְגוֹ'. וְכֵן יִתְנַחֵם עַל שֶׁעָבַר שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה לא יח) "כִּי אַחֲרֵי שׁוּבִי נִחַמְתִּי". וְיָעִיד עָלָיו יוֹדֵעַ תַּעֲלוּמוֹת שֶׁלֹּא יָשׁוּב לְזֶה הַחֵטְא לְעוֹלָם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (הושע יד ד) "וְלֹא נֹאמַר עוֹד אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ" וְגוֹ'. וְצָרִיךְ לְהִתְוַדּוֹת בִּשְׂפָתָיו וְלוֹמַר עִנְיָנוֹת אֵלּוּ שֶׁגָּמַר בְּלִבּוֹ:

3 Anyone who verbalizes his confession without resolving in his heart to abandon [sin] can be compared to [a person] who immerses himself [in a mikvah] while [holding the carcass of] a lizard in his hand. His immersion will not be of avail until he casts away the carcass.

This principle is implied by the statement, [Proverbs 28:13], "He who confesses and forsakes [his sins] will be treated with mercy."

It is necessary to mention particularly one's sins as evidenced by [Moses' confession, Exodus 32:31]: "I appeal to You. The people have committed a terrible sin by making a golden idol."

ג כָּל הַמִּתְוַדֶּה בִּדְבָרִים וְלֹא גָּמַר בְּלִבּוֹ לַעֲזֹב הֲרֵי זֶה דּוֹמֶה לְטוֹבֵל וְשֶׁרֶץ בְּיָדוֹ שֶׁאֵין הַטְּבִילָה מוֹעֶלֶת לוֹ עַד שֶׁיַּשְׁלִיךְ הַשֶּׁרֶץ. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר וּמוֹדֶה וְעֹזֵב יְרֻחָם. וְצָרִיךְ לִפְרֹט אֶת הַחֵטְא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמות לב לא) "אָנָּא חָטָא הָעָם הַזֶּה חֲטָאָה גְדלָה וַיַּעֲשׂוּ לָהֶם אֱלֹהֵי זָהָב":

4 Among the paths of repentance is for the penitent to

a) constantly call out before God, crying and entreating;

b) to perform charity according to his potential;

c) to separate himself far from the object of his sin;

d) to change his name, as if to say "I am a different person and not the same one who sinned;"

e) to change his behavior in its entirety to the good and the path of righteousness; and f) to travel in exile from his home. Exile atones for sin because it causes a person to be submissive, humble, and meek of spirit.

ד מִדַּרְכֵי הַתְּשׁוּבָה לִהְיוֹת הַשָּׁב צוֹעֵק תָּמִיד לִפְנֵי הַשֵּׁם בִּבְכִי וּבְתַחֲנוּנִים וְעוֹשֶׂה צְדָקָה כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ וּמִתְרַחֵק הַרְבֵּה מִן הַדָּבָר שֶׁחָטָא בּוֹ וּמְשַׁנֶּה שְׁמוֹ כְּלוֹמַר אֲנִי אַחֵר וְאֵינִי אוֹתוֹ הָאִישׁ שֶׁעָשָׂה אוֹתָן הַמַּעֲשִׂים וּמְשַׁנֶּה מַעֲשָׂיו כֻּלָּן לְטוֹבָה וּלְדֶרֶךְ יְשָׁרָה וְגוֹלֶה מִמְּקוֹמוֹ. שֶׁגָּלוּת מְכַפֶּרֶת עָוֹן מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגּוֹרֶמֶת לוֹ לְהִכָּנַע וְלִהְיוֹת עָנָו וּשְׁפַל רוּחַ:


Yes, it is a sin, because you are causing someone else to sin. And that is a sin.

Teshuvah in general is described as stopping to do the sin and to confess before God. So in this case it would mean leaving the Jewish wife.

From: https://www.lif.ac.il/noahide-universal-law/

Highly instructive are the comments of R. Nissim Gaon[14]in his introduction to the Talmud.[15] After showing that God addresses His commands only to those with the mental capacity to relate to them, R. Nissim asks:

Since anyone who is mentally fit is obliged to keep the commandments, why did God single out Israel to receive the Torah…, are not all men equal in their obligation to keep the commandments?

To which he responds:

All men are indeed obliged by all those commandments of the Torah which are discoverable by logic. Since the creation of the first man, all men have been bound by such commandments, and so they will remain for all generations.[16]

  • 1
    It's a sin for a non Jew to cause someone else to sin? How do you know? Also teshuva isn't exclusively stopping to do the sin. It is part of it, but not the whole story...
    – robev
    Nov 24, 2020 at 11:15
  • @robev added the confession part as well
    – larry909
    Nov 24, 2020 at 13:30
  • I don't understand the relevance to Rav Nissim Gaon. You're suggesting lifnei iver is logical?
    – robev
    Nov 24, 2020 at 18:40
  • @robev yes, lifnei iver should be a logical thing
    – larry909
    Nov 25, 2020 at 1:21

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