Is the Shulchan Aruch not consistent with the idea taught today that you can have Secular Jews / Halachically Jewish non-believing Jews?

For example


Seif 5 An (true) apostate*, even against one Jewish law, or if he is a Jew who worships foreign gods or who publicly desecrates the sabbath, or an apostate against all of torah apart from these two they have the status of non Jews *(Cuthean was added by the censors).*a Mumar Lehachis is someone who sins (in heresy) out of anger to G-d.


No doubt it's not saying they are permitted to not keep the Torah.

But, when it says they have the status of a non-jew, does that mean that somebody Jewish cannot marry them, it'd be like marrying out to do so?

If they were to have the status of a non-jew in some ways, and the status of a jew in other ways, then in what ways do they have the status of a Jew, and in what ways do they have the status of a non-jew(while they are an apostate and public desecrator of shabbat).


He's not saying they're permitted to eat pork or drive on Shabbos, like non-Jews. He's saying that Chazal penalized such a Jew to treat their shechitah (ritual slaughter) as invalid as if a non-Jew did it (as evident from the context of the quote). There are other aspects which they're equated to a non-Jew, but they're still Jewish and obligated in the Torah

  • You write "He's not saying they're permitted to eat pork or drive on Shabbos, like non-Jews" <-- This is a strawman argument you are making, I never suggested such a thing
    – barlop
    Mar 16 '21 at 21:38
  • It says they have the status of a non-jew, so that should mean a Jew cannot marry them, for example?
    – barlop
    Mar 16 '21 at 21:42
  • It's not a strawman, as your question implied you see him ruling these Jews as completely non Jewish in every way. It is that implication I am rejecting. If your question is "in what way are they considered non Jews", then I'd rewrite your question. Which I see you did. Also, see judaism.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1332/1739
    – robev
    Mar 17 '21 at 6:22
  • @barlop you are indeed permitted to marry them. We do not accept their slaughter or wine as kosher, we do not accept their testimony in a Beit Din (Jewish court) and at one time we did not count them for a minyan or drink non-Mevushal wine they had touched (most no longer abide by these latter two elements as they apply those willfully and purposefully breaking the law rather than being raised non-religious). For all other purposes, they are considered Jewish. A quick web search will provide any more information you might desire
    – Josh K
    Mar 17 '21 at 7:38
  • @robev I didn't "rewrite" it, I added some further explanation
    – barlop
    Mar 17 '21 at 7:44

It seems that your question revolves around what the actual meaning of מומר להכעיס translates as in proper English.

The best translation is someone who is a malicious apostate, meaning someone who abandons their religious faith with intent to do evil.

See for example, Mishneh Torah, Laws of Teshuvah, 3:9.

Such a person must know, in truth and with correctness, 1) what their religious faith actually is and 2) must be rejecting it with intent to accomplish evil.

It is in this context that many of the Gedolim in the last several generations, for example Rabbi Moshe Feinstein and the Lubavitcher Rebbe to name just two, have held the view that such people do not exist in our generation.

The vast majority of people have no idea what the Torah actually teaches and what our faith is. Rather, the view is that the majority today are considered to be like Jews who were kidnapped by non-Jews as infants and who have little to no knowledge that they are Jews or what it requires of them.

It was in this context that Reb Moshe said our generation actually merits for the final redemption to be in the most positive way because most are exempt from any type of negative judgement whatsoever.

So the particular law you are referencing in Shulchan Aruch is still relevant and consistent with todays thinking and view in the context of traditional, Orthodox Judaism. It is only that there are no people to which it applies.

  • 1
    This does not answer the question, which seeks to clarify what it means that Chazal made someone like a non-Jew. You answered that it's not applicable anymore.
    – robev
    Mar 17 '21 at 18:25
  • 1
    @robev The heading/title to the question is whether the view about malicious apostates having the status of non-Jew like is found in Shulchan Aruch is consistent with the position today that there are what the OP terms 'secular/non-believing Jews' that are considered halachically Jewish. Their presumption is that these 2 groups are the same category and are thus inconsistent. That presumption is wrong and is exactly what my answer addresses. Those non-observant Jews today are 100% Jewish. The ruling in Shulchan Aruch is still valid but doesn't apply to the current circumstance. Mar 17 '21 at 19:04
  • 1
    I agree the title of the question is vague but you're supposed to read the actual question before answering it...
    – robev
    Mar 17 '21 at 19:06

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