While the various opinions about shituf have been discussed already.

Somewhat recently, however, I heard a Rav speak on the topic who seemed to take it for granted that shituf was only permitted when the "partner" deity wasn't worshiped. According to the opinions that permit shituf for non-Jews, are they allowed to worship it as well? If not what constitutes worship that is prohibited?

  • I think it depends on the deity and how they are worshiping it. If the non-jew's deity is physical, or they worship a physical representation of the deity, then it's Avodah Zara. However, if the deity is incorporeal, and they just pray to it, then that would be a permitted form of shituf. Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/9055/…
    – zaq
    Commented Jan 4, 2012 at 20:36
  • Permitted for Jews if they don't worship? What does believing without worshipping mean? I believe you have the power to post a question on Mi Yodea. I don't think that makes you a deity.
    – JNF
    Commented Oct 20, 2012 at 20:41
  • The gemara is talking about mentioning Hashem and another as if equals. Doesn't sound like worshiping. Doesn't even sound to me like believing in the second entity. It would really help if you can ask the rav what he meant (even better if he has sources).
    – JNF
    Commented Oct 21, 2012 at 6:12
  • What does shittuf have to do with worship? Shittuf is a rule about naming things and oaths. See it's source in the Talmud: Sukkah 45b
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 4, 2013 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


The simplest explanation for what this rabbi was saying is that he assumes that shittuf is prohibited; therefore when Tosafos says that בני נח לא הוזהרו על השיתוף what that means is that in the context of a שבועה there is no prohibition for the ב"נ to mention another being, but there is still a prohibition to worship another being. However, according to those acharonim who understand Tosafos broadly, this would obviously include worship--since the whole discussion is about Christianity.

Alternatively, I would suggest that the rabbi in question was making a different distinction between two types of shittuf, following R. Yaakov Emden in She'eilas Yaavetz 1:41. R. Yaakov Emden distinguishes between belief in multiple gods which are viewed as equal vs. belief in one supreme God “combined” with worship of lower beings. According to R. Yaakov Emden, the former is considered idolatry even for gentiles whereas the latter is permitted for gentiles. [See also Mor u-ketziah, ed. A. Bombach (Jerusalem, 1996), sec. 224, p. 267 and notes there.]

  • Hi, can you please insert a link about the text of She'eilas Yaavetz 1:41 by Yaavetz?
    – Amos74
    Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 18:14

Since no responses have been given so far, I allow myself to write my opinion.

I have not found a source similar to what you are asking. However, regarding Jewish beliefs and avoda zara I know the following:

  • The rambam in his 13 foundations starts with believing Hashem exists and is one and alone. So if anyone as much as thinks otherwise - it is kfira b'ikar. Even to tose who count the ikarim differently this would be either kfira b'ikar or, at any rate, a false belief.
  • Avoda zara, as any other sin, is only punishable when there are עדים and התראה. If there is no מעשה of קבלת אלוה or worshipping - beis din don't have much to do about it (Rambam).

Regarding the question - gentiles seem to share the same prohibition as we do - including receiving death penalty on the same actions (Rambam, Chabad).

Tosfot says It is not fobidden to them, and to have a gentile be meshtef (take a vow saying the name of Hashem and an idol) isn't לפני עיור (as opposed to giving him an אבר מן החי etc.). So the Rma wrote as well. However, we wouldn't actively "allow" them to do so, even if they're not עובדי עבודה זרה they would be considered "mistaken". (Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, towards the end - הדעות בהלכה)

  • I don't disagree with anything you write, but the question is specifically about those who "permit" shituf for non-Jews and its parameters.
    – Yirmeyahu
    Commented Oct 24, 2012 at 14:29
  • @Yirmeyahu, from the lashon of tosfos I understand they are not forbidden to recite them together in speech. And still, they don't permit it, just say that those people aren't totally עובדי עבודה זרה. I don't see how anyone would "allow" (the phrase in your question) it. If a goy wants to observe 7 bnei noach mitzvot noone would say it could be b'shituf.
    – JNF
    Commented Oct 25, 2012 at 9:46
  • @JNF The Ramo writes that non-Jews are not warned against shituf (OH 156:1). So they indeed could be fully compliant with the sheva mitzvos bnei noach and still do shituf.
    – Curiouser
    Commented Nov 26, 2012 at 14:23
  • @Curiouser But you (or Ram"a) wouldn't recommend it
    – JNF
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 6:30
  • @JNF You didn't write recommend, you wrote "allow". And the Ramo would allow it. He writes it explicitly. If you aren't proscribed from something, it is, strictly speaking, allowed. And if you look at what R. Yaakov Emden writes on the topic (in Luach Eresh and elsewhere), you'll see that he might indeed "recommend" it, as he felt non-Jewish religions were positive for non-Jews.
    – Curiouser
    Commented Nov 27, 2012 at 11:54

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