I've read somewhere that God gave the law of divorce to the Jews but not to the Gentiles, quoted some rabbinic opinion about it, didn't say which one. Is there anything to that effect in the Talmud? I would imagine that to support such a basis would be that if there is no official marriage for Gentiles according to the Torah, even if countries established their own marriages it would make them unfeasible in the matter of divorce, which was not something given to them as it was with the Jewish people, I don't know if this logic of mine would have any merit since relations between Gentiles can be created and broken at any time according to great Jewish authorities but the question of institution remains, would Gentiles be appropriating a Jewish heritage by instituting marriage and divorce or do the Torah and the sages recognize that these things predate the Torah and in many peoples?

  • It is a machloket in Yerushalmi Kidushin 1:1:15 if the laws of Divorce was given to Gentiles sefaria.org/… and in the Mishneh Torah Hilchot Melachim (9:8) he seems to pasken that they don't Apr 11, 2023 at 21:45
  • So by that logic divorce would only be possible if it was something of both, for just one?
    – Thales
    Apr 11, 2023 at 21:55
  • I'm a bit confused by this question. Neither marriage nor divorce was invented by Jews, and it is unclear what it would mean for marriages among non-Jews to be "invalid" in Judaism if they had been—does the question posit that Jews would not be permitted to get secular marriages if that were the case? Further, in both Jewish and secular tradition, there are things that originated in Judaism, such as the whole Tanach that serves as the basis of Christianity and Islam. Would this make said religions more "invalid" from a Jewish perspective than, e.g. Hinduism?
    – Obie 2.0
    Apr 12, 2023 at 7:34
  • Indeed, quite a lot in modern societies across the world—but particularly in Europe and the Middle East—originated in Jewish culture. The aforementioned religions, of course, but also many given names, a surprising number of legal principles, various foods (including Communion wafers and kosher hot dogs) and so forth. I would hope that not many people are arguing that merely by dint of having originated in Judaism, these otherwise innocuous practices are negative for Gentiles.
    – Obie 2.0
    Apr 12, 2023 at 7:46
  • But as far as I know, Judaism does not recognize Gentile marriages despite the commandment to obey the laws of the land, so the conception of marriage for Judaism would only be an institution destined for them by God, equally in the matter of divorce, the rest would be a kludge so to speak.
    – Thales
    Apr 12, 2023 at 10:23

1 Answer 1


Although the concept of betrothal does not apply to Gentiles the way it applies to Jews, nevertheless, it is still considered a sin to have a relationship with a Gentile woman who was betrothed, although it is not punishable by death - this can be learned from the fact that the Talmud (Bava Basra 16b) lists this act as one of Esau’s sins - even though it took place before the Torah was given, and there was no official law of betrothal

Regarding the question of it being considered “appropiatian”, Maimonides (laws of kings 10:10) writes that a Gentile may take on any Mitzvah that he wishes (aside from keeping Shabbos, and studying the laws that don’t apply to him)

  • Really great answer!
    – BID
    Apr 12, 2023 at 1:29
  • Perhaps the whole controversy is whether what is forbidden to Gentiles is to appropriate the Jewish divorce, with its demands, criteria and embedded traditions. Perhaps doing so could be classed as appropriation
    – Thales
    May 5, 2023 at 0:22

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