In my understanding, the command to rebuke a sinner only applies if we have reason to believe the sinner will listen. As example, an atheist Jew who breaks Shabbat and won’t listen to rebuke there’s not obligation to rebuke them. My question is, conversely, if one claims faith in Judaism but is a non-halachic convert, is there obligation of rebuke against them? Because as example gentiles aren’t supposed to keep Shabbat to some views.

As example, in my life I am acquaintance with a “convert” under a conservative beit din (one of the three on it was a woman “rabbi”), he claims to be “non binary,” is gay, and thinks he’s a Jew. Should I explain to him (since he nominally believes in Judaism as a framework) why his “conversion” has no validity until he goes before an orthodox beit din so he won’t do things like observe Shabbat or serve Jews wine.

  • As a practical matter, the principle of "don't rebuke if they won't listen" will likely be in play if the rebuker maintains a scornful attitude toward the target's religious or lifestyle choices.
    – Isaac Moses
    Jan 10 at 18:34
  • 1
    @Kirk your second paragraph seems to be very nearly a solicitation of halakhic advice in place of a rabbi (which goes against MiYodeya guidelines) - perhaps you can make some minor edits to alleviate that concern. Jan 10 at 19:25

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that you have no obligation to rebuke someone for behaving as a Jew despite your understanding that they are not Jewish.

The commandment you cite is entitled by the Sefer Hachinuch (#239) "מִצְוַת תּוֹכֵחָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁאֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג כַּשּׁוּרָה" - "The commandment of rebuke to an Israelite who does not behave properly." Clearly (and I'm unaware of any other authority who disputes this), the commandment only applies if the target is Jewish.1

So, by construction, this commandment cannot apply to the situation you describe. If the target's conversion was invalid, then they are not Jewish, and you have no obligation to rebuke them. If the target's conversion was valid, then they are Jewish, and by acting as a Jew, they are behaving properly.

1. In fact, Rashi on Sanhedrin 75a explicitly excludes a ger toshav - a righteous non-Jew - from being a rebuke target. The Gemara there discusses why Elisha responded apparently approvingly to an apparent sin by Naaman, an Aramean general. Rashi, in explaining the issue, comments "... נהי דלהוכיחו לא היה מצווה דהוכח תוכיח את עמיתך כתיב (ויקרא יט) ולא גר תושב מיהו אודויי לדבר איסור לא לודויי " - "... granted that he wouldn't be commanded to rebuke him, for it's written 'You shall surely rebuke your kinsman' (Lev. 19), excluding a ger toshav; however, he shouldn't approve of a forbidden action." Thank you to @Deuteronomy for this source!


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