May one love a non-Jew? Not romantically in the sense of marriage, but rather in the sense that one loves a friend or family. May a Jew love his Gentile father, for example? May a baal teshuvah continue to love his non-Jewish friends?

I realize the question sounds a bit ridiculous, but it is sources like those cited here that lead me to seek a clear answer.


8 Answers 8


Rabbi Haim Vital Sefer Sha'arei Kedusha 1:5 writes that one should love gentiles.

  • 3
    Excellent Source!! I wish I could up vote more than once!
    – Yirmeyahu
    Feb 16, 2012 at 5:18
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    it's actually Shaare Kedusha 1:5 - "be joyful, even during times of suffering, love all people even gentiles, don't be jealous for anything because like the shadow of the day is our time on the land, hate and call vanity all matters of this world, and eat bread with salt, etc. (a reference to Pirkei Avos 6:4), don't desire anything of the vanities of this world, and run away with all your strength from serara (dominion over others) which buries its possesor."
    – ray
    Feb 12, 2013 at 18:25
  • @R.Sebag I actually went over it and saw that a few months ago but forgot to change it. Thank you for the reminder. Feb 12, 2013 at 23:27
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    this source can be interpreted as mida chasidut not chiyuv like much of the context as he is telling people how to prepare oneself to reach the level of ruach hakodesh, see the intro to the book: dafyomireview.com/shaarei_kedusha.php
    – ray
    Jun 3, 2013 at 6:52

The No'am Elimelech on parshas Vayishlach writes:

והצדיק גם כן אוהב את השם ואת כל אדם בעולם, ועל דרך שאמר רבי יוחנן (ברכות יז): מעולם לא הקדימני אדם שלום בשוק, אפילו נכרי

A tzadik also loves Hashem and every person in the whole world, as is said about Rabbi Yochanan that he would great every person in the market with Shalom..even non Jews.

Undoubtedly the quote from Rav Chayim Vital that Hacham Gabriel brought factored directly or indirectly into the the No'am Elimelech's presentation: "ויאהב את כל הבריות אפילו גויים"..."and he loves every living being, even a non-Jew." which is listed as the opposite of the trait of hatred which he says prevents one from cleaving to G-d.

So while there are very real concept of hating the wicked, which can apply to a Jew or a non-Jew in theory and may not be entirely mutually exclusive with an obligation to love, it is very clear that one is playing with fire since hatred is such negative middah (character trait).

With that in mind it is necessary to recall the words of the Holy Divrei Chaim of Sanz, "First although the poskim have made clear to us that the prohibition against following in the ways of the gentiles, the intention is not, G-d forbid, to belittle the honor of the other nations; for, on the contrary, we are strictly enjoined to honor the nations, both the rulers and the general populace. Even concerning the nation whose yoke rested the most heavily on our necks--that is, the Egyptionas, who imposed a crule servitde upon us -- nevertheless, after the Creator, Blessed be He, took us from there, and we were at the height of exaltation, without fear of any human being, He commanded us, blessed be His name Do not abominate and Egyptian (לא תתעב מצרי; Deuteronomy 23:8), and instructed us not to belittle their honor because in spite of all, we did derive benefit from thir country. All the more so, then, are we obligated to show honor to those countries in the shad of whose protection we rest, and where Hashem, Blessed be He, has caused us to find favor in their eyes, so that they have eased their yoke upon us....." (Divrei Chaim YD 178a, translated in The Sanzer Rav and His Dynasty, Artscroll).

[Finally is should be noted that the entire premise of the post cited in the question has been disproved by the quote from Hacham Gabriel, since the source of the Tanya vis a vi the metaphysical sources of non-Jewish souls has been shown to state one must love gentiles.]


Let's be very clear here. All human beings are created "Btzelem Elokim". Every human being must be loved, just as Gd must be loved. As it says "Veyahavta"

The gemora states clearly that the Torah begins with the story of Adam, so that no person may say to another person that they have better ancestors.

  • 2
    All human beings are created "Btzelem Elokim". Not everybody agrees with it, e.g daatemet.org.il/articles/article.cfm?article_id=119&lang=he Feb 16, 2012 at 8:16
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    And they are wrong. Furthermore that website is full of statements which are taken out of context (i.e. their sugyot), and appears to be full of ignorance.
    – avi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 8:23
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    If someone has to lie to prove their point, then there isn't a point to be made :)
    – avi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 9:41
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    No, it is lying. The fact that I treat my parents and siblings better than I treat other Jews, does not mean that Other Jews were not created in the Image of Gd, and does not mean I don't have to love them. Chal V'Chomer the rest of humanity, where we are told explicitly that they are created in Gd's image.
    – avi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 10:15
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    @malenkiy_scot Why do you continue to post false quotes? He asked a question and rejected that opinion! רבי חיים וויטאל יצ"ו לבאר לי את דעתו בזה, אם בכלל חביב אדם שנברא בצלם נכנסים בני נח אם לאו. והשיב לי כי בוודאי שאין הרשעים בכלל ... ואחר שאדם הראשון נברא בצלם, And the source of that quote isn't even well respected, nor is he a perush.
    – avi
    Feb 16, 2012 at 14:10

See the sources on pages 6 through 10 in this book, Compassion for Humanity in the Jewish Tradition by R' Dovid Sears, which can be read for free here:


Several of these quotes discuss loving non-Jews.

The quotes include the following, among others:

1) a beautiful quote from Sefer HaBris II: 13 which argues that one should love all humanity,

2) a second quote from the same chapter of the same work attempting to prove that the commandment to love one's neighbor applies to all people,

3) an anecdote indicating that the famed chassidic rabbi Pinchas of Koretz was very pleased with the teaching of Sefer HaBris that we should love all people,

4) a longer version of the quote by R' Chaim Vital mentioned in another answer,

5) a quote from the Maharal of Prague about how we should love all creatures,

6) an extended quote from Rav Kook about how we should love all creatures and all humanity.

7) a quote from Ramak's Tomer Devorah, ch. 3, about how we should help and pray for and have compassion on all creatures.

  • This might be better as a comment to the answer you're referring to. Alternatively, if you summarize what is said, that can stand as its own answer. Feb 12, 2013 at 18:20
  • I'm going to convert to a comment to Yirmeyahu's answer, as it is currently a link only answer and convertable anyway. Kordovero, if you decide to you can summarize the contents of the link and post it as its own answer, whereby the comment can be deleted.
    – Double AA
    Feb 12, 2013 at 18:22
  • @Kordovero That's a great book.
    – SAH
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:27

One must love everyone, even non-Jews but at the same time one MUST hate evil - but just not the evildoers, otherwise one will become corrupted.

this a delicate balance and it is very well explained in this sermon from Rabbi Louis Isaac Rabinowitz zt'l the former chief rabbi of South africa: (one of my all-time favorites)


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    "but just not the evildoers, otherwise one will become corrupted." I disagree with your interpretation of the cited book excerpt; e.g. see the last three paragraphs of the excerpt. It's possible he meant to distinguish between different degrees or types of evil. For example an ordinary sinner may be different than the kind of extremely evil person referred to in T'hillim 139:19-22. (There may be an opinion that one should never hate any person ever, but R' Rabinowitz did not seem to take that position). Also to clarify, I don't argue with the first six or seven words of your post.
    – Fred
    Mar 10, 2013 at 18:16
  • i was explaining it as a follow up to the previous answer from sharei kedusha
    – ray
    Jun 3, 2013 at 7:38

The Mishnah in Avot Chapter 1 Mishna 12 says: "Hillel said: Be of the students of Aharon, love peace (shalom), pursue peace, love people, and bring them close to Torah.

Masechet Avot is the repository of Torah ethics as passed on from Hashem to Moshe to the Jewish people, as explained by the commentators on the first Mishnah of Avot.

  • I think the reason why the Torah commandments about loving people are vague and open to interpretation is because Hashem understands that the gentile world is constantly evolving, so it is hard to know who is really a committed follower of the Torah and a friend of the Jewish people. Nonetheless, there is a moral obligation to develop love for humankind, to make peace in the world, and to make a kiddush Hashem. One day the whole world will commit to serve Hashem together as one, and I understand that at that point all Rabbis will rule that it is a complete Torah obligation to love all people. Sep 13, 2015 at 15:58

Commentary of Leviticus 19:18 by Rabbi Raphael Samson Hirsch

ואהבת לרעך כמוך אני ה'. זה כלל מסכם לכל התנהגותנו החברתית - בדיעות, במלים ובמעשים.. ידוע מאמרו של הלל: "דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד"..."השנוי עליך א-ל תעשה לחברך": הרי כאן שוויון גמור לכל - כעיקרון מנחה לכל פעולותינו; על - פי זה נדרוש את שלום רענו כשלומנו; נהפוך אנוכיות ואהבה עצמית לאהבת ריע ולשמירת כבודו; נלמד לאהוב ולכבד כל נברא בשוויון גמור עמנו. אכן מושג "חברך" במשמעותו הרחבה כולל כל נברא, ולא רק כל אדם; ובמשמעות רחבה זו הרי כאן באמת תמצית כל התורה. שהרי זו כל כוונת התורה: היא מרחיקה אותנו מכל "סני": מכל המתנגד באיבה לשלומנו ולשלום כל נברא שבחברתנו

"Love your neighbor's well-being as if it were your own; I am God," is the summarizing final maxim for the whole of our social behavior, in feelings, word, and deed. Hillel’s interpretation of this as: “That which is hateful to you don’t do to someone else” imposes complete equality of all as the guiding principle of all of our deeds, makes everyone take to heart the weal and woe of everybody else, changes selfishness…into consideration and love of one’s neighbor. The concept of “your neighbor” extends the ideas beyond the narrow confines of your fellow men to the idea of fellow creatures, so that in fact this sentence does contain the contents of the whole Torah, which indeed is nothing else, but the teaching of avoiding everything which is contrary and hateful to the happiness and well-being of ourselves and to that of the fellow creatures who enjoy existence down here in this world.


From the Hertz Chumash, written by the former Chief Orthodox Rabbi of the United Kingdom from 1913-1946. Commentary to Leviticus 19:18

Though the founder of Christianity quotes ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself’ as the old Biblical command of recognized central importance, many Christian theologians maintain that the Heb. Word for ‘neighbor’ (rea) in this verse refers only to the fellow-Israelite. Its morality therefore is only tribal. But the translation of the Heb. Word rea by ‘fellow-Israelite’ is incorrect. One need not be a Hebrew scholar to convince oneself of the fact that rea means neighbour of whatever race or creed. Thus in Exodus XI, 2 – ‘Let them ask every man of his neighbour, and every woman of her neighbour, jewels of silver, etc.’ – the Heb. Word for neighbour cannot possibly mean ‘fellow-Israelite’, but distinctly refers to the Egyptians. As in all the moral precepts of Scripture, the word neighbour in Lev. XIX, 18, is equivalent to ‘fellow-man’, and it includes in its range every human being by virture of his humanity.

Additional Leviticus Notes (Page 563 of the Hertz Chumash)

"The Golden Rule In Judaism - The world at large is unaware of the fact that this comprehensive maxim of morality - the golden rule of human conduct - was first taught by Judaism... "In the generation after the destruction of the temple, rabbi Akiba declares ' "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself" is a fundamental rule in the Torah.' His contemporary, Ben Azzai agrees that this law of love is such a fundamental rule, provided it is read in conjunction with Gen. V, 1 ('This is the book of the generations of man. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him'); for this latter verse teaches reverence for the divine image in man, and proclaims the vital truth of the unity of mankind, and the consequent doctrine of the brotherhood of man. All men are created in the Divine image, says Ben Azzai; and, therefore, all are our fellowmen and entitled to human love."


of course you should. there is never too much love in the world. if being involved with mitzvas and learning Torah doesn't produce caring about others and being kind then something is severely wrong. One thing to take into consideration as a baal teshuvah is who are friends were before becoming involved with Judaism and their influence on us now. While you should never be mean to them your interaction with them will be different. kosher food, shabbos, not being involved with the same activities as before, respectfully as declining invitations to events within churches and other foreign religious places of worship. There also may be friends previously had who would be best to distance yourself from if they happen to be involved in negative behavior or will have a negative impact on your growth as a spiritualy connected person. One must always honor their parents but of course doesn't require one to fulfill their wishes if doing so is contrary to Jewish law. Love for another doesn't mean giving up one's own identity but finding common ground on which to communicate. So yes one should love others but understand who I am and how I must must conduct myself within Jewish law.

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