There are two opinions.

In some cases I’ve heard that God rewards anyone that obeys Torah.

Also, I think I read somewhere in Exodus that anyone living in Israel, be they foreigners or not, must not work on Sabbath or face the death penalty. Would the guy that got stoned for picking sticks have been spared if he had said, “I am not Jewish any more” (because, as a non-Jew he is supposed to break the Sabbath)?

In other cases, I have heard it said that non-Jews should not follow Torah. In particular, Sabbath observance is a no-no.

Which one is right?

And in what way?

Say, because I am not Jewish I must not follow Torah. Should I kill, steal, murder, etc.?

Should I work on the Sabbath?

What’s the difference?

  • I can not answer your questions but i would like to point you to a question someone asked. You might get some answers. judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/20403/…
    – Binyamin
    Commented Sep 30, 2012 at 18:34
  • 8
    I wish people would stop downvoting basic questions that may reflect a lack of knowledge, but are still good questions in principle!
    – SAH
    Commented Mar 18, 2013 at 16:10
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    @SAH The question doesn't explain where he got these two opinions from.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 19:11
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    @SAH "I think I read somewhere in exodus" is rather weak, especially when it's inaccurate.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 3:45
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    @SAH That verse says nothing about living in israel or death penalties, if that is even what the OP referred to.
    – Double AA
    Commented May 22, 2015 at 4:01

5 Answers 5


Would the guy that got stoned for picking sticks spared if he said, I am not jewish anymore

It's not possible to do that. No matter what a person does (even if he tries to convert), once Jewish, always Jewish.

On others it's says that non jews should not follow Torah. In particular sabbath observance is no no.

Not "In particular" but rather "specifically". Non-jews should not keep Shabbath - but it does not say non-jews should not follow the Torah, in fact quite the opposite, they should, and they will be rewarded for it. Note that some of the laws in the Torah are specifically for Jews, and for a non-jew to do them would be pointless. But not the rest.

Say, because I am not jewish I must not follow Torah. Should I kill, steal, murder, etc.?

This one is actually specifically commanded to non-jews as well, in the form of the 7 laws of Noah. If you have not heard of that, please google it, there are lots of good sites with info.

Should I work on Sabbath? What's the difference?

The difference is that Shabbath was specifically commanded to Jews. Some commandments were given to humanity as a whole, others were given just to Jews. Someone who is not Jewish does not need to observe those, his soul simply does not require it in order to be fulfill it's mission in life.

  • What about the idea that foreigners in Israel land would be stoned too if they work on Sabbath. Also the commandment that even animals must not work on Sabbath?
    – user4951
    Commented Oct 1, 2012 at 0:53
  • What part of Torah gentiles should follow and what part gentiles do not have to? Is there anything in Torah mentioning which part is "jewish only"?
    – user4951
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 9:26
  • Why are we so sure that the 'ish' of the verse was Jewish.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented May 15, 2015 at 18:39
  • This could be much improved with sources.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 2:18

I'll try to clarify:

The Jews have 613 commandments; non-Jews have the seven Noahide laws:


  • Murder
  • Idolatry
  • Adultery/incest/bestiality/etc.
  • Eat a limb torn off a live animal
  • Curse G-d
  • Steal


  • Establish and uphold laws necessary for the functioning of society (i.e. vote and pay your taxes!)

Yes the Bible says "don't work on Sabbath, you ... or your ox ... or the foreigner around you." But the Talmud points out that as cutting grass from the earth is considered "work", does that mean my ox isn't allowed to go eat? No! Rather, the Bible is saying: "Don't work on sabbath, and don't make your ox or a foreigner work on your behalf. (In the reiteration of the Ten Commandments, it actually fills in -- "so they can rest too.") By the way, sometimes when the Bible says "foreigner" ("Ger" in Hebrew), it means a non-Jew; other times it means a convert.

So we have no expectation whatsoever of non-Jews keeping anything other than the seven laws. As stated above, the Talmud actually says it's tricky if non-Jews study Torah (it's described as "an heirloom for the people of Jacob") or keep the sabbath ("it is forever a sign between [G-d] and the children of Israel") because those are described as highlighting the special role of the Jewish people. But otherwise -- you want to eat pork? Fine. You don't? Also fine. Really makes no difference to us.

Someone Jewish can not, however, just up and declare themselves not-Jewish and thus get out of the 613 (actually, out of the remaining 606). If someone wasn't born Jewish and then converted, in theory conversion is instant and irreversible; however, conversion requires full commitment. If someone's actions right after conversion prove that the commitment was a joke, that means that no conversion happened to begin with.

  • Oh so Foreigners does not have to rest on Sabbath but they can if they want to. That's nice.
    – user4951
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 9:21
  • Tax is robbery. Where in the bible does it say that we have to pay tax?
    – user4951
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 9:25
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    @JimThio "establish a society of laws." I haven't yet figured out how to do that wihout taxes to pay for it. Want more proof that the Bible accepts taxes? "And king Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel" (I Kings 5:27); or "And [the king] will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards" (I Samuel 8:15). Or Deuteronomy 17:17: "The king may not accumulate too much gold and silver for himself." If he can't tax, how does he get gold and silver to begin with? Or for non-Jewish kings, try Esther 10:1: "And the king Ahasuerus laid a tribute upon the land, and upon the isles of the sea."
    – Shalom
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 10:24
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    @JimThio to answer a bit better -- there were Roman tax collectors who took whatever they wanted from whomever they wanted, that was considered theft. Governments applying rules of taxation is not theft. Similarly, if a body mints money that people use, it's a "government" and allowed to collect taxes.
    – Shalom
    Commented Oct 29, 2013 at 11:42
  • How about the annual half shekel poll tax? Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 5:18

All of humanity should obey Torah. It's how Torah applies to you is what is pertinent. A Jewish woman is going to do halacha for the Jewish woman. If you're a Jewish man, this won't necessarily apply to you.

The question you should be asking, is what type of non-Jew am I and what halacha applies to that type of non-Jew. Here's a quick list of types of non-Jews that have different halacha:

  1. Nochri
  2. Goy(stam Goy)/A"KUM
  3. bnei Noach
  4. Chassidei Umot haOlam
  5. ger toshav
  6. eved canaani
  • 1
    Sources? [15 char]
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Apr 20, 2017 at 2:20

I as a Hasidic Bnei Noach (been one for a while) go beyond the 7, righteous mitzvot (from intellect) and i wear tefillin, why? Because I believe in the oneness of G-d and oneness of his name, and that he is the G-d of Eretz Yisrael. Also because the Sh'ma whats recited in it, (Acceptance of oneness of G-d, to bless his kingdom and after that to love him with all heart, soul and might) and i wear the Tefillin With right intentions and respect of the tefillin not putting it on ground etc, and to seperate myself from the Jewish people on tefillin, I don't wear it everyday, but every OTHER day with the intention that is voluntarily done and not as an obligation or commandment when i do lay tefillin. There is no prohibition anywhere either against a B'nei Noach wearing tefillin. If you beleive in the oneness of G-d and his name, and that hes the G-d of israel and you love him, and your not laying tefillin thinking about Jesus or gurus or OTHER gods, no Avodah Zarah, then whats the harm ? Isnt that the basis of Tefillin ?

  • 1
    Thank you for sharing your experience. Are you basing your practices on particular source, or something you heard fomr an authority? This site places emphasis on source. See this Beginners' Guide: meta.judaism.stackexchange.com/a/3887/8775.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Oct 13, 2016 at 3:00

Gentiles SHOULD follow Torah. I get very upset at this tradition that says they shouldn't. It's wrong and against Torah!!! Yes, foreigners were punished for not keeping the Sabbath too, and we must remember that there was a mixed multitude which came out of Egypt. In Leviticus 5 we are told that things like robbery, swearing falsely, extortion, etc are wrong. Torah says to take care of the poor and help poor people in a way that lets them keep their dignity, abd to leave some food in the edges of our fields for poor people and foreigners to pick, to kerp honest scales for doing business, to treat strangers well, to honor HaShem once a week by honoring the fact that he created ALL things and people, to be faithful to our husband or wife, etc. We are told not to curse deaf people or trip blind people. And of course not to turn to idols. These things were commanded to Israel only but are the only moral thing for ALL people to do. Tradition aside (yes, I said it), do we REALLY believe that HaShem wants all the people of the earth to be morally corrupt and die in their sins while we pat ourselves? Remember that Isaiah taught that Israel is to be a light to the Gentiles, not teaching them to forsake His righteousness just because they dont belong to the club. That attitude and tradition is against the very design HaShem had for the world from the time of Adam and Eve and that kind of apathy is what is wrong with this world in the first place. I respect the sages and rabbis, but when one of them teaches something that disagrees with the words of G-d, we must follow G-d instead. The 7 Noahide lawd are a good start, but they leave out some important lessons that can only be learned in Torah, and we should be teaching that when someone like this gentleman asks a real question about Torah. Moses did say not to add to it OR take away from it.

So yes sir, Gentiles should follow Torah, but be careful about what you hear because the Torah speaks for itself and people like to turn it into their own thing. The rabbis can be a great help with great advice, but even they are not HaShem and their advice about how to do Torah should always be compared to the scriptures. And no, you do not need to "convert" to Judaism to serve G-d as He wants. This also is not found in Torah. Obeying Hashem is something you can choose even without conversion.

Please read:

Isaiah 2:2-4, 2:22, 42:1-10, 49:7-8, 55:1-9, 56:1-8, 66:16-18, 52:13—53:12, Micah 4:1-7, Jeremiah 31:28-34.


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