I read a comment made on another question that regardless of how they are worded, blessings that are made in communal prayer can only be prayed by someone who is obligated to them.

The idea that non-Jews shouldn't make blessings for things that were commanded only to the Jewish people, or say lines referring to things like 'our ancestors', makes sense to me. These are important. But I've never come across the thought that gentiles can't pray more or less beside the community in the synagogue or in Jewish homes.

Are there any opinions or sources about this perspective? Even individual perspectives about what is gained or lost in either case would be meaningful to hear.

  • 1
    I think that comment is about prayers on behalf of the community. Someone who isn't obligated can't help someone who is fulfill his obligation. I don't think there's any problem with a non-Jew praying for himself so long as he doesn't violate the Noachide law against idolatry (which would involve mutating the prayers at the very least). But I don't have sources right now, hence the comment rather than answer. Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 15:09
  • I thought it was saying that gentiles shouldn't be praying basically the same prayers as the community when with them, even if some parts are minorly changed to make them true to the person... that this is like a gentile taking from something that is unique to the Jewish community, for a reason, and making it as if it weren't.
    – Annelise
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 15:13
  • I'm supposing that there might be multiple sides to the discussion about this, and also some historical precedents and attitudes.
    – Annelise
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 15:16
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    That comment is referring to a blessing said by the leader of the communal prayer. It's not the entire community that says it. So it wouldn't make much sense for a gentile who isn't (and can't be) leading the communal prayer service to say it.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 15:19
  • Double AA, could you describe in more detail what the comment was referring to in the service? And whether it might refer at all to the prayers that everyone is praying (aloud or by reading and agreeing) from the siddur together? It's an interesting thought.
    – Annelise
    Commented Dec 25, 2012 at 15:33

1 Answer 1


King Solomon, during the inauguration of the Temple, asked God to grant the requests from non-Jews coming to pray in the Temple, alongside Jews. See I Kings 8:41 and II Chronicles 6:32

Or if a foreigner who is not of Your people Israel comes from a distant land for the sake of Your name — for they shall hear about Your great name and Your mighty hand and Your outstretched arm — when he comes to pray toward this House, oh, hear in Your heavenly abode and grant all that the foreigner asks You for. Thus all the peoples of the earth will know Your name and revere You, as does Your people Israel; and they will recognize that Your name is attached to this House that I have built.

As the prophet Isaiah wrote (56:7)

for my House will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples


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