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I was wondering whether Ishmael was a Gentile, because that would seem to mean that an animal slaughtered by him would be non Kosher.

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    opposite judaism.stackexchange.com/q/9042/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 16:42
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    Particularly helpful is this particular answer to the question that @DoubleAA linked to: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/9976/1713
    – Daniel
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 17:34
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    Ali, Esau and Ishmael were not prophets. That answer links to a sources (so it's not only the answerer's views). This is not the place to discuss that answer: if you can recommend an edit to it, then comment there. And I use the Oxford comma.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 19:54
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    if we can't say that Abraham was a Jew, because the word didn't exist, then how can we say anyone was a Gentile (meaning a non-Jew)? You can't be a "not" of a thing that doesn't exist, can you?
    – rosends
    Commented Mar 1, 2013 at 21:10
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    There was no such thing as Kosher then.
    – Seth J
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 18:07

2 Answers 2

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe (Likkutey Sichos vol. 15 pg. 192 and footnote 12-13 there) asserts that (unlike Eisav who the Gemora calls an apostate Jew), Yishmael did not have the legal status of a Jew. He cites the view of many commentators, that only "in Yitzchok will be called your seed" (Genesis 21:12), whereas Yishmael was not considered the seed of Avraham and was disinherited (verse 10 there: "Drive out this handmaid and her son, for the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac"). For further elaboration he references to a lengthier discussion on the topic of whether Yishmael was considered Jewish in "Beis Ha'otzar" (Rabbi Yosef Engel, Klal Aleph Ois Gimmel and Ois Yud Ches).

Two verses later, God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased concerning the lad and concerning your handmaid; whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice, for in Isaac will be called your seed."

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  • This verse was said by the jealous(God forbid) wife of Abraham and not GOD : (verse 10 there: "Drive out this handmaid and her son, for the son of this handmaid shall not inherit with my son, with Isaac").
    – knowit
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 10:05
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    @Ali: Two verses later, G-d acknowledges that Sarah's words are prophetic and true: And God said to Abraham, "Be not displeased concerning the lad and concerning your handmaid; whatever Sarah tells you, hearken to her voice, for in Isaac will be called your seed."
    – Michoel
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 11:19
  • @Michoel Well, He just to follow them. Not that they are "prophetic and true".
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 16:58
  • Isn't there a distinction between "seed" and "children"? I heard a Rabbi say that Jews are the seed of Avraham and gerim are children of Avraham. I'm not 100% clear on what that meant.
    – EhevuTov
    Commented Jul 1, 2015 at 0:34
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Everyone was a gentile then. So, yes, his slaughtered animals would not meet the standards of what we call "kosher". But don't worry: no one around at that time was required to eat only kosher.

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    It's actually not at all simple whether before Matan Torah Jews had the legal status of bnei noach or were considered Jewish. See the Perashas Derachim (Derech Ha'asarim Drush Aleph) at length who brings many opinions in the rishonim on this. In fact, the Bnei Yissachar (in one of his maamarim for Shabbas Hagadol) suggests that this was actually a machlokes between Yosef and his brothers.
    – Michoel
    Commented Mar 2, 2013 at 12:08
  • @Michoel, see also the other answers to the question one of whose answers I linked to here.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 5:44
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    @msh210 I was not referring to the semantics of the term "Jewish" but to the halachic status of Torah observant people pre-Matan Torah. Although the avos kept mitzvos, there is a discussion whether this was just "lechumrah" or they were actually considered no longer "bnei noach". This would make a difference in cases when it would be a kulah to keep mitzvos - for example, were they permitted to keep Shabbos? Eat meat that had been slaughtered but still twitches etc.
    – Michoel
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 6:17
  • [cont.] According to the opinion that they were fully fledged Jews, there would certainly be a difference between their shechitah and that of a gentile.
    – Michoel
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 6:20
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    @Michoel Why do we only have to choose between those two statuses? (Plus I'm sure you are aware that the extent the Avos kept mitzvos is a large machlokes Rishonim and Amoraim.)
    – Double AA
    Commented Mar 3, 2013 at 18:00

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