All homosexual behavior is forbidden among Jews, but some actions are clearly Torah prohibitions (e.g. mishkav zachar), while some might be Rabbinic in nature (e.g. lesbian relations). Are all of these forbidden for non-Jews, or may non-Jews perform some behaviors that are Rabbinically prohibited to Jews?

Here are my thoughts: On the one hand, I would have thought that Rabbinic prohibitions should not apply to non-Jews at all. On the other hand, the very fact that lesbian relations are looked down upon as maaseh Mitzrayim ("the way of the Egyptians") would seem to imply that it is bad for non-Jews to perform them as well.

In addition, for some homosexual relations there is an argument among the Rishonim about whether they are Torah or Rabbinic prohibitions (e.g. forms of male intimacy that fall under the prohibition of lo tikrevu). We hold by those who say that they are prohibited by the Torah, but I wonder whether non-Jews might be able to rely on those who say that they are only Rabbinically prohibited for Jews, and therefore possibly permitted to non-Jews.

  • I've looked at the following question but it doesn't answer my main questions here: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/16257/…
    – user3318
    Nov 5, 2013 at 17:02
  • The second paragraph seems like a duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/30418/759
    – Double AA
    Nov 5, 2013 at 17:23
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    See Rambam (Hil. M'lachim, 9:6): וחייב על הזכור בין קטן בין גדול. As far as מעשה ארץ מצרים, "bad" ≠ strictly forbidden.
    – Fred
    Nov 5, 2013 at 18:02
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    If the end of the question is referring to לא תקרבו, even if it is דאורייתא I don't think it applies to בני נח
    – wfb
    Nov 5, 2013 at 21:02
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    I don't know what lavin you are talking about, but גילוי עריות means something very specific for Jews as well as for non-Jews and קריבה is not that
    – wfb
    Nov 6, 2013 at 3:50

2 Answers 2


The prohibition against prohibited sexual relations (which is a negative commandment and also includes all forms of homosexual practice) pertains to all mankind, both Jew (through the 613 commandments incumbent on the Jewish people) and non-Jew (through the 7 commandments of Noah which are incumbent on the complement of all mankind), men and women (who are equally obligated like men in all negative commandments, whether time bound or not) from the written Torah.

This is because the prohibition derives from the root commandment to be fruitful and multiply (Bereshit 1:28) which was the first commandment given to Adam HaRishon (even before the commandment concerning eating permissible food and prohibiting consumption of forbidden food, see Bereshit 2:16-17), who is the root of all humans, before his wife was taken from him (split off from his root soul and from his body literally) and built from him (Bereshit 2:22-23).

And Adam HaRishon was told that this commandment contains 3 dimensions, the central, single, general command (קו האמצעי) and its 2 branches, one positive (מצות עשה מפי החסד היינו ימין) & the other negative (מצות לא תעשה מפי הגבורה היינו שמאלה) (Bereshit 2:15).

This parallels the paradigm established at the very beginning of Creation, that there was a single light everywhere (Bereshit 1:3) and that light was then later manifest as two great and equal sources of light (Bereshit 1:14-16) which were further differentiated into a greater source of light and a lesser source of light. The lesser source of light was actually broken up and part of it was transformed to be the stars which is the allegory to having offspring, meaning to be fruitful and multiply.

For details and sources concerning this prohibition see the following answer beginning with the words, "The first source to review is Sifra", etc.


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    That's assuming the Sifra is a deorasya (in all its forms) and not an asmachta; that the Sifra is not differentiating between marriage and casual relations; and ignoring a whole lot of niglah poskim about the prohibition for women being less.
    – Shalom
    May 16, 2023 at 1:42
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    @Shalom The d’Oraita is quoted and cited explicitly in this answer. The reference to the other answer is simply for additional information. That Adam HaRishon was commanded explicitly concerning “Be fruitful & multiply” from the written Torah as cited is undeniable. Similarly, that there are both elements of positive commandments (meaning do this), which is not obligatory upon women, & negative elements (meaning do not transgress & violate what is commanded) which are obligatory on both men & women equally is also d’Oraita as cited. It ignores nothing. May 16, 2023 at 3:22
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    ... is Pru Urvu one of the Sheva Mitzvos Bnai Noach?
    – Shalom
    May 16, 2023 at 17:48
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    How do you know that the prohibition of homosexuality stems from the mitzvah of pru urvu? As @Shalom mentioned, non-Jews aren't commanded in pru urvu so you need a different angle to answer this question. I don't see how adultery is the negative dimensino of pru urvu. One can easily be fruitful and multiply with other people's wives...The two concepts are independent. How do you know that homosexuality is included in the forbidden relations for a non-Jew? That is the crux of the question here...which you totally ignore.
    – robev
    May 16, 2023 at 20:42
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    The prohibition against prohibited sexual relations (which is a negative commandment and includes all forms of homosexuality) How do you know? That's their entire question...
    – robev
    May 16, 2023 at 20:45

Mesoras Moshe Vol. I (by Rabbi Moshe Feinstein's personal secretary), page 505. (Rabbi Feinstein was responding to a rather messy story ... I can't do it justice here ...)

Our teacher [Rabbi Feinstein] added that honestly, for women to "frolic" -- even for Jews is not a prohibition per se, rather something distasteful (mecho'ar). And perhaps for non-Jews it is entirely permissible, but it is understood that one who does this generally gets mixed up in other things, as the philosophy of this act fits with other acts, and therefore, it should be opposed.

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