Can a gentile pray in hebrew, and recite the Psalms? I am a Noahide (Chassidic Gentile) who is interested in going through the conversion process to Reform Judaism. Is it okay for me to pray the Tehillim in Hebrew if I am currently learning Hebrew? I do understand that there are probably certain psalms that I cannot (or should not) read/pray because I am not yet Jewish. I am also reading them in English and will be going through transliterations so I can understand the true meaning of these beautiful verses.

I just don't want to offend anyone or do something that would be incorrect.

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    Thanks for your sensitivity in asking, and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Please note that this site makes no guarantee of validity, and does not offer professional (particularly rabbinic) advice: treat information from this site like it came from a crowd of your friends, and consult the rabbi who is guiding your conversion regarding practical questions. Might I also suggest you register your account? It will give you access to more of the site's features.
    – msh210
    Jul 13, 2014 at 6:43
  • This question may be a duplicate of judaism.stackexchange.com/q/23042.
    – msh210
    Jul 13, 2014 at 6:51
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    @msh210 Why the reform tag? He did say that he's "interested in...conversion...to Reform;" but that's not where his question's at -- he wants to know if a Noahide may read tehillim
    – MTL
    Jul 13, 2014 at 15:29
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    Hey, user6731 -- see above comments by @msh210 and myself; if you could clarify your question that would be great :)
    – MTL
    Jul 14, 2014 at 22:30
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    could you tell us where you heard the phrase chassidic gentile and what that is supposed to mean? furthermore, if you are truly interested in being Jewish you should understand in doing so you will be accepting many laws and prohibition now not applicable to you and you should seriously consider whether this challenging lifestyle you wish to accept. Another thing to know about Judaism is the reform movement's philosophy is not considered to be part of the normative outlook and converting under such guidance will not actually result in a conversion to Judaism. G-d bless you in your life journey
    – Dude
    Sep 22, 2014 at 20:43

3 Answers 3


Yes, you can pray in Hebrew. It's good to learn Hebrew, since that's what the language of the Torah. If you're learning by reciting, stick to the shorter Psalms. Psalm 23 is a good start. Psalm 117 is also good for learning and is short. Both are easy to memorize and easy to internalize.

Noahides are usually people who love God and want a closer relationship with Him. If you believe the Torah and accept it as God-given and correct, it may be challenging to join the Reform community. They have a significant amount on interpretative freedom so definitely visit and ask a lot of questions to see if your view of the Torah is compatible. Well, that applies to Orthodox, as well. Your Orthodox conversion would make your Jewish life easier, because they make up the largest group of religious Jews. Are you comfortable with accepting religious commandments from both rabbinic tradition AND the Torah? If not, take a look at Karaite Judaism, a minority of the Jewish minority. As you know, it's not necessary for Gentiles to join the Jews. We can still actually keep quite a bit of the Torah and holidays. And I'm sure they would appreciate the support in the rest of the world.

Whatever you decide, blessings to you for seeking to be closer to the Creator.


By Jewish law a Gentile may read the Tanach (Bible) but not the commentaries as that is already trangressing to the oral law. I will point out that by Jewish law, Reform conversion is null and void as to making you jewish, and therefore, the laws applicable to gentiles will still apply. To be considered valid to become Jewish, you must apply to an orthodox only court who are valid to put you through the process of conversion.

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    This answer would be much improved if it cited support for its claim.
    – msh210
    Apr 21, 2021 at 6:44
  • If a non-Jews reads the Talmud, Jews pray for his destruction. I do not think we should do so as that would mean we are actively seeking to destroy millions of Christians just for reading the Bible. I think Jews should not pray for Christians to be slain for no reason. We can disagree with them but we don't need to harm them.
    – Turk Hill
    Apr 23, 2021 at 0:21
  • We do not pray for their destruction at all, I was pointing out what would have happened in the past say around the time of David. And the Bible (the written law) is allowed, and to an extent encouraged to be read by the Gentiles, whereas the Talmud which is the oral law is forbidden to them. Apr 23, 2021 at 0:25
  • Would you agree that if a non-Jew reads from the Talmud we pray for his destruction or hope that G-d removes him? We do not actively seek his destruction by a judicial means but divinely means.
    – Turk Hill
    Apr 23, 2021 at 4:08
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    @Pioni5777 All of the orthodox sects agree as regards the illegitamity of the reforms and conservatives. Moreover, the Israily government is secular, so on who's authority are you basing your claim?? May 2, 2021 at 21:35

Yes, they can. Jews pray in Hebrew all the time. Are you confused? That's because Jews are gentiles. The term "gentile" originally meant 'not a Roman citizen'. We are not Romans.

If we accept the more modern usage of the word, then Jews are not gentiles. The Bible does call Israel "goy," meaning nation, but not gentile.

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    We speak modern English, in which "gentile" does not mean "non-Roman", and you're being purposefully disingenuous. In any case, the meaning in Latin of "non-Jew/Christian" is more than 1500 years old.
    – magicker72
    Apr 23, 2021 at 2:17
  • @magicker72 Good point. We do speak in English, not Latin.
    – Turk Hill
    Apr 23, 2021 at 4:06

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