16

There is an established halachic principle that we do not explicitly teach Torah to non-Jews. Though the exact parameters of this law is debated, the principle issur itself isn't.

According to some shittah's, you cannot teach them any nistar/sod.

For others, the line is talmud.

And still others hold that anything outside the Sheva Mitzvos Binei Noach is off limits (though there are those with broader and narrower definitions of what that is).

There are those who distinguish between passively making available Torah (such as broadcasting a radio show that anyone can tune in to) and actively teaching Torah.

Mi Yodeya is a site that anyone and everyone is allowed and encouraged to ask Judaism related questions. I've noticed that we often have inquiries from people of other faiths. Would these circumstances where we're responding to their inquiries potentially run afoul of the prohibition of teaching them Torah?

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Monica Cellio Jun 2 '15 at 21:23
  • 1
    Note that the works of Hakham 'Ovadiah Yosef A"H, Hakham Mordekha'i Eliyahu A"H and HaRav Zamir Kohen SheLIT"A are electronically available for anyone who speaks/reads Hebrew. Their works include a great deal of Talmud, Torat HaSod and Halakhah. While they don't specifically reach out to non-Jews, this could be evidence enough that Mi Yodeya is well in the clear. – Lee Oct 19 '15 at 8:15
  • 1
    @Lee I disagree -the distinction is crucial. There are many works of Torah freely available online, but there is a BIG distinction in making it available and actively engaging with non Jews in the study of Torah. MY is one of the only sites that participates in the latter category, which means it might be problematic according to all opinions on the matter. – Isaac Kotlicky Oct 20 '15 at 9:14
  • @IsaacKotlicky Your question is making many very big assumptions. One about the "established halachic principle that we do not explicitly teach Torah to non-Jews" and several concerning what you call the various approaches or 'shitas' to this principle. All of this with no citations or links to any supporting sources for your assumptions. Can you please provide exact citations so your question can be understood in the proper context? – Yaacov Deane Dec 27 '18 at 15:49
1

"In that era, there will be neither famine or war, envy or competition for good will flow in abundance and all the delights will be freely available as dust. The occupation of the entire world will be solely to know God.

Therefore, Israel will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential, as Isaiah 11:9 states: 'The world will be filled with the knowledge of God as the waters cover the ocean bed."" - Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Melachim 12:5

For the uninitiated and idolatrous, and those that don't keep the sheva mitzvot bnei Noach(the seven laws of the children of Noah), one must start their learning process of Torah, God's wisdom, in these sheva mitzvot(Hilchot Melachim 10:9).

Even the penimiut, inner dimension, of the sheva mitzvot can be learned and fully grasped by bnei Noach. The sheva mitzvot are their laws and haShem is their God. All they have to do is accept it and take on the task.

After that, it is up to them how much farther they want to go.

| improve this answer | |
  • You think your being specific but you're not. Hilchot Melachim 10:9 says the goy/a"kum who studies Torah is worthy of death. This is not every non-Jew. Actually, rarely is the phrase "non-Jew" used. – EhevuTov Jun 18 '15 at 14:18
  • 2
    @IsaacKotlicky, you can see the comments here where this user made the same general point. The Chasam Sofer learns this way explicitly (the questions I have on this Chasam Sofer could fill pages, but he is who he is and I am who I am, וד"ל). However, I don't think this answer really addresses the question, as even according to the Chasam Sofer, there is a large group of non-Jews for whom this question would apply in any event. – Yishai Jun 18 '15 at 20:03
  • @Yishai exactly. The posting of a question does not constitute anything other than curiosity about Judaism. Any preexisting states of the questioner would remain extant, regardless of our splitting hairs between classifications of non Jews. – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 18 '15 at 20:43
1

I don't know halachic implications, but my experience in gerut and as zera Yisrael, that "non-Jew" is categorically a catch-all, and therefore has no real meaning. "Goy" is different than "Ger", and even within these categories textually and temporally have had different meanings that presumably influenced halacha. For example, gerim toshvim were at Har Sinai and are frequently instructed throughout Texts to keep the Law in the same way as Yisrael. This directly contradicts the claim for teaching "non-Jews".Throughout history, this group of people have had different legal standings, or no real standing at all, but rather a casual title.

Anecdotally, and hashkafically (word?), I have had a rabbi explain that Gerim have no "nation" (goyim) and possess a Jewish neshama, and as such are not traditionally "converting" according to the English understanding of the word- a change from one thing to another, but rather returning to a spiritual birthright/nation. Extrapolating this concept, with the question in mind, Gerim, opposed to Goyim, are not entirely "non-Jew", and all the more so for Paternalineal Jews, I guess? So teaching Torah to these non-Jews may actually invoke Teshuva, and ultimately mitzvot. My own speculation.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    My very first time contributing to this site and just now realized I am 5 years too late! – Trifectamar Oct 15 at 16:25
0

I am an Italian Noahide who has been attending this great forum for some years. Given that this question concerns us Gentiles, I take the liberty of trying to give my own interpretative answer, even if I realize that I am a mere amateur on the subject.

We read in Rambam's Mishneh Torah-Hilchot Melachim 10: 9-10 (English translation by Rabbi Eliyahu Touger):

"A gentile who studies the Torah is obligated to die. They should only be involved in the study of their seven mitzvot. Similarly, a gentile who rests, even on a weekday, observing that day as a Sabbath, is obligated to die. Needless to say, he is obligated for that punishment if he creates a festival for himself. The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their statutes without adding or detracting from them. If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, a Jewish court should beat him, punish him, and inform him that he is obligated to die. However, he is not to be executed. We should not prevent a gentile who desires to perform one of the Torah's mitzvot in order to receive reward from doing so, provided he performs it as required. If he brings an animal to be sacrificed as a burnt offering, we should receive it."

Now, it is clear to me that the harsh prohibition, foreseen at the beginning of this passage, for the Gentile who studies the Torah, and therefore, by logical consequence, the prohibition for a Jew to teach the Torah to a Gentile, must be interpreted in the light of what Rambam states in step 10: "We should not prevent a gentile who desires to perform one of the Torah's mitzvot in order to receive reward from doing so, provided he performs it as required ". Question: But how can a Gentile exercise the right to fulfill a Torah mitzva, "it as required", if he does not study it thoroughly first?

Suppose, for example, that an Italian cattle breeder wants, for free choice, to fulfill the mitzva on the kosher slaughter of meat: Rambam tells us that he has the right to do so, but in order to be able to do so, the Gentile must necessarily study what the Torah teaches on the subject, perhaps by consulting the Shulchan Arukh or the Mishneh Torah, or by asking a rabbi that this precept be explained to him in detail.

It would seem at first glance that there is a contradiction in Rambam's thinking. But in my opinion the harmonizing solution lies in this specific passage:

"The general principle governing these matters is: They are not to be allowed to originate a new religion or create mitzvot for themselves based on their own decisions. They may either become righteous converts and accept all the mitzvot or retain their statutes without adding or detracting from them".

In my opinion, Rambam specifies here that the prohibition for the Gentile to study the Torah is related to the case in which he wants to alter the design that HaShem has established for Jews and Gentiles, creating a "new religion". In fact, it is one thing that the Gentile fulfills by free choice a precept of the Torah not contained in the Noahide Law, another thing is that a religious faith is created on the basis of which the Gentiles are obliged by HaShem to observe commandments other than the seven precepts, which would go against the teaching of the Torah itself.

I conclude with another reflection: there is also the study of a particular precept of the Torah that a Gentile can appreciate for pure intellectual pleasure; in this case the risk of creating a "new religion" seems to me excluded at the root.

| improve this answer | |

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .