"And is a Jew excluded from the category of bnei Noach? Since Avraham was sanctified they are called by my name"

״וישראל מי נפיק מכלל בני נח? כיון דאיקדש אברהם איתקרו על שמיה״

-Talmud Bavli, Nedarim 31a

What was the sanctification of Avraham? Was it an act? Was it circumcision? His trials?

  • 1
    Rashi says בחלקו של הקב"ה, but i'm not sure exactly what that would be.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 7:17
  • 2
    Art Scroll translates it as "singled out by Hashem and endowed with a special sanctity" Thus, it is not a specific act but the separation as nation serving Hashem Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 7:32

1 Answer 1


The Talmud in Chaggiga 3a says that Avraham was the first convert. Tosfos there ties that in with being circumcised. There are other opinions of when this started (such as when he recognized G-d).

Here is a slew of sources which discuss this concept, including several that explicitly link the Talmud in Nedarim 31a with conversion and draw the conclusion that Avraham Avinu did not have the status of a Ben Noach (see specifically footnote 3).

  • Just began browsing the article. Seems interesting; have to read more later. Curious why they use the term anaf meaning "leaf". I've never seen that used in that cointext anywhere else. Any idea?
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 17:46
  • @DanF, no idea.
    – Yishai
    Commented Jul 8, 2015 at 18:13

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