Can a Non-Jew who performs the Noahide laws attain the highest levels of connectedness to G-d as a Jew who performs mitzvot?

  • I am curious about answers regarding Adam, or Melchizedek -- I am not certain if you are asking in the context of a "Jew" as defined as as an observer of the Mosaic Covenant, Oral Law, or if this is a question of Ethnicity. – elika kohen Nov 5 '15 at 6:47

The Yalkut Shimoni (Shoftim Ch. 4), commenting on the prophetess Devorah, says:

מעיד אני עלי את השמים ואת הארץ, בין גוי בין ישראל, בין איש בין אשה, בין עבד בין שפחה, הכל לפי מעשיו של אדם רוח הקדש שורה עליו

I call the heaven and earth to be my witnesses, whether a gentile or a Jew, whether a man or a woman, whether a slave or a maidservant, each person according to his actions does Ruach ha-Kodesh rest upon him.

Likewise the Gemara in Sanhedrin 59a records:

היה ר"מ אומר מניין שאפילו גוי ועוסק בתורה שהוא ככהן גדול שנאמר (ויקרא יח, ה) אשר יעשה אותם האדם וחי בהם כהנים לוים וישראלים לא נאמר אלא האדם הא למדת שאפילו גוי ועוסק בתורה הרי הוא ככהן גדול התם בשבע מצות דידהו

R. Meir would say, whence do we know that even a gentile who studies Torah is like a High Priest? For it says (Lev. 18:5) "that mankind shall do them and live by them"--it does not say Levites or Israelites, but mankind, from here we learn that even a gentile who studies Torah is like a High Priest. This is [discussing study of] his seven commandments.

  • I don't understand, non jews aren't allowed to study torah right? – Rh Haokip Mar 20 at 17:35
  • @Rh Haokip the gemara addresses this: "This is [discussing study of] his seven commandments." – wfb Mar 21 at 1:23

I don't know a source that would answer your question because the Noachides are not often mentioned in Scripture. And your question is specific in terms of connectedness to God, which only God can truly answer. Any Rabbinical answer, since it's non-halakhic, would not be a definitive answer.

Therefore, my only resource was to use the Bible, and the only reference I could find was for Gentiles who had decided to join themselves "to God," NOT to the Jewish people, which I would interpret as Gentiles who decided to keep extra mitzvot like Shabbat without having officially converted.

Isaiah 56:

ג וְאַל-יֹאמַר בֶּן-הַנֵּכָר, הַנִּלְוָה אֶל-יְהוָה לֵאמֹר, הַבְדֵּל יַבְדִּילַנִי יְהוָה, מֵעַל עַמּוֹ; וְאַל-יֹאמַר הַסָּרִיס, הֵן אֲנִי עֵץ יָבֵשׁ. {פ} 3 Neither let the alien, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying: 'The LORD will surely separate me from His people'; neither let the eunuch say: 'Behold, I am a dry tree.' {P} ד כִּי-כֹה אָמַר יְהוָה, לַסָּרִיסִים אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמְרוּ אֶת-שַׁבְּתוֹתַי, וּבָחֲרוּ, בַּאֲשֶׁר חָפָצְתִּי; וּמַחֲזִיקִים, בִּבְרִיתִי. 4 For thus saith the LORD concerning the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and hold fast by My covenant: ה וְנָתַתִּי לָהֶם בְּבֵיתִי וּבְחוֹמֹתַי, יָד וָשֵׁם--טוֹב, מִבָּנִים וּמִבָּנוֹת: שֵׁם עוֹלָם אֶתֶּן-לוֹ, אֲשֶׁר לֹא יִכָּרֵת. {ס} 5 Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off. {S} ו וּבְנֵי הַנֵּכָר, הַנִּלְוִים עַל-יְהוָה לְשָׁרְתוֹ, וּלְאַהֲבָה אֶת-שֵׁם יְהוָה, לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לַעֲבָדִים--כָּל-שֹׁמֵר שַׁבָּת מֵחַלְּלוֹ, וּמַחֲזִיקִים בִּבְרִיתִי. 6 Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast by My covenant: ז וַהֲבִיאוֹתִים אֶל-הַר קָדְשִׁי, וְשִׂמַּחְתִּים בְּבֵית תְּפִלָּתִי--עוֹלֹתֵיהֶם וְזִבְחֵיהֶם לְרָצוֹן, עַל-מִזְבְּחִי: כִּי בֵיתִי, בֵּית-תְּפִלָּה יִקָּרֵא לְכָל-הָעַמִּים. 7 Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.

  • From the reading of Isaiah 56 and your own interpretation of the text, it would seem that Gentiles who perform the Noahide laws but no additional mitzvot are unable to obtain all of the benefits provided by G-d to Jews who perform mitzvot? Do you agree with that? – user11196 Oct 6 '15 at 3:17
  • You should not post answers to the questions, you should post a comment like i am doing now and we could continue the discussion. Your question regarding "benefits" is a hard one. As a Jew who attempts to keep as many commandments as possible does not give me any benefits that i can ascertain. And in fact, sometimes it seems as if God is trying to prevent me from keeping certain commandments. We are just finishing up the holy days of sukkoth and it was my desire to sleep and eat in my sukkah to fulfill the commandment of dwelling in the sukkah. – Aaron Oct 6 '15 at 5:21
  • but after sleeping in it for 2 nights, i got really sick, to the point it was unsafe to sleep there anymore, and then i got better and would have been able to sleep there for the final two days, and out of nowhere it starts raining for the final two days! Was God trying to send me a message? Or is life for me the same as life for everyone else, Jew and non Jew, religious and nonreligious? I think the latter is probably the correct answer. – Aaron Oct 6 '15 at 5:23
  • If you want a relationship with God, then follow the words of Micah, which don't mention any commandments at all. "It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the LORD doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." Be a good person, deal justly with every interaction you have, and always give an extra measure of mercy, and you will have a relationship with God, whether Jew or Noahide. – Aaron Oct 6 '15 at 5:26

It seems the answer is yes according to Mishneh Torah (see Hilcholt Shemitah veYovel 13:13). After describing the unique role of leviim, who are "set apart from the ways of the world", Rambam states:

ולא שבט לוי בלבד אלא כל איש ואיש מכל באי העולם אשר נדבה רוחו אותו והבינו מדעו להבדל לעמוד לפני י"י לשרתו ולעובדו לדעה את י"י והלך ישר כמו שעשהו האלהים ופרק מעל צוארו עול החשבונות הרבים אשר בקשו בני האדם הרי זה נתקדש קדש קדשים ויהיה י"י חלקו ונחלתו לעולם ולעולמי עולמים ויזכה לו בעה"ז דבר המספיק לו כמו שזכה לכהנים ללוים.

Not only the Tribe of Levi, but each and every individual from among the world’s inhabitants, whose spirit moves him and whose knowledge gives him understanding to set himself apart in order to stand before Hashem, to serve Him, to worship Him, and to know Him, proceeding justly as Hashem created him to do, and releases himself from the yoke of the many foolish considerations which trouble people; behold, this person is as consecrated as the Holy of Holies, and Hashem will be his portion and inheritance forever and ever.

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