Were Adam and Eve Jewish?

Why this question, you ask? Well, they kept Shabbat (after all, Adam already had a relationship with Hashem by virtue that he named all the animals, which would have taken time together, and he would have wanted to do what Hashem may have discussed with Adam during this time; Shabbat is very close to Hashem and why would He not at least mention it). And some people say a non Jew is not allowed / able / asked to keep Shabbat as described in Beresheet.

  • No. Adam and Eve were not Jewish.
    – Turk Hill
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 22:13

5 Answers 5


UPDATE Technically everyone "became Jewish" at the revelation at Sinai which is regarded as everyone there having converted at that moment. This is the starting point of the recursive definition of "Who is a Jew".

Technically, Judaism did not begin until the revelation at Sinai. Thus, Adam, Avraham, Yitzchak, and Yaakov were able to keep shabbat. However, we see (for example) that Torah Before Mount Sinai discusses how the Torah was kept before the revelation at Har Sinai.

Mishnah Kiddushin 82a, Yoma 28b says that Avraham kept all the Torah he even kept future Rabbinic laws too. He knew the Torah because he had ruach hakodesh (Ramban Bereshit 26.5).

Rashi Bereshit 26.5: The Avot kept the entire Torah - even the Oral Law and later Rabbinic prohibitions.

In any case, the restriction of non-Jews from keeping Shabbat was only instituted when Shabbat became a bris (covenant) with the Bnai Yisrael (at Sinai). Once that occurred, then it became forbidden for those who were not part of that covenant.

For example: Why Can’t a Non-Jew Keep Shabbat? points out that Shabbat is a bris kadosh (holy covenant) in the same way as a bris milah and implies the same level of commitment.

I have been asked in the past – Why can’t a Non-Jew keep Shabbat?

The answer to that question is quite simple, but difficult for some to fully accept……

Shabbat is called a Bris Kodesh ‘a holy covenant’, just like Brit Mila (Circumcision) is a holy covenant, so too is Shabbat.

But what is a ‘holy covenant’?

Kedusha ‘Holiness’ according to Judaism isn’t separating oneself from this world, rather, it is using this world in order to elevate ones soul and reach great spiritual heights. The Torah is the guidebook of how to reach the greatest spiritual heights possible.

Since Shabbat is one of the commandments that gives us a great spiritual lift, one can only truly benefit from the spiritual aspect of Shabbat if he is keeping all of the other commandments to the best of his ability – family purity, only eating Kosher, praying 3 times a day in synagogue, and is committed to learning Torah in depth whenever he is able to, along with all of the other commandments.

A Non-Jew that wants to keep Shabbat clearly wants to also benefit from that connection with the creator, but that level of connection needs to come as part of a complete package.

  • Torah is Everything :)) Let's Hope It is Open, as The Dew Falls Each Day
    – Paul Hogg
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 3:48
  • 1
    The verse used to learn that a Non-Jew can't keep Shabbat is from Noach.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 4:06
  • According to your reasoning, if a Jew wanted to keep Shabbat but does not keep other Mitzvot, he wouldn't be able to keep Shabbat?
    – RCW
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 5:25

It is helpful to always remind oneself what the definition of 'being Jewish' means.

One nice way of putting it is that we, as the chosen nation, were chosen for something. That something was to represent Hashem in this world and try to practice and teach His message for humankind.

The history behind it is that when Adam sinned it became much harder to discern Hashem in the physical world. Eventually humankind slipped and started serving idols etc. Avraham, who was the first to understand and teach to humanity Hashem's message, was zocheh to be the forefather of the Jewish People. We proclaimed at Har Sinai that we are willing to carry the message through to the world.

Basically, we are the oldest and largest PR team in history!

With that in mind, Adam wasn't 'Jewish' per se, but at that point in time it didn't matter because there wasn't any need to be 'Jewish'.


adam and his wife were the only two poeple on the entire world so and made by hasehem so sure their were chosen with the time the world went bad so hashem chose noach and later the world went bad and hashem choose us as the chosen nation so maybe their were not yewish but their sure were choosen

  • This does not answer the question. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 19:47
  • if to you it does not answer the question then their were not yewish but their were chosen Commented Feb 4, 2016 at 10:28

The Kli Chemda says that Adam had a din Yisrael since he kept Shabbos. I think that after the chait he lost that status of Yisrael. Also I suggest that when the Avos fixed the sin of Adam that's when they got the din Yisrael. Meaning Yisrael is a state of Adam before he sinned. Not completely because we're still mortal, but to an extent... The chida and others also explain Yakov didn't die because he fixed the chait of Adam completely.


if they were jewish then everyone would be jewish since it goes solely by the mother. so no.

  • Common misconception: that Adam and Chavah were the only people at the beginning of Creation. That isn't true. Adam and Chavah were the first people, not the only ones.
    – ezra
    Commented Dec 5, 2017 at 22:25
  • @ezra: לפיכך נברא האדם יחידי.
    – Meir
    Commented Oct 12, 2020 at 15:07

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