According to the "Path of the Just" by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato ch.3

For one who is still held captive in the prison of his evil inclination - his eyes do not see this truth, and he is incapable of recognizing it. For the evil inclination literally blinds his eyes. He is like one walking in darkness, where there are stumbling blocks before him but his eyes do not see them.

כי מי שהוא עדין חבוש במאסר יצרו, אין עיניו רואות האמת הזאת ואינו יכול להכירה, כי היצר מסמא את עיניו ממש, והנה הוא כהולך בחושך שיש לפניו מכשולות ואין עיניו רואות אותם.

and in (ch.5):

For this we were commanded to fix times for torah study... In truth, the evil inclination is exceedingly powerful on a man. Without a man's knowledge, it goes and strengthens over him and comes to rule over him. Even if he employs all possible strategies in the world, but does not take the medication created for it, namely, the torah as I wrote, he will not know nor feel the intensification of his illness until he dies in sin and his soul will be lost...

So too in our case, for no one recognizes the illness of the evil inclination and its powers except for the Creator who created it. And He Himself cautioned us that the only remedy for it is Torah. Who then will abandon it, take something else instead and expect to live?

Certainly the darkness of the physical will advance and strengthen over him level after level, without his realizing it until he finds himself sunk in evil, so distantly far from the truth that even thoughts of seeking the truth will not enter his mind .

על כן נצטוינו לקבוע עתים לתורה... כי הנה היצר הרע באמת חזק הוא באדם מאד, ומבלי ידיעתו של האדם הולך הוא ומתגבר בו ושולט עליו. ואם יעשה כל התחבולות שבעולם ולא יקח הרפואה שנבראה לו שהיא התורה, כמו שכתבתי, לא ידע ולא ירגיש בתגבורת חליו אלא כשימות בחטאו ותאבד נשמתו. .. ודאי שחושך החומריות ילך ויגבר עליו מדרגה אחר מדרגה והוא לא יבין עד שימצא שקוע ברעה ורחוק מן האמת הרחק גדול שאפילו הרהורי דברים לא יעלו על לבו לבקש האמת.

Now since non-Jews are not brought up with genuine torah study then should they be regarded as not accountable for their deeds? And if they are held accountable why is this so considering they are helpless against the blindness of the evil inclination without torah study.

note I am not asking whether they have any torah study that could help them restrain the evil inclination but rather that they will never get around to seeing the need for it due to not being raised in torah study and thus "the evil inclination goes and strengthens over them and comes to rule over them..until he finds himself sunk in evil..."

  • Note the punishment of the flood, the tower of Babel, the punishment of Egypt, the warning of Jonah to Nineveh, and the various punishments of nonJews mentioned by the prophets. Thus we see that nonJews are punished for violating the Noachide laws. Sep 27, 2016 at 20:28
  • @sabbahillel yes we do see. but why? if they are powerless against the yetzer hara without torah. this question also applies to jews raised without torah
    – ray
    Sep 28, 2016 at 5:37
  • @sabbahillel also those were before the torah and derech eretz kadma l'torah - i.e. the kiyum of the world was on derech eretz matters (heard from Rabbi Nachman Bulman). as for Nineveh - ein puranut ba l'olam ela bishvil Yisrael. and the verse says there also they didnt know their right from their left
    – ray
    Sep 28, 2016 at 10:27

1 Answer 1


It is clear that Noachides are forbidden certain things. See The Prohibition Against Doing Anything that Contradicts the Belief in One God. My logic suggests that if there is no accountability, there is no point in having a prohibition.

So the question is do they have any form of Torah study that could help them restrain the evil influence.

The question is addressed at Wikinoah.

There Rabbi Zvi Freedman (Chabad) is asked “Is there an established study programme how to teach Noachides?”.

He writes,

“The halachah is that a gentile is not permitted to occupy himself in Torah the same way a Jew does. Yet the Talmud also states that a gentile who is occupied in Torah attains that which the High Priest does not attain. How do we reconcile these two? The Jew studies all aspects of Torah whether they are of practical relevance to him or not — just for the sake of being immersed in Torah. The BN (=Noachide) studies Torah to know and to understand his path. In a footnote, the Rebbe mentions that according to the Meiri, a Talmudic commentator, most of the Torah is of concern to a BN.”

So a Noachide can study Torah and we assume that the Torah that he is allowed to study will have the effect mentioned by Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato.

  • thanks but not an answer. I tried to clarify
    – ray
    Sep 28, 2016 at 5:15
  • A tinok shenishba is required to bring one chattos offering when he learns of his transgressions of Shabbos laws. It seems that he has responsibility for a korban even though he never knew of the prohibition. Sep 28, 2016 at 8:58
  • and a chattos offering is for unintentional sins only which just strengthens my question
    – ray
    Sep 28, 2016 at 10:28
  • @ray could you explain why it is not an answer?
    – mevaqesh
    Sep 28, 2016 at 15:47
  • @mevaqesh because the person will not see the need to study the torah due to being " so distantly far from the truth that even thoughts of seeking the truth will not enter his mind ." take the scientific community for example to see the power of the yetzer. despite the absolutely mind boggling complexity of life, the vast majority of them confidently assert that there was no intelligence involved. no doubt whatsoever! is this not the work of the yetzer?
    – ray
    Sep 28, 2016 at 20:24

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