Gentiles were commanded on 6 types of Arayos (forbidden relationships) Rambam Melachim 9,5.
What is the legal status of a child from those relations between two gentiles.
If he converts convert would he still be a Mamzer for example? I couldn't find any definition.


3 Answers 3


A mamzer (bastard) is born from an illegal (forbidden) marriage or adultery. However, regarding a gentile, BT (Sot. 26b) states:

דאמר רבי יוחנן משום רבי ישמעאל מנין לעובד כוכבים ועבד שבאו על הכהנת ועל הלוייה ועל בת ישראל שפסלוה שנאמר (ויקרא כב, יג) ובת כהן כי תהיה אלמנה וגרושה מי שיש לו אלמנות וגירושין בה יצאו עובד כוכבים ועבד שאין לו אלמנות וגירושין בה

Rashi concludes (based upon another beraita in San. 52b) that a gentile does not retain matrimonial status.

This said mamzer is prohibited from joining the Jewish nation (SA, EH 4:1). However, we find further on (op cit. 4:21) that a child born from a non-Jewish incestuous relation is not considered a mamzer and is permitted to join the Jewish nation. This would demonstrate that a child born from a relationship which under Jewish law would be considered illegal would not be considered a mamzer because mamzeirus does not apply to illegal unions of gentiles.

  • See my answer bellow which brings a source that derives a Drosho from the Torah why a Mamzer can't be a gentile
    – user15464
    Oct 27, 2018 at 21:08

No. There is no concept of mamzerut applicable to gentiles. This is noted here, for example. Similarly, they are not listed in chapter 12 of Rambam's Hilhkot Issurei Biah which relates to which converts can marry other Jews. The closest thing I am aware of to to mamzerut among non-Jews is a view on the Yerushalmi (cited by Ohr Sameah to Hilkhot Issurei Biah 12:19) that the product of a non-Jewish mamzer and a Jewish woman would be considered a mamzer. This relates to relationships with other Jews though; not between non-Jews.

  • why are you are not quoting a source ? u are merely transferring us to another rabbi who is not quoting a source why there is no mamzer between two gentiles.
    – user15464
    Oct 30, 2017 at 8:47
  • You are confused how the site works. Secondary sources are also sources. Please read up on site policy before ruining around down voting.
    – mevaqesh
    Oct 30, 2017 at 13:55

A gentile cannot be a Mamzer as the sifri Says on the Passuk Devarim 23,3, Yevamos 76b and also Yerushalmi Kidushin 3,4:

לא יבא ממזר בקהל ה':מום זר.
What is a Mamzer? an acronym for Moom zor i.e foreign blemish.

The Ramban on the passuk explains:

ממזר: שם לאיש מוזר מאחיו ויודעיו שלא יודע מאין בא כדברי רבותינו בקדושין ירושלמי פ"ג הי"ד אמר ר' אבהו מהו ממזר מום זר -
i.e a person who is different amoung his brothers and people who know him, because they don't know which father he comes from, Like rabbi Abbahu says a "Moom zor" i.e foreign blemish. It is implied from here that there is no gentile Mamzer because he is completely a Zor(alien) whereas a mamzer means he is a complete jew among his brothers with a defect called a "moom zor" (foreign blemish) that we don't know who fathered him.

An alternative explanation is given by the Malbim:

או שהוא מום שהוא זר לבני ישראל, שאין מצוי ביניהם שיולד ע"י איסור ביאה. כמאמרם ז"ל, "אחד היה בהם, ופרסמו הכתוב" -
The reason why "Moom zor" Foreign blemish only applies to Jews is because it is uncommon for adutary or insest amoung them that a child should be born from such a union, As our Rabbis said: "only one was amoungst them and the Pasuk publicised who he was (i.e the son of Shlomis bas Divri at the end of Parshas Emor). However gentiles are more prone to prohibited relationships to a point that it cannot be considered a foreign blemish for them therefore Mamzer doesn't apply to them since it is so common.

The Mishna in Kiddushin says (66b) a mamzer can only happen with Jewish parents כל מי שאין לה עליו קידושין אבל יש לה על אחרים קידושין הולד ממזר ואיזה זה זה הבא על אחת מכל העריות שבתורה וכל מי שאין לה לא עליו ולא על אחרים קידושין הולד כמותה ואיזה זה זה ולד שפחה ונכרית And in any case where a woman cannot marry a man, as the kiddushin does not take effect, but she can marry others (Jews), in these cases the offspring is a mamzer. This is one who has relations with any one of those with whom relations are forbidden that are written in the Torah.
And if a woman cannot marry him or with others i.e gentile or (female) slave, the offspring is like her He is not considered his father’s son at all, but has the same status as his mother.

So a gentile who cannot do Kiddushin with Jews or nonjew's cannot have mamzerim as children.

There is however a case of a gentile pseudo mamzer when Lot had relations with his 2 daughters and his male descendants are forbidden to marry Israelite woman forever though this is for a completely different reason as said in the torah: לא יבא עמוני ומואבי בקהלה גם דור עשירי לא יבא להם בקהל ה עד עולם על דבר אשר לא קדמו אתכם בלחם ובמים בדרך בצאתכם ממצרים ואשר שכר עליך את בלעם בן בעור מפתור ארם נהרים לקללך An Ammonite or Moabite man shall not go in the congregation of G-d because they did not bring you bread and water when you were travelling and they hired Bilam son of Beor to curse you. Note that this is not one of the 6 arayos because Ein Av leven Noach but such a relationship is still forbidden for Jews and the children of Lot possibly were born with bad traits from such a union as it says in nedarim 20b: וברותי מכם המורדים והפושעים בי אמר רבי לוי אלו בני תשע מדות בני אסנ"ת משגע"ח The verse states: “And I will purge out from among you the rebels, and those that transgress against Me” (Ezekiel 20:38). Rabbi Levi said: These are children of those who have nine traits, who are defective from their conception and from whom rebels and transgressors emerge. One of those traits is Irbuvia which means mixture a term used for any adulturous or incestuous relations, also shicor which means being drunk like Lot was also apllied. See Baal haturim Devarim 23,3 on the incident of Lot, where he says this idea. So we see there was an incident of a type of gentile mamzer which is prohibited to marry into klal Yisrael, but none since then.

  • Note the "Malbim" you quote is not actually the Malbim. The commentary on Devarim is only his up to the end of Motzi Shem Ra, 22:21. In Nitzavim and Vayeilech there are two commentaries, one from him and one not (and IIRC they switch names between the two parshiyos, very confusing). And then he has a short piece about the last 8 pesukim and two on the haftara of Simchas Torah (which are both his different than his commentary on Yehoshua). I may have gotten some of the details wrong but that's the general picture.
    – Heshy
    Mar 29, 2018 at 14:07

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