Ger toshav (Hebrew: גר תושב ger "foreigner" or "alien" + toshav "resident", lit. "resident alien") is a term in Judaism for a gentile (non-Jew) living in the Land of Israel who agrees to be bound by the Seven Laws of Noah, a set of imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" – that is, all of humanity. A ger toshav is therefore commonly deemed a righteous gentile (Hebrew: חסיד אומות העולם chassid umot ha-olam "Pious People of the World").
In the formal sense, a ger toshav is a gentile who officially accepts the seven Noahide Laws as binding upon himself in the presence of a beth din (Jewish rabbinical court). In the Talmudic discussion regarding the ger toshav, there are two other, differing minority opinions (Avodah Zarah, 64b) as to what the ger toshav accepts upon himself:
The accepted legal definition is the majority opinion that the ger toshav must accept the seven Noahide Laws before a rabbinical court of three. Such a ger toshav receives certain legal protections and privileges from the community, the rules regarding Jewish-Gentile relations are modified, and there is a Biblical obligation to render him aid when in need. The restrictions on having a gentile do work for a Jew on the Sabbath are also stricter when the gentile is a ger toshav.
In the informal sense, a ger toshav is one who accepts the Noahide Laws on his own, or alternatively, simply rejects idolatry. (the latter issue is in particular brought up regarding Muslims.) More formally, a gentile who accepts the Seven Mitzvot, although not before a beth din, is known as chasid umot ha'olam, which means "Pious People of the World." There is discussion among the halakhic authorities as to which of the rules regarding a ger toshav would apply to the informal case.
The procedure has been discontinued since the cessation of the year of Jubilee, and hence, there are no formal gerim toshvim (plural) extant today. However, it can be argued that a great deal are "informal" ones, especially since it is possible to be a chasid umot ha'olam even when the Jubilee Year is not observed.
Judaism encourages non-Jews to adhere to the Noahide Laws. Some groups, notably Chabad Lubavitch, have set up classes and networks for Gentiles who commit themselves to this legal system (see Noahide Campaign). The Lubavitcher Rebbe himself encouraged his followers on many occasions to teach the Seven Laws of Noah, devoting some of his addresses to the subtleties of this code.
In 2008, a new code of law, written by Rabbi Moshe Weiner specifically for Noahides, was published under the auspices of Ask Noah International. The book's stated intention is to serve as the first ever "Shulchan Aruch for all the laws of the Children of Noah," and is entitled Sefer Sheva Mitzvot Hashem. To grant it authority, it bears letters of endorsement from Rabbi Zalman Nechemia Goldberg of the Supreme Rabbinical Court of Israel, both the Chief Rabbis of Israel, and letters of blessing and approbation from various other notable rabbis around the world. In the code itself, it states that "at this time, while we do not accept geirim toshvim for the sake of (granting) the privileges of (the ger toshav) [for example, to live in the Land of Israel], nevertheless, if he comes before (a rabbinical court of) three of his own free will to accept upon himself to be a ger toshav and one of the Pious People of the World, for the sake of accepting his mitzvot, we accept him." Later, it notes that one of the "Pious People of the World" (chasid umot ha'olam) is not necessarily also a ger toshav, and it is possible to be a chasid umot ha'olam despite not being a ger toshav. In fact, it lists four possibilities for Gentiles:
A Gentile is obligated to accept the Seven Mitzvot, but is not required to appear before a rabbinical court to become a ger toshav; that is a personal choice.
According to Kellner (1991) on Maimonides, a ger toshav could be a transitional stage on the way to becoming a ger tzedek (Hebrew: גר צדק) or "righteous alien", a convert to Judaism. He conjectures that only a full ger tzedek would be found at the time of the Messiah.
However, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn states that the status of ger toshav will continue to exist, even in the Messianic era. This is based on the statement in Hilchot Melachim 12:5 that "the entire world's (kol ha'olam) occupation will be nothing but to know G‑d." In its plain meaning, he asserts, kol ha'olam also includes Gentiles. As proof, he cites 11:4, also dealing with the Messianic era, where the similar term ha'olam kulo, "the world in its entirety," clearly refers to Gentiles. Continuing the text in Hilchot Melachim 12:5, Maimonides explicitly changes the topic to Jews by using the term Yisra'el, explaining that "Therefore, the Jews will be great sages and know the hidden matters, grasping the knowledge of their Creator according to the full extent of human potential," indicating that Jew and Gentile will co-exist in the time of the Messiah.
In any case, even when there is a Jewish king and a Sanhedrin, and all the twelve tribes live in the Land of Israel, Jewish law does not permit forcing someone to convert and become a ger tzedek against his will.
[...] In rabbinic literature the ger toshab was a Gentile who observed the Noachian commandments but was not considered a convert to Judaism because he did not agree to circumcision. [...] some scholars have made the mistake of calling the ger toshab a "proselyte" or "semiproselyte." But the ger toshab was really a resident alien in Israel. Some scholars have claimed that the term "those who fear God" (yir᾿ei Elohim/Shamayim) was used in rabbinic literature to denote Gentiles who were on the fringe of the synagogue. They were not converts to Judaism, although they were attracted to the Jewish religion and observed part of the law.
In order to find a precedent the rabbis went so far as to assume that proselytes of this order were recognized in Biblical law, applying to them the term "toshab" ("sojourner," "aborigine," referring to the Canaanites; see Maimonides' explanation in "Yad," Issure Biah, xiv. 7; see Grätz, l.c. p. 15), in connection with "ger" (see Ex. xxv. 47, where the better reading would be "we-toshab"). Another name for one of this class was "proselyte of the gate" ("ger ha-sha'ar," that is, one under Jewish civil jurisdiction; comp. Deut. v. 14, xiv. 21, referring to the stranger who had legal claims upon the generosity and protection of his Jewish neighbors). In order to be recognized as one of these the neophyte had publicly to assume, before three "ḥaberim," or men of authority, the solemn obligation not to worship idols, an obligation which involved the recognition of the seven Noachian injunctions as binding ('Ab. Zarah 64b; "Yad," Issure Biah, xiv. 7).
[...] The more rigorous seem to have been inclined to insist upon such converts observing the entire Law, with the exception of the reservations and modifications explicitly made in their behalf. The more lenient were ready to accord them full equality with Jews as soon as they had solemnly forsworn idolatry. The "via media" was taken by those that regarded public adherence to the seven Noachian precepts as the indispensable prerequisite (Gerim iii.; 'Ab. Zarah 64b; Yer. Yeb. 8d; Grätz, l.c. pp. 19–20). The outward sign of this adherence to Judaism was the observance of the Sabbath (Grätz, l.c. pp. 20 et seq.; but comp. Ker. 8b).
Am ha'aretz (עם הארץ) or the people of the Land is a term found in the Tanakh. The Talmud applies "the people of Land" to uneducated Jews, who were deemed likely to be negligent in their observance of the commandments due to their ignorance, and the term combines the meanings of "rustic" with those of "boorish, uncivilized, ignorant".Ari Berman
Rabbi Dr. Ari Berman (born 1970) is the fifth and current President of Yeshiva University. His uncle is Julius Berman, who serves on the Board of Trustees of Yeshiva University and is the Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary.Gentile
Gentile (from Latin gentilis (“of or belonging to the same people or nation”), from gēns (“clan; tribe; people, family”) + adjective suffix -īlis (“-ile”) is an ethnonym that commonly means non-Jew according to Judaism. Other groups that claim Israelite heritage sometimes use the term to describe outsiders.The term is used by English translators for the Hebrew גוי (goy) and נכרי (nokhri) in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek word ἔθνη (éthnē) in the New Testament. The term "gentiles" is derived from Latin and not an original Hebrew or Greek word from the Bible.
The original words goy and ethnos refer to "peoples" or "nations" and are applied to both Israelites and non-Israelites in the Bible. However, in most biblical uses, it denotes peoples distinct from Israel.Glossary of Christianity
This is a glossary of terms used in Christianity.God-fearer
God-fearers (Greek: φοβούμενος τὸν Θεόν, Phoboumenos ton Theon) or God-worshipers (Greek: θεοσεβής, Theosebes) were a numerous class of gentile sympathizers to Hellenistic Judaism that existed in the Greco-Roman world, which observed certain Jewish religious rites and traditions without becoming full converts to Judaism. The concept has precedents in the proselytes of the Hebrew Bible.Goy
Goy (, Hebrew: גוי, regular plural goyim , גוים or גויים) is the standard Hebrew biblical term for a nation. The word nation has been the common translation of the Hebrew goy or ethnos in the Septuagint, from the earliest English language bibles such as the 1611 King James Version and the 1530 Tyndale Bible, following the Latin Vulgate which used both gentile (and cognates) and nationes. The term nation did not have the same political connotations it entails today. The word "gentile" is a synonym for the Hebrew word Nokri (Hebrew: נָכְרִי) which signifies "stranger" or "non-Jew".Long before Roman times it had also acquired the meaning of someone who is not Jewish. It is also used to refer to individuals from non-Jewish religious or ethnic groups; when used in this way in English, it occasionally has pejorative connotations and non-Jews find it disparaging. The term goy is not inherently any more or less offensive than the term gentile, unlike the term shegetz.
As the Jews considered all of the non-Jewish nations in biblical times as polytheistic and idolatrous, the Hebrew word goy has for some time acquired the meaning "heathen". In a more comprehensive definition, the word goy corresponds to the later term ummot ha-olam (nations of the world).Hannah Nathans
Hannah Nathans (born 1944 in Amsterdam) is an author and spiritual counselor. She is currently working as rabbi of the Open Jewish Congregation Klal Israel in Delft, and is leading HaMakor for the Centre for Jewish Spirituality.Jewish outreach
Jewish outreach is a term sometimes used to translate the Hebrew word kiruv or keruv (literally, "to draw close" or "in-reach"). Normative Judaism does not actively seek converts, although all denominations do accept those with a sincere commitment. Outreach efforts are instead directed at Jews who have "gone astray", or who have been born Jewish in a non-observant family.Musar literature
Musar literature is didactic Jewish ethical literature which describes virtues and vices and the path towards perfection in a methodical way.Noahidism
Noahidism () or Noachidism () is a monotheistic branch of Judaism based on the Seven Laws of Noah, and their traditional interpretations within Rabbinic Judaism. According to the Jewish law, non-Jews (Gentiles) are not obligated to convert to Judaism, but they are required to observe the Seven Laws of Noah to be assured of a place in the World to Come (Olam Ha-Ba), the final reward of the righteous. The divinely ordained penalty for violating any of these Noahide Laws is discussed in the Talmud, but in practical terms it is subject to the working legal system which is established by the society at large. Those who subscribe to the observance of the Noahic Covenant are referred to as B'nei Noach (Hebrew: בני נח, "Children of Noah") or Noahides (). Supporting organizations have been established around the world over the past decades by either Noahides or Orthodox Jews.
Historically, the Hebrew term B'nei Noach has applied to all non-Jews as descendants of Noah. However, nowadays it's primarily used to refer specifically to those non-Jews who observe the Seven Laws of Noah.According to a Noahide source in 2018, there are over 20,000 Noahides, and the country with the greatest number is the Philippines.Philo-Semitism
Philo-Semitism (also spelled philosemitism) or Judeophilia is an interest in, respect for and an appreciation of Jewish people, their history and the influence of Judaism, particularly on the part of a gentile.
Within the Jewish community, philo-Semitism includes an interest in Jewish culture and a love of things that are considered Jewish.Proselyte
The biblical term "proselyte" is an anglicization of the Koine Greek term προσήλυτος (proselytos), as used in the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) for "stranger", i.e. a "newcomer to Israel"; a "sojourner in the land", and in the Greek New Testament for a first-century convert to Judaism, generally from Ancient Greek religion. It is a translation of the Biblical Hebrew phrase גר תושב (ger toshav)."Proselyte" also has the more general meaning in English of a new convert to any particular religion or doctrine.Righteous Among the Nations
Righteous Among the Nations (Hebrew: חֲסִידֵי אֻמּוֹת הָעוֹלָם, khasidei umót ha'olám "righteous (plural) of the world's nations") is an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis. The term originates with the concept of "righteous gentiles", a term used in rabbinic Judaism to refer to non-Jews, called ger toshav, who abide by the Seven Laws of Noah.Righteous gentile
Righteous gentile may refer to:
Ger toshav, "stranger-foreigner", Hebrew term for a resident alien in a Jewish state
Righteous Among the Nations, an honorific bestowed by the State of Israel to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews from the NazisSeven Laws of Noah
The Seven Laws of Noah (Hebrew: שבע מצוות בני נח Sheva Mitzvot B'nei Noach), also referred to as the Noahide Laws or the Noachide Laws (from the Hebrew pronunciation of "Noah"), are a set of imperatives which, according to the Talmud, were given by God as a binding set of laws for the "children of Noah" – that is, all of humanity.According to Jewish tradition, non-Jews who adhere to these laws because they were given by Moses are said to be followers of Noahidism and regarded as righteous gentiles, who are assured of a place in Olam Haba (עולם הבא, the world to come), the final reward of the righteous.The Seven Laws of Noah include prohibitions against worshipping idols, cursing God, murder, adultery and sexual immorality, theft, eating flesh torn from a living animal, as well as the obligation to establish courts of justice.Steven Greenberg (rabbi)
Steven Greenberg (born June 19, 1956) is an American rabbi with a rabbinic ordination from the Orthodox rabbinical seminary of Yeshiva University (RIETS). He is described as the first openly gay Orthodox Jewish rabbi, since he publicly disclosed he was gay in an article in the Israeli newspaper Maariv in 1999 and participated in a 2001 documentary film about homosexual men and women raised in the Orthodox Jewish world.Greenberg is a Senior Teaching Fellow and Director of Diversity Project at CLAL – the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, and the author of the book Wrestling with God and Men: Homosexuality in the Jewish Tradition which received the Koret Jewish Book Award for Philosophy and Thought in 2005.He was listed number 44 in the 2012 The Daily Beast and Newsweek list of "America's Top 50 Rabbis for 2012".Temple Beth Israel (Eugene, Oregon)
Temple Beth Israel (Hebrew: בית ישראל) is a Reconstructionist synagogue located at 1175 East 29th Avenue in Eugene, Oregon. Founded in the early 1930s as a Conservative congregation, Beth Israel was for many decades the only synagogue in Eugene.
The congregation initially worshipped in a converted house on West Eighth Street. It constructed its first building on Portland Street in 1952, and occupied its current LEED-compliant facilities in 2008.
In the early 1990s conflict between feminist and traditional members led to the latter leaving Beth Israel, and forming the Orthodox Congregation Ahavas Torah. Beth Israel came under attack from neo-Nazi members of the Volksfront twice, in 1994 and again in 2002. In both cases the perpetrators were caught and convicted.
Services were lay-led for decades. Marcus Simmons was hired as the congregation's first rabbi in 1959, but left in 1961. After a gap of two years, Louis Neimand became rabbi in 1963, and served until his death in 1976. He was followed by Myron Kinberg, who served from 1977 to 1994, and Kinberg in turn was succeeded by Yitzhak Husbands-Hankin. Maurice Harris joined Husbands-Hankin as associate rabbi in 2003, and served until 2011, when he was succeeded by Boris Dolin. In 2015 Rabbi Husbands-Hankin retired and became Rabbi Emeritus. The congregation became a one-rabbi synagogue and hired Rabbi Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein to serve as Rabbi. Beth Israel has approximately 400 member households, and is the largest synagogue in Eugene.World to come
The world to come, age to come, and heaven on Earth are eschatological phrases reflecting the belief that the current world or current age is flawed or cursed and will be replaced in the future by a better world, age, or paradise. The concept is related to but differs from the concepts of heaven, the afterlife, and the Kingdom of God in that heaven is another place or state generally seen as above the world, the afterlife is generally an individual's life after death, and the Kingdom of God could be in the present (such as realized eschatology) or the future.