This article was last modified on May 23, 2006.


Why Do the Jews Abstain From Pork?

The fact Jews traditionally do not consume pork is known commonly enough. Some people have gone so far as to use this distinction as a focal point for anti-Semitic ostracism. But the reason as to why this is so remains incredibly unclear. A few theories have been offered, and I feel the issue is well worth our time to look over. The answer might not be as simple as one would first think.

The commonly accepted reason Jews will not eat pork is that God Himself (through the mediation of Moses or an unidentified priest) has forbidden doing so in the Torah (Old Testament). Deuteronomy’s Chapter Fourteen, Verse Eight clearly states, “The pig, because it has a split hoof but doesn’t chew the cud, is unclean to you: of their flesh you shall not eat, and their carcasses you shall not touch.” This passage is mirrored in the even earlier book of Leviticus, Chapter Eleven, Verse Seven, which proclaims, “The pig, because he has a split hoof, and is cloven-footed, but doesn’t chew the cud, he is unclean to you.” This answer might be enough to appease the most casual researcher, but we must ask ourselves three questions: first, is this ban as stated based on solid fact? Second, what deeper reason might there have been to impose such a ban? And finally, was this ban truly imposed by the Lord or by man?

The claim that pigs are “unclean” animals is not true in the strictest, most literal sense. While God might have meant “spiritually unclean” (whatever this might mean), if we take the literal sense of the word we will find scientists to be at odds with the divine conclusion. To define an animal as unclean because the beast does not chew its cud (essentially, re-eating its own vomit) is at the very least an odd characterization. Not chewing cud has nothing to do with the health of the animal, but merely its digestive process. Cows, which regurgitate their meals, are no less likely to spread disease than the swine. While there is truth to the statement that pigs wallow in mud (because their lack of sweat glands demands an outside cooling source), there is just as much truth in the statement that buffalos and other beasts do, too. Horses and cows are no more clean than pigs if we keep in mind that being “dirty” (“covered in dirt”) is not at all the same as being diseased.

The pig might be considered spiritually unclean if we understand the Jewish prohibition on ingesting blood. As the blood of a creature is seen as the life of the creature, only God may have this blood. This is why cattle, when being slaughtered, must be drained of the blood before being prepared. And the difference between cattle and pigs is allegedly that cattle will feed on grass and other plants while a pig will eat anything fed to the animal – even its own kind. If a pig has ingested the blood of another animal, it is unclean — and ingesting the pork would be (in the words of Jean Soler) “doubly unclean”. This ban on carnivores is also why the Western world will not typically think to eat cats or dogs.[Solomon: 153]

I accept this as a valid extension of the prohibition on eating blood, but I question its basis in reality. Surely God realized that pigs (as well as cats and dogs) once domesticated and raised for consumption would not have to eat meat any more than cattle or any other animal would. By banning pork as a whole, both meat-eating and plant-eating pigs are lumped into the same category of uncleanliness. Although, in fairness, if the Bible were to divide up each animal and list all possible exceptions, the dietary laws would be likely several volumes long and hardly feasible.

If pigs were spared for a deeper purpose, and this purpose was not the blood ingestion prohibition, what might this purpose have been? Was there some reason to fear pigs, or perhaps even to honor them? Plutarch of Chaeronea wrote in his book, Symposiacs, that the Greeks were undecided about whether the Jews “hated” or “worshipped” swine. On the one hand, the animals could not be eaten, because they were unclean. This labeling implies a divine hatred.

On the other hand, the animals were not allowed to be killed, which implies they were in some sense considered sacred. Callistratus claims the Jews honored the pig because it is from this animal that the Jews learned how to plow the land, witnessing a hog dig his snout into the earth. He further states this explains the relation between the words hynis (“ploughshare”) and swine. Another piece of evidence in support of the “pigs are sacred” theory tells us that in ancient times the pig (or, more precisely, the wild boar) was the totem of the Jews (according to Plutarch). As such, the creature would without a doubt be considered more of a god than a dinnertime staple. This opinion is highly suspect considering the rampant anti-Semitism of the author’s era and country (as well as the author himself, who claims “the customs of the Jews are bizarre and morose”), but perhaps worth keeping in mind regardless.

From Plutarch’s point of view, the attitude of the Jews was completely ambiguous and there was no way to be sure which (if either) position was held. One could argue pigs were spared from the dinner plate yet also not killed because all life is created, as this was a blessing from God. However, this opens up a whole seperate line of questioning regarding the animals humans will kill without practical purpose (insects, mice, and other so-called “vermin”).

Perhaps the region is in some way related to the animal’s treatment? The Syrians, who were pagan, had a similar ambiguity regarding the pig. Other cultures, such as the Egyptians, also forbade the eating of pigs. The fact these three countries have different religions but similar climates might be relevant, as we will explore next.

Some people have surmised that pigs are a poor choice of diet not for any spiritual reason, but rather that the rearing of the animal simply is not economically viable. The pig requires such an intake of foods and waters that the desert cannot properly accomodate them. Cultural materialistic anthropologist Marvin Harris supports the ecological-economical theory in his book Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture. He believes that since the resources pigs need to live are scarce in Israel and Arabia, the beasts are unwanted because this scarcity puts them in competition with humans for the necessary grains. Pigs cannot eat grass for nutrition as other beasts will. Any Middle Eastern society attempting to keep large stocks of pigs would eventually destroy their entire ecosystem.

Someone might object that if raising pigs was such a difficult task, why bother to proscribe this practice in the first place? Harris explains that “since it was possible, to a small extent, to raise pigs as a luxury food, it is important to have a taboo or prohibition that says, under no circumstances are you to experiment with this animal, because over the passage of centuries it is the collective wisdom that to do so is to waste resources. The temptation will always exist for some people to try, but God says, ‘Thou shalt not raise pigs.’ This is a sacred rule which fits into a general class of prohibition termed ‘total prohibitions’. Such prohibitions are digital; that is, they are on-off things. For example, the commandment ‘Thou shalt not kill’ does not say it’s O.K. to kill some people and not others. Such a total taboo is necessary in a situation where the short-term benefits for, let’s say, raising pigs, might be quite good, but the long-term benefits would be quite disastrous for the larger community. The taboo is ‘on track’ in terms of ecological wisdom. It reflects long-standing, accumulated knowledge about the consequences of raising nonruminants in that habitat.”

There has been some speculation that Jews disliked the pig because of the spread of trichinosis or leprosy. Allegedly, Maimonides himself was the first to point out the possible connection between the dietary laws and the spreading of worms (specifically, the trichinella) through undercooked pork in the 1100s. The general view of pork being seen by the Jews as disease-ridden is not easily supported, however. The Bible speaks of unclean meat, but at no time does the book tell of any health-related consequence for eating this meat. No plague or epidemic in the Bible is connected with the pig. Also, the idea of hygiene as related to diet was not a popular idea at this time – illnesses were more often thought of as “bad spirits” than as the yet-undiscovered virii and bacteria. There is no reason to believe that anyone living before the common era would mentally connect their meals with their illnesses.

Author Charles Panati and anthropologist Mary Douglas point to the simplest conclusion of all. These apparently arbitrary laws are just that – arbitrary. Their purpose is nothing more than a way to identify Jews as Jews, much as the rite of circumcision was said to have done. The abstention from pork, for example, would keep Jews from intermingling (and hence intermarrying and interbreeding) with the pork-eating Gentiles, keeping the faith pure and free from outside influence. The dietary laws were not so much sins as they were guidelines to keep God’s chosen people together to help them focus on the deeper and more important tenets of their faith.

Was God the lawgiver in the book of Leviticus? I am inclined to conclude that the laws outlined in Leviticus were priestly decrees, and had little or no divine influence. My conclusion draws from two primary lines of reasoning.

First, God would have no use for arbitrary rules. The prohibition on pork (and other foods) has no apparent basis in rational thinking (people, including many Reform Jews, eat pig all the time without consequence), so why would God feel the need to ban something that is clearly not harmful? The reason would be purely arbitrary. If God was to ban something, one would think there must be some punishment for doing so or at least an intrinsically negative quality to the act or its outcome. Compare this to several of the crimes forbidden in the Ten Commandments, which are seen as essentially and universally wrong under almost every moral code. Why the harm from theft, adultery and murder is easy to illustrate, what good can come of avoiding pork? Does one’s diet make them more spiritual than another?

Second, if God is omniscient (all-knowing), his guidelines would have been delivered in a flawless manner. While the pork ban is written clearly enough, in the same section the dietary laws speak of four-legged insects (Leviticus 11:20) and rabbits that chew the cud (Leviticus 11:6), both of which do not occur in real life. (Actually, some biologists, including Leonard Brand, have argued that rabbits do chew the cud or at least perform a function that is analogous to the cud-chewing in cows. This issue is not really contingent on the primary thesis of this article, however, and will not be debated here.) While priests might believably be ignorant of biology, an all-knowing Creator would seemingly be familiar with the most basic features of His designs. Such glaring errors open the door for doubt, and we may suspect at least some – if not all – of the rules have no divine backing whatsoever.

Between the question of God’s authorship, and the scientific proof that pork has none of the stigmas once thought to exist, there seems to be no valid reason for anyone to abstain from pork (other than their own unfounded beliefs or fears). While this is in no way meant undermine the core of the Jewish religion, we must wonder why they would hold on to outdated and cumbersome dietary laws if the chief reason for doing so is distinction from Gentiles. Judaism is an officially established and recognized world religion, notwithstanding what lurks behind pantry doors. So I inquire, why abstain? Indulge!

Bibliography:

Brand, Leonard R. “Do Rabbits Chew the Cud?” Origins 4(2):102-104 (1977). http://www.grisda.org/origins/04102.htm Written 1977, retrieved online November 26, 2006.

deLys, Claudia. Giant Book of Superstitions. Citadel Press, 1979.

Harris, Marvin. Good to Eat: Riddles of Food and Culture. Simon and Schuster, 1985.

Panati, Charles. Sacred Origins of Profound Things. Penguin Arkana, 1996.

Plutarch. Symposiacs. http://etext.library.adelaide.edu.au/p/plutarch/symposiacs/ viewed December 2, 2004.

Soler, Jean. “The Semiotics of Food in the Bible,” in Food, Drink, and History, ed. Robert Forster and Orest Ranum. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979.

Solomon, Jack. The Signs of Our Time: The Secret Meanings of Everyday Life Perennial Library, 1990.

Also try another article under Religious
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

45 Responses to “Why Do the Jews Abstain From Pork?”

  1. tom lafayette Says:

    i was reading what you wrote and found most of it quite helpful. then i read this “While priests might be ignorant of biology, an all-knowing Creator should be familiar with the most basic features of his designs.” hmmm, kinda insulting but also presumptuous. apparently priests are not the only ones ignorant to biology. http://www.grisda.org/origins/04102.htm , this is from the chairman of biology in loma linda university. he sites his work on if rabbits chew the cud, which they do. here is another tidbit, they crap and even remember where they dropped off the turds and eat it later lol. because of the design of the rabbits stomach this is chewing the cud, but hey read what the above EXPERT said about the matter. leviticus 11:20, i have to agree here. it does say there are four legged insects. during his illustration to the israelites perhaps he did err. however, the main idea, don’t eat this still got across. oh yeah, i’d be careful because if there is something to this God thing then what you wrote could be interpreted as blasphemy. just a thought.

  2. Doug Harrison Says:

    Reference your statement: “There has been some speculation that Jews disliked the pig because of the spread of trichinosis or leprosy.”

    Greetings Gavin;

    Tacitus discusses the Jews in his 5th book of histories, saying:

    “They abstain from swine’s flesh, in consideration of what they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable.”

    Thus, the connection between pork and leprosy goes back at least to mid first century CE.

    One interesting point you made that had not even occurred to me was that the omnivorous nature of the pig could also have been a factor in labelling it unclean.

  3. Genki Says:

    It is important to note that the pig’s biochemistry excretes only 2 percent of its total uric acid content, the remaining 98 percent remains as an integral part of the body.
    Lastly, try to pour the coke onto the pork, and wait for a couple of minutes.

  4. I Says:

    Great information perfect for my homework!

  5. Neopets Says:

    Some great points but i may need a few more!
    Your points were great but boy it took agest so read! :)

  6. Bhing Says:

    I still ask the question, why Jews raise pigs (swine)? For what purpose?

  7. Coke On Pork Means Marination Says:

    Hello Genki,

    Coke on pork?

    You need to read the following pages, esp. the first:

    http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/porkworm.asp
    http://www.breakthechain.org/exclusives/porkcoke.html

  8. Chutney Feldstein Says:

    An important point, so often over-looked in these discussions… The pig is but one of numerous animals considered unclean in Torah. This suggests, for one, that the totemic aspect of the pig itself, as an especially beloved or hated creature, is not the point of the prohibition. One can make useful inferences from some of the other prohibitions. For example, the forbiddance of shellfish and bottom feeders is quite obviously based on not eating those creatures who eat “trief,” or “filth.” Meanwhile, chewing the cud is important, because it connotes a higher degree of mastication, ie. it minimalizes the “unclean” aspect of all fodder once removed. Meanwhile, the fact that the pig is questionable throughout the Middle East, including ancient Egypt, suggests that it is not simply a mark of Jewishness. (Note that the yarmulke is often considered a mark of Jewishness, but it can be understood more properly as a traditionally Jewish design for the more widespread Semitic tendency to cover the head, not as a sign of in-group, out-group, but as a sign of humility “beneath” the over-arching God–or a humbling specifically of the “mind.”) As for the cloven hooves… that I’m not sure. But most likely this is all part of an ancient grappling with the idea of a taxonomy of wildlife. In other words, a certain creature that happens not to have cloven hooves may not be a filth-eater, yet according to this ancient (and imperfect) taxonomical system it was considered “realated” to other beasts that are largly unlcean. One will find numerous examples of this almost obsessive-compulsive hyper-criticality in other “priestly” peoples, as well. Study the “shall nots” of the Hindu Brahmin class and you will see many similar prohibitions that do not make sense when isolated, yet are extent fragments of an ancient taxonomical system.

  9. Mr. Anonymous Says:

    Well, I am no Jewish, and have no intention to be one never, no offense if you going to accuse me of “antisemitism”. So I eat pork, of course with all kinds of rice, vegetables and fruits with it. If is true that pork is bad, allow me a question: how come Puerto Ricans, who eat seasoned pork on charcoals during Christmas, have lower cancer rates than Americans, including you Jews? And our heart disease rates are also lower. So it depends how you leave your life, folks. Bye!

  10. Ginny Raye Says:

    I am not Jewish but I want to know how come it is so easy for you people to pick on Jewish people for their beliefs and not muslims? Muslims do not eat pork either. Why don’t you find out why? This was one of the dumbest sites I have been on. You talk as if you are smart but I think you don’t know your mouth from your tail because they both have the same thing coming out of them.

    Pick on the muslims for their beliefs. Oh that’s right scared.

  11. Tom Says:

    Maybe a very long time ago some dude, or a group of dudes didn’t like Pigs. Maybe his neighbours Pigs kept destroying his vegie garden or stinking out his house. Or maybe he didn’t like pork and got sick of eating it at his friends dinners all the time. So when it came time to write his scripture thing he tacked in NO PIGS so he would forever be rid of having Pigs around or eating them. Actually probably more likely his reason was the thought that he was somehow eating faeces when he ate pork because pigs eat their own faeces, which is why he has also included Rabbits and a couple other animals on the list. He certainly created generations of non pork eaters though!!

  12. Jack Black Says:

    Hey Ginny Raye quite trying to change the subject if you do not know why jews eat pork. I bet you are lying, you are jewish.

  13. Fleshgrinder » Blog Archive » Hey pig, yeah you Says:

    […] i shall give you some links that might enlighten your hungry, hungry minds: The Bible on Pork Why Do the Jews Abstain From Pork? Why Muslim can’t eat pork (this site was quite interesting except for the painfully irritating […]

  14. Just a Hebrew Says:

    You keep calling this a Jewish rule. I need to correct you on this. This is a rule for all twelve tribes of Isariel, not just the tribe of Judah. You wander why they follow this. It is because God said to. Along with all ofthe other dietary rules and other rules like the TEN COMMANDMENTS that we all want to follow. It was said that the laws such as against thieft, murder, and adultry are easy to see why they are wrong, but in the great country of the USA, adultry is now okay. You do not see God punish those people, YET. Just wait and see what happens in the end.

  15. Johana Says:

    If according to the Old Testament God himself has forbidden to eat pig, why then christians do eat pig? Do they not follow also the Old Testament?

  16. yo mamma Says:

    i personally find this all ridiculous..but i guess you have to respect every persons belief unless its really hurting other people. Seriously who cares if jews don’t wanna eat pork it leaves more DELICIOUS bacon egg and cheeses for the people who do.

  17. Just a Hebrew Says:

    Johana, The church (christians) believe Jesus came and abolished the law (Torah). Thy have unknowingly substituted licentiousness and called it grace.

  18. lionjim Says:

    For the most part I found the article very interesting. I have alot of thoughts on the article.
    I have given this alot of thoughts. Christ was a jew as so was his followers. The first truth isn`t evidence it is, that it is not important for you to believe what I believe it is only important to me. The first evidence I have about the spiritually speaking is, when all evil spirits of Legion were cast in the swine. New testiment. God is in control. shalom ya`ll

  19. Joe from Bay Area (California) Says:

    Of course, another atheist writing to disprove what others have in their religion. I don’t recall Jews debunking (non-Islamic) African religions or Native American religions. Why is that? Would you be offended if they did? Why is it that so many white have left these religions alone? The idea that they leave you alone (in academia and business sector), they have suffered genocide and countless crimes against their generations … places your magnifying glass on other ants who are socially acceptable to berate. Is it okay for you to outright attack the belief systems of Islam ? This is cowardice for the guilt-ridden masses who no longer believe in anything but the idea of shifting ethics based on nothing and no one.

  20. Joe from Bay Area (California) Says:

    When upholding homosexuality, Americans often claim that it is the dietary nonsense of the Old Testament which makes a slippery slope for all of the Torah’s uses in Christianity. And while the carrier of Christ’s Church (Peter) was given to release dietary decrees, the laws against same-sex and opposite-sex sexual immorality was no released. It is our appetite which gets us into trouble in both cases. Yet it is as Christ said,’nothing going into the man can defile him. It is what comes from his mind that makes him unclean.’ The One God is ruler over all peoples. Union with that Creator is left to choice. Peace with the Creator is freewill and impossible to those whose sexual immorality (of any kind) which creates the rift in spirit. This is our act to acknowledge God, but replacing the barrier which allows for a personal dwelling with God. Freewill.

  21. vasile from roanoke Says:

    The evolution of humanity will have to ban all animal killings if we are to evolve. Christ brought LOVE on earth so eventually we will have to make use of this powerful force. If we do not evolve and find this way of leaving (Without meat) freely we or our future generation will witness terrible diseases killing our food sources, birds then cattle pigs etc. so if you can and have the will start on building a “meat fee” humanity your will impulse and act is taken in the vast spaces of the universe and new children will be born with this impulse and continue this effort to be more loving.
    “love 1 another”

  22. Seek Righteousness Says:

    What is meat, though?

    Animal flesh is not meat. Read in the book of Genesis.
    Meat is of plant life: nuts, berries, etc.

    Seek righteousness, and you’ll find righteousness is what we are told.

  23. John Taylor Says:

    Interesting blog post. What would you say was the most important NLP factor?

  24. K.A. Catholic Says:

    As a Korean American Catholic, I actually grew up eating pork and didn’t think anything of it. It was just a regular part of my diet. I don’t remember how it began, but one day I started to think ill of the food source. It may have been a vegetarian influence, as I became a vegetarian for five years, but it was probably due to the influence of my Persian Jewish friend and Pakistani Muslim ex-boyfriend. I remember going through a phase in my life where I wanted every butcher in every Korean American market in Los Angeles to stop selling the meat and other types of foods not considered to be Kosher or halal or non-violent. Koreans even eat pork blood sausages, aka Sundae, something I never actually tried. I became fascinated with middle eastern cultures and religions, even going so far as to convert to Islam at one point in my life partly due to the influence of my ex-boyfriend. (I converted back to Catholicism later.) Every Saturday evening, when I was a practicing Catholic, my Korean American friends would drive me to a Korean American Catholic church where after mass, we would gather together to eat, pray, sing, talk, and praise the good Lord Jesus Christ. I think at that time I was a vegetarian and so desperately wanted to convince everyone in our little group that eating pork was bad, that we should all be peaceful vegetarians. I didn’t do a very good job, because as I remember it correctly, I never actually did enough research to back up my claims, and the people had good questions. Some type of pork was served up at least once or twice a month every month at our church meetings. My parents eat pork and living with them, I found it hard to avoid. Eventually, I returned to being a meat eater (fish, shellfish, pork, red meat, chicken, you name it). My father loved to buy and eat Italian salami and canned spam, and once in a while I would eat it with him. However I noticed that whenever I ate the pork products and went out in the backyard to play with my dog, I would always, always, without fail develop a dirty taste and smell in my mouth. I knew it came from the pig meat. Right now, I’m just trying to eat healthy foods (like those from the Mediterranean diet) and just concentrate on being a healthy person overall. I believe I have learned and grown quite a bit from my journey though and my faith in Christ is stronger than ever.

  25. Bisaya Daemonic Says:

    After reading this lengthy article and all 24 comments above mine as of this writing, I got so hungry, I ate dinuguan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dinuguan.

    I am Catholic and I consider myself much read about Jewish and Muslim customs. But I dare say I have no problems eating – or trying even for once – anything on the planet, excepting humans, of course, unless survivability comes to play. Heck, even boxer Juan Manuel Marquez publicly admits to drinking his own urine.

    I tend to agree with the writer’s conclusion on why pork was considered taboo in biblical times – it was the sociological culture, the obsolete taxonomy system and – dare I say – the misguided beliefs of our “inspired” ancestors. Even the most fantastic and amazing writers of our modern times declare “they can’t all be gems” – and they’re referring to their written works.

    In these worldly scientific times, everything now is made clearer and things make more pragmatic sense. And we can always rely on our religious beliefs to still become morally guided in our life and work. So it would be great to have some alcoholic beverage and well-cooked pork to celebrate our life and work milestones once in a while.

    Pork is delicious. Barbecued pork is awesome, you really have to try it, especially if you’re new to eating pork.

  26. rowland Says:

    If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.

  27. stringer Says:

    This is just a thought – but is it possible that a prohibition on pork in middle eastern countries has anything to do with its similarity to human meat? I remember a story about a German butcher in the war who seemed to have far more pork than rations allowed and it turned out that he was a serial killer selling the fruits of his terrible labour.

    I can easily imagine this as a way of detaching Judaism from older religious where cannibalism may have been permitted (or indeed something Judaism inherited from an older religion that had the same goal to make a taboo out of cannibalism.

    Discuss!

  28. Just a Hebrew Says:

    Here we go again. The reason we do not eat pork has nothing to do with cannibalism. It is because GOD instructed us in the TORAH that we should eat only meat that both eats it cud and has a true split hoof. Pigs and hogs do not fall into this; therefore, we do not eat them. Please just read the BIBLE and try not to put to much thought into why GOD said DO NOT. If you want to honor GOD then you will follow his rule for living. If you do not want to honor GOD then don’t. It’s up to you. We can see who is right in the end of days.

  29. Steelystan Says:

    In reply to “Just a Hebrew”, I would ask how far biblical literalism should be taken? I am prepared to respect anyones love of their scripture, but I would be cautious in accepting it verbatim in all senses. I say this because, pragmatically, we know that the bible, the Torah and the Quran, are all documents created by men, in the belief they represent the word of God. Even if this is true, which for all I know it may be, is it not also true that unscrupulous religious leaders may be tempted to impose their own earthly wishes in God’s name? These ideas might then be accepted over time as enjoying God’s authority, when they arise out of lesser minds. I this sense, its not hard to see how a sensible rule about not eating pork could be adopted as God’s will too. The logic might be that pork is preserved commonly through salting, which in an arid climate consumes too much water (in salt production) whereas beef can be airdried easily. This good sense gets accepted over time as God’s will. Nothing wrong with that, but maybe a way scripture evolves.

  30. Steelystan Says:

    Oh, on a lighter note, I read somewhere that in one imprint of the King James edition of the Bible some centuries ago, a misprint gave us instruction that “Thou Shalt commit adultery”. Readers of the day must have been rejoicing at the relaxation of this commandment and asking when, how often and with whom? Seriously though, if we are to believe in the word of God, we might perhaps be suspicious of the printing of men. I’d hate to think what might happen if we adopted a strict position insisting we all scrupulously carry out the word of God had the misprint been “Thou shalt kill”.

  31. Just a Hebrew Says:

    You can believe what you want. We will all find out in the end of days. I for one plan to follow the Torah. In regards to the King James edition of the Bible, there are more problems than what you talked about. That is why you need to go back to the Hebrew version of the Torah, not the english version.

  32. Club Penguin Says:

    You should try to write some top list style articles or something like it

  33. Shala Bellantone Says:

    Hit Commence for the PS3 controller and you also see Kratos with a narrow path on the mountainside. The Sun God Helios appears to buzz all around on his Sun Chariot, but we can rip his skull later on. Far more pressing matters are at hand (or blade). You happen to be instantly drawn from the action because the soldiers through the Army of Olympus surround you. Tapping SQUARE to hack and slash is usual of God of War. Nevertheless, Kratos can now Grab in several designs utilizing different buttons. Grab enemies utilizing CIRCLE after which it is possible to use several buttons to throw them, use as battering ram, rip it away, and so on.

  34. JFF Says:

    You have to realsie that the people that God had to deal with back in those days had verry little
    knowledge of science , any type of technology for the Jewish people it was about survival and finding a home land which the can prosper. Pretty much very little education . As a father will explain to a child that yet knows better Don’t run on the road , dont touch the oven full stop. The child doesn not know that he can touch the oven when it is not on , or that he can cross the road when there are no cars , but due to his lack of know how , he is told so without reasoning for him/her to survive. There are laws that God placed in the old testament that He had ordered the Jews so that they may survive , yes could be social cultural or biological reasons. Camels where required for travel so can you imagine if the ate them. Pigs while travelling in the deserts would of got hungry and probably would fed on them at night. these are just reasons Yes the law might not make sense to us But God foresaw the Jewish Journey and if these laws where not present their destiny might of been different. And regarding to why Jesus came and changes things he firstly did not abolish the old testament he cam to fullfill and complete it for us to understand and know. No longer through Law do we Live but through Faith and love. If we look at the time that jesus came Civilisation was peaking the Jews had found home established a Land of some kind. these laws of travel and survival where no longer needed, the greeks where studying medicine , the romans where building roads and technology was birthing . Man was becoming a god of his own . The child has now Grown no longer does he/she need to be told but now given the choice . The Jews themselves where given the choice to believe in christ , he did not force and order like in the old testament. No more baby feeding . The world was about to change and indeed it did.

  35. Donald W. Bales Says:

    Muhammad got many of his ideas from the Jews and Christians who lived in Arabic in his time.
    Abraham was described as being the father of Ishmael who is described as being the
    ancestor of the Muslims. So it is not surprising to me that although many Muslims act like they hate the Jews, it is as though a man hates his half-brother. Of course, some men do hate thei brothers.
    I am not Jewish and I am not a historian nor an expert on religion, but it occurs
    to me that the climate and terrain where the primitive Jews and Arabs lived was not a
    a good place to raise pigs. They eat the same food that humans do. We humans are also omnivores.
    I would guess that Arabs would not eat horses, however, in Lawrence’s time there they surely
    would eat camels. It is not only pigs and shellfish who eat “unclean” substances.
    In the Bible (not the most scientifically accurate source) it was reported that there was a herd of
    pigs that took the demons from the crazy man. Why would there have been a herd of pigs?
    Did they belong to some other religious group?

  36. Sher Says:

    Basically anything that is a scavenger animal and eats or would eat poop we forbidden to eat, this still includes the pig. God wants His people to be able to distinguish between clean and unclean. He wants a people that will obey him. After all, the first sin was eating something God said not to! Yahshua (Jesus) sent the unclean spirit (demon) into the unclean animal, the pig. Anyone that looks at the scientific reasons alone, should avoid the pig’s tainted meat.

  37. Beninabox Says:

    As people have said, it is not just pig that is considered unclean “to you”. btw, it’s not unclean as an objective universal fact, just to the recipients of the Torah.

    What hasn’t been mentioned yet is the overall context of any restrictions: In the biblical narrative, originally humans were vegetarian. After the Flood, meat was considered ok as part of the diet. What’s significant about Kosher laws is that the only restrictions are on animal flesh (and a milk/meat mixing restriction “you will not soak the kid in its mother’s milk” that seems to be to be about moral irony); any plant is ok, if, of course, it doesn’t poison you). Perhaps the aim was to make meat-eating something that people had to think about rather than pursue w/ abandon. You are mindful that you can’t kill every animal for food.

  38. Larry Silverstein Says:

    ARE JEWS RACIST???

    The Editorial Board

    President of the Editorial Board and Founder: Rabbi Moshe Segal OBM

    Rabbi Yisrael Ariel
    Moshe Asher
    Joel Rakovsky
    Amishar Segal

    Articles are the authors’ responsibility
    5749

    Jews Are Called — Man

    The Distinction between Jews and Gentiles in Torah

    Rabbi David Bar Chaim
    Yeshivat Mercaz HaRav
    Introduction
    Over the past few years, there has been a recognizable trend amongst different circles in the religious community — a humanistic/universal inclination. There are many who have written in praise of love, “for all men who were created in the image of G-d.” We have even been “graced” with a pamphlet of this name, Chaviv Adam Sh’nivra B’tzelem, composed and edited by Mr. Yochanan Ben Ya’acov, the Director General of the Bnei Akiva Youth Movement. The explicit goal of those who share this outlook is to prove that all men are equal, that it is forbidden to discriminate against any man on the basis of his race, and that anyone who claims the opposite is nothing but a racist, distorting the words of the Torah in order to fit them to his “dreadful” opinions.
    Here are two examples:
    1. A statement by Ms. R. Huberman:
    “…I never imagined that the Torah discriminates between one man and the next on the basis of faith, nationality, or race…on the contrary, it is our Torah which teaches that the blood of man is holy simply because he is man: “Whoever sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of G-d made He man” (Genesis 9)…in the Ten Commandments it is written: “You shall not murder”! There is no hint of a restriction, no hint that the prohibition applies to a Jew and not to a Gentile…”
    (“Between Blood and Blood,” Amudim, a monthly magazine of the Religious Kibbutz Movement, Tamuz 5745, pg.352).
    2. [Former] Member of Knesset (National Religious Party) Professor Avner Shaki:
    “The Jews of the State of Israel who received the Torah of Moses on Mount Sinai, where it was established that man was created in the image of G-d, have no need for any…law to teach us this fundamental basic of the Torah, that all men are born equal according to Judaism…man’s equality, man’s status before G-d and before his fellow man, is a primary and fundamental principle in the Jewish Torah…of course, we will not assist any type of racism which discriminates against man because of his color, religion, or nationality…”
    (an excerpt from his speech during a discussion in the Knesset on an amendment to the Basic Law of the Knesset and the Penal Law)
    We have something very clear before us: all human beings, Jew and Gentile, are equal. As will be further clarified, this outlook completely contradicts the Torah of Moses, and stems from an absolute lack of knowledge, permeated with foreign Western “values.” There would not be any need to respond were it not for the many who are mistaken and lead astray by it.
    This outlook has even been expressed by some rabbis whose goal is to show how great and important the stature of the Gentile is in our Torah, and who thereby violate the truth by taking things out of context and inaccurately interpreting the words of Chazal and the Rishonim. A large part of their efforts are centered (due to the “Underground” affair, of course) on an attempt to prove that the prohibition “You shall not murder” also applies to the killing of a Gentile. Here is an excerpt from Rabbi Yehuda Amital, shlita:
    “See the Ra’aban on the Gemara Tractate Bava Kama 113a, that the prohibition of ‘You shall not murder’ also applies to a Gentile, as is explicitly stated by Maimonides in The Laws of a Murderer, chapter 1, halacha 1. See Yere’im, paragraph 175, that the killing of a Gentile is a subsidiary to the prohibition against murder.”
    (From a letter published in Alon Shvut (Yeshiva Har Etzion), issue number 100. His words are cited in the pamphlet previously mentioned, Chaviv Adam Sh’nivra B’tzelem, in an experimental edition, pg.64)
    Rabbi Aaron Lichtenstein shlita writes:
    “From Maimonides’s words (Mishna Torah, The Laws of a Murderer, chapter 2, halacha 11) it is clear that the prohibition “You shall not murder” applies to a Gentile who fulfills the seven Noahide commandments, and the murderer is punished by death from the Heavens. So on one hand there is no difference in the prohibition of murder between a Jew and a Gentile…”
    (From a synopsis of a lecture published in Keshet B’Anan number 32, Gesher, and cited in the above mentioned pamphlet, pg.72.)
    The followers of these rabbis continue their path:
    “…‘You shall not kill’! This is an absolute prohibition, an unambiguous command that does not distinguish between Jew and Gentile…”
    (Mr. Yochanan Ben Ya’acov’s words in his introduction to the above mentioned pamphlet, pg.1)
    Later on it will become clear how misleading and deceptive these matters are.
    Not only about this halacha are things written which are liable to mislead the public. For example, Rabbi Lichtenstein writes:
    “The field of the Torah…is also relevant to the world of the Noahide, but there is no doubt that as far as the extent is concerned…the study of Torah is much less in the world of the Gentile than in our world.
    Rabbi Meir’s words in Tractate Sanhedrin 59a and the beraitha in Torat Cohanim are well known: even a Gentile who sits and learns Torah receives reward…an additional emphasis on the great and exalted study of Torah being relevant to the world of the Gentile.” (From his essay, Bnei Adam, in the monthly publication Emda, Number 3, pg.16, and in the previously mentioned pamphlet, pg.74.)
    It is amazing that he forgot to point out everything said there on this matter, particularly the conclusion. How could he not mention that Rabbi Meir’s words were brought in order to disagree with Rabbi Yochanan who said: “A Gentile who studies Torah is punishable by death, as it is said: ‘Moses commanded us the Torah as an inheritance,’ for us it is an inheritance, and not for them”? The conclusion is most important — in order to settle the conflicting statements the Talmud answers, “In this case, he is engaged in the seven Noahide commandments” (He is engaged in the halachas of those seven commandments to be skilled in them — Rashi). He is permitted to study those specific seven Noahide commandments — and if he learned more than this, he is punishable by death. So the Tosaphot wrote in Tractate Avodah Zara 3a, s.v. sh’afilu, and Maimonides in The Laws of Kings, chapter 10, halacha 9, writes: “A Gentile who engaged in Torah is punishable by death. He should not engage in anything other than their seven commandments alone.” The distance between what was said in the Talmud and Rabbi Lichtenstein’s words is great.
    In the previously mentioned essay Rabbi Lichtenstein writes further:
    “The field of prayer also exists as a universal value…this has been said in connection to the Holy Temple at its inception (I Kings 8:41-43); this is part of the prophecy of the end of days: ‘For my house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations.’ There is also room for the Gentile to come and pray in the Holy Temple!”
    How is it possible to say such things? Indeed, we have learned a complete Mishna (Kalim, chapter 1, mishna 8): “…Inside the walls of the Temple Mount is holier, and therefore Gentiles and one who has been defiled by the dead cannot enter there…” thus Maimonides ruled in The Laws of the Holy Temple,
    chapter 7, halacha 16. There is no way for a Gentile “to come and pray in the Holy Temple”! The matter is clear: a Gentile can pray, even on the Temple Mount, but not in the Holy Temple.
    An additional proof of the Gentile’s stature, according to Rabbi Lichtenstein:
    “Animal sacrifices are conceived by us as being of authentic Jewish character, but they definitely belong, in the pure sense of the halacha, also to the world of the Gentile: a Gentile offers animal sacrifices not just on any altar…but in the Holy Temple” (from the above mentioned essay).
    Aside from what has been previously clarified, that there is absolutely no possibility of a Gentile entering the Holy Temple, much less of offering sacrifices there, this statement, like the one before it, does not reflect the position of “pure halacha” on this topic. There is a discrepancy between Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Yosi the Galilean in the Sifra on the portion of Emor, parsha 7, halacha 1, and in the Tosephta, Shekalim, chapter 1, halacha 7 (Zukermandel and Leiberman editions, in the Vilna printing, halacha 3), and brought in Tractate Menachot 73b, concerning which sacrifices can be accepted from a Gentile. Maimonides ruled based on Rabbi Akiva (The Laws of Sacrifices, chapter 3, halacha 2): “Men or women or slaves can bring sacrifices. But from the Gentiles we only accept burnt offerings as it is said: ‘From the hand of a Gentile do not offer the bread of your Lord’…but we do not accept from them peace-offerings, nor meal-offerings, nor sin-offerings or guilt-offerings…” In connection to this we must add that even if a Gentile volunteered to donate money in order to have a part in the public sacrifices, we do not accept it from him, as it is cited in the Sifra, chapter 7, halacha 12, and in Shekalim, chapter 1, mishna 5, and Maimonides wrote in The Laws of Shekalim, chapter 1, halacha 7: “Everyone is obliged to give half a shekel…but from the Gentiles who gave a half shekel, we do not accept it.” Generally speaking — there is no equality of rights for a Gentile, not in their entrance to the Holy Temple nor in their offering of sacrifices there.
    It seems that these examples are sufficient to clarify the reason for writing this essay. Now let us consider a long list of sources that clearly contradict the previously mentioned opinions. First we will focus on halachic matters, and afterwards on the spiritual realm. It must be noted that I plan to deal only with halachot that illustrate the vast distinction the Torah makes between Jews and Gentiles. I do not intend to examine the topic of the status of Gentiles in the Torah in its entirety. For example, how and to what extent can the Gentile serve G-d according to the Torah, and what is his reward for this? What is possibilities are open for Gentiles residing in the land of Israel? What is the law for Gentiles who are at war with us or hostile towards us? I will not deal with these and similar matters — for this is not my purpose. (These matters are connected to specific situations and details, whereas the purpose of this essay is the overall, consistent distinction between Jew and Gentile.) The same is true concerning the second part of the essay, which will deal with the spiritual realm.
    1. Between Jews and Gentiles – In Halacha
    A. Killing a Gentile
    It is written in the Torah (Leviticus 24:17): “He who kills any man shall surely be put to death,” and it is also stated in the portion of Mishpatim (Exodus 21:14): “But if a man comes upon his neighbor with intent, to slay him with guile, you shall take him from my altar that he may die.” On the latter verse it is stated in Mechilta (Masechta D’Nezikin parasha 4): “‘But if a man comes with intent’ — Why was this stated? Since it is stated ‘And he that kills any man…,’ perhaps this also speaks of one who kills on purpose, in error, and others: a healer who killed [his patient], one who inflicts [deadly] blows with permission of Beit Din, a father who tyrannizes his son or student [to death] — is this what it implies? It is taught: ‘But if a man comes with intent’ — to exclude [one who kills in] error, ‘man’ to exclude the minor, ‘man’ — to include the others, ‘his neighbor’ — to include the minor, ‘his neighbor’ — to exclude the others.” Isi the son of Akiva says: “Before the giving of the Torah we were warned concerning the spilling of blood. After the giving of the Torah, instead of being more severe, they were more lenient. In truth they said he is exempt from the rule of man, and his judgement is the hands of Heaven.”
    We learn from the Mechilta that a Jew who killed a Gentile with intent is not put to death by the Beit Din, as he would be had he killed a Jew. The halacha is the same concerning a ger toshav, as is explicitly stated in the Mechilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on the above mentioned verse: “‘Upon his neighbor’ — with the exception of others, ‘his neighbor’ — with the exception of the ger toshav. Perhaps I ought to exclude the others, for they do not have commandments similar to the Jews, yet I ought not exclude the ger toshav who has commandments similar to the Jews. It is taught: ‘his neighbor’ — with the exception of the ger toshav.” Likewise it is written in Sifri on the portion of Masaei, paragraph 160, see there, and in Sifri Zuta on the portion of Masaei, 23: “Upon his neighbor — with the exception of the ger toshav.”
    Similarly we learn in the Mishnah, Sanhedrin chapter 9, mishnah 2: “One who intended to kill an animal [and instead] killed a man, [intended] to kill a Gentile [and instead] killed a Jew, [intended to kill] a fetus [and instead] killed a child who is able to exist outside the womb, [he is] exempt.” These, too, are the words of Maimonides in The Laws of a Murderer and Saving Life, chapter 2, halachas 10 and 11 (in manuscripts it appears as a single halacha): “One who kills a Jew or kills a Cannanite slave is put to death for this. And if he killed unintentionally, [he is] exiled. A Jew who kills a ger toshav is not put to death for this by a Beit Din, as it is said: ‘But if a man comes upon his neighbor with intent.’ And it need not be said that he is not put to death for [the killing of] a Gentile. The same for one who kills the slave of another, or kills his own slave — he is put to death for this, for the slave has already accepted upon himself commandments and is [therefore] included in the inheritance of G-d,” and so the Tosaphot has written in the Talmud, Tractate Makkot 9a, s.v. k’savur.
    In contrast, a ger toshav (and all the more so a Gentile) who killed a Jew, even unintentionally, is put to death, as we learned in chapter 2 of Tractate Makkot, mishnah 3, and in the Gemara there (9a), and as Maimonides wrote in chapter 5 of The Laws of a Murderer and Protecting Life, halacha 4: “A ger toshav who killed a Jew without intent — even though he did it unintentionally, he is put to death.”
    However, it must be emphasized that one cannot take this as permission to kill a Gentile. In the aforementioned Mechilta it clearly states the opposite — “his [one who kills a Gentile] judgement is in the hands of Heaven” — so it is forbidden. See further in Tosephta, Avodah Zarah chapter 8, halacha 5 (Zukermandel edition, in the Vilna edition it is chapter 9, halacha 4): “On the spilling of blood, how? …a Jew [who killed a] Gentile is exempt,” for one who kills is exempt [from punishment by Beit Din], however [this action is] prohibited, and in Sanhedrin 57a on this beraitha it is stated: “There, how should we learn the beraitha, prohibited [for a Gentile to kill a Gentile or a Jew] and permitted [for a Jew to kill a Gentile]? Yet we have learned in a beraitha that Gentiles and shepherds of small cattle are not raised [from the pit] nor lowered [into it]?” –so there is a prohibition against the killing of a Gentile. However, we have not found in the words of Chazal a definition of the prohibition, and the Rishonim are in dispute on this matter.
    The opinion of the HaRa’aban is that one who kills a Gentile transgresses the negative commandment of “You shall not murder” and these are his words in the commentary on Bava Kama paragraph 22 (page 74d): “… ‘You shall not steal’ is similar to ‘You shall not murder’ and ‘You shall not commit adultery’ in that it refers both to Jew and Gentile.”
    This is not the opinion of Maimonides in the beginning of The Laws of a Murderer and Protecting Life: “One who kills a Jew transgresses a negative commandment as it is stated: ‘ You shall not murder’.” Maimonides also wrote something similar in Sefer HaMitzvot, negative commandment 289, and Rabbi David HaKochavi restated it in his Sefer HaMitzvot, negative commandment 289. Likewise, it is written in Yere’im paragraph175 (Schiff edition, in other editions paragraph 248): “…and it is called murder only concerning a Jew, as it is written: ‘who murders his neighbor’ — the murder of one’s neighbor is called murder, but the murder of a Gentile it is not called murder.” And in the continuation of his statement: “Subsidiary [prohibition] of murder: not to kill a Gentile, as we learned in the beraitha in Avodah Zarah chapter 2 (page 26a): The Gentiles and shepherds of small cattle are not raised [from the pit] nor lowered [into it].” According to Maimonides, the Yere’im, and Rabbi David HaKochavi, one who kills a Gentile does not transgress the negative commandment ‘you shall not murder.’
    Summary
    1. One who kills a Gentile, and even a ger toshav, is not put to death for this by the Beit Din, even if he kills him with intent. This is clearly stated in the Torah and in the words of Chazal.
    2. In the opinion of the HaRa’aban, one who kills a Gentile transgresses the negative commandment of “You shall not murder,” and in the opinion of Maimonides, the Yeare’im, and Rabbi David HaKochavi, the murder of a Gentile is not included in this negative commandment. However, according to all opinions there exists a prohibition in this matter, as is clear from the words of Chazal.
    So the Torah differentiates between a Jew and a Gentile with regards to the killing of a man.
    B. Saving of Life
    Regarding the subject of saving a life, too, the Torah differentiates between a Jew and a Gentile. We learn in chapter 8 of Tractate Kippurim (Yoma) mishnah 45 (in the Vilna edition mishnah 47): “One upon whom the ruins of a building collapsed and there is doubt whether he is there or not, whether he is alive or dead, whether he is a Jew or a Gentile, we clear off [the rubble]. If they found him alive, they clear off [the rubble], if dead, they leave him there.” The Talmud explains on page 85a: “It is needless to say ‘there is doubt whether he is alive or dead’ if he is a Jew, but even if we are uncertain whether he is a Gentile or a Jew we clear off [the rubble],” and thus wrote Maimonides in chapter 2 of The Laws of the Sabbath, halacha 21 (in the Vilna edition, halacha 20): “If there was a courtyard with both Gentiles and Jews, even one Jew and a thousand Gentiles, and the ruins of a building collapsed upon them, we clear off the rubble from everyone for the sake of the Jew. If one of them moved to another courtyard and it collapsed upon him, we clear [the rubble] off him, for perhaps the one who moved [to the other courtyard] is the Jew and the ones who remained are the Gentiles.” Likewise in the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, paragraph 329, section 3.

    It must be pointed out that a Jew who wanted to engage himself in the saving of the life of a Gentile which involved a transgression of the Sabbath, and did so in front of witnesses and after being warned, is put to death by the Beit Din — this is self evident.
    C. Death by a Beit Din

    It is written in the Torah (Deuteronomy 19:15): “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any guilt, in any sin that he may commit: at the word of two witnesses, or at the word of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” And in the Sifri (Shoftim, paragraph 188) it is written: “Thus far we [learn] it with regards to the capital laws; from where do we learn it concerning monetary laws? It is written, ‘for any iniquity.’ From where do we learn it concerning [transgression for which one must bring] sacrificial offerings? It is written, ‘or for any guilt.’ Where do we learn it concerning [transgressions punishable by] lashes [by a Beit Din]? It is written, ‘in any sin that he may commit’…” Maimonides wrote similarly in the beginning of chapter 5 of The Laws of Testimony: “No verdict of judgement may be made based on the testimony of one individual, neither in monetary laws nor in capital laws, as is written: ‘One witness shall not rise up against a man for an iniquity, or for any guilt’…”
    Likewise, one is not put to death by a Beit Din, even if there were several witnesses to his transgression, without forewarning, as we learn in the beginning of chapter 5 of Tractate Sanhedrin: “They [a Beit Din] would investigate them [the witnesses] with seven interrogations: Which week? Which year?…Do you recognize him? Did you warn him?…” and there in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 40b): “Ula said: From where [do we learn] forewarning from the Torah? As it is said: ‘And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and sees her nakedness.’ Is this matter contingent on ‘seeing?’ Rather, until it is made perfectly clear to him [that sexual relations with her are forbidden to him — Rashi]…In the school of Hizkiya they learn it thus: ‘But if a man comes upon his neighbor with intent to slay him with guile’ — [this speaks of a case] when he was forewarned, yet he still came with intent. In the school of Rabbi Ishmael they learn it thus: ‘…those who find him gathering sticks,’ [it is mentioned in the present tense to teach us that] they forewarned him, yet he continued to gather sticks” (see there; in the Jerusalem Talmud there are other ways of learning the requirement of forewarning). Thus Maimonides wrote in the beginning of chapter 12 of The Laws of Sanhedrin: “How are capital cases judged? When witnesses come to the Beit Din… the judges say to them: ‘Do you recognize him? Did you forewarn him?’ If they say ‘We do not recognize him,’ or ‘We are not sure,’ or they did not forewarn him, behold, [he] is exempt.”
    This is the way concerning a Jew. With regards to a Gentile, however, it is taught in Sanhedrin 57b: “Rabbi Jacob bar Acha found it written in an Aggadic book from the school of Rav: a Gentile is put to death by one judge and by one witness, even if he was not forewarned, by testimony of a man and not of a woman, and even of a family member. In the name of Rabbi Ishmael they said: Even for [the killing of] a fetus.” Thus Maimonides wrote in chapter 9 of The Laws of Kings and Wars halachas 4 and 14 — these laws were stated concerning a Gentile, in contrast to the laws concerning a Jew. (A Jew is not put to death for killing a fetus as it is stated in chapter 5 of Tractate Niddah, mishnah 3: “A one-day old baby becomes impure by discharge…and one who kills him is liable…” and see the reason for this in Rashi on Sanhedrin there, s.v. af al ha’ubarin, and in the Gemara, Tractate Niddah there. Similarly, verdicts on capital cases where a Jew is accused may be made only by a Beit Din of twenty three members, as we have learned in Sanhedrin chapter 1, mishnah 4. Likewise regarding the laws of testimony: the testimony of a family member is invalid for a Jew, as it says in Sifri, paragraph 280, on the verse: “Fathers shall not be put to death for children”: “…fathers shall not be put to death by the testimony of children, and children shall not be put to death by fathers. When it says ‘and children,’ it includes family members…”).
    We clearly see that the Torah is much stricter about the procedures of judgement when dealing with the life of a Jew than it is when dealing with that of a Gentile.
    D. Damage by a Gentile
    It is written in the Torah: (Exodus 21:35): “If a man’s ox injures his neighbor’s ox and it dies, they shall sell the live ox and divide the money received for it; they shall also divide the dead animal.” In the Mechilta (Tractate Nezikin section 12) it is said: “‘A man’s ox’ — to exclude the ox of a minor, ‘a man’s ox’ — to include the ox of others.’ His neighbor’s ox,’ to include [the ox of] a minor, ‘his neighbor’s’ to exclude [the ox] of a Gentile, the ox of a Samaritan, the ox of a ger toshav.” And in the Mechilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai it is stated: “‘His neighbor’s,’ — to exclude others, to exclude the ger toshav. Is it possible no payment will be made to a Gentile or that a Gentile will not pay him? It is taught: ‘He shall surely pay,’ to include [the payment of] a Gentile and of a ger toshav. Is it possible that they pay for an innocent [ox] half the damage, and for a notorious [ox] full damage? It is taught: ‘His neighbors’ ox,’ the ox of his neighbor is dealt with in such a manner, and not [the ox] of others, concerning whom it is stated: ‘He appeared from Mount Paran’ (Deuteronomy 33:2), — [G-d] appeared disfavoring all the inhabitants of the world [in contrast to the Jews].”
    Furthermore, there is an explicit mishnah in Tractate Baba Kama 4:3: “An ox of a Jew who injured an ox which was dedicated [to the Temple] or a dedicated ox which injured an ox of a Jew is exempt, as it is written: ‘his neighbor’s ox’ — and not a dedicated ox. An ox of a Jew who hurt an ox of a Gentile is exempt. An ox of a Gentile who hurt the ox of a Jew — whether it is an ox who was harmless before or an ox which has been proven dangerous, [the owner] must pay the full damage.” A Jew who causes damage to a Gentile is always exempt, however a Gentile who causes damage to a Jew must pay the full damage in every case. And thus it is in Maimonides, chapter 8 of The Laws of Property Damage, halacha 5, and in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat, beginning of paragraph 406. The distinction between a Jew and a Gentile is clear.
    It is appropriate to cite the words of Maimonides in his explanation of the mishnah in Bava Kama there: “If there was a legal case between a Jew and a Gentile, then the manner of judging between them is as I will explain: if we [i.e., a Jew] will win under their laws, we judge them according to their laws and say to them: this is your law! If it is better that we judge according to our laws, we judge them according to our laws and say to them: this is our law! And do not find it difficult, and don’t be surprised by it, just as one is not surprised about the slaughter of animals even though they have done no harm, for one in whom human characteristics are not complete is not truly a man, and his end purpose is only for ‘man’ [that is to say, the entire raison d’etre of the Gentiles is only for the benefit of the complete man — comment by Rabbi Y. Kapach shlita in his edition of Maimonides’s Commentary on the Mishnah], and the discussion on this matter requires a separate book.”
    E. Robbery and Theft of a Gentile
    With regards to robbery and theft from a Gentile, the Tanna’im disagreed, and subsequently so did the Rishonim, whether the prohibition is from the Torah or only Rabbinic.
    It is explained in the Jerusalem Talmud, chapter 4 of Bava Kama, halacha 3: “It happened that the [Roman] kingdom sent two officials to learn Torah from Rabban Gamliel. They learned from him Scripture, Mishnah, Talmud, Halacha, and Aggadah. In the end they said: your entire Torah is fine and praiseworthy, except for these two matters which you say — a Jewish woman should not be a midwife for a Gentile woman, but a Gentile woman can be a mid-wife for a Jewish woman, and a Jewish woman cannot breastfeed the son of a Gentile woman, but a Gentile woman can breastfeed [the child of] a Jewish woman with her permission; robbery of a Jew is forbidden, but robbery of a Gentile is permitted. At that moment Rabban Gamliel issued an edict that what is stolen from a Gentile is forbidden because of the desecration of G-d’s name.” According to the Jerusalem Talmud, that which is stolen from a Gentile is forbidden because of Rabban Gamliel’s edict and it is only a Rabbinic prohibition. Likewise it is written in Sifri on the portion of V’zot HaBracha, section 344, except that the edict of Rabban Gamliel is not mentioned there.
    This is also what is written in the Tosephta, Avodah Zarah chapter 8, halacha 5 (in the Zuckermandel edition; in the Vilna edition it is chapter 9, halacha 4): “…Regarding theft — a thief, a robber, one who takes a [captive] beautiful woman, and the like — these are things it is forbidden for a Gentile [to perpetrate] against a Gentile, or [against] a Jew, but it is permissible for a Jew [to perpetrate] against a Gentile.”
    Thus Rashi wrote on the aforementioned beraitha which appears in Sanhedrin 57a, s.v. yisrael b’goy mutar: “For ‘You shall not exploit your neighbor’ is written, and it is not written ‘a Gentile,’ but there is a Rabbinic prohibition, according to the one who says that robbery of a Gentile is forbidden because of desecration of G-d’s name in the last chapter ‘HaGozel’ [chapter 10 of Bava Batra].” Thus it also appears in Bava Metzia 111b: “And since the first Tanna learned the law from the phrase ‘his brother,’ what does he do with the phrase ‘his neighbor’? That phrase comes to teach something in his view also, as stated in the beraitha: ‘his neighbor’ — and not a Gentile. But isn’t it appropriate to learn that a Gentile is excluded from the phrase ‘his brother’? One [phrase] comes to permit exploiting him [a Gentile] and the other comes to permit robbing him, as he holds that robbery of a Gentile is permitted.” And so it is determined in the commentary attributed to the Ran on Tractate Sanhedrin 57a. Thus, too, ruled the Rama in Even HaEzer, paragraph 28, section 1, and also the Maharshal in Yam shel Shlomo on Bava Kama, paragraph 20.
    In contrast, it is explained in Torat Cohanim on the portion of Behar Sinai, beginning of chapter 9 (and it appears in Bava Kama 113a with differences): “Rabbi Shimon says: from where do we learn that stealing from a Gentile is forbidden? It is written: ‘after he [a Jew] is sold [to Gentiles].’ Perhaps one can take him by force and leave? [Take the Jew by force from the Gentile’s house without paying, to steal him from the Gentile — commentary attributed to Rabbi Simon Sens]. It is taught: ‘He shall be redeemed.’ Perhaps one can deceive him? [Fool the Gentile and treat him like an imbecile in order to buy his slave cheaply — ibid..] It is taught: ‘He shall reckon with the one who bought him’ — to be precise with him… If the Torah is so strict in [forbidding] robbery of a Gentile, how much more so concerning robbery of a Jew.” It is explained that robbery of Gentiles is prohibited, and the plain meaning of the beraitha is that this prohibition is from the Torah, as the GRA wrote in his commentary on Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 348, section 8, and as the Radbaz wrote in his Responsa, part 2 paragraph 1276.
    Thus it also appears in Sifri on the portion of Ki Teze, section 266: “‘When you come into your neighbor’s vineyard’ — ‘your neighbor’s,’ to exclude others, ‘your neighbor’s,’ to exclude a vineyard dedicated to the Temple…” (‘To exclude others’ — that is to say, the vineyard of Gentiles, for concerning ‘your neighbor’s’ it is written: ‘But you shall not put any in your vessel’ — so in the vineyard of a Gentile it is permitted, and it is derived according to the one who says that view which states that generally robbery of a Gentile is forbidden… — commentary of Rabbeinu Hillel.) Thus it also appears in Tractate Bava Metzia 87b: “…in your neighbor’s vineyard and not in the vineyard of a Gentile. It is understandable according to the one who says robbery of a Gentile is forbidden, that is to say, we need this verse to permit a robbery to a worker…” According to these Tanna’im, robbery of a Gentile is forbidden by the Torah. Likewise it is stated in Seder Eliyahu Rabba (Tanna d’vey Eliyahu) chapter 16 (in the Ish Shalom edition, in other editions it is chapter 15), see there. See further the Tosephta on Bava Kama, chapter 10 halacha 15 (in the Vilna edition, halacha 8).
    Maimonides wrote at the beginning of The Laws of Theft: “Anyone who steals property worth the value of a prutah and above transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not steal’… no matter if he steals money from a Jew or the money of a Gentile idolater…” In The Laws of Robbery and Lost Items, chapter 1 halachas 1 and 2, he wrote: “Anyone who steals from a his fellow something worth a prutah transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not steal’…and it is forbidden to steal anything according to the ruling of the Torah. It is forbidden to rob or exploit even a Gentile idolater, and if one robs or exploits him, he must recompense him.” This is also the opinion of the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 348, section 2, and in the beginning of paragraph 359. Thus also ruled the Gaon of Vilna there, paragraph 348, subsection 8, and in Even HaEzer, paragraph 28, subsection 5, and the Ridbaz in the aforementioned responsum. (It is appropriate to note what the Ridbaz wrote: even though stealing from a Gentile is forbidden by the Torah, one does not transgress a negative commandment by doing it; it is also explained so in Likutei HaGRA on Maimonides, and according to this, once again there is no equality between a Jew and a Gentile). See Chidushei Rabbi Akiva Eiger, paragraph 359, where he proved that according to the view which holds that stealing from a Gentile is prohibited, the prohibition stems from the Torah.
    However, even according to Maimonides’s opinion that stealing from a Gentile is forbidden from the Torah and that consequently one transgresses a negative commandment by doing it, we find nevertheless found in his words a distinction between a Jew and a Gentile, for thus he wrote in The Laws of Robbery, chapter 6, halacha 7: “The Sages prohibited many things on account of robbery, and one who transgresses these matters is a robber according to their words — for example, pigeon racers and dice rollers,” and there in halacha 11: “one who plays dice with a Gentile does not transgress the prohibition of robbery, but he transgresses the prohibition of engaging in idleness, for it is not worthy of man to engage himself all the days of his life in matters other than words of wisdom and cultivation of the world.” That is, in this issue also a Gentile is not completely equal with a Jew. See in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 370 who brought the words of Maimonides and did not dispute him on this matter, and the SM’A in subsection 4 and in the Prisha in subsection 7. The GRA, in subsection 7, agreed with him.
    F. The Lost Item of a Gentile
    It is written in the Torah (Deuteronomy 22:2): “You shall not see your brother’s ox or sheep going astray and hide yourself from them. You shall surely bring them back to your brother.” It is also stated (Exodus 23:4): “If you meet your enemy’s ox or his ass going astray, you shall surely bring it back to him.” In the Mechilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai on the latter verse it is written: “‘Your brother’s ox’ — I only have [learned about] my brother, from where [do I learn about] my enemy? It is written: ‘your enemy’s ox’ anyway. Perhaps this is also the case concerning others? It is written: ‘your brother,’ as your brother is your partner, so too, any man who is your partner.” And in Tractate Bava Kama 113b: “Rabbi Bibi bar Gozla said in the name of Rabbi Shimon Chasida: robbery of a Gentile is forbidden… his lost item is permitted, similar to what Rav Chama bar Guryeh said in the name of Rav: from where do we know that the lost item of a Gentile is permitted? As it says: ‘In like manner shall you do with his ass; and so shall you do with his garment; and with every lost thing of your brother’s’ — every lost thing of your brother’s and not every lost thing of a Gentile. It was taught in a beraitha: Rabbi Pinchas ben Yair said, in any instance where there is a desecration of G-d’s name, even his [a Gentile’s] lost item is forbidden…”
    We learn in Tractate Machshirin, chapter 2 mishnah 8: “One who finds a lost item — if the majority [in the surrounding area] are Gentiles, he does not have to publicly announce his finding; if the majority are Jews, he must publicly announce it; if half are Gentiles and half are Jews, he must publicly announce.” Thus wrote Maimonides in the beginning of chapter 11 of The Laws of Robbery and Lost Items: “One who returns a lost item to a Jew fulfills a positive commandment, as it says: ‘You shall surely bring them back to your brother.’ One who sees a lost item of a Jew and ignores it and leaves it there transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not see your brother’s ox and hide yourself from them,’ and he also abandons a positive commandment. And if he returns it, he fulfills a positive command.” But in halacha 3 he wrote: “A lost item of a Gentile is permitted, as it says: ‘Every lost thing of your brother’s’.” Thus it is explained in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 266, section 1.
    In addition, it is explained in Sanhedrin 76b: “Rabbi Yehuda said in the name of Rav: one who marries his daughter to an elderly man, and one who marries his son of minor age to a woman, and one who returns a lost item to a Gentile, concerning him the verse says, ‘To add drunkenness to thirst: the Lord will not spare him’.” These are the words of Maimonides there, halacha 3: “If one returns a lost item [to a Gentile] to sanctify G-d’s name, in order that the Gentiles glorify the Jews, and know that they [the Jews] are a faithful people — this is praiseworthy. In a case where there is a desecration of G-d’s name, his [a Gentile’s] lost item is forbidden, and he [the Jew] is obligated to return it…”. The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch wrote similarly there. (In regards to what Maimonides wrote “If he returned the lost item to sanctify…,” this is according to the Jerusalem Talmud, chapter 2 of Tractate Bava Metzia, halacha 5 — but it is important to emphasize that one cannot learn general permission from this, as the Maharshal wrote in Yam shel Sholomo, chapter 10 of Bava Kama, section 20: “G-d desires a man’s heart [aspiration to worship Him], therefore [one may do it] if this is his intention [to sanctify G-d’s name], however if his intention is that he, and not the faith of Israel, should be praised, or because he loves the Gentile and has mercy on him, it is forbidden [to return the Gentile’s lost item].”)
    G. The Error of a Gentile
    The error of a Gentile [i.e., property of which he deprived himself due to an error] is permitted, similar to the case of his lost item. Thus it is explained in Bava Kama 113b: “Shmuel said: and his error is permitted.” However, the Rishonim disagree about whether it speaks of a case where a Gentile erred in his calculation on his own or if it is permitted to deceive him. In the opinion of Rashi, there (s.v. v’ivla lei zuza) it is permitted to deceive him, in accordance with Rashi’s opinion which was clarified above, that stealing from a Gentile is permitted. The Tosaphot also wrote there, s.v. ya’chol, that it is permitted to deceive a Gentile, however only if he cannot discover it and it won’t cause a desecration of G-d’s name. This is also the opinion of the Tur in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 348, section 3: “However, his error — that is, to deceive him in calculations or to raise his loan — is permitted, but only if it will not become evident to him — for in such a situation there is no desecration of G-d’s name.”
    But this is not the opinion of Maimonides, who wrote in chapter 11 of The Laws of Robbery and Lost Items, halacha 4: “The error of a Gentile is similar to his lost item and is permitted — that is, if he erred on his own, but to deceive him is forbidden.” Likewise he wrote in the beginning of chapter 18 of The Laws of Transactions. This is also the opinion of Rabbeinu Chananel (brought in Shita Mikubetzet; in Aruch, entry plez, it is brought without attribution) of the Rif, of the HaRaviyah (brought in the Mordechai, paragraph 158, and in Or Zarua there on Bava Kama), of the Mordechai, and of the Nimukei Yosef.
    The Rama in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 348, section 2, brought both opinions and did not determine in this matter; however, the Maharshal ruled in Yam shel Shlomo (chapter 11 of Bava Kama, paragraph 20) that it is forbidden to deceive a Gentile, and this is the intent of the Gaon of Vilna there, subsection 13.
    In any case, the entire essence of this dispute is specifically concerning a Gentile, for with regards to the error of a Jew, everything must be recompensed, as it appears in a number of places, including Kiddushin 42b: “Rava said: anything concerning [faulty] measurements, weights or calculations, even if they are of minimal value, is also recompensed,” and so wrote Maimonides in the beginning of chapter 15 of The Laws of Transactions, and the Tur, and the Shulchan Aruch in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 232.
    H. Abduction
    It is written in the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:13): “You shall not steal,” and also there (21:16): “Whoever steals a man and sells him — if he is found in his hand, he shall be put to death.” In Mechilta, Yitro section 8 it is explained: “‘You shall not steal’ — why is this stated? Since it says ‘And he that steals a man, and sells him’ — his punishment is stated, from where do we learn a warning? It is written: ‘You shall not steal,’ this is a warning with concerning abduction.” In Deuteronomy 24:7 it says: “If a man is found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel and maltreating or selling him, that thief will die: and you shall eliminate evil from within you” — so it is clearly stated in the Torah that only for abduction of a Jew is one punished by death.
    In Sifri on the portion of Ki Teze, paragraph 273: “Stealing any of his brethren — and not others” (that is, Gentiles — commentary of Rabbeinu Hillel). Thus we also learn in the beginning of chapter 11 of Sanhedrin: “These are the ones who are [put to death by] strangulation: one who hits his father and mother, and one who abducts a Jew…” And this is the wording of Maimonides in The Laws of Theft, chapter 9, halacha 1: “Anyone who steals a Jewish person transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not steal.’ And there in halacha 6: “No matter whether he abducted [one born] a Jew or a convert or a manumitted slave, as it says: ‘Any of his brethren,’ and these are considered our brothers in Torah and commandments. However, one who steals a slave or a man who is half-slave/half-free is exempt” — in any case, we learn that one who abducts a Gentile is exempt.
    I. One Who Injures His Fellow
    It is written in the Torah (Deuteronomy 25:2-3): “And it shall be, if the wicked man is worthy to be beaten, the judge shall make him lie down, and he shall be beaten before him, according to his fault, by a certain number. Forty lashes he shall give him and not exceed, lest, if he exceeds and beats him with more lashes than these, your brother shall be made vile before you.”
    In the Mechilta, Mishpatim section 5 on the verse “And he that smites his father or his mother shall surely be put to death,” it is explained: “We have heard the punishment, but a warning we have not heard. It is as written, ‘Forty lashes he shall give him, and not exceed,’ and the matter is an a fortiori inference: if one who is commanded to beat is warned not to [over]beat, one who is commanded not to beat is obviously warned not to beat.”
    All this is regarding a Jew, as Maimonides wrote in Sefer HaMitzvot, negative commandment 300 (in Rav Kapach’s edition): “And from this negative commandment stems the warning not to beat any Jew: if concerning this sinner we are warned not to beat him, all the more so regarding any other man.” Likewise, he wrote in The Laws of Monetary Damages in the beginning of chapter 5: “It is forbidden for one to injure himself or his fellow. And not only the one who causes injury, but anyone who strikes a kosher Jewish person, whether a minor or an adult, whether a man or a woman, in any manner like fighting, transgresses a negative commandment, as it is written: ‘He shall not exceed to beat him’.” See further in The Laws of the Rebellious, chapter 5, halacha 8, and in chapter 16 of The Laws of Sanhedrin, halacha 12. Thus it is also written in Sefer HaChinuch, commandment 600 (in other editions, commandment 595).
    Furthermore, one who injures his fellow is obligated to recompense him, as we learn in the beginning of chapter 8 of Bava Kama: “One who injures his fellow is obligated in five categories: damage, pain, healing, rest, and embarrassment.” However, the obligation of compensation applies specifically to one who hit a Jew, as Maimonides wrote there, halacha 3: “One who hits his fellow a blow which does not have the value of a prutah is given lashes, for there are no payments appropriate to enable the paying off of this negative commandment. Even if he hits a slave of his fellow, giving him a blow which does not have the value of a prutah, he is given lashes, for he [the slave] is obligated in some commandments” — but one who hits a Gentile is not liable for any punishment.
    In contrast, it says in Sanhedrin 58b: “Rabbi Chanina said: a Gentile who hits a Jew is punishable by death, as it says: ‘And he looked this way and that, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian” (because [the Egyptian] had hit a Jewish man — Rashi, s.v. v’yach). Thus wrote Maimonides at the end of halacha 3: “And a Gentile who hit a Jew is punished by death, as it says, ‘And he looked this way and that…he slew the Egyptian’.” (However, in The Laws of Kings, chapter 10, halacha 6 he wrote: “And a Gentile who hits a Jew, even if he injured him slightly — even though he is punishable by death, he is not killed.” See there, in the Kesef Mishneh and the Ridbaz, for an explanation of why he is not put to death).
    J. Fraud

    It is written in the Torah (Leviticus 25:14): “And if you sell anything to your neighbor, or buy anything from your neighbor’s hands, you shall not defraud one another.” In Sifra on the portion of Behar Sinai, section 3, halacha 4 it is written: “‘You shall not defraud one another’ — this is monetary fraud.” Maimonides wrote in The Laws of Transactions, in the beginning of chapter 12: “It is forbidden for either the seller or purchaser to defraud his fellow, as it says: ‘And if you sell anything to your neighbor, you shall not defraud one another.’ Even though one [who does that] transgresses a negative commandment, he is not given lashes, for it can be recompensed. Whether he defrauded with intent or he did not know that the transaction was fraudulent, he is obligated to recompense.”
    However, regarding a Gentile the law is different. In Tractate Bechorot 13b it is explained: “They said: to your partner you return [something gained by] fraud, and you don’t return it to a Gentile.” Maimonides wrote in chapter 13, halacha 7: “A Gentile has not [been included in the transgression of] fraud as it says: ‘one another’ [literally, ‘each his brother’]. But a Gentile who defrauded a Jew must recompense him according to our laws — it should not be more severe than it is with a Jew.” Thus also wrote the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 227 (in the Tur, section 30 and in the Shulchan Aruch section 26). In this matter also the inequality of a Gentile is obvious.
    K. Appointing a King and Other Authorities
    It is written in the Torah (Deuteronomy 17:15): “Then you shall appoint a king over you, whom the Lord your G-d will choose: one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you, but you shall not set over you a stranger who is not your brother.” In Sifri, Shoftim, paragraph 157 it says: “Your brother, and not from others” (that is to say, Gentiles, for a Gentile king may not be appointed over Jews — Rabbeinu Hillel). And not just a Gentile, but also a righteous convert, considered a Jew in every matter, is disqualified for kingship, as is explained in Midrash HaGadol: “‘You shall not set over you a stranger ‘ — to exclude the convert… from here they said it is forbidden to appoint a king from the converts, even after a number of generations, until his mother is [one born] Jewish.”
    This is also the law concerning any position of authority, as explained in Kiddushin 76b: “We have learned: ‘Then you shall appoint a king over you from among your brethren,’ all appointments of authority that you make should not be[made] except from among your brethren.” Thus wrote Maimonides in chapter 1 of The Laws of Kings, halacha 4: “We do not appoint a king from amongst the converts, even after several generations, until his mother is [one born] Jewish, as it is written, ‘You will not set over you a stranger who is not your brother.’ Not only for kingship, but also for any position of authority in Israel, neither a general nor chief over fifty people, nor chief over ten people, nor even a person appointed to verify that the water is distributed to the fields. It is superfluous to talk about a judge or a nasi, who may not be other than [one born] a Jew, as is written, ‘one from among your brethren shall you set as king over you’–all the people whom you give positions of authority shall not be from other than your brethren.”
    However, regarding the possibility of appointing a convert to judge over Jews, the Rishonim are in disagreement. In the opinion of Rashi on Tractate Yevamot 102a, s.v. ger dan et chaveiro, a convert is allowed to judge a Jew on property matters, but not concerning capital laws (see also on Kiddushin 76b, s.v. kol mesimot.) However, in the opinion of the Rif at the end of chapter 4 of Sanhedrin, the Tosaphot on Yevamot 45b s.v. keivan and in Sanhedrin 36b s.v. chada, the Nimukei Yosef at the beginning of chapter 12 of Yevamot, the Ran on the Rif, end of chapter 4 of Sanhedrin, and the Meiri on Kiddushin there, a convert cannot judge a Jew, even on property matters, until his mother is [one born] Jewish. Thus Maimonides also ruled in The Laws of Sanhedrin, chapter 2 halacha 9: “A Beit Din of three [judges], one of them being a convert, is disqualified until his mother is [one born] Jewish.” Nevertheless, a convert may judge his fellow convert, as it is explained in Yevamot 102 and as Maimonides wrote in chapter 11, halacha 11. Also the Tur and Shulchan Aruch in Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 7, wrote similarly.
    It is appropriate to mention the words of the Sefer HaChinuch, commandment 509 (in other editions 498) on this subject: “The root of this commandment is well known… one appointed to authority… must be, at the very least, from the seed of Israel, for they are merciful [people] the sons of merciful [people], in order that they have mercy on the nation and not oppress them in any matter. He must love truth, righteousness, and integrity; as is known, anyone from the family of Abraham possess all these good qualities…”
    It must be emphasized that this is an example of the distinction between one who comes from the seed of Israel and a righteous Gentile who converts to Judaism. Even though there may not be many such examples, this is not an exceptional case, as will be further clarified.

    L. Defamation
    It is written in the Torah (Deuteronomy 22:19-21) regarding defamation of one’s wife: “And they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them to the father of the girl, because he has defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he may not divorce her all his life.” In Sifri on the portion of Ki Teze, section 238 it is written: “‘And give them to the father of the girl’ — with the exception of a female convert whose mother became pregnant before she converted, but gave birth after she converted, for [defaming] her daughter one does not pay a hundred shekels of silver.”
    Thus we learn in Ketubot, chapter 4, mishnah 3: “A woman who converted with her daughter and [the daughter, while engaged] had illicit sexual relations — she is put to death by strangulation [and not by stoning, for stoning is only in the case of a woman born Jewish]. She need not be taken out of her father’s door [as is the law for an engaged woman born Jewish] and [her husband does not have to pay a fine] of one hundred shekels [if he defamed her, for this is only the law concerning a woman born Jewish]. If the mother became pregnant before she converted and gave birth after her conversion, she [the engaged daughter who had illicit sexual relations] is put to death by stoning, but [the law concerning] her father’s door does not apply to her, nor [the law concerning] one hundred shekels. If the mother both became pregnant and gave birth after her conversion, her daughter is considered a born Jew in all matters.” Thus Maimonides also wrote in The Laws of a Virgin Girl, chapter 3, halacha 8: “For any woman whose rape or seduction does not carry a fine, one who defames her is exempt from lashes and payments. So it is regarding a Gentile woman who converted and a maidservant who was manumitted under the age of three years; even if she was conceived before her mother converted and was born after she converted, one who defames her is exempt from lashes, as it says: ‘Because he has defamed a virgin of Israel’ — [this does not apply] until her conception and birth are in holiness.”
    M. You Shall Not Hate
    It is written in the Torah (Leviticus 19:17): “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall certainly rebuke your neighbor, and not suffer sin on his account” — so it is clearly stated in the Torah that this prohibition specifically regards Jews. And so Maimonides wrote in The Laws of Mental States, chapter 6, halacha 6 (in the printed edition, halacha 5): “Anyone who hates a Jew in his heart transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not hate your brother in your heart’.” Thus he also wrote in Sefer HaMitzvot, negative commandment 302, and likewise it appears in Sefer HaChinuch, commandment 245 (in other editions 238).
    N. You Shall not Avenge or Bear a Grudge — And You Shall Love Your Neighbor as Yourself
    It is written in the Torah (Leviticus 19:18): “You shall not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord” — here also the verse yells out “the children of your people.” In Torat Cohanim on the portion of Kedoshim, chapter 4, halacha 12: “You shall not avenge nor bear a grudge against the children of your people — but you can avenge and bear a grudge against others” (that is, against Gentiles — explanation of the Ra’avad). In the words of Maimonides in The Laws of Mental States, chapter 7, halacha 10 (in the printed edition, halacha 7): “One who avenges against his fellow transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not avenge’.” And there in halacha 11 (in the printed edition, the continuation of halacha 7): “What is considered vengeance? If one’s fellow said to him ‘lend me your ax’ and he answered ‘I will not lend it to you.’ The next day he needed to borrow an ax from his friend. He said to him ‘lend me your ax’ and the other answered, ‘I will not lend it to you, as you did not lend it to me when I requested.’ This is vengeance.” And there, halacha 12 (in the printed edition, halacha 8): “Also, anyone who bears a grudge against a Jew transgresses a negative commandment, as it says: ‘You shall not bear a grudge against the children of your people.’ How is this? Reuven said to Shimon ‘rent me this house’ or ‘lend me this ox’ and Shimon refused. Later, Shimon needed to borrow or to rent and Reuven said: ‘See? I will lend it to you, for I am not like you and I will not pay you back for your actions.’ One who does so transgresses the commandment ‘You shall not bear a grudge’…”
    With regards to the second half of the verse, Maimonides wrote in Sefer HaMitzvot positive commandment 206 (according to Rav Kapach’s edition): “We were commanded to love one another…and my compassion and love to my brother in faith and religion shall be as my love and compassion to myself…” In chapter 6 of The Laws of Mental States, halacha 4 (in the printed edition, halacha 3): “It is a commandment for every person to love each and every Jew as he loves himself, as it says: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’.”
    O. One Who Sees Jewish Houses/Jewish Graveyards — Gentile Houses/Gentile Graveyards
    In Berachot 58b this beraitha appears: “The rabbis learned: one who sees inhabited Jewish houses says: ‘Blessed is He who establishes the border of the widow,’ [if he sees them] in their destruction he says: ‘Blessed is the true judge.’ On Gentile inhabited houses he says ‘The Lord will pluck up the house of the proud, but He will establish the border of the widow,’ in their destruction –he says, ‘O Lord G-d of vengeance; O G-d of vengeance, appear!'” Furthermore there: “The rabbis taught: one who sees Jewish cemeteries says: ‘Blessed be He who created you in judgement, and maintained you in judgement, and gathered you in judgement and in the future will raise you up in judgement.’ The son of Ravina concluded in the name of Rav Nachman the son of Isaac: ‘and knows all of your numbers, and in the future He will give you life and establish you in judgement; blessed is the reviver of the dead.’ On cemeteries of the Gentiles he says: ‘Your mother shall be greatly ashamed; she that bore you shall be disgraced: behold the end of the nations is a wilderness, dry land, and desert’.” The exact words of the Talmud appear in Maimonides, chapter 10 of The Laws of Blessings, halacha 11 (in printed editions, halacha 10) and in halacha 22 (in printed editions, halacha 19), and also in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, end of paragraph 224.
    P. ‘You [Jews] Are Called Man’ — The Comparison of Gentiles to Animals
    In Ezekiel 23:20 it says: “There she lusted upon her paramours, whose members were like those of asses, and whose issue was like that of horses” (‘whose members were like those of asses’ — their sexual organs, ‘and whose issue was like that of horses’ — means excessive sexual relations, for horses engage in copulation more that any other male animals, ‘whose issue’ — spouting of semen like a stream of passing water — Rashi). This verse is a parable to the Gentiles, as is explained there, and the verse compares them to animals. This comparison is not by chance, as we will see further on, and it represents the foundation for a number of Halachic laws.
    Q. An Ox who Damages a Maidservant
    It is written in the Torah (Exodus 21:22): “If men fight and hurt a woman with child so that her fetus departs from her, and yet no further harm ensue, he shall surely be punished, as the woman’s husband will lay upon him, and he shall pay as the judges determine.” In Mechilta of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and in the Midrash HaGadol it is stated: “‘If men fight — from here I only have [learned concerning] men, from where do I know that this includes two women or a woman and a man? It is stated: ‘…shall surely be punished’ — whether a man or a woman. What is taught by ‘men’? — men and not oxen. From here they said: if one’s ox injures a woman, [the owner] is exempt from payments for her offspring.” And in the Mishnah (Bava Kama, chapter 5, mishnah 5): “An ox which attempted to injure his fellow [ox] and [instead] hit a [pregnant] woman and she aborted her child — [the owner of the ox is] exempt from payment for her offspring.” And there in the Talmud (49a): “Rav Papa said: an ox who injured a pregnant maidservant and she had a miscarriage — [the owner of the ox] must pay her for her offspring. What is the reason? For he [the ox] has merely injured a pregnant she-ass, as the Scripture says: ‘Stay here with the ass,’ — the people who are like asses.” And in the words of Maimonides in chapter 1 of The Laws of Monetary Damage, halacha 4: “[Ones’ ox] that injured a pregnant maidservant and she miscarried — [the owner of the ox] must pay for her offspring charges, for this is similar to injuring a pregnant she-ass.” Likewise it appears in the Tur and Shulchan Aruch, Choshen Mishpat, paragraph 405, section 3. (This exegesis, “A people who are like asses,” appears in a number of places in the Talmud; only this example has been presented in order not to prolong the discussion).
    R. The Impurity of a Gentile
    Concerning the matter of impurity caused by a dead person, it is written (Numbers19:14): “This is the law: when a man dies in a tent, all that comes into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.” In Yevamot 61a, and also in Tractate Bava Metzia 114b, this beraitha appears: “Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai says: Gentile cemeteries do not defile as it says, ‘But you My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men.’ You are called men, but the nations of the world [Gentiles] are not called men” (‘do not defile’ — that which overshadows them — Rashi in Yevamot). This is the wording of Maimonides, chapter 1 of The Laws of The Impurity of the Dead, halacha 13: “And a Gentile does not defile [objects within] a tent. This law is received from tradition. Behold, it says concerning the wars with Midian: ‘And whoever has touched any slain’ — and it does not mention there a tent. Also, a Gentile cannot become impurified by the dead. If a Gentile touched, carried, or overshadowed a dead body, he is considered as one who had not come in contact with it. Behold, to what is this similar? — To an animal who touched or overshadowed a dead body. Not only the impurity of the dead alone, but all impurities — Gentiles and animals are not defiled by them.” (The source for this law, that a Gentile does not become impurified, is in Tractate Nazir 61b and in Tosephta on Ohalot, chapter 1, halacha 4 [in the Vilna edition, halacha 2]: “A Gentile, an animal, a child born after eight months of gestation, clay vessels, food and liquids which came in contact with a dead body — utensils that touched them are pure.”) So agreed Nachmanides and the Rashba in their novellae on Yevamot, as did the Yere’im in paragraph 322, and the Raviyah in Hilchot Azharot HaCohanim M’tum’atan page 249 (explained also in Haga’ot Mimoniot Hilchot Evel, chapter 3 halacha 3 section 2, see there, where he states that this is also the opinion of Ritzba), and the Eshkol, end of Hilchot Tumat Cohanim. This is also the opinion of the Gaon of Vilna in Aderet Eliyahu on Chukat 19:18, and also of the Meiri in Yevamot and Bava Metzia there. However, Rabbeinu Tam determined that the Halacha does not follow Rabbi Shimon’s opinion regarding the impurity of the tent as the Tosaphot has written on Yevamot there, s.v. m’maga, and in Bava Metzia there (page a), s.v. mahoo, and so the Rosh wrote in Bava Metzia, and the SM’G in negative commandment 235 — but for our purposes this does not matter, for even according to the opinion of those who disagree, this foundation is a general one and determines the Halacha in other cases, as will be clarified further on.
    S. Gentiles and the Anointing Oil
    It is written in the Torah (Exodus 30:22) with regards to the prohibition of pouring the anointing oil: “Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall you make any other like it…or he who puts any of it upon a stranger shall be cut off from his people.” In the Midrash HaGadol it is stated: “One who pours it on himself or on others is guilty. Is it possible that even if he poured it on an animal and utensils, and upon Gentiles who are like animals, or poured it on the dead, he is guilty? It is written: ‘upon man’s flesh it shall not be poured,’ this excludes those whom I cannot call men.” In Kritot 6b it is written: “The rabbis taught: one who pours the anointing oil on an animal or utensils is exempt, on Gentiles and the dead, exempt. It is all right about animals and utensils, as it is written: ‘Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured’; animals and utensils are not men. [One who pours on the] dead is also exempt, for once one has died, he is called ‘dead’ and not ‘man.’ However, [one who pours on] Gentiles, why is he exempt? Aren’t they men? It is true, as it is written: ‘But you My flock, the flock of My pasture, are men’ — you are called ‘men’ and the nations of the world [Gentiles] are not called ‘men’.” In the words of Maimonides in The Laws of Holy Temple Utensils and Their Users chapter 1 halacha 6: “One who pours on utensils or on animals and Gentiles who are similar to them, or pours it on the dead, is exempt, as it says: ‘upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured’.” We have not found anyone who disputes this halacha.
    T. Animal Slaughter by a Gentile
    Another example: we learn in the beginning of Mishnah Chulin: “An animal slaughtered animal by a Gentile is considered a carcass and defiles one who carries it.” (even if it was slaughtered according to the Halacha and others observe him, Rashi, Chulin 13a, s.v. shchitat nocri). In the Tosephta there: “All are acceptable to slaughter, even a Samaritan, even an uncircumcised person, and even a man forcefully converted from Judaism. An animal slaughtered by a heretic is like an idol, an animal slaughtered by a Gentile is unfit, and an animal slaughtered by a monkey is unfit, as it says: ‘And you shall slaughter and eat’ — not the slaughter of a Gentile, not the slaughter of a monkey, and not an animal

  39. Ron Says:

    It is because religion is full of inconsistencies akin to the one you’ve described here that I find religion as a whole utterly unappealing.

    I cannot begin to comprehend how people can pick and mix the things they choose to believe out of their holy books. The moment I find that one part of a holy book is moronic/outdated, the entire book surely becomes worthless to any person capable of reason, and the religion based on that book crumbles down…

    Wake up people! Your religions were MADE UP BY PEOPLE who wanted power over you! Just look at the US, RIDDLED with hundreds, if not thousands, of separate religions…

  40. Sean Says:

    I enjoyed the article. I was not planning on commenting even though several people whined about Jew bashing (I couldn’t see it.) Larry’s post was totally off topic and should be scrubed.
    It’s Ron that got me. What an idiot. “Moronic” is simply a disparaging term for something you have no understanding or context of. “Outdated?” How do you apply this? At some point in time shall we humans evolve to where theft and murder are acceptable?. “..reason”, now there’s a god for you. As many gods as there are people. Reason is just as equally subject to the “moronic/outdated epitaph. Afterall “reason” told us the world was flat, uh, until it became “outdated.” Reason also told us the earth was the center of the universe, uh.

    It is because reason is full of inconsistancies akin to the ones described here that I find reason as a whole utterly unappealing.

    Wake up people! Your reasons were MADE UP BY PEOPLE who wanted power over you! Just look at the US, RIDDLED with hundreds, if not thousands, of separate reasons…

  41. Tanya Says:

    I would like to see some research into the earliest writings concerning swine consumption, either religious or not. I can see why it is not a good idea to eat an animal that eats feces and flesh – or an animal whose flesh is so similar to a human’s flesh – or an animal that is very intelligent.

    Could the answer be found somewhere in evolution? Or, perhaps, the swine is a result of genetic testing from a very ancient lost civilization. What if some day due to radiation or genetic mutation or whatever, some of us humans are reduced to a similar “animalistic” existance because we look different and communicate differently? My son just caught a wild baby pig. If we decide to raise it – I do not plan to eat my “friend” the pig. I eat other meat but I’m not so sure I should.

    And I do not agree with the idea that God would give humans an order without the order making sense. After all, since we are made in the likeness of God , would not God be aware of our curiosity and our need to know why and understand the rules? I am trying to understand .

  42. Lezer Says:

    Pigs, dogs, cats, chimps, dolphins, hourses…I basically avoid eating any animal with that special “sparkle” in its eye as an indication that something’s actually going on up there.

    I’d no sooner eat pork than I’d eat my dog.

  43. Porkchop Says:

    “illnesses were more often thought of as “bad spirits” than as the yet-undiscovered virii and bacteria. There is no reason to believe that anyone living before the common era would mentally connect their meals with their illnesses.”

    *facepalm* I just stopped reading after that.

  44. gavin Says:

    I’m not entirely clear why… it seems like you don’t think that’s accurate. Of course, you know that this was the case well into the Middle Ages.

  45. What a Joke Says:

    It is quite depressing how willingly people are to live their lives entirely based upon a book that was written by humans thousands of years ago. They have pent up hatred and animosity towards entire races of people because of their ancient traditions and refuse to come to a peaceful resolution simply because they are full of pride. Look at the Jewish/Muslim war that continues to rage. It is 100% based upon religious pride and ‘indignation’ toward one another. Stop following a ridiculous and dated text that no longer has bearing on your life and stop killing each other. You are a disgrace to humanity.

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