Tag Archives: Gentiles

She Goes to Synagogue and He Does the Lawn Work

The Jewish people in the land of Egypt had sunk to the lowest possible level of impurity — so much so that it was nearly impossible to distinguish between Jew and gentile. And then, suddenly, Hashem pulled them out from beneath all their impurity, and they were free — ready for a new beginning and spiritual greatness.

One must remember that no matter how far he has sunk, and as hopeless as his situation may seem, he has still not descended to the level of his forefathers in Egypt. His spiritual predicament cannot be worse than theirs. He must remind himself of the Exodus and internalize its meaning. He can then look toward the time when Hashem, in His mercy and in His kindness, will simply lift him up, freeing him from his seemingly hopeless state, and allowing him to begin his spiritual ascent anew.

-from “A Closer Look at the Siddur,” p.43
Thursday’s Commentary on Parashas Acharei
A Daily Dose of Torah

I know I’ve said this before, but I really enjoy studying from the Jewish texts, at least those I’m capable of comprehending. In reading the studies contained in “A Daily Dose of Torah” I find myself again drawn toward Judaism as a method of study, a way of understanding God, and even as a lifestyle. In Judaism, there seems to be such a great richness of tradition and apprehension of faith, trust, and obedience that much of Evangelical Christianity lacks.

I live with a Jew. Actually, right now, I live with three of them, but only my wife is the least bit religious. Only she regularly worships at synagogue on Shabbat, and this is as it should be because, after all, she’s Jewish. It’s a commandment from Sinai given to Israel, and as a Jew, she is part of Israel.

I, on the other hand, have great difficulty being obedient even to those commandments I know unequivocally apply to all people of the nations as well as to the non-Jewish disciples of Yeshua. How could I ever hope to attain the level of obedience and devotion expected of a Jew?

No, it’s not that Jewish people are perfectly obedient and devoted, but any Gentile aspiring to any sort of Jewish “lifestyle” might want to take stock of how they’re doing as a Gentile first before having the chutzpah to believe he or she can voluntarily take on board the much greater responsibilities and duties God requires of the Jewish people.

A Jew is born into the covenant whether he or she wants to be or not. They’re not given a choice. Any Gentile considering conversion certainly is making a choice and, like deciding to get married, cannot possibly see the long-term results and consequences of such a monumental decision.

The same goes for Gentiles who remain Gentiles but, through one thought process or another, come to believe they can or should either voluntarily take on board some, most, or all of the Torah mitzvot, or who have decided for themselves that they are (somehow) equally obligated to the mitzvot in the manner of the Jews.

Helping the HomelessReally, are you doing so well at a lesser level of obligation and obedience that you need the additional challenge in your life? Has doing charity, feeding the hungry, comforting the grieving, abstaining from even the hint of lashon hara (evil speech, gossip, denigrating another human being through words) become so humdrum and boring that you require adopting the higher standards of Torah in order to keep your life from becoming mundane?

When I take stock of my life, day by day, I realize how limited I am and how even those requirements Hashem has placed upon the people of the nations sometimes seem far beyond my abilitites. Why do I think I’d do any better in davening three times a day with a minyan, donning tzitzit, laying tefillin, observing Shabbos, keeping glatt kosher, and many of the other mitzvot of Torah?

He explains that both Shabbos and Mikdash (the Sanctuary) represent a dimension of love between Hashem and His nation, the former in time and the latter in space. On Shabbos, Hashem, as it were, invites every Jew to spend the day in His House, to live in the holiness of Hashem’s embrace and bask in his radiance. The Mikdash, too, represents this loving relationship, as symbolized by the two Cherubim that faced each other in the Sanctuary’s innermost chamber, the kodesh hakodashim.

-from “A Mussar Thought for the Day,” p.99
Thursday’s Commentary on Parashas Kedoshim
A Daily Dose of Torah

I have to recognize that, while God loves the whole world and while the Gentile disciples of Messiah are also loved and cherished by Hashem, it is Israel who receives a special love and relationship with the Almighty, and without Israel’s “chosenness,” we Gentiles would have no hope at all. Thus, God has given His people Israel, the Jewish people, special gifts as well as special obligations, in this case, Shabbat and the Holy Temple.

It’s not that we Gentile believers won’t have a role or a place in either in future Messianic Days, it’s just that we shouldn’t forget where they came from or to whom they were given.

This date marks the death of Judah P. Benjamin (1811-1884), an American-Jewish statesman. Benjamin was the second Jew to serve in the U.S. Senate, representing Louisiana. When another senator accused him of being an “Israelite in Egyptian clothing,” Benjamin, who had married into a prominent Roman Catholic family, replied: “It is true that I am a Jew, and when my ancestors were receiving their Ten Commandments from the immediate Deity, amidst the thundering and lightnings of Mount Sinai, the ancestors of my opponent were herding swine in the forests of Great Britain.”

-from “This Day in Jewish History,” Iyar 11

Judah Benjamin’s reply to his fellow senator is as relevant today as when he first spoke those words.

I suppose in some sense, this is why my wife goes to shul on Shabbos and I stay home, mow the yard, and try to fix the broken sprinkler system so that I can water our lawn. It’s not that I’m necessarily forbidden from worshiping with my wife. After all, there are plenty of intermarried couples, both at the Chabad, and at our local Conservative/Reform synagogue. It’s just that it’s more important for her to observe the mitzvot associated with Shabbos than it is for me, because she is a Jew and I’m not.

ShabbatEven if I somehow believed that the Shabbat is also incumbent upon me as a Gentile, the Jewish people kept and preserved the Shabbat for thousands of years, while the ancestors of every non-Jew alive today were worshiping pagan gods, consorting with heathen temple prostitutes, and in some cases, feeding their children to sacrificial fires in obscene fertility rites.

We have no worthiness or honor of our own not did our forefathers. It is only through God’s abundant mercy and kindness that He provided any way at all for the Gentile to even approach His Throne in the most humble and penitent manner.

Let us strive to improve ourselves and to become obedient to those few things God requires of the Gentile disciples. If we can master our yetzer hara and if there are more requirements and more gifts Hashem wishes to assign to us, we will receive them from the hand of Messiah in all due time.

Redeeming the Heart of Israel, Part 1

So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Acts 1:6-8 (ESV)

At present, however, I am going to Jerusalem bringing aid to the saints. For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make some contribution for the poor among the saints at Jerusalem. For they were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have come to share in their spiritual blessings, they ought also to be of service to them in material blessings. When therefore I have completed this and have delivered to them what has been collected, I will leave for Spain by way of you. I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.

Romans 15:25-29 (ESV)

It is believed by the sages that if all of Israel would observe a single Shabbat properly, the Messiah would immediately come, since obeying the Shabbat is equivalent to obeying the entire Torah. We could extend this idea to say that if all Jews were to perfectly observe all of the Torah mitzvot, the redemption of Israel would be at hand. Interestingly enough, the two portions of scripture I quoted above directly apply to this concept. Let me explain.

There is just so much I could say about the First Fruits of Zion Shavuot conference I attended a few days ago. In fact, over the next several days, I will blog almost exclusively on my different experiences at Beth Immanuel, however one particular presentation stands out. When I heard it on the evening of the last full day of the conference, I knew it would be the keystone to everything I took away from my trip and the centerpiece to everything I intend to write.

I’ll just tell you in advance that this is going to be challenging. Some people don’t like being challenged.

Boaz Michael, Founder and President of First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ) gave a presentation about, among other things, the redemption of Israel. But it’s not the sort of redemption that you are probably imagining. According to dictionary.reference.com, redemption, in a theological sense, can mean:

  1. deliverance from sin; salvation.
  2. atonement for guilt.

This falls in line with the traditional Christian understanding of the term “redemption” and often equates to “when I die, I’m going to heaven.” Being “saved” or “redeemed” is typically the single most important part of what happens to a Christian. Nothing else matters until you “confess Christ” and are “saved.” After that, you can live a life consistent with the teachings of Jesus knowing your eternal future in Heaven is secure.

But Jews think about meriting a place in the world to come quite a bit differently. The chief difference is that Jews aren’t really obsessed about being “saved” and “going to heaven.” While meriting a place in the world to come is certainly important, Religious Jews are far more concerned with obeying God in the here and now, and some even look for opportunities to perform a mitzvah that cannot often be accomplished. There is even a saying that the reward for a mitzvah is a mitzvah. This is actually a concept Christians should recognize:

For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. –Matthew 25:29 (ESV)

Jewish in JerusalemThis is the point of the “parable of the talents” as told by the Master. As in the wisdom from the Pirkei Avot (Ethics of Our Fathers), “the reward of a mitzvah is a mitzvah and the ‘reward’ of a sin is a sin,” we are “rewarded” for what we do, whether it is for the good or the bad. That reward can come either in this world or the next, according to Jewish thinking, but it’s directly tied to the sort of life a Jew lives right now. Jews have been commanded to obey all of the 613 commandments in the Torah but as you might imagine, being just as human as Christians or anyone else, they don’t do a perfect job. Unfortunately, God was very specific about the consequences to the Jewish people if, as a nation, they did not obey the commandments of Sinai.

The second Temple – when the Jews were involved in Torah, mitzvahs and acts of kindness – why was it destroyed? Because the Jews were guilty of harboring baseless hatred towards each other!”

-Rabbi Naftali Silberberg
-as quoted from askmoses.com

Most Christians believe that Herod’s Temple was destroyed in 70 CE and the Jews subsequently exiled from Israel because they did not accept Jesus as the Messiah. As you’ve just seen, this isn’t how Jews understand the cause for their exile and in fact, during the days of the Second Temple and when Jesus walked among his people, proper Jewish religious observance was rather high; much more so than in the days of the destruction of the First Temple.

However, the sin of baseless hatred of one Jew for another was very severe. Jesus especially pleaded with his people to repent of this sin.

“If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. –Matthew 18:15-17 (ESV)

As recorded in Matthew 18:21-35, the Master illustrates how serious this sin is in the “parable of the unforgiving servant.” But sadly, tragically, Israel didn’t listen, resulting in dire consequences.

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” –Matthew 23:37-39 (ESV)

Simchat TorahIt’s not as if every single Jew in Israel was guilty of this sin, but Israel is judged by God as a nation, not a collection of individuals. If the nation is in sin, every Jew suffers whether they commmitted the offense or not. To this day, the Jewish people are in exile, not because they failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, but because they refused to listen and obey his teaching to turn away from the sin of baseless hatred toward their brothers and to instead seek peace.

This has nothing to do with whether or not Jews merit a place in the world to come. God didn’t take away Jewish “salvation” as a result of this sin, He took away the posession of the Land of Israel from the Nation of Israel, and scattered them across the face of the earth. Redemption, for Israel, isn’t being saved so they can go to Heaven, it’s the restoration of the Jews to their Land and the ascension of Israel above all the peoples of the earth.

It shall come to pass in the latter days
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem –Micah 4:1-2 (ESV)

Connect that back to Acts 1:6-8 and you’ll see that Israel, as a nation, awaits final redemption so it can be restored to the place at the head of the nations as God has always intended.

But what does that have to do with you and me? Even if we accept that this is true for the Jewish people, what sort of role would Christians have in Israel’s redemption?

I’ll give you the answer to that in Part 2.

What the Talmud Says About Gentiles, Revisited

Talmud StudyI originally wrote this article in October of 2009 for the Congregation Shema Yisrael blog. While I no longer am affiliated with that congregation (for many reasons previously stated), I wanted to “import” the article here, since there have been some recent conversations on the blogosphere issuing a “warning” that overly studying the Talmud or other Jewish writings could result in a Christian apostatizing from the church and abandoning faith in Jesus. Speaking for just myself, I find a great deal of value and wisdom in reading the Jewish writings and don’t find myself being drawn away from my faith. In fact, quite the opposite. I find many parallels between how the sages taught and the teachings of my own “Rebbe”.

The Talmudic sages are often depicted as being very much against non-Jews in general and Christians in specific. While I believe, given the long history of Christian persecution of Jews, that the tzadikim had good reasons to feel leery of the church, if we actually look at what the Talmud has to say about non-Jews, we see a more evenly balanced perspective. I wanted to inject the content from my almost three-year old article into my current blog to provide a reminder that Jews and Christians don’t have to be at odds with each other and particularly, that Christians don’t have to be at odds with the Talmud or avoid Jewish study. Here, for your illumination, is the content of my original article What Does the Talmud Say About Gentiles? in its entirety.

The Talmud contains many references to righteous gentiles whose behaviour is held up as a model for all people. The example of Dama ben Netina is known to all Jewish children (Kidushin 31a): ‘They asked R. Eliezer how far one should go in honoring parents. He said to them: Go and see how one idol worshipper in Ashdod honored his father, and Dama ben Netina was his name. The sages wished to purchase gems from him for the Ephod [for a tremendous profit] … but the key [to the box containing the gems] was under his father’s pillow [while his father was sleeping] and he did not trouble his father [by waking him even though he gave up a tremendous profit].’ Dama was rewarded for his virtue the next year when a red heifer [required for the Temple service] was born in his flock. When he sold it to the sages he told them that he knew that they would pay any price he asked for it, but he asked only for the amount he had not earned the previous year when he refrained from waking his father.

-quoted from a now defunct website

Messianics and many traditional Christian churches support Israel and the Jewish people as chosen and established by God. We seek to “honor the root” of our faith in Yeshua (Jesus) by honoring Jews; the only people who worshipped the one true God, and kept His Shabbat and Holy Torah for thousands of years, while the rest of the world was immersed in idolatry.

While many Messianics particularly, feel a close connection to the Jewish people though the keeping of the Shabbat, the prayers, and many other Hebraic practices, we sometimes we don’t realize that the door swings both ways. What does the Talmud and other writings teach Jews about Gentiles?

I’ve been interested in this topic for quite some time, but what made me dig a little deeper into the subject was a thread in a discussion forum at Arutz Sheva, an Israeli news service, started by a former Christian living in Israel, who had recently converted to Judaism (the non-Messianic kind). You can read her reasoning in the thread and the many responses her post elicited, but one of the main reasons she felt led to embrace Judaism and reject Yeshua as the Messiah, is that Judaism and Torah doesn’t teach that God can be a man. In that view, Yeshua as the earthly incarnation of the God of Heaven is impossible.

I’m not going to explore the view of the Christian Trinity through Jewish eyes, but I do want to take a more general look of how Gentiles are viewed in classic Judaism. Interestingly enough, some of the best sources I found on the topic are no longer available on the web or may soon become unavailable.

For instance, one of the best collections of Talmud quotes relevant to Gentiles was housed at The Talmud Exposed, formerly maintained by M. Gruda. Unfortunately, the site hadn’t been updated in almost a decade, and even worse, it was hosted at GeoCities. I came across it only days before Yahoo! permanently closed down all GeoCities sites. Fortunately, I copied the text content off of the page and will present it later in this blog for your review.

Another extremely helpful site is The real truth about the Talmud, hosted at angelfire.com. The angelfire hosted site is maintained by Gil Student and hasn’t been updated since 2000 (as far as I can tell). Since Angelfire is also a free web hosting service, it could also, in theory, disappear at any time, and so the content may not be as durable as if it resided at a more reliable (paid) host.

Before continuing, I want to emphasize why the Talmud is such an important information source in Judaism. For those of us without a classic Jewish education, we tend to look at the extra-Biblical Jewish writings as “mere commentary”, that we can either take or leave. The following from Daf Digest may help illuminate the Jewish perspective somewhat:

On today’s daf we find the unerring honesty of Rav Huna who explains why the halacha is like Rav Nachman, not himself.

Rav Wolbe, zt”l, once explained why absolute honesty must be attributed to the true chachamim of each generation. “Every Torah Jew must have absolute confidence in the great achronim of every generation. We must never suspect the Chofetz Chaim, zt”l, or the Chazon Ish, zt”l, of falsehood even in worldly matters and certainly not in the all-important area of halacha.

“When the Chofetz Chaim rules in a certain way it is as if he says this in the name of his teacher and his teacher’s teacher all the way back to Moshe (Moses) at Sinai. Someone who doubts this, doubts the veracity of Hillel and Rabi Akiva as well since what is the real difference? Even this confused person must concede that if the halachic process of our greatest authorities is based on falsehood, perhaps the same is true regarding the earlier authorities, chas v’shalom!

“When Hashem sent prophets to warn powerful kings that they would fall and their kingdoms would be destroyed, they did so fearlessly despite the terrible dangers involved. The word of Hashem burned in their hearts and they foretold these events without the slightest change. Even though some suffered blows or even imprisonment for telling people what they did not wish to hear, they would not falsify or even hold back their prophecy. “Like the prophets, the sages valiantly taught Torah whatever the consequences, since their only interest was to promulgate the truth. There can be no doubt that regardless of pressure or political considerations, the great sages of each generation remained true to the halacha which burned in their hearts. It is not for nothing that Chazal teach in Shabbos 138b, that ‘devar Hashem’ refers to both prophecy and halacha!”

From the Daf Digest
Bava Basra 65
Stories off the Daf
“The Halachic Process”

As you can see, Talmud commentary is considered in the same light as the writings and sayings of the ancient Prophets of God. To question Talmud, in some sense, is like questioning all of the Prophets, going all the way back to Moses. A Christian wouldn’t question something said by Jesus or Paul in the Apostolic Scriptures, nor of the Prophets in the Tanakh. Think of how Judaism sees the commentaries of the wise Sages. With that under our belts so to speak, let’s continue with how Judaism and Talmud speaks of Gentiles.

Talmud Study by LamplightAccording to the Judaism 101 site, “Judaism maintains that the righteous of all nations have a place in the world to come”, however, Jews are seen as especially chosen by God and the Jewish people possess a favored position, and very specific responsibilities to God. Only Jews are responsible for keeping of the entire Torah, while Gentiles, in order to merit a place in the World to Come, must only keep the Seven Laws of Noah.

Many Christians have the idea that Jews disdain or otherwise dislike Gentiles. I recall having an extended email conversation with one fellow who was actually angry at Jews for denying Gentiles access to God and Heaven, by not evangelizing Gentiles and attempting to convert them (us) to Judaism. From a Jewish perspective, it’s not necessary for the rest of the world to convert to Judaism, and Jews do not believe that God rejects the rest of the non-Jewish world. Being Jewish or non-Jewish is a matter of roles and responsibilities to God, not the presence or absence of God’s ultimate love and compassion.

This actually goes a long way to explaining the sudden shift in theology of the Messianic educational group First Fruits of Zion (FFOZ), who now state that only Jews are obligated to comply with the Torah commandments, while Gentiles are “divinely invited” to keep as many as they are called. This isn’t quite what Judaism teaches, as illustrated in my article up to this point, but it is a solid move in that direction.

As a Messianic or a traditional Christian, you might be asking yourself right now why any of this should be important to you. If you are a person who has visited, or is intending to visit a traditional synagogue to share Yeshua with your Jewish brothers and sisters, it might help to understand something of the Jewish perspective. It’s also important for us as Messianics to see where our worship and faith practice aligns with Judaism and where it deviates. Much of the theology of “Messianic Judaism”, at its core, is Christian rather than Jewish. Many in the Messianic movement haven’t explored the real “Judaism” part of “Messianic Judaism”, and I think it behooves us to become more knowledgeable in this area.

What does the Talmud say about Gentiles? From M. Gruda’s now non-existent site, here are the available quotes. This list is somewhat long and the text is verbatim:

“They said of Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai that no man ever greeted him first, even idol worshippers in the market” [i.e., Rabbi Yochanan ben Zakai was the first to greet every person, even idol worshippers] (Berachot 17). At the same location the sage Abaye advocated soft speech and words of peace to everyone, especially including idol worshippers.

“[it is proper to] support the idol worshippers during the sabbatical year… and to inquire after their welfare [commentators: even on the days of the holidays of their idols, even if they do not keep the seven Noahide commandments] because of the ways of peace.” (Shevi’it 4,3)

The rabbis taught: ‘We support poor Gentiles with the poor people of Israel, and we visit sick Gentiles as well as the sick of Israel and we bury the dead of the Gentiles as well as the dead of Israel, because of the ways of peace.” (Gitin 61a)

The Talmud contains many references to righteous gentiles whose behaviour is held up as a model for all people. The example of Dama ben Netina is known to all Jewish children (Kidushin 31a): ‘They asked R. Eliezer how far one should go in honoring parents. He said to them: Go and see how one idol worshipper in Ashdod honored his father, and Dama ben Netina was his name. The sages wished to purchase gems from him for the Ephod [for a tremendous profit] … but the key [to the box containing the gems] was under his father’s pillow [while his father was sleeping] and he did not trouble his father [by waking him even though he gave up a tremendous profit].’ Dama was rewarded for his virtue the next year when a red heifer [required for the Temple service] was born in his flock. When he sold it to the sages he told them that he knew that they would pay any price he asked for it, but he asked only for the amount he had not earned the previous year when he refrained from waking his father.

Another example of righteous gentiles whose behaviour is held up as a model is to be found in the story of the King of Katsia and his subjects. One of his subjects purchased a ruin from his neighbor and found a treasure in it. He insisted on giving it back to his neighbor, claiming he had purchased only the ruin, and not a treasure. His neighbor refused to take it, insisting that he had sold the ruin and everything in it. The two litigants came to the King to decide the issue. When the King discovered that one neighbor had a son and the other one had a daughter he ruled that the children should marry and share the treasure. It is related that Alexander of Macedonia saw this judgement and was amazed by it. He told the King of Katsia that in his country the two neighbors would be executed (since in his land found treasure had to be delivered to the King at the pain of death). The King of Katsia is reported to have asked Alexander if the rain fell and the sun shone and if there were animals in the land of Alexander. When Alexander answered affirmatively the King of Katsia told him that the sun shone and the rain fell in the merit of the animals, not the people of his land. (Gen R 33 – further sources are referenced at this location).

Baba Kama 38a: “But we learned: R. Meir says – whence do we learn that a gentile who is occupied in the Torah [the reference is to those commandments which apply to gentiles] is like the High Priest? As it says [a proof text is given]…”

Kidushin 32 contains descriptions of the manner in which our sages honored and respected the elderly. The passage specifically refers to elderly gentiles who were honored in various fashions by the sages.

In TY Baba Metzia there are a number of descriptions of sages going out of their way to return lost objects to gentiles (Elu Metziot).

Avot 3,14: “He [Rabbi Akiva] was accustomed to say: Beloved is man [commentators: the reference is to all mankind], for he was created in G-d’s image ..”

Tosefta BK 10,8: “.. it is more grievous to steal from a gentile because of the desecration of G-d’s name ..”

Tosefta BM 2,11: “.. one who sees a lost donkey of an idol worshipper must take care of it exactly the way he takes care of the lost donkey of an Israelite ..”

At Avoda Zara 18a the Talmud relates the remarkable story of how a Roman guard of one of the sages who was brutally murdered by the Romans repented. It was made known to the sages that the guard and the sage were welcomed to the World to Come together.

At Hullin 7a there is a report of how the sage Pinchas ben Yair miraculously split a river in order to speed his way to carry out the commandment to redeem captives. He went out of his way to split the river again in order to allow a gentile who was accompanying his group to also cross the river to speed his way.

The TalmudFrom M. Gruda: This approach characterized sages throughout all generations. Some examples have been quoted in the earlier parts of this article. Two further examples of interest follow. Many more appear in the literature.

Maimonides (over 800 years ago) in Laws of the Sabbatical Year and Jubilee, Chapter 13, Halacha 13, writes .. “and not only the Tribe of Levy [merits special closeness to G-d] but every single person of those who walk the earth who … walks straight in the manner G-d created him … behold this person is sanctified as the Holy of Holies and [he will receive his reward in the World to Come] as the Priests and Levites.”

Tiferet Yisrael (Boaz) (approximately 150 years ago) on Avot 3,14 writes, ” … even if our sages had not explicitly taught [that righteous Gentiles have a place in the World to Come as we learn in Sanhedrin 105 and Maimonides Chapter 8 of the Laws of Kings] we would have understood this ourselves since G-d is righteous in all His ways … and we see many of the righteous Gentiles who not only recognize the Creator and believe in the divine origin of the Torah and also act charitably … we will say something which is a commandment to publicize … for behold, some of the them have done tremendous good for all mankind, such as Yenner who invented the … which saves tens of thousands of people from disease and death and deformities … and Draka (?) who brought the potato to Europe thus saving [people] from hunger … and Gutenberg who invented the printing press, and some who never received any reward in this world such as the righteous Reuchlin who risked his life [to prevent the burning of the Talmud] … Can anyone imagine that these great deeds are not repaid in the World to Come? ..”

As I mentioned earlier, another good source of information that remains available on the Internet is Gil Student’s The real truth about the Talmud:

In the Jewish worldview all gentiles who are ethical monotheists will achieve salvation. Judaism does not denigrate gentiles and does not see them as condemned to eternal damnation. Rather we see them as fellow human beings, from other nations, searching for G-d and for meaning in life. Judaism wishes them well with their search and celebrates those who succeed in becoming ethical monotheists. Jews are obligated in many rituals and ceremonies and those Jews who fail to fulfill these rituals are considered sinners. Gentiles, however, are not obligated in these commandments and are only obligated to be ethical monotheists. Those who fulfill this obligation receive their full reward in the world-to-come.

This article wasn’t written as a denial of faith in Yeshua, but as an attempt to offer some insight to Messianics/Christians on how traditional Judaism, using the Talmud, views the “ethical monotheistic” Gentiles. While our message about the Messiahship of Yeshua isn’t readily accepted in the Jewish world view, we are accepted as fellow creations of the God of Abraham. May we all find our home and our salvation in the arms of the God of Heaven, Jew and Gentile alike.