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TREATMENT OF GENTILES
Rabbi Diana Villa

Question

I hope you will answer me honestly, I am a gentile a Christian, and I understand if you don't want to talk with me, but can you shed some light on the Talmud for me? I have seen many quotes, so are gentiles-sub human??? Are the gentiles less than Jews? Hitting a Jewish person is like hitting God??? Please explain. And there are many more things like its okay to lie to Gentiles, and even the best gentile should be killed? Why, I am wondering, if Talmud is a holy book second only to the Torah or equal with the Torah, would it be so anti gentile, and if this is true then would you say that God doesn't love the gentiles???? I'm so taken back by this revelation. I write the IDF, I love Israel, and I love the Jews. I always stick up for them online, and it is because of my faith, that I would defend her and fight for her. So please don't tell me what I want to hear- tell me the truth. Chris

Answer

Dear Chris:

We are glad to answer your question.

I am sure that you are aware that the Bible commands the Israelites numerous times to love the stranger in their midst, since they had been strangers in the land of Egypt.

It is clear that the Talmud has many sayings against the gentiles of its time, which were all idolaters. This was due in part to the persecutions to which the Jews were subject and in part due to the fact that the gentiles in those times practiced immoral sexual behavior and had no consideration for human life. Therefore the rabbis did their utmost to be as far apart from their society as possible.

In Medieval times, when the Jews lived mostly in Christian and Moslem societies, Jewish law evolved. Many Talmudic passages were interpreted as applying only to idolaters. Some rabbis excluded the Moslems and others excluded the Christians from these rulings.

For example, the Meiri (Rabbi Menahem ben Solomon Meiri, who lived in Southern France form 1249 to 1315) is known for his Talmudic commentaries. In them, he explains that the gentiles (he lived in a Christian environment) who have a monotheistic belief of our times are not included in the Talmudic passages.

Jews and gentiles have different ways of worshipping God; yet we are all His creatures, all created in His image, and should treat each other in a humane fashion. According to Judaism, the just people of all nations have a portion in the world to come.

Jews around the world are now celebrating the High Holidays, and are hoping for a better year. Let us hope this year will bring more understanding among all the inhabitants of this planet, so that we can all live in peace and harmony despite our differences.

For further details see the English abstract of Rabbi Theodore Friedman's responsum "Is Judaism by its Nature Racist?" in the second volume of The Rabbinical Assembly of Israel Law Committee at www.responsafortoday.com.

Rabbi Diana Villa

 
 

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The Schechter Institutes, Inc.:

Box 3566, P.O.Box 8500, Philadelphia, PA, 19178-3566, Tel: 1-866-830-3321, schechter@thelapingroup.com

Jerusalem Campus: Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies:

4 Avraham Granot St., Jerusalem, Israel, 91160, Tel: 972-747-800-600, pr@schechter.ac.il, www.schechter.edu

Tel Aviv Campus: Neve Schechter – Legacy Heritage Center for Jewish Culture:

42 Chelouche St., Neve Zedek, Tel: 03-5170358, office@neve.org.il, www.neve-schechter.org.il