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Exposing Misinformation about Ger, Ger-Toshav & Ger-Tzedek
Hi AskNoah,

I've got another question.

Chapter 8 of Laws of Kings and Wars in Mishneh Torah ends with this:

"However, if he fulfills them out of intellectual reasoning, he is not a resident alien [ger toshav] and he is not of the pious among the gentiles, nor of their wise men."

Rambam separates ger toshav from pious of the nations, as if a person can be one and not the other, i.e., a person is not a ger toshav, but he is a pious of the nations. It makes sense to me that a Gentile who has no ties with Israel, who is not a resident of Israel nor wants to reside in Israel, but this person keeps the Seven Commandments because God commanded them to Moses, this person is a pious of the nations without taking the extra step of some residence status in Israel (i.e., ger toshav).

I can also understand that Rambam says that a ger toshav keeps the Seven Commandments because he has vowed to do so in order to get residency status in Israel. Rambam also stated that this no longer exists in our day, so ger toshavim should strictly be a theoretical concept.

So that makes two classes of Gentile that can be "pious": the Gentile that wants residency and formality in some affiliation to Israel, the ger toshav; and the Gentile who just keeps the Seven Commandments informally whilst living in their own land who has no residency connection or desire.

On page 50 of the Divine Code, in footnote 11, it states that the title of ger toshav applies to any gentile in any land who keeps the Seven Commandments because God commanded them to Moses. Doesn't this conflate the term the theoretical but non-existent (according to Rambam) entity, "ger toshav", with the still existing concept that anyone in the world who can be "pious", especially when Rambam is the one who appears to separate the two entities?

Here is the relevant (first) paragraph of the footnote you cited in "The Divine Code" by Rabbi Moshe Weiner, p. 50, with my emphasis indicated by capital letters, and my clarifications in brackets:

Quote:According to Rambam’s Laws of the Worship of Stars [and Idols] 10:6, during the temporary diaspora of the Jewish people (during which the Jubilee cycle is suspended), no one can be accepted into the [full Torah-Law] LEGAL STATUS of a Gentile “Resident” (Ger Toshav in Hebrew) of the Land of Israel. This means that we do not confer upon a Gentile the LEGAL status of a Ger Toshav, even if he makes a declaration before three Torah-observant adult Jewish males that he accepts and abides by the Noahide Code. However, the TITLE ["]Ger Toshav["] alternatively refers to any Gentile in any location who keeps the Seven Noahide Commandments because they were commanded to Moses in the Torah. For any Gentiles who are not yet on this spiritual level, the Jews are commanded to expel them from the Holy Land of Israel, and they are forbidden by Torah Law to dwell there (whether they are expelled or not).

Here we see that there is a distinction made between:

(a) the actual Torah-Law legal status called Ger Toshav, which, according to the majority opinion of the Rishonim Rabbis including Rambam, can only be conferred on a Gentile during a time when the Yovel (Jubilee) cycle can be observed (i.e., in the complete biblical Holy Land with all the 12 Tribes of Israel settled there),

(b) an honorary title "Ger Toshav" which may be used by and applied to a pious (Noahide) Gentile even nowadays, since he is conducting himself in the manner of a Ger Toshav, and it is obvious to everyone who knows the halacha (Torah Law) that this does NOT mean that he literally has the legal states of a Ger Toshav, since that does not exist in our time

Those who are interested in halachic discussion are referred to Rabbi Weiner's short exposition titled "The Ger Toshav in contemporary times," which is topic 8 in the Preface to the Hebrew edition, "Sheva Mitzvot HaShem," vol. 1. He concludes that discussion by stating that, "if a Gentile wishes to accept on himself the yoke of the seven commandments in their entirety and to be called a 'Ger Toshav' ... the opinion of Rambam and the rest of the Rishonim Rabbis is that he does not need to [make a declaration of his acceptance specifically before a Jewish court]."

It is unfortunate that Rabbi Weiner's dedicated attention to these details has subsequently been misused by some "innovators" to claim support for a false idea that there is an actual Torah-Law status of Ger Toshav in our times, which they also conflate with misinformation about what that status actually includes.
Note: For Gentiles, there is no problem with simply acknowledging the special quality which G-d assigns to the Seventh Day. And there is no problem for them to do any normal activity in a nicer way, and having in mind to honor the Seventh Day by doing so. Here are a few examples:

- just resting for the sake of one’s own physical rest and relaxation, or taking a day off from one’s job if permitted by the employer, or vacationing

- [as stated by Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet o.b.m.] eating a very nice meal after sunset on Friday and/or during the day on Saturday (which can include lighting candles on the table during either of those times to beautify the meal)

- wearing nicer clothes

- spending more time in higher quality prayer and permissible Torah study
Furthermore, please see Post #4 on the following page of our forum, from Rav J. Immanuel Schochet A"H Z"L, of Toronto, Canada, the first overseeing Rav of Ask Noah International:

That post is copied here:

07-27-2007, 10:42 AM (This post was last modified: 07-27-2007 10:49 AM by Rabbi Immanuel Schochet.) Post: #4
Rabbi Immanuel Schochet
Academy Rabbi
Posts: 13
Joined: Jun 2007
RE: Wearing a tallis?
Noahide men (or women) should not buy their own tallis gadol to use during their daily morning prayers, or a tallis katan to wear continually (even with the tzitzis fringes not showing). The tallis is a uniquely Jewish symbol. Thus a Noahide who wears a tallis is likely to be mistaken for a Jew in a synagogue service or in other settings (including the places where a Noahide might go without hesitation, but which would be forbidden for an observant Jew to be seen there).

Also, if a tzitzis fringe on a Noahide's tallis came undone on the end and he retied it himself, it would be forbidden for a Jew to put on that tallis, since it would no longer be fulfilling the mitzvah, and thus the four-corned garment would be forbidden for him to wear. This is one reason why a Noahide should not have his own tallis, because it might get acquired or borrowed by a Jew.

But even without that possibility, Noahides should not acquire and/or wear tallis or tefillin, or do the other things quoted above from the book "Path of the Righteous Gentile." There are and must remain these clear lines of distinction between Jews and Gentiles.

Furthermore, tallis and tefilin, though somehow related in practice to Jewish prayer, actually are independent mitzvos and have nothing to do with prayer-services and do not add to them. They are distinct mitzvos on their own. Thus it should be emphasized that the only "enhancing tools" for prayer by Noahides are sincerity and submission to G-d.

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