Re: Gentile

Yehoshua Kahan (mailing_lists1@juno.com)
Sun, 19 Jan 1997 05:05:40 EST

Graham Ashford wrote:
>What happens to a gentile after death. Can a gentile escape judgement
without >becoming a proselyte? If a gentile becomes a proselyte what are
his/her >obligations, are they the same as a born-Jew? Can they/are they
expected to >attend National Feasts? Thanks for any help you can offer.

Nobody can escape judgement; however, a gentile has no
need to fear punishment. According to the Rambam, in his Mishna Torah,
in the section dealing with the laws of kings, towards the end of chapter
8, any gentile who accepts the 7 Noachide Laws (originally given by G-d
to Noah, and repeated by Him to Moses) for the reason that they were
given by G-d at Sinai, rather than out of intellectual or other appeal,
has a share in the reward of the world-to-come, and is considered to be
among the wise and pious of the nations. He then proceeds to spend
virtually all of chapters 9 and 10 delineating these laws; in addition,
there are various excellent English-language works today which delineate
and explain these laws more fully. One such is "The Path of the
Righteous Gentile", by Chaim Clorfene and Yakov Rogalsky.
Concerning your other question, a gentile who converts to Judaism
is considered a Jew in every matter; he/she has all the obligations and
priveleges of a born Jew, with the sole exceptions that, if female, she
is forbidden to marry a kohen, a Jewish priest, and also that he/she has,
for obvious reasons, no ancestral share in the Land of Israel. (I'm not
sure if a male convert is forbidden to marry the daughter of a kohen or
not.) Also, a convert cannot serve as a judge or king, or be in another
position of political authority. However, aside from this, a convert is
a Jew in every way; he/she is obligated to keep all the mitzvos, the
commandments, to come to the Temple at the three yearly holidays, in an
era when the Temple stands, may it soon be rebuilt, and is granted all
the priveleges of Jewishness, and is even protected by an additional
mitzva to love converts, in addition to the mitzva to love all Jews.
However, as I understand the halacha, in a time when being Jewish has
clear and obvious advantages, such as in the days of David and Solomon,
no converts are accepted, lest people convert for political or economic
advantage, rather than out of a desire to have the chance to become
closer to G-d than they could as a gentile; this will also be true after
the Messiah comes, may he come speedily in our days, for the same reason.

Yehoshua Kahan