Monday, May 11, 2015

Anyone Who Rejects Idolatry is Considered a Jew (Megilah 13a and others)

Thought this was interesting.  Found it over at


Megila(13a): R’ Yochanon said that Mordechai did in fact come from the tribel of Binyamin. So why was he called “a Jew” [which implies that he was from the tribe of Yehudah]? Because he rejected idolatry since anyone who rejects idolatry is called a Jew [even though he isn’t from the tribe of Yehudah] as we see in Daniel (3:12):“There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not regarded you; they serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.”
Meiri(Megila 13a): Whoever rejects idolatry is as if he accepted the entire Torah. Whoever raises an orphan in his house is as if he gave birth to the orphan.

Mahari Bruno((#135): There was an incident with a person who took an oath not to play with any Jew. R’ Isserlin was asked whether he could play with an apostate (mushuad)? He was allowed to since an apostate is not called a Jew. Even though Sanhedrin (44a) states that a sinner is still consdiered to be Yisroel – nevertheless he is not called a Jew and therefore the oath doesn’t apply. A proof for this is that Rashi (Sanhedrin 44a) explains the term Jew based on the Megila (13a) that whoever rejects idolatry is called a Jew. Therefore an apostate who rejects the G‑d of Israel and accepts idolatry is not called a Jew.

Rabbeinu Bachye(Devarim 8:1): Our Sages (Shavuos 29a) teach that whoever rejects idolatry is as if he acknowledges the entire Torah and whoever acknowledges idolatry is as if he rejected the entire Torah.

R' Ezriel Hildsheimer(Y.D. 1:259): Question: Is a person called a Jew based upon Megila (13a) that whoever rejects idolatry is called a Jew? Answer: This is one of the statements which causes great destruction amongst us. It is obviously not so. Heaven forfend that one should understand this statement literally...

Yad Ramah (Sanhedrin 19b): Calev ben Yefunah’s wife was called a Jewess even though she was the daughter of Pharaoh – but since she rejected idolatroy she was called a Jewess. This principle is learned from Daniel (3:12): “There are certain Jews [members of the tribe of Yehuda – Rashi- whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not regarded you; they serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up.” This verse indicates that whoever rejects idolatry is called a Jew.

Rambam(Hilchos Avodas Kokovim 2:4): The commandment prohibiting idolatry is as significant as all the other mitzvos. This is learned from Bamidbar (15:22): And if you have erred, and not observed all these commandments, which the L‑rd has spoken to Moses, We have a tradition that this verse is talking about idolatry. Therefore we learn from this verse that whoever agrees with idolatry denies the entire Torah as well as all the prophets and all that is written in the prophets from Adam until the end of the world (Bamidbar 15:23). Similarly one who rejects idolatry agrees with the entire Torah and all the prophets and all that which was commanded by the prophets from Adam until the end of the world. Thus it is the foundation of all the mitzvos.


  1. Replies
    1. It seems like a glaring flaw in Rabbinic logic: the Rabbis say that he who rejects idolatry is called a Jew and has accepted the entire Torah yet the Rabbis also say that Gentiles can be saved by observing the Noahide "laws" (which include, according to certain formulations such as in Tosefta, the rejection of idolatry).

      Am I missing something? Why would the Rabbis promote such a glaring contradiction??? It's completely illogical for them to promote Noahidism as an alternative way of life and, at the same time say that anyone who rejects idolatry has accepted the ENTIRE Torah.

      Maybe I'm missing something...

    2. I don't think I'm missing anything.

    3. This disjunction between Noahidism and earlier universalist Rabbinic thought--the fact that these two doctrines cannot be harmonized--provides strong evidence that Noahidism is a schismatic addition...

  2. "I don't think I'm missing anything."

    Yes, you do. The rabbis were speaking to Jews when including the whole Torah, not Gentiles. What else are you going to throw against the wall hoping it will stick?

    1. You think the Rabbis completely missed the universality of the Torah??? What about the following passages:

      Leviticus Rabbah connects the Torah to the Tree of Life in Eden which is ultimately intended for mankind (Adam):

      A.It has been taught in the name of R. Eliezer, 'A sword and a scroll wrapped together were handed down from heaven, as if to say to them, 'If you keep what is written in this [scroll], you will be saved from the sword,
      B. 'and if not, in the end [the sword] will kill you.'"
      C. 'When is that proposition to be inferred? 'He drove out the man, and at the east of the Garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life' [Gen. 3:4].
      D. 'The [first] reference to 'the way' refers to the rules of proper conduct, and the second reference, '[the way to] the tree of life' refers to the Torah.'

      Again, the Torah is for Man:

      "R. Jeremiah said: Whence can you know that a Gentile who practices the Law is equal to the High Priest? Because it says, 'Which if a man do, he shall live through them' (Lev. XVIII, 5). And it says, 'This is the Law [Torah] of man' (II Sam. VII, 19). It does not say: 'The Law of Priests, Levites, Israelites,' but, 'This is the Law of man, O Lord God.' And it does not say, 'Open the gates, and let the Priests and Levites and Israel enter,' but it says, 'Open the gates that a righteous Gentile may enter' (Isa. XXVI, 2); and it says, 'This is the gate of the Lord, the righteous shall enter it.' It does not say, 'The Priests and the Levites and Israel shall enter it' but it says, 'The righteous shall enter it' (Ps. CXVIII, 20). And it does not say, 'Rejoice ye, Priests and Levites and Israelites,' but it says, 'Rejoice ye righteous' (Ps. XXXIII, I). And it does not say, 'Do good, O Lord, to the Priests and the Levites and the Israelites,' but it says, 'Do good, O Lord, to the good' (Ps. CXXV, 4). So even a Gentile, if he practises the Law, is equal to the High Priest. (Sifra 86b (cp. San. 59a (cp. [418]; Bab.K. 38a).)", (pg. 564, A Rabbinic Anthology)

    2. The Torah is what makes Israel distinct from the rest of mankind:

      "Yet for all that, in spite of their sins, when they have been in the lands of their enemies, I have not rejected them utterly' (Lev. XXVI, 44). All the goodly gifts that were given them were taken from them. And if it had not been for the Book of the Law which was left to them, they would not have differed at all from the nations of the world. (Sifra 112c.)"

      All of mankind will desire and pursue the Torah:

      " 'They shall call the peoples unto the mountain; there shall they offer righteous sacrifices' (Deut. XXXIII, 19). The peoples and their kings will come together on business to Palestine, and they will say, 'Since we have troubled ourselves to come hither, let us look at the business of the Jews, and what its nature is,' and so they will go to Jerusalem, and they will observe how Israel worships One God only, and eats one sort of food only, while of the nations, each worships different gods, and the food of one is not the food of the other, and they will say, 'It is well to join this people,' and they will not budge from Jerusalem until they are made proselytes, and they will offer sacrifices and burnt offerings. (Sifre Deut., Berakah, [subsection] 354, f. 147a (cp. Moore, I, 336, n. I).)", (pg. 564-565, ibid)

    3. Again and again, the Torah is universal for all mankind:

      Tractate Bahodesh, Exodus 19:

      "They encamped in the wilderness. The Torah was given in public, openly in a free place. For had the Torah been given in the land of Israel, the Israelites could have said to the nations of the world: You have no share in it. But now that it was given in the wilderness publicly and openly in a place that is free for all, everyone wishing to accept it could come and accept it. One might suppose that it was given at night, but Scripture says: 'And it came to pass on the third day when it was morning' (v. 16). One might suppose that it was given in silence, but Scripture says: 'When there were thunders and lightning' (ibid.). One might suppose that they could not hear the voice, but Scripture says: 'The voice of the Lord is powerful, the voice of the Lord is full of majesty,' etc. (Ps. 29.4). 'The Lord sat enthroned at the flood, etc. (ibid. v. 10)....Balaam said to all the people who stood around him: 'The Lord is giving strength unto His people' (ibid. v. 11). And they all opened their mouths and said 'The Lord will bless His people with peace' (ibid.). R. Jose says: Behold it says: 'I have not spoken in secret,' etc. (Isa. 45.19). When I gave the Torah from the very start, I gave it not in the place of a land of darkness, not in a secret place, not in an obscure place. 'I said not: 'It is unto the seed of Jacob' ' (ibid.). Did I not give it in broad daylight? And thus it says: 'I the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right' (ibid.). Already before I gave them the commandments I advanced them the rewards for them, as it is said: 'And it shall come to pass on the sixth day that they shall prepare that which they bring in, and it shall be twice as much' (Ex. 16.5). And it also says: 'Then will I command My blessing upon you in the sixth year,' etc. (Lev. 25.21). One might think that it was only in the case of these two commandments, but Scripture says: 'And He gave them the lands of the nations,' etc. (Ps. 105.44). What for? 'That they might keep His statutes and observe His laws' (ibid. v. 45). R. Eliezer the son of R. Jose the Galilean used to say: Behold it says: 'He declareth His word unto Jacob...He hath not dealt so with any nation' (Ps. 147.19-20). But what had those wretched nations done that He would not given them the Torah? 'His ordinances they have not known them' (ibid).)--they were unwilling to accept them, as it is said: 'God cometh from Teman...and a brightness appeareth as the light...before Him goeth the pestilence...He standeth, and shaketh the earth, He beholdeth, and maketh the nations to tremble,' etc. (Hab. 3.3-6)."

  3. "You think the Rabbis completely missed the universality of the Torah???"

    No, they didn't. But they also did not say that a Gentile becomes a Jew if he keeps the Torah, like you are trying to make us believe....

    Get off this....

    1. "Whoever raises an orphan in his house is as if he gave birth to the orphan."

      It doesn't have to do with genetics. Never had to do with genetics. It has everything to do with faith and being grafted in.

      Sons of Abraham can be raised up from stones if need be.

      The Prophets and Apostles testify to this, and so, apparently, do the rabbis....

      YHVH considers differing weights and measures (unbalanced scale) an abomination, yet you ascribe to Him a system of judgment that has a differing standard of righteousness for differing groups of people. What? He takes a dna test to determine which ruler to grade people by? What if they don't know they have Jewish or Hebrew blood? Now they are more guilty?

      There is one unchanging standard of righteousness for all mankind. Obedience o the standard incurs blessings and an inheritance in Abraham. All Scripture testifies to this. Further, Scripture testifies that they become part of Am Israel.

      I am not and do not want to be a Jew, but it continually bugs me that apparently yo spend every waking minute figuring out how to draw lines of exclusion.... I'm glad the King says 'come unto Me ALL... take My yoke...'

      Love ya, man..

    2. Dan,

      Wasn't Pharaoh's daughter a Gentile? So why then does Megillah 13a call her a Jewess??? Here's the full quote which you evidently did not look up:

      "R. Simon b. Pazzi once introduced an exposition of the Book of Chronicles as follows: 'All thy words are one, and we know how to find their inner meaning'. [It is written], And his wife the Jewess bored Jered the father of Gedor, and Heber the father of Socho, and Jekuthiel the father of Zanoah, and these are the sons of Bithya the daughter of Pharaoh, whom Mered took. Why was she [the daughter of Pharaoh] called a Jewess? Because she repudiated idolatry, as it is written, And the daughter of Pharaoh went down to bathe in the river, and R. Johanan, [commenting on this,] said that she went down to cleanse herself from the idols of her father's house. 'Bore': But she only brought him [Moses] up? -- This tells us that if anyone brings up an orphan boy or girl in his house, the Scripture accounts it as if he had begotten him. 'Jered': this is Moses. Why was he called Jered? Because manna came down [yarad] for Israel in his days."

    3. You want the Megila to call you a Jew also? Just cut your shwanzel and POOFFF you are a Jew...Get off this....

    4. Dan,

      No, I'm simply trying to understand the Rabbinic point of view because I, unlike you, don't view them with contempt. I would actually like to understand what they believe on various subjects. For example, I think it's nice to know that the Rabbis are more than aware of the universalist themes in the Torah.

      Here's something else: understanding Jewish thought helps me understand the context of the Apostolic Writings.

    5. Lesson #1:
      There is no one Rabbinic point of view. There are many many point of view of many many Rabbis. You can never understand what they believe on various subject because each Rabbi has his own belief.

      Lesson # 2:
      If they are so aware on the universal themes in the Torah, then why do they forbid the Torah to the universe? The 7 Noachide laws are not the whole Torah.

      Lesson # 3:
      " understanding Jewish thought helps me understand the context of the Apostolic Writings. "

      You have to make a distinction here, the Apostolic writers were not Rabbis.

    6. Dan,

      Listen to you, saying they have MANY points of view and then in the next sentence assuming they have ONE point of view of "forbidding the Torah to the universe."

    7. That's lawyer talk. The fact is that Rabbinic does not allow Gentile (Universe) to engage in the whole Torah. There is also the fact that the Message of the Torah is universal. But, then, what else is new? The rabbis always contradicted themselves.

    8. Another fact, is that according to the Rabbis no matter how much a Gentile is engaged in Torah, unless he goes through the ritual of a Proselyte he can never become a Jew. Lay off this.....

  4. ""Whoever raises an orphan in his house is as if he gave birth to the orphan."

    8 days after the birth the orphan receives circumcision....Get off it.....