CARE­FUL WITH ‘GER’

The Jerusalem Post - The Jerusalem Post Magazine - - LETTERS -

With re­gard to “We were strangers” (Tra­di­tion To­day, March 30), a preva­lent mis­take is to ap­ply the To­rah term ger to non-Jewish in­fil­tra­tors and refugees in Is­rael.

The term ger ap­pears in the To­rah in con­nec­tion with 46 com­mand­ments and, de­pend­ing on the con­text, refers to two types of in­di­vid­u­als: the ger tzedek or the ger toshav.

The for­mer is a gen­tile who un­der­goes con­ver­sion and com­mits to ob­serv­ing all the mitzvot, be­com­ing a full Jew: “There will be one law for you and for the ger who lives among you; as for you, so will it be for the ger, be­fore the Lord” (Numbers 15).

The lat­ter is a su­pe­rior Noahide – a non-Jew who be­lieves in the God of Is­rael and the To­rah, and wishes to ob­serve more than just the seven Noahide laws – but one who is un­will­ing or un­able to be­come a full Jew: He is “the ger who is in your gates” (Ex­o­dus 20) and is not al­lowed to be put to work on the Sab­bath. He is in your gates and not sit­ting at your Sab­bath ta­ble, but nev­er­the­less wishes to be­come for­mally af­fil­i­ated by at­tach­ment to the Jewish peo­ple.

The Tal­mud states that in the Mes­sianic fu­ture, con­ver­sion to the sta­tus of Jew will no longer be avail­able and that most of hu­man­ity will ul­ti­mately be­come gerim toshavim: “The ger will join them and be at­tached to the House of Ja­cob” (Isa­iah 14).

AMNON GOLD­BERG Safed

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