Ger toshav

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"Righteous gentiles" redirects here. See Righteous among the Nations for the honorary title awarded by Israel in connection with the Holocaust.


Ger toshav (pl. gerei toshav, Hebrew: גר תושב), according to Judaism and the Torah, is a Gentile who is a "resident alien", that is, one who lives in a Halachic Jewish state under certain protections of the system, considered a righteous gentile.

There are two kinds of ger toshav. A formal one is a Gentile who has made certain legal statements in a beth din (Jewish rabbinical court). There are three opinions (Avodah Zarah 64b) as to what those statements promise:
  1. To abstain from idolatrous practices (detailed in ).
  2. To uphold the seven Noahide Laws.
  3. To uphold all the 613 mitzvot, except for the prohibition against eating neveilos (kosher animals that died by means other than ritual slaughter).


The definition used by all authorities is the second. In all cases, the statement is a formal sign that the Gentile is on a righteous path, and as such, they must by law receive certain legal protections and special charity/financial aid from the community.

The second kind of ger toshav is an informal one, namely someone who has not sworn anything to a beth din (Avodah Zarah 65a). In this case, they are not formally entitled to special financial aid by law, but the attitude of a religious Jew to someone who has foregone idolatry is supposed to be much more welcoming (from the perspective of Jewish law) than to...
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