Who can a noahide marry? – Personal opinion

A very important disclaimer: this is my personal opinion. I am not a rabbi. I am not a marriage counsellor. I have no degrees in marriage. I am just a thinking man who is married. I’m a gentile who has embraced the seven laws of Noah and am committed to God’s law for gentiles, knowing what it says and observing the core commands primarily for gentiles. It is important for me not to know the Jewish commandments, to observe them, or to emulate Jews, but to know what is permitted and prohibited for a gentile as commanded by God and also what it means to be created in his image and to live in that expectation and responsibility realistically.

So this is just my opinion. There is little point in following my opinion and saying “David told me to do it”. It’s up to you to weigh up my words with Torah and see if they hold any weight. If you just take my words uncritically, then you do not have my permission and the consequences are on your own head.

Just by what is commanded

Now let’s just go over the 7 commandments that God commanded for us gentiles to keep on a basic level. It’s important to do this because I don’t believe my opinion will be well-received by some. And also I like to reiterate the 7 commands when I get the chance for memory.

  • Justice (prohibition against injustice)
  • Prohibition against cursing God
  • Prohbition against worshipping idols
  • Prohibition against forbidden sexual partners
  • Prohibition against murder
  • Prohibition against theft
  • Prohibition against eating meat taken from an animal while it’s alive

We’ll focus on two of those commandments: The prohibition against worshipping idols and the prohibition against forbidden sexual partners. What makes a person liable according to the core content of these commands.

Prohibition against worshipping idols: Actively, physically serving anything other than God in the way of accepting that thing as a god by means of its customary practice or by using certain Temple rites such as sacrificing, bowing, burning incense and pouring a libation, or by vocalising your acceptance of this thing as a god.

Prohibition against forbidden sexual partners: A male having sex with any of the following (both partners in the act are liable): 1) his biological mother; 2) the wife of his father; 3) another man’s wife; 4) another man; 5) an animal and; 6) his maternal sister.

Now although there are extensions to these laws, these are the basic standard on the matter.

So let’s go by the basics according to the Noahide Law and answer the question who can a noahide marry. But before this, let me just summarize the sort of “noahide” that I’m talking about.

As I’ve said before in previous articles, to me, the religious definition of the word “noahide” bears no relation to the original intent of the word and is artificial, creating more invisible lines of separation between people. So I’m not talking about the sort of “noahide” that is intrinsically defined as “a righteous gentile” or a gentile who has accepted the truth of God as revealed in the Torah of Moses as given to Israel and keeps the seven laws of Noah based on that, and keeps additional religious rites such as prayer and maybe observing special Jewish holy days, wanting to ensure that the Jewish sabbath is recognised in some way. I’m not talking about the sort of “noahide” where such a person would claim that gentile atheists, gentile christians, gentile hindus, gentiles of different religions are not “noahides”.

I am talking about the sort of “noahide” or “Noahite” that is translated from the term “bnei Noah” that is used in the Talmud (in particular, Tractate Sanhedrin 56a where the law is codified) to refer to all gentiles, all non-Jews, irrespective of religious title or affiliation. The law applies to all gentiles, good or bad, observant or not. We all, as gentiles, are judged by it.

So in light of this, the more accurate rendering of my question is “according to the Noahide Laws, who can a gentile marry?”

So according to the core seven laws, in particular the laws concerning worshipping idols and forbidden sexual partners, a gentile can marry any gentile so long as it is not one of those people listed as forbidden sexual partners. So a gentile can’t marry his mother, another man’s wife, etc.

A person may ask, what did the prohibition against idolatry have to do with it? Well there are some that say that it is forbidden for a gentile to marry an idolator. But if you look at the law concerning forbidden sexual partners, this sexual relationship is not precluded. And if you look at the law concerning idolatry, there is nothing that states that a gentile is not allowed to marry an idolator. So a gentile can marry the vast majority of other gentiles.

So what does this mean in practical terms? What am I really saying? I’m saying that if a person who keeps the main prohibitions of the seven commandments sees Mary Doe (some gentile woman) and she is from a totally different family to him, then legally he can court her and marry her.

For every action there is a consequence

So it would seem that what I’m saying is a bit wide to include almost anyone. And it is. Let’s not beat around the bush here. The Noahide Commands are the basic morality for our world, so a significant amount of things are permitted. But as we all should know, not everything permitted is beneficial.

Although many religiously minded “Noahides” focus on the issue of marrying someone from one of the many novel religions in the world, the real issue should be whether a gentile who keeps the seven prohibitions can marry a person who habitually doesn’t.

[ASIDE: I think this is one of the reasons people can become disappointed with the Seven Commandments or try to add to them. And the problem is not the Seven Commandments, but what people think the Seven Laws are. They are not a religion. They are not a religious system with the sort of stringencies to make one holy or the sort of rites to make someone pious. That’s not what it’s about. The Seven Commands on their own are just the basic standard of an individual and a society. That’s why people who don’t even know the commands can end up avoiding the acts prohibited in them. It’s because it is not about how many rabbis you can mention or how many Hebrew words you know or how many sources you can cite. It’s just about the basics of being a good person in this world. This is a weakness of the current Noahide movement. Many times it seems more like an attempt to create a pseudo-Jewish religion rather than an attempt to focus on the core morality of the Gentile world, to focus on what we do more than what we believe.]

So back to what I was saying. Can a gentile who keeps the Seven Commandments marry someone who habitually doesn’t? Can such a gentile marry a person who curses God, who worships idols, who is a murderer, who is a thief, who eats the meat taken from a living animal, who perverts justice and prevents the application of the Noahide Law in our gentile lands? Can a righteous gentile marry such a person?

Now before I answer that, let me tell you a sad or depressing joke. It is too likely that today’s religious “Noahide”, the one who knowingly keeps God’s seven laws and maybe some additionals, would have little issue with a righteous gentile marrying a person who is invested in maintaining the power and policies of today’s political parties which actively work against Seven Law justice in so many ways, someone who is a die-hard Democrat or Conservative, Obama-follower or Miliband advocate. In case you don’t know, it’s forbidden in the Seven Laws, in the law called Dinim (Justice) to support unrighteous judges or officials, and it is a part of this law that gentiles (not just judges, but gentiles) establish courts of law that uphold the seven laws. But by supporting such parties that work against the establishment of such courts or which provide legislation that break the basic prohibitions or which support such a breaking of this basic law, the supporter of these parties and leaders breaks this fundamental law, being complicit to their acts. The same religious “Noahide” may have little issue with a righteous gentile marrying someone who routinely and uncaringly ate meat taken from a living animal. Yet these are still part of the fundamental seven commandments. And yet these gentiles would worry about marrying people of different religions. Again the focus is on religion, not on action, morality or justice.

OK, so I got distracted again. Can a righteous gentile marry someone who habitually breaks any of the Seven Commandments? I’ve already said that it is permissible, but then said that everything permitted is not beneficial. The fact is that for every choice we make there is a consequence, especially when it comes to interacting with people who knowingly or unknowingly break the universal basic standard. Once you marry such a person, there is always a chance that they may influence you or your potential children to do the same. There is always a chance that you supporting such a person can end up in the spreading of such behaviour through the children or through others that you interact with. Even if there isn’t such a spread, even if you have no children or somehow you manage to isolate them from the differences that may arise between you and your spouse, the fact is that the differences in worldview can cause many differences between yourself and your spouse, can cause many disputes and can destroy peace in your home and thus peace within yourself and also spread that negativity elsewhere.

Don’t stop reading yet! It’s easy to just swallow the bitter pill and then run off because it tastes bad. Give me a bit more of your time please, if you’ve chosen to read this.

Being realistic

So you must understand that being a conscientious righteous gentile, marrying an unrighteous one can have significant negative consequences. But let’s be honest: a lot of these negative things can occur if you are just incompatible with a person, even of the same worldview as you. I mean, humans are humans. And having the same worldview doesn’t guarantee you a happy life. Two good people can be toxic to each other and the world around them. That’s just life. Believe me, I’ve seen good people become enemies or at least standing off from one another. I’ve seen people of the same worldview come to blows and split up. Why do you think that the world is so splintered? Because we are human.

And I also know, from personal experience, that people from different worldviews can forge a union and unity that, at least overall, provides good stability, respecting each others differences as much as possible, and having a loving relationship for a long time.

But what is a conscientious gentile, one who wants to live according to the seven laws, to do?

Here I like Solomon’s advice:

(15) I have seen everything in the days of my vanity; there is a righteous man that perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that lives long in his evil-doing. (16) Don’t be overly righteous, and be not overly wise; why should you bring desolation upon yourself? (17) Don’t be overly wicked, neither be foolish; why should you die before your time? (18) It is good that you should take hold of the one; and also from the other don’t withdraw your hand; for he that fears God shall discharge himself of them all. (19) Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers that are in a city. (20) For there is not a righteous man upon earth, that does good, and doesn’t sin. (Ecclesiastes 7:15-20)

If a gentile wishes to make a religion out of the Noahide Laws (something that is forbidden for gentiles – to create a new religion – but not a core command), and make being a “noahide” different to being atheist, christian, or whatever, and then they wish to search for a “noahide” spouse, all I can say is “good luck”. And since I don’t accept the existence of luck, I mean every word of that. [You may find it hard to detect the sarcasm in that, so don’t worry about it!] I believe there are websites that advocate the Noahide Laws that try to help link people of the same worldview up. You can ask at asknoah.org or 1stcovenant.com. There may be others but I don’t know about that too much.

But for the gentile who doesn’t make being a noahide into a religion, and just sees us all as gentiles, righteous, unrighteous and some in-between, then the situation is slightly different. The aim of that person shouldn’t be to meet a “noahide” spouse, but rather just to find a good person. That is different to looking for a religious entity called a “noahide”.

Actually, that brings another thing to mind. Look around you. You’ll notice something strikingly obvious: we don’t live in a world that knows the Noahide Commandments as codified in the Talmud. We are not living in a time where the proper and full application of the Noahide Laws are in place. When a person commits an offense regarding the seven core commandments, normally it is between that individual and God. The portions of the seven commandments that governments coincide with always depends on whether the government forces catch such a person. Living in this world, where the seven laws are not part of the fabric of our society, where they are not taught to anyone in general, we cannot expect to find a gentile who knows and keeps the seven laws in our vicinity. A lot of us can’t see it as too practical if, take for instance, asknoah suggests a perfect “noahide” potential spouse half-way across the world who you’ve never met before and who they only know by means of distant correspondance. Hey, I’m a fan of asknoah.org, but realistically, I can’t put weight on that sort of “matchmaking”. Maybe you can. Sorry for my lack of faith. I just know what it’s like to have a lack of funds and the desire to go across the world for one reason or another, where your day-to-day life takes one look at you, another look at your finances, and then looks back at you and laughs you to scorn. Again, forgive my lack of faith and rigid sense of practicality.

No, for a good amount of people who are wanting marriage, they have to look in their own seven-law-ignorant locality. (Remember, not knowing the seven laws is not the same as being a bad person, or breaking those seven laws.)

For the sake of practicality and self-protection, it’s not going to be best for a gentile to marry someone who habitually steals, murders, or who has sex with the forbidden sexual partners. What sort of marriage would even seem moral with someone who steals or kills and has the wrong sort of sex? You should fear for yourself with a murderer or a thief. And what sort of marriage would you have with someone who still commits incest, homosexuality, or has sex with beasts (sorry to be crude)?

But what about where it concerns the other commandments? Or what if someone has broken the laws concerning murder, theft and forbidden sex in the past but not now? What about the person who has a religion, be it atheism or whatever else?

Ok, here’s my piece of advice. Find the best person of the opposite gender that you can find. Regardless of religious, philosophical or artificial label, look at the heart of the people around. If they really are that wicked and evil, then what can I say? Move! But if you see some genuine but slightly broken people around you, then, as long as you are honest about yourself to that person and the lines you yourself will not cross, if you find someone who can truly respect you and you can live with the differences, then live with what you have and make the best of it! Be the best you can be and try to be the example you should be outside of a relationship inside a relationship. Being married is not an easy road whether you are of the same worldview or not. In fact it can be downright difficult. But in the end, it’s about two people committed to the good of each other.

Either that or potentially live without getting married. There’s no sin in that either, if you can live with that choice.

Ok, let me again be plain about what I’ve just said. If you live in the town of Conservative (a British political party) lovers who love the fact that David Cameron (the current British tyrant … I mean Prime Minister) has just made it possible for abortions to continue to be legalized and gay marriages to be legal and says that idolatry is fine [some may be saying “move out” already], but amongst them you find a good-hearted spouse candidate who respects where you’re coming from and there is a way for you to get along and there are no potential “righteous gentiles” around, and you want marriage, my opinion is that you are not breaking the Seven Laws by marrying this person. You should go ahead and make the best of that marriage. That’s not to say you become a Tory-lover too. The spouse should know and respect the lines you will not cross. But you just make the best of that union. Beware of the potential difficulties and either navigate them or live with them. Marriage is a serious decision, no matter who you choose to be with. Don’t take it lightly.

If you live in a town of idol-worshipping Hindus, or Jesus-worshipping christians, and you find a decent, loving spouse contender amongst them, make the best of it. It’s much the same as what I said in the previous paragraph. My opinion, you are not breaking the core Seven Commandments by marrying this person.

The same goes if you are dealing with a different religion, including God-rejecting communities. In fact, there are a good amount of people who, because of their tastes, avoid the acts prohibited in the seven core commandments. They may have differing religious labels, but good people are out there. Don’t be blinded by the labels.

All in all, live practically. Know God’s law for Gentiles. Know what was commanded and what is not. Do what you can do to go beyond to be a good decent person without damaging yourself or living a miserable existence. Learn to see and work on the good in people no matter where they are in life.

The Divine Code, the Court of Shem and Rabbi Schwartz

Now you’ll see that I’ve said that it is permissible to marry an idolator, or any other seven commandment law breaker. I’ve implied that at times it’s better to do that than hope and pray for the miraculous coming of someone of the same mindset or worldview. If two people of the same seven-law keeping lifestyle can get together, good for them. Right now, it’s unrealistic to believe that all gentiles aware of the seven laws and keeping them are gonna have that opportunity.

But there are at least two books that would be used against me in my opinion. One is the Divine Code by rabbi Moshe Weiner and the other is an online book called Noahide Commandments by rabbi Yoel Schwartz. Let me say now that both of these books and their authors I respect immensely. They have helped formed me into the man I am. Of course, by “respect”, I don’t mean that I unquestioningly observe everything they say. It just means that I hold their teachings as weighty and that if I disagree I had better have a damn good reason. [There should be an article soon about the role of a rabbi for a gentile and his jurisdiction.]

So the Divine Code devotes a number of pages and footnotes regarding the subject of a gentile marrying an idolator. Now some would think that, reading the book in the order of pages, the author agrees with me. In part VI, Chapter 4, topic 14 on page 523 it says,

” 14. It is permitted for Gentiles of any nation or race to marry each
other as they wish, aside for the forbidden relations cited in Chapter 1.”

The “chapter 1” referred to speaks of the forbidden sexual relationships I related earlier on this article with a few additions irrelevant to the scope of this article. So it seems to say a Gentile can marry any Gentile of the opposite gender that doesn’t come under any of the categories I mentioned above.

We’re all agreed, right? Wrong! Or at least it seems that way when the Divine code says in topic 16 from page 525 to page 527 what can be summed up as the following: the court of Shem decreed that a man is forbidden to marry an idolatrous woman and have her come into his house with his permission to continue practicing idolatry and this decree stands today and has eternal eminence; and if two people get married and one of them starts committing idolatry, the other is obligated to divorce the partner and leave. Again, the decree forbidding marriage to an idolator from the court of Shem still stands.

I’ve got a few reservations about taking this as a blanket prohibition against marrying an idolator. Firstly, it’s not one of the seven commandments. Even the footnote of the book say this. For the core Seven Commandments, there is a death sentence. As the Talmud says, “the warning concerning the Seven Commandments is a gentile’s liability to the death penalty” (Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 57b). This prohibition against marrying an idolator, no such act made one liable for death according to the Seven Laws (pg 526) and was not a precept from God but was a decree from the court of Shem (pg 527, footnote 156). Secondly, there is a part in page 526 that says nations can make up their own additional stringencies. This implies that nations have jurisdiction over themselves to make those additional rules. So what gives the court of Shem jurisdiction, the right to dictate law, to anyone of any other nation legally? The author of the Divine Code states that it stands over all Gentiles, but I have no idea what gives it that authority. If China makes laws, they have no power over a French man living in France. If Shem’s decree really stands, there is no need for nations to decide their own laws and penalties regarding this issue. And thirdly, if Gentiles aren’t allowed to make new commandments with the force of divine law, but instead we are supposed to study our own Torah, that being the seven commandments – this is what both the Talmud and Rambam states – and even the Divine Code says that this decree of Shem is not one of the Seven, then that leaves the decrees of the courts of Shem outside of the core, then what power does this decree have? Lastly, the Divine Code says that the actual decree of Shem was against a woman having licentious relations with an idolator – this is not marriage – and that’s it! It’s only “logical” and not explicitly stated in the Talmud that the courts of Shem went carte blanche and made all marriages to idolators illegal.

All in all, at best, this decree is advice to others, but not authoritative. Feel free to take it upon yourself and live by it, and use it as advice to others, but it is nothing to be imposed. Again, as we deal with the realities of living in our Gentile nations, we have to know what is commanded by God and what is not, and how we can live as happily as possible with our lot.

Just an aside. I realise now that there is a distinction between the Seven Commandments and the Noahide Code as described in the Divine Code. The Seven Commandments are the bare minimum, the Seven Commands that theoretically make one liable to the death penalty in an earthly court that upholds the laws to the fullest. The Noahide Code, many of the issues dealt with in the Divine Code, goes beyond the Seven Commandments. The Seven Commandments are only part, a relatively small part of the Divine Code. I think it’s wise that whoever reads the Divine Code and any other book teaching the Seven Laws should take care in discerning what is explicitly commanded by God to Gentiles and what is not, what is core and what is an extension. There is nothing wrong with trying to be the most pious individual you can be and keeping all that these books dictate or advise. But don’t make Eve’s mistake (as some interpret). Don’t confuse doing what God commands with the additional elements. The way people take books like the Divine Code, as if it’s the final word, the Gentile version of the written Torah or the Bible, can lead to more deception. Take the book for what it is: extensive, well-studied, and flawed. If a person takes offense at the notion that the Divine Code has flaws, then that shows how close religious “noahides” have come to creating a new religion with a new holy book. In case you don’t know, that is not a good thing.

I’ll just add again by way of clarification that I have used and do use and shall use the Divine Code as one of my study books and as a powerful resource and respect the author for the work he has done. I have a strong tie with one of the people who work at AskNoah.org. So if you take my words as insulting to either the book or the author, bear this in mind before you think I’m demonizing the book.

Now rabbi Yoel Schwartz does not touch directly on marrying people of different religions, but the following can be seen as advice on that front:

“(h) Not Having Fellowship With Unbelievers and Impious People: Relations with unbelievers are only for the purpose already mentioned before. It is the duty of everyone to ensure that all human beings believe in the one true G-d and do His will. Consequently a person must be extremely careful that he does not bring another person to sin by his association with the ungodly. Psalms 1:1 says. “Happy is the man who has not been walked/followed after the advice of wicked men, who has not stood/lingered on the path of immoral men, and who has not sat [or made his
permanent dwelling] with scoffers.”” (page 7, Noahide Commandments)

Here’s my problem with this. I used to be a christian. The word “unbeliever” only reminds me of religion. The Noahide Commandments are not a religion. It’s about proper action primarily. But it seems like his focus here is on belief. I agree that it is the ideal that all believe in the one God. But one can have an ideal and still live realistically, in the reality that not all people believe in the God of Israel.

I’ve gotta say, I also don’t know if ensuring the whole world believes in God is everyone’s duty. Now, don’t hang me! I’m just saying I don’t know, not that I disagree. One side of me knows that you can’t really keep God’s Commandments if you don’t accept the Commander. But another side of me also knows that belief in God is not commanded for the Gentiles, just avoiding idolatry. But I also know that the Talmud puts “fear of God” as an important element to the commandment of Dinim (Justice). I also know that, reading Rabbi Samson Hirsch, that coming to the conclusion that there is a singular God who revealed himself to man is part of what makes us human, as it says:

“In view of Judaism, every human being is expected to recognize God and His attributes…only a purified awareness of God makes a man truly human. If I were gifted with the purest, most sublime perception of God and His attributes but had not crossed the threshold of Judaism, I would be nothing more (but also nothing less) than an ordinary human being. That kind of perception does not require a knowledge of the Torah. The very fact that this knowledge is expected of all men, including those who did not receive the Torah from God at Mount Sinai, is proof that such a knowledge about God does not require Torah study and that, through Judaism, the Torah was intended to give something additional and much more far-reaching to mankind as a whole … la loi, not la foi, law, not faith, is the motto of Judaism. It is obedience, not faith, or hope, or prayer, that makes the Jew a Jew” (Hirsch, Collected Writings, Vol. VII, 33–34, quoted on page 402 of Alan W. Cecil’s book “Secular by Design”)

So these things I know. I know the recognition (not just belief) of God is important. But note Hirsch’s words, it’s an expectation, it is what is expected. But again, from what we know of the Noahide Commandments, it is not commanded. Is the duty of a human being to ensure what is expected or what is commanded? They are not the same thing. If, according to Rabbi Hirsch, it is law and not faith that is the motto of Judaism, then doing what is commanded is more important than trying to change a person’s mind. Other places, including Rabbi Schwartz’s online book, Noahide Commandments, say that improving a person’s actions can aim towards that same goal. A wicked man who starts doing good things can be swayed towards good. And a good person can be swayed to wickedness by doing bad acts. So once more, is a human’s duty first to recognize God or to do the things that are commanded? I’ll leave that unanswered.

Another issue I have is the proof-text he used. Note the translation: “wicked men”; “immoral men” and; “scoffers”. The verse refers to people that it is best that anyone stay away from. If you’ve actually taken the time to read what I’ve written in my article, I still talk about marrying people who are generally decent, not irreverent law breakers. If you think I have been saying “Marry irreverent law breakers and immoral people and scoffers, people who will insult what you stand for to your face”, then maybe I haven’t been clear enough. Part of the basis of any relationship has to be respect. People of different worldviews have to have a level of respect for where the other person comes from. If a person can’t respect where you come from enough that they will demand that you cross the line with regards to what you stand for, then you shouldn’t marry such a person. But once again, I’ve seen people of different worldviews still have this respect.

If this verse, Psalm 1:1, is the backing for what rabbi Yoel Schwartz said, then his use of “unbeliever” and “impious” means disrespectful and wicked people, not simply someone ignorant of “religion” but who is a decent respectful person. If rabbi Schwartz’s advice is all-inclusive, in a religious sense, of any one at all that doesn’t know of or accept the God of Israel, or who has a different religious label to religious Judaism and religious “Noahidism”, then I don’t think Psalms 1 is any backing for what he’s saying.

All in all, what are my conclusions about what Rabbi Schwartz is saying with regards to marriage? I think it is relevant in the way that a person still has to be careful who they choose to get married to. You should go for as good a person as possible, one to whom you’ve revealed your standards and who can respect them and you. If that isn’t possible, then it is advisable to walk away. If you examine the person’s actions and find them to be morally wicked, then, once again, walk away. But, as I’ve said, it is possible to find decent people about the place. They may not hold the banner of “I’m a Noahide” whatever that means, but they can be loving, kind, and decent.

But if he is saying that you shouldn’t associate with any classed as “unbeliever” someone who doesn’t class themself as a “noahide”, then I don’t believe the passage he uses as proof bears him out.

Conclusion: What I’m saying, what I’m not saying

What I’m not saying is that you have to listen to me or agree with me. I’m no authority. These are all just my views, take them or leave them.

I am saying that gentiles do not have to know the codification of the Seven Universal Commandments to be decent people.

I am saying that people of different religions can be decent people.

I am saying that it is legally permissible for a Gentile to marry whichever other gentile they want who is not forbidden by the law against forbidden sexual partners, but I’m also saying that it is not wise to have no standards and be loose and just go for anyone that happens not to have your physical sexual equipment.

I am saying that if you find a decent person who has a different religious label but who respects what you stand for and does not ask you to compromise on the basics of God’s commandments to Gentiles and is willing to work with you to create a marriage union and there is no one better in your vicinity or in your power to reach, then I would say go for it.

I would add a caveat, a warning. If you’re going to take that difficult step and marry someone of a different worldview, then you have to be mentally strong and you should learn and keep God’s divine commandments yourself. There is no point being some weak-minded easily-led individual and expect to remain obedient to God in a relationship that will naturally pull and push at your limits. If you feel you can stand up for God’s commandments whilst in such a relationship, then do it! If you don’t think you can, then exercise extreme caution and weigh up all the options. There’s nothing wrong with not getting married if it’s not possible. There’s nothing wrong in doing your best in finding another gentile who has embraced the Noahide Commandments and doing what you can to get with that person. In fact, that is the ideal that I would wish for anyone who knows about God and his commandments. It’s just that I know what real life is like and the ideal isn’t always possible. In this day and age where we are not living in an Torah-obedient society, sometimes we have to make do with our situation. That’s why, again, I strongly advise that you know what is commanded and what is not, and to prioritise the importance of the extensions and expectations and the context of God’s Law for Gentiles so you negotiate life as best as possible.

So there you go, that’s my opinion. I guess I should be ready to duck right now, because I don’t think my opinion will be liked by many. But I didn’t create this blog to be liked. It’s to voice my opinion, the opinion of a gentile who has embraced God’s Commandments. I’m still a student of these laws. It may happen that I get it wrong now and I have to learn. That’s why I challenge you not to take my word for it but to learn for yourself.

Agree? Disagree? Whatever! At least I’ve said it.



  1. JP

    I married my Jewish wife when I was an atheist. We’ve been together about 20 years and have no children. I now accept the 7 laws while she remains secular. How much trouble am I in? I can’t just dump her and find a cute gentile. (Right?)

    • I’d advise that you check with an orthodox rabbi on that question. That doesn’t relate to just the Torah Laws for Gentiles but also the Torah Law for Jews. I’ve read that once God placed Torah laws upon Israel, that placed additional prohibitions on Gentiles when it comes to how we interact with Jews. So if you respect Torah as obligations upon Gentiles and Jews (in their different ways) from God, then you’ll see that even if your Jewish wife rejects Torah, she may still be obligated by its laws which also obligate you (much in the same way that the fact that a Gentile man is forbidden from having sex with his mother, that also obligates all mothers from having sex with their sons). So check out an orthodox rabbi and see what they say. If you want pointers, I’ll suggest either contact Torath Moshe (their email address is on their About Us, page http://www.torathmoshe.com/about/) or Ask Noah (http://asknoah.org/contactus).

  2. Madhu

    Hello, can a noahide, who is hindu born and lives in hindu family with parents, marry a hindu woman who worships idols and hindu gods? and also can he pretend or act like worshiping idols and hindu gods by visiting temples, sitting in front of them for the sake of wife without telling her that he only wants to worship one God, but in order to marry her, he acts like worshipping idols and hides his noahide faith to marry her, and also he wont teach his wife and his children about one God, but leave them to idolatry, can a noahide allowed to do all these? Please let me know, I want to do this.

    • I don’t know what you mean by “noahide.” I prefer to deal with the fact that you are a non-Jew, a Gentile.

      You weren’t born a hindu. When you were a baby, you had no sense to make any choice to adopt any religion. You couldn’t even choose to be an atheist. So the notion of being hindu born is not true.

      I also know of no real “noahide faith” or “noahide religion.” If you’ve made up a religion, even one based on the seven laws, I’d advise that you leave it and just focus on obeying God’s laws and moral principles.

      I suggest you learn the law concerning idolatry. You’ll find out from there if it’s really possible for you do acts of worship to idols and remain innocent.

      If a woman will only marry you because of a lie, because you lie to her about what principles you live by, then it’s for you to determine if she loves you or the lie.

      • Madhu

        Bro, I did read about laws of idolatry but don’t knw whether acting like worshipping them for sake of wife. It’s arrange marriage, so they think me like a Hindu. I don’t want tell them that I worship only one God.

      • I strongly suggest you ask someone expert in the seven laws. You can either go to AskNoah forum at asknoah.com/forum or you can email them at ask_noah@yahoo.com. Or you can email torathmoshe@gmail.com and ask rabbi Michael bar-Ron.

        But let me quote from a good book called The Divine Code which details the seven laws. This does not tell you whether it is good for you to pretend to worship false gods but at least it lets you know you won’t get the worst punishment for it.

        27. One who served an idol out of love (for example, he desires this idol because its service is very pleasing), or who served it from fear that it may wrong him (just as its worshipers believe that it has the power to do good or evil to a person), is liable if he accepts it as a deity. If he served it out of love or fear with its traditional manner of service, or with one of the four special services of the Holy Temple, but he does not accept it as a deity, he is exempt from punishment. Likewise, if one serves an idol out of love or fear of a person, and does not accept the idol upon himself as a deity, he is also exempt. (The Divine Code, The Prohibition of Idolatry, Chapter 3, topic 27, page 170)

  3. Madhu

    Hesedyahu, yes I came to know about 7 laws of Noah through Dr. Michael Schulman from asknoah.org site, he is like my teacher who helped me understand who is jesus and what are nonjews are required to follow, I even purchased The Divine Code. I have been asking him about my marriage from past 3 years, but he suggested to get one from Philippiness, Ghana, and even from India who are very far from my city. I m not rich enough to travel to other countries and get one. The indian noahide community i guess were formed in the past year whom i have no contacts, they are very far from my city. Also Dr. Mischael Schulman is very strict about marrying hindu woman , I can understand him but my situation is very different. So I decided to marry a hindu girl. Im 28 now, next month will turn 29. I never had a girl friend and and Im virgin. im sick several times watching porn. I feel I need to get married now, I cant wait, so decided to marry a hindu one and I would just act.

    • I understand you in many ways. Dr Schulman is also someone I consider as one of my teachers. He pointed me to the truth of the oral tradition and the seven laws. He stresses a high level of morality for us Gentiles. As much as I love his work and respect the book, the Divine Code, I don’t agree with everything.

      I’m not an expert in the seven laws but I know the level expected of us Gentiles is not the same as for the Jews. If you want to get married, it is not always practical or possible to find a Gentile who upholds the seven laws. So, as I stated in my article, there is no law forbidding you to marry an idolator. But understand that it places you in a dangerous place. You must be strong and as knowledgeable as possible about the core seven laws. Or else you will be tempted to break your own standard. I know this from personal experience.

      Did you read and understand the quote I gave from the Divine Code?

      • Madhu

        Yes thanks you it. It helped me very much to be strong now that quote from The Divine Code.. Still Dr Michael Schulman not wanting me to marry Hindu cause he knw me from past 8 years. All he wants that I should make sure I won’t worship idols, not even acting I guess.. Hmm I can understand him… I never felt so much down and depressed in my life, this marriage thing really making me down sad… Thank you very much for messages and time. Please pray for me..

  4. Madhu

    Hi. I guess I commented here 2 years back. I asked about if noahide can marry a hindu girl but I was confused about pretending as hindu by visiting temples and even bowing down. I was even afraid of children that they will worship hindu gods. I belong to poor hindu family. My own small house was near railway track and it was demolished by railway officers, we moved to rent house. My relatives brought me a hindu girl who liked to offer me land as dowry and who was beautiful girl but I was so confused and went with Jewish man advice to not marry hindu girl. I told them that I can’t worship hindu gods and they rejected me. I fell into depression since then. I even tried for noahide girl. I found a girl who is elder than me but by look wise I didn’t feel to marry her as I was filled with that hindu girl who was beautiful and I did not say OK. Now I again looked a hindu girl, I liked her but not thst much. She’s from village. I hav to marry her soon but I’m not happy like I was 2 years back. There is no joy in me. I missed a good opportunity. Now if I wanted to marry hindu girl, I would hav done that 2 years back with that beautiful girl but I did not. Now after so much loss, with bad memories, I’m agreed to another hindu girl. I’m totally lost lost. Only God can save me now. Being poor is cursed to get girl..

    • You know I’m not a rabbi, that I have no authority or expertise. Any word I give is just my view on the whole thing. I’m not a person of faith like the rabbis or “noahides” who may tell you to just trust God to send you the right person who perfectly keeps the seven laws. I deal in practicals. There is no law against you marrying an idolator, only that you yourself don’t worship the idols. You will just have to accept that you will have certain difficulties that you must discuss and try to resolve as much as possible with your prospective wife. You have to make the choice!

      So here’s the question: do you have to worship idols to marry a girl?

      How can you be totally lost? And what does it mean that “being poor is cursed to get girl?”

      • Madhu

        I have to pretend like hindu who visits temple and bowing down (I don’t believe them as diety) just to make them believe I’m hindu for wife sake like I asked 2 years back. What I mean by lost is 2 years back I was happy with my job, I was earning nicley but I knew it’s not stable job. When I asked you about marrying a hindu girl 2 years back, I moved to rented house close to my relatives as our own house was demolished. I helped by dad by giving him loan as he had debts so understanding our financial situation, my relatives brought a match. They brought me a match that she perfectly fitted me and as best match because she was beautiful, she has job and she even offered me land (as we lost our house) but only being hindu and that I hav to pretend worshiping idols confused me. I was so confused about my future with her if I had said OK like I will see my children worshiping hindu gods infront me. I was about to marry her but my relatives visited me again and asked me that they had no idea that I believe in Bible and asked me to worship both hindu gods and biblical God and that she is deep religious girl then they gave me time to decide and say. I didn’t knw anything but i can say my heart wanted her, I liked her 90% but 10% I had to ignore her because of God. I knw there was no restriction for gentile to marry hindu girl But due to fear I told my relatives I can’t worship idols but will marry her but girls side rejected me. I can say Dr Michael Schulman advise to not Marry hindu girls stuck in me. I only had this guy in my mind when I took final decision. I felt depressed that I missed a beautiful girl when I’m not good looking and I’m poor and they offered me land and she’s working girl and we both can live happilym then after aone month, I asked my relatives again that I will worship idols (only pretending) and will the girls family agree me for it . The girls mother said OK for it and I felt happy. There is a hindu custom that to not fix marriage between Dec to January period as they consider as bad days so they asked me to wait till that period. So I was happy that I will get that girl again m I even took loan from bank (I already had a running loan which I gave to my dad) to arranged for my marriage. But after one month, they did not like to giving their girl as I believe in Bible and they said no. I cried more that I missed girl and now I took loan despite I was having debts and that I hav to pay interest. I waited for one year again and decided to not Marry hindu girlsm I tried for noahide girls but to get a noahide girl, the family of a girl hav to trust me and my job or my property. I don’t hav own house nor I hav a good secure job. I knw its hard but still tried. I visited a noahide community which is very far from my city and told the leader about my situation. One guy talked me about noahide girl but she was one year elder than me but I didn’t feel to marry her due to looks. I was filled with that hindu girl look. I don’t know may be evil force made me to consider looks. I didn’t say OK and then I had no offers from them about another noahide girl. My parents and relatives kept asking me to marry so I again decided to marry hindu girl. The sad thing is that my job is not paying me the same like it used to 2 years back, and bank loan debts and paying for rent and missing opportunity of a girl who liked to give me land made me depressed. I tried for hindu girls who work but unfortunately,as I lack own house and secure job, I had no luck then tried village hindu girl who said OK as they are poor too. She is not working. Now I will marry her but my heart is lost because of all bad memories and my financial situation about loans and that I don’t hav own house. If I was rich, I would hav got a girl who has job so that we can live happily but girls who hav jobs don’t to marry poor guys. If relatives bring match then it’s easy to get girls who work but my relatives now can’t help because for them I’m Bible believer… I left with pain. I’m not even OK to marry because of my financial situation and with bad memories, there’s no joy in me. 2 years back I was happy, I felt extremely happy when I looked that girl but after getting rejected by her, I m sad and lost. Bad luck..

  5. Madhu

    Would you want anything to tell me?

    • So you’re poor, with financial problems, and you want to get married but the girls around you will only marry you if you worship their gods? Is that correct?

      Plus you keep looking back and feel depressed about a rich girl, a good looking girl, who would have married you, but you had to worship her gods. Is that correct?

      • Madhu

        Yes true. Also if I wanted to marry hindu girl then the thoughts keep killing me that why I didn’t marry that girl 2 years back itself as I was in very happy stage but now I’m down and depressed. I have to look after my mom and dad and if I would hav married that previous girl who offered to give me land then I would hav not be in financial loss now.

      • Ok. As a fellow student in life, this is what I would say.

        1) you must learn to accept your current situation and forget the girl that you wanted before. The misery that you demonstrate in your messages is dragging you down and, even if you found another girl, is going to drag her down too.

        I have been in situations where I’ve had little to no money, and when I focused on the lack of money, I became sad and depressed. I learned then that is very important to be thankful for the good that I do have and focus on that good. You are helping no one with such a negative attitude and you will be a worse husband if you carry on holding on to it.

        So first thing is to accept your current situation, let go of thinking about that other girl, and start developing a better attitude that will strengthen you and will help you to be a positive force those around you, including any potential wife.

        2) If you are so desperate to be married, and the only way to be married is to make an empty gesture to a false god, then this is a serious situation. Once you’ve left the baggage from the past and prepared yourself to be a better man for yourself, then the choice you make next is a dangerous one, I believe.

        The law against idolatry is clear, that it is forbidden for a Gentile to actively worship false gods according to their custom and to prostrate fully on the floor to them, to slaughter an animal to them, to burn incense to them or to pour a drink offering to them.

        But there have been notable statements about this in the Jewish Bible and in what ancient rabbis have said. In 2 Kings 5, Elisha allows Naaman to bow down to idol because of his role and position next to an idolatrous king, since Naaman made it clear that he only revered the true God, not the false ones. The Divine Code also echoes the words of Rambam on page 168, law 27, where it says:

        “27. One who served an idol out of love (for example, he desires this idol because its service is very pleasing), or who served it from fear that it may wrong him (just as its worshipers believe that it has the power to do good or evil to a person), is liable if he accepts it as a deity. If he served it out of love or fear with its traditional manner of service, or with one of the four special services of the Holy Temple, but he does not accept it as a deity, he is exempt from punishment. Likewise, if one serves an idol out of love or fear of a person, and does not accept the idol upon himself as a deity, he is also exempt.”

        If you want to be extra sure I’m applying this correctly, then you can check with a better learned person, like Jacob Scharff or Andrew Overall, or Abby Sookraj, or a proper rabbi learned in the seven laws.

        But the danger here is that you are really close to idolatry, and you can still be doing a bad thing. But if it’s that necessary to get a wife and you can’t contain yourself and you’re going to destroy yourself due to misery, then you may have to do what you have to in order to fulfil your desire as long as you don’t accept those gods as deities over you.

        The danger here is that if I’m wrong, then you’re doing a serious immoral act and will be doing it. And you can get caught up in idolatry.

        But if I’m right and your situation is so desperate, then you’re just doing empty gestures to get what you want. Sooner or later, your spouse will find out that you don’t really respect her gods, you just love her. It’s for her to decide how she feels about that.

        It’s a risky choice. If you could do so happily, you could just remain single and avoid those troubles. But if you are so driven get married, you’ll have to accept the consequences and do what you can to be as happy as you can in this life without compromising your values.

      • Madhu

        Bro, should I think everything is going according to God’s will and be happy for present and hav hope in God that He would help me. It’s very hard but hope God will give me peace of mind and help me.

  6. Madhu

    Thank you very much bro. YEs I will forget about my past and will leave it to God. i will not think that i did mistakes but will rather think that it happened due to Gods will. I will carry a positive attitude now about my future and will be happy now. Sad thing was i was waiting for noahide girl since I was 25 to marry and kept on looking. I waited for 4.5 years upto now to finally decide to marry hindu as im not able to get one. I never had any gf experience too, I get burning thoughts that i lack gf and im ignoring all hindu girls around me for the sake of noahide woman. Also ppl do say that if u marry or be in relationship, you will becme wiser, by not getting girl, i became too lazy, i did not even try to save money and look for a better job. Had i married at 25-28, I would have looked for better job to support family and save money which i did not do.

    I will only pretend as worshipping idols because i have to prove them that im hindu and that i does not belong to other religion. I can slowly tell my wife after my marriage that im agnostic or atheist and does not have interest in gods, then try and explain her about God later. I came to know about God when im 18 , at first i did not believe in Bible blindly, it took some time for me to accept. I will not accept idols as gods, i will only act thats it and i will try to avoid all idolatry customs as much as possible. I do not how risky it is, but i can only beleve myself in God without teaching about God to children or wife in future. It is not in my hands.

    Since i do not have own house and a secure govt job and due to lack of noahide girls in my place, its really tough for me to get noahide wife. Even noahide families like to give their daugthers to a man whom they know well and who has property so unfortunately I lack.

    I have to get married because im 30 (31 soon) and i never had GF. My parents and relatives keep asking me to marry at young age and its not good when I became old and marry. Also im virgin, to get rid of all bad thougths and staring at other girls, i have to marry. Its hard for me to stay single without sex or girl so I want to marry. I need a girl to share my emotions and I want a girl to help me in future too as its not good to be single. I too get thoughts about being single but i feel like loser. You know others enjoy gfs, bfs relationships and sex from young age, but i never experienced it. Even if i want to marry later by delaying then I might get a girl who already enjoyed relationships and sex. So much confusion.

    WOrse thing was that i dreamt about God beleving girl since i was 23 and tried. Now im forgetting all past, will try to look for good in future.


  1. It’s silly to be a “noahide” because …. – the weak excuses | UK Noahide Blog

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