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Dedicated by Yaakov & Avigayil Rosenblatt and Family

Rambam Monday

The Laws Of The Worship Of Stars And Their Statutes

הִלְכוֹת עֲבוֹדַת כוֹכָבִים וְחוּקוֹתֵיהֶם

Chapter Ten

1 We may not draw up a covenant with idolaters which will establish peace between them [and us] and yet allow them to worship idols, as [Deuteronomy 7:2] states: “Do not establish a covenant with them.” Rather, they must renounce their [idol] worship or be slain.

פֶּרֶק עֲשִׂירִי

א אֵין כּוֹרְתִין בְּרִית לְעוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁנַּעֲשֶׂה עִמָּהֶן שָׁלוֹם וְנַנִּיחַ אוֹתָם לְעָבְדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לֹא תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית", אֶלָּא יַחְזְרוּ מֵעֲבוֹדָתָם אוֹ יֵהָרְגוּ.
It is forbidden to have mercy upon them, as [Deuteronomy, ibid.] states: “Do not be gracious to them.” Accordingly, if we see an idolater being swept away or drowning in the river, we should not help him. If we see that his life is in danger, we should not save him. וְאָסוּר לְרַחֵם עֲלֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם". לְפִיכָךְ אִם רָאָה מֵהֶם אוֹבֵד אוֹ טוֹבֵעַ בַּנָּהָר לֹא יַעֲלֶנּוּ; רָאָהוּ נָטוּי לָמוּת לֹא יַצִּילֶנוּ;
It is, however, forbidden to cause one of them to sink or push him into a pit or the like, since he is not waging war against us. אֲבָל לְאַבְּדוֹ בְּיָדוֹ אוֹ לְדָחֳפוֹ לְבוֹר וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָזֶה - אָסוּר מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינוֹ עוֹשֶׂה עִמָּנוּ מִלְחָמָה.
To whom do the above apply? To gentiles. It is a mitzvah, however, to eradicate Jewish traitors, minnim , and apikorsim , and to cause them to descend to the pit of destruction, since they cause difficulty to the Jews and sway the people away from God, {as did Jesus of Nazareth and his students, and Tzadok, Baithos, and their students; may the name of the wicked rot.} בַּמֶה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים? בְּעוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים, אֲבָל הַמּוֹסְרִים וְהַמִּינִים וְהָאֶפִּיקוּרוֹסִין מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל - מִצְוָה לְאַבְּדָן בְּיָד וּלְהוֹרִידָן עַד בְּאֵר שַׁחַת, מִפְּנֵי שֶּׁהֵן מְצֵרִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל וּמְסִירִין אֶת הָעָם מֵאַחֲרֵי ה'.
2 From the above, we can infer that it is forbidden to offer medical treatment to an idolater even when offered remuneration. ב מִכָּאן אַתָּה לָמֵד, שֶׁאָסוּר לְרַפֹּאת עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים אֲפִלּוּ בְשָׂכָר.
If, however, one is afraid of the consequences or fears that ill feeling will be aroused, one may treat them for remuneration, but to treat them free is forbidden. וְאִם הָיָה מִתְיָרֵא מֵהֶן אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה חוֹשֵׁשׁ מִשּׁוּם אֵיבָה - מְרַפֵּא בְּשָׂכָר; אֲבָל בְּחִנָּם - אָסוּר.
[Regarding] a ger toshav , since we are commanded to secure his well-being, he may be given medical treatment at no cost. וְגֵר תּוֹשָׁב, הוֹאִיל וְאַתָּה מְצֻוֶּה לְהַחֲיוֹתוֹ - מְרַפְּאִים אוֹתוֹ בְּחִנָּם.
3 It is forbidden to sell them homes and fields in Eretz Yisrael . In Syria, one may sell them homes, but not fields. ג אֵין מוֹכְרִין לָהֶם בָּתִּים וְשָׂדוֹת בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל; וּבְסוּרְיָא - מוֹכְרִין לָהֶם בָּתִּים, אֲבָל לֹא שָׂדוֹת.
One may rent them homes in Eretz Yisrael , provided that a neighborhood [of gentiles] is not established. Fewer than three [homes] does not constitute a neighborhood. וּמַשְׂכִּירִין לָהֶם בָּתִּים בְּאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשׂוּ שְׁכוּנָה. וְאֵין שְׁכוּנָה פָּחוֹת מִשְּׁלשָׁה.
It is, however, forbidden to rent them fields. In Syria, one may rent them fields. וְאֵין מַשְׂכִּירִין לָהֶם שָׂדוֹת, וּבְסוּרְיָא מַשְׂכִּירִין לָהֶם שָׂדוֹת.
Why did [the Rabbis issue] more stringent laws regarding fields? Because two difficulties are involved: One removes the obligation of tithes [from these fields], and one gives them a dwelling place in our land. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה הֶחֱמִירוּ בַשָּׂדֶה? מִפְּנֵי שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהּ שְׁתַּיִם: מַפְקִיעָהּ מִן הַמַּעַשְׂרוֹת וְנוֹתֵן לָהֶם חֲנָיָה בַקַּרְקַע.
It is permitted to sell them houses and fields in the Diaspora, because it is not our land. וּמֻתָּר לִמְכֹּר לָהֶם בָּתִּים וְשָׂדוֹת בְּחוּצָה לָאָרֶץ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינָהּ אַרְצֵנוּ.
4 Even where it is permitted to rent [homes to idolaters], it is not permitted to rent to them for use as a dwelling, because they will bring idols into them, as [Deuteronomy 7:26] states: “Do not bring an abomination into your home.” It is, however, permitted to rent them homes to use as storehouses. ד אַף בַּמָּקוֹם שֶׁהִתִּירוּ לְהַשְׂכִּיר - לֹא לְבֵית דִּירָה הִתִּירוּ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהוּא מַכְנִיס לְתוֹכָהּ עֲבוֹדַת כּוֹכָבִים, וְנֶאֱמַר: "וְלֹא תָבִיא תוֹעֵבָה אֶל בֵּיתֶךָ". אֲבָל מַשְׂכִּיר לָהֶם בָּתִּים לַעֲשׂוֹתָם אוֹצָר.
It is forbidden to sell them fruit, grain, or other produce while it is attached to the earth. One may sell [these products] after they have been harvested or [before they have been harvested], on the condition that they will be harvested, and [the gentile] must harvest them. וְאֵין מוֹכְרִין לָהֶם פֵּרוֹת וּתְבוּאָה וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָהֶם בִּמְחֻבָּר לַקַּרְקַע; אֲבָל מוֹכֵר הוּא מִשֶּׁיָּקֹץ אוֹ מוֹכֵר לוֹ עַל מְנָת לָקֹץ וְקוֹצֵץ.
Why is it forbidden to sell them [land or anything attached to the land]? Because [Deuteronomy 7:2] states: “Do not be gracious with them.” [This phrase can also be interpreted:] “Do not give them a dwelling place in the land.” As long as they do not have a dwelling place in the land, their stay will be a temporary one. וּמִפְּנֵי מָה אֵין מוֹכְרִין לָהֶם? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם" - לֹא תִתֵּן לָהֶם חֲנָיָה בַקַּרְקַע, שֶׁאִם לֹא יִהְיֶה לָהֶם קַרְקַע - יְשִׁיבָתָן יְשִׁיבַת עֲרַאי הִיא.
[This prohibition also] forbids speaking about [idolaters] in a praiseworthy manner. It is even forbidden to say, “Look how beautiful that idolater’s body is.” וְכֵן אָסוּר לְסַפֵּר בְּשִׁבְחָן וַאֲפִלּוּ לוֹמַר 'כַּמָּה נָאֶה עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים זֶה בְּצוּרָתוֹ!'
How much more so is it forbidden to praise their deeds or to hold their words dear, as [the phrase states]: “Do not be gracious with them.” [This phrase can also be interpreted:] “Do not look at them graciously,” for doing so will cause you to draw close to them and learn from their wicked behavior. קַל וָחֹמֶר שֶׁיְּסַפֵּר בִּשְׁבַח מַעֲשָׂיו, אוֹ שֶׁיְּחַבֵּב דָּבָר מִדִּבְרֵיהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם" - לֹא יִהְיֶה לָהֶם חֵן בְּעֵינֶיךָ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁגּוֹרֵם לְהִדַּבֵּק עִמּוֹ וְלִלְמֹד מִמַּעֲשָׂיו הָרָעִים.
[Also implicit in the above phrase is that] it is forbidden to give them a present. A present may, however, be given to a ger toshav , [as implied by Deuteronomy 14:21:] “You may give it to the stranger in your gates so that he may eat it; or sell it to a gentile,” [i.e., to an idolater]; it should be sold, not given. וְאָסוּר לִתֵּן לָהֶם מַתְּנַת חִנָּם; אֲבָל נוֹתֵן הוּא לְגֵר תּוֹשָׁב, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לַגֵּר אֲשֶׁר בִּשְׁעָרֶיךָ תִּתְּנֶנָּה וַאֲכָלָהּ אוֹ מָכֹר לְנָכְרִי" - בִּמְכִירָה וְלֹא בִנְתִינָה.
5 We should provide for poor gentiles together with poor Jews for the sake of peace. ה מְפַרְנְסִים עֲנִיֵּי עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים עִם עֲנִיֵּי יִשְׂרָאֵל, מִפְּנֵי דַּרְכֵי שָׁלוֹם.
One should not rebuke gentiles [from taking] leket , shich’chah , and pe’ah , for the sake of peace. וְאֵין מְמַחִין בִּידֵי עֲנִיֵּי עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים בְּלֶקֶט שִׁכְחָה וּפֵאָה, מִפְּנֵי דַּרְכֵי שָׁלוֹם.
One may inquire about their well-being - even on their festivals - for the sake of peace. One may never repeat good wishes to them. וְשׁוֹאֲלִים בִּשְׁלוֹמָם וַאֲפִלּוּ בְיוֹם חַגָּם, מִפְּנֵי דַּרְכֵי שָׁלוֹם. וְאֵין כּוֹפְלִין לָהֶן שָׁלוֹם לְעוֹלָם.
Also, one should not enter the house of a gentile on one of his festivals to wish him well. If one encounters him in the marketplace, one may greet him meekly with a serious countenance. וְלֹא יִכָּנֵס לְבֵיתוֹ שֶׁל עוֹבֵד כּוֹכָבִים בְּיוֹם חַגּוֹ לָתֵת לוֹ שָׁלוֹם. מְצָאוֹ בַשּׁוּק נוֹתֵן לוֹ שָׁלוֹם בְּשָׂפָה רָפָה וּבְכֹבֶד רֹאשׁ.
6 All the above matters apply only in an era when the Jewish people are in exile among the gentiles or in an era when the gentiles are in power. ו אֵין כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ אֲמוּרִים אֶלָּא בִזְמַן שֶׁגָּלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵין הָעוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים אוֹ שֶׁיַּד עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים תַּקִּיפָה עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל.
When, however, the Jewish people are in power over them, it is forbidden for us to allow an idolater among us. אֲבָל בִּזְמַן שֶׁיַּד יִשְׂרָאֵל תַּקִּיפָה עֲלֵיהֶם - אָסוּר לָנוּ לְהַנִּיחַ עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים בֵּינֵינוּ.
Even a temporary resident or a merchant who travels from place to place should not be allowed to pass through our land unless he accepts the seven universal laws commanded to Noah and his descendants, as [Exodus 23:33] states: “They shall not dwell in your land” - i.e., even temporarily. וַאֲפִלּוּ יוֹשֵׁב יְשִׁיבַת עֲרַאי אוֹ עוֹבֵר מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם בִּסְחוֹרָה - לֹא יַעֲבֹר בְּאַרְצֵנוּ, אֶלָּא עַד שֶׁיְּקַבֵּל עָלָיו שֶׁבַע מִצְוֹת שֶׁנִּצְטַוּוּ בְנֵי נֹחַ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "לֹא יֵשְׁבוּ בְּאַרְצְךָ" - אֲפִלּוּ לְפִי שָׁעָה.
A person who accepts these seven mitzvot is a ger toshav . וְאִם קִבֵּל עָלָיו שֶׁבַע מִצְווֹת - הֲרֵי זֶה גֵּר תּוֹשָׁב.
A ger toshav may be accepted only in the era when the [laws of the] Jubilee Year are observed. In an era when the [laws of the] Jubilee Year are not observed, however, we may accept only full converts [to Judaism]. וְאֵין מְקַבְּלִין גֵּר תּוֹשָׁב אֶלָּא בִזְמַן שֶׁהַיּוֹבֵל נוֹהֵג; אֲבָל שֶׁלֹּא בִזְמַן הַיּוֹבֵל - אֵין מְקַבְּלִין אֶלָּא גֵּר צֶדֶק בִּלְבַד.