Hasidei umot ha-olam: a remarkable concept.
Salvation is one of the key tenets of all religions. Salvation implies rescue from a dire situation by God's grace and power. Salvation is always deliverance to some new and transformed situation to which God's promises deliver us. Whether salvation is viewed as a this-worldly notion or considered to be a reward in the afterlife, all religious faiths hold it out as a promise and expectation, a reward for virtuous, moral, righteous, and pious living.
Judaism is not primarily a "salvational religion": It stresses more the salvation of the people, the nations, and the world, less so the individual. (1) Still, Judaism promises salvation to all Jews--even sinners--with the exception of the most egregious or perversely wicked. In a rare statement of theological or dogmatic principles, the Mishnah Sanhedrin (10:1 ff.) states: "All Israelites have a portion in the age to come--helek le-olam ha-ba." (2) The Mishnah and the exposition in the Gemara that follows then proceed to enumerate the most egregious sinners who forfeit their salvation in the next world: "Three kings and four laypersons forfeit their salvation in the age to come. The three kings are Jeroboam II, Ahab and Menasheh ... the four laypersons are Balaam, Doag, Ahitofel, and Gehazi." In discussing the laypersons, the Talmud notes that Balaam alone was not a Jew, yet he was considered a candidate for the next life's rewards. He forfeited his chance because he was sought to curse the Jewish people. But, if he was a pagan and not a Jew, how could he ever have been considered eligible for a portion in the afterlife? The Tosefta and the Gemara explain the reason in one of the most remarkably liberal statements in Judaism--indeed, in all of the Western religions. They record the following debate:
Rabbi Eliezer stated: All non-Jews are denied a portion in the age to come, as it is written (Ps. 9:18), "The wicked will return to Sheol, all nations who have forgotten God." As to the phrase, "The wicked will return to Sheol"--this refers to the wicked Israelites. Rabbi Joshua argued: Had the text read, "The wicked will return to Sheol, all nations" and ended there, I would have agreed with your opinion. Now that the text adds the phrase, "all nations who have forgotten God," I infer that there are righteous people (tzaddikim) among gentile nations who indeed merit a portion in the age to come. (3)
This remarkable debate is echoed in several parallel passages in various Midrashim. (4) Moreover, there is a striking story about the Antonine Roman emperor, a friend of Rabbi Judah the Prince (c. 200 C.E.), who asked Rabbi Judah: "Am I eligible for a portion in the afterlife?" Rabbi Judah responded, "Yes, you are." Whereupon the emperor queried: "But it is written, 'There shall not be a remnant of Esau' (Ob. 1:18)?" "True," replied Rabbi Judah, "but that only applies if a person behaves like the wicked Esau." (5)
But, is Judaism at all interested in the fate of the gentile nations? Of course it is: The first eleven chapters of Genesis deal with humanity and not Israel. The Hebrew element only appears with Abraham and his family at the very end of chapter eleven. The Prophets devoted numerous prophecies to the gentile nations. More often than not, they were dire prophecies against Israel's enemies, but there were also prophecies of hope and peace. (6) The book of Jonah summarizes God's interest in humanity most aptly: God rebukes Jonah for mourning the loss of the plant that sheltered him, even though he had not done one thing to nurture the plant: "Should I not care about Nineveh, the great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well!" (7)
The liturgy is frankly particularistic and parochial with almost exclusive emphasis on Israel's fate and fortune, but there are also prayers on behalf of the nations of the world. The first interior blessing on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur begins with the hope that "all Your creatures will sense Your awesome power ... and may all humanity bow before You forming one band to carry out Your will whole-heartedly." Every prayer service concludes with the Aleinu Prayer, which states: "We hope for the day ... when You will sweep away idolatry from the earth and repair the world through the sovereignty of the Almighty; when all humanity will call upon Your name ... and all humanity will acknowledge that every knee must bow before You and swear allegiance to You ... accepting the obligation of Your sovereignty." (8)
Returning to the rabbinic texts on salvation, we note the striking absence of a definition of the requirements to become a tzaddik of the nations. Furthermore, how did a non-Jew even enter into the discussion of the afterlife? Maimonides (Spain, Egypt, 1135-1204), in his Commentary on the Mishnah, noted the fact that Balaam was a pagan and yet would have been rewarded in the next life had he not attempted to curse Israel. From this fact, he opined, we may deduce that a righteous gentile has a share in the age to come. (9)
Additionally, Maimonides codified this position of Rabbi Joshua in three places in his great law code, the Mishneh Torah, as well as in several ancillary locations in his vast corpus of philosophy, responsa, letters, etc., and he expounded on Rabbi Joshua's opinion by laying down important criteria for such a reward. So we read in the Mishneh Torah:
Likewise, all the wicked whose sins predominate are judged according to their various sins and obtain a portion in the age to come (helek le-olam haha), because all Israel has a portion in the age to come even though they are sinners, as it is written: "Your people are all righteous; they will ultimately inherit the earth" (Is. 60:21). The "earth" is a parable referring to the age to come. Similarly, the pious of the nations (hasidei umot ha-olam) have a portion in the age to come. (10)
The second passage is in the "Laws of testimony" in the Mishneh Torah where we read: "In the case of heathens, we are bound neither to rescue them [from a pit] nor to cast them into pit, and the pious among them are assured of a portion in the age to come." (11)
The third relevant source from the Mishneh Torah Melakhim ("Kings") is the following in which Maimonides specified the criteria neither the Toseffa nor the Talmud enumerated for pious non-Jews to receive a portion in the next world:
Whoever accepts the seven mitzvot [given to Noah] and is careful to abide by them is one of the hasidei umot ha-olam and has a portion in the age to come, provided that he observes them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and He made them known to us through Moses that earlier on the children of Noah were commanded to keep them. But if he observes them as a result of an intellectual decision, he is neither a resident alien [geir toshav] nor one of the hasidei umot ha-olam but is one of their wise men [ela me-hakhameihem]. (12)
Note three phenomena in these rulings: Maimonides ruled that the acceptance of the Noahide Laws (sheva mitzvot) was a requirement for salvation; he shifted the language of the Tosefta and Talmud from "tzaddikim"--righteous ones--and substituted the noun "hasidim"--pious ones; and he added the caveat in the selection from the "Laws of Kings"--not found elsewhere--that the pious non-Jews must accept the seven Noahide Laws as divinely revealed if they were to gain the next life's rewards. In other words, Maimonides rejected an autonomous acceptance of these laws in favor of a heteronymous acceptance of God's revealed laws. It is not, therefore, sufficient for a person by dint of his or her intellect to live according to the Noahide laws; a person must accept them as God's will, and for that reason they are incumbent on humanity.
This third phenomenon spawned considerable controversy, namely Maimonides' insistence that a non-Jew must accept the seven Noahide Laws as divinely ordained, or else he or she is not considered a pious person and does not gain salvation. The proper understanding of his ruling depends on the correct reading of the text in the Mishneh Torah by which one tiny letter radically changes the meaning of the passage in "Kings." (13)
Moreover I must point out two glaring contradictions in the Mishneh Torah itself. In the "Laws of Forbidden Intercourse," Maimonides opined in a singularly chauvinistic vein: "Be it known to you that the age to come is reserved only for the righteous (tzaddikim), who are Israel." (14) The second passage--one of the most remarkably universalistic statements in all religious literature--seems to contradict the passage from "Kings" utterly and totally:
The tribe of Levi is not the only one to be rewarded, but every single human being from all the human race whose spirit moves him and whose intellect enlightens him is to be set aside and stand before the Lord and serve and worship Him in order to know the Lord and walk honorably as God has created him, so that he casts off the many considerations that humans seek. Such a person is sanctified to the highest degree of holiness and the Lord will be his portion and legacy forever and he will merit in the age to come a reward that he deserves just as the Priests and the Levites. (15)
How shall we explain the contradiction, and how shall we interpret the passage in "Kings" that a gentile must accept the Noahide Laws as divinely inspired? Some argue that the addendum to the passage in "Kings" is a later interpolation, but I know of no manuscript evidence to support that view. Others, such as Leo Strauss, insist that this was Maimonides' writing approach to passing on secrets to his disciples and the intelligentsia for whom he wrote, especially in his Guide of the Perplexed. (16) Still others suggest that Maimonides wrote for different audiences. In the Guide of the Perplexed he wrote for the intelligent elite; in his Mishneh Torah he aimed at the masses of Jews. He wrote at times as a philosopher and at other times as an educator. (17) Joseph Karo (Spain, Turkey, Eretz Yisrael, 1488-1575) expressed the view that the added requirement for acceptance of the Noahide Laws "was his own opinion, but that it is correct." (18) Several scholars suggest that he borrowed the notion from an obscure medieval Midrash, Mishnat Rabbi Eliezer, (19) and others believe that we have simply mistaken his intentions in the passage in "Kings": He is referring to a geir toshav--a resident alien who seeks the right to dwell under Jewish authority in Eretz Yisrael and who must accept the Noahide Laws as divinely ordained for that privilege. (20)
I cannot resolve the inconsistency, unless we believe that Maimonides was not always totally consistent, but I do note that virtually all subsequent sages and scholars who analyze the issue of hasidei umot ha-olam neglect to quote that extra requirement found in the section on "Kings."
I turn to the second phenomenon that has been utterly ignored by all the scholars who have studied and commentated on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah---from the earliest to the most contemporary. Why does Maimonides shift the noun from the rabbinic "tzaddikim"--a term that was in vogue for 1,000 years--to his term, "hasidim"? Now, Maimonides was very meticulous with his Hebrew; every term, every phrase, every passage had specific meaning and nuances. What caused him to drop the rabbinic noun and substitute his choice? A number of scholars have noted the change, but none seems to explain this subtle, yet significant use of a different word. (21)
I think that the answer lies in the different nuances between tzaddik, righteous person, and hasid, pious person. A tzaddik is a righteous, law-abiding person committed to the ideal of tzedek, justice, righteousness, charity. A hasid is a pious, saintly individual whose dealings with fellow humans are predicated on the notion of hesed, kindness, love, grace.
In the Bible, the two terms are often interchangeable or used in parallel. For example, "The Lord is righteous in all His ways and gracious all His deeds" (Ps. 145:17). Or, for example, "The righteous one is destroyed ... men of grace are annihilated" (Is. 57:1). The "saintly ones" in the Psalms appear frequently. (22) Early zealots in the days of the Maccabees appropriated the term "asidaiot"--Greek for hasidim. They were the ones, apparently, who galvanized opposition to the Hellenizing Jews and the Syrian-Greek rulers and led the revolt culminating in the Maccabees' victory and Hanukkah. (23)
Rabbinic literature employs both terms in various situations--sometimes synonymously, sometimes not (24)--but it appears that generally the hasid is the one who adheres to an even higher ethical and moral standard than the tzaddik. He or she remains "within the line of the law," namely, the person is entitled to press his or her claim right up to the line of the law, meshurat ha-din, but elects not to do so and remains within the line of the law, waiving some of his or her rights, lifnim meshurat ha-din. For example, we read in the Talmud that the porters of Rabba bar Rab Hana broke several of his casks of wine, whereupon he seized their cloaks in payment for the loss. The porters appealed to Rav, who ordered Rabba to return their cloaks and, additionally, he insisted that he pay them their wages, ruling that we must behave lifnim meshurat ha-din with poor workers. (25) Another example is the ease of Rav Judah who queried his teacher, Samuel: "If one finds a purse in the street what is the law?" "The purse is his" replied Samuel. "And what if an Israelite came along and provided identifying marks?" Samuel ruled: "He must return the purse [even though more than 12 months had elapsed]." "This seems to contradict your earlier opinion," challenged Rabbi Judah. Samuel responded: "We remain 'within the line of the law,' as in the case of my father who found donkeys wandering in the wilderness and he returned them to their rightful owner even though 12 months had elapsed, so as to remain 'within the line of the law.'" (26)
In another context, the Talmud suggests, "The person who wants to become a hasid should abide by the laws concerning torts and damages, so said Rav Judah. Ravina, however, said that person must abide by the ethical standards laid down in Mishnah Avot. Others are of the opinion that one must abide by the rules concerning blessings and prayers." (27) The early hasidim were described as zealous worshipers who would spend an hour in contemplation and meditation prior to praying. (28) Others recorded that they would dance with burning torches and great fervor on the Sukkot festival. (29) The fifth chapter of Mishnah Avot is helpful in defining a hasid: "There are four qualities in a human being ... The person who says, "What is mine is yours and what is yours is yours" is a Hasid ... One who is difficult to arouse to anger but is easily appeased is a Hasid ... One who gives charity and gets others to give is a Hasid ... One who goes to the academy to study and acts accordingly is a hasid." (30) In other words, it seems that the sages ranked a hasid even higher than a tzaddik. (31)
But, why did Maimonides change the classic phrase from "the righteous of the gentiles" to the "pious of the gentiles"? In a justifiably famous passage in his Mishneh Torah, he defined the various character traits of a human being, and that may provide a clue for his change of terms. He described the hakham as someone "who walks the via media, the golden mean, not too humble and not too arrogant, not too generous but not too stingy":
The right way is the middle way in all human traits. A person's disposition should avoid the two extremes and be equally distant from both. A person should evaluate his dispositions and direct them to the middle so that he may enjoy physical health. How so? He should not be hot-tempered and easily provoked nor should he be phlegmatic like a dead person.... Furthermore, he should only crave the things his body requires for living ... He should work at his trade merely to earn enough for his needs ... He should not be tight-fisted nor overly lavish but should give charity according to his means ... Whoever walks this middle path is a wise person (hakham). (32)
Then, in another well-quoted section in his Mishneh Torah, he wrote:
The person who is most demanding of himself and meticulously avoids the middle way in his disposition and moves either to one side or the other is known as a pious person (hasid). How so? The person who removes himself from arrogance to the other extreme and becomes exceedingly humble is known as a pious person. And that is the quality of piety (hasidut). If he merely settles in the middle and is simply modest, then he is a wise person (hakham). And that is the quality of wisdom (hokhmah). (33)
So, Maimonides moved away from his vaunted middle-of-the-road philosophy in extolling the hasid who gravitates to certain extremes of moral behavior. Apart from his emphasis on hesed, Maimonides also prized the character traits of compassion (rahmanut) and tzedakah (charity). For example, he exhorted in the Mishneh Torah:
We must be very meticulous in observing the mitzvah of charity (tzedakah) more than all the other positive mitzvot because tzedakah is a sign of a tzaddik and a descendant of the seed of Abraham (Gen. 18:19). Only by means of tzedakah will the throne of Israel be established and the religion of truth perpetuated (Is. 54:14). Moreover, Israel will only be redeemed through tzedakah (Is.1:27) ... And whoever displays compassion, God will have compassion on him (Deut. 13:18), But whoever is cruel and is not compassionate to others, we suspect his ancestry because cruelty is a trait only found among non-Jews (Jer. 50:42). (34)
Since Maimonides prized the quality of hesed above all others, we can understand why he singled out non-Jews who display this trait as candidates for salvation. These are people who are obliged to observe only the seven Noahide Laws, not the 613 incumbent on Jews, and yet choose to abide by a higher standard of morality--lifnim meshurat ha-din--and he acknowledged that such a person could be considered a hasid Could this be the reason for his switching terminology? However, this understanding of a "higher morality" existed for over 1,000 years before Maimonides, and no one challenged or changed the definition--not Rabenu Hananel (North Africa, d. 1056/57) or Sherira Gaon (Babylonia, c. 906-1006) or Hai Gaon (Babylonia, 939-1038); not Saadia Gaon (Babylonia, 882-942) or Isaac Alfasi (North Africa, Spain, 1013-1103) or Rashi (France, 1040-1105). I cannot believe that no earlier sage or scholar or philosopher viewed this as an important criterion for determining who is worthy of salvation. Clearly, they were satisfied with the original term. Why Maimonides overturned a 1,000-year-old tradition is perplexing.
Consequently, I suggest that there was a historical reason why Maimonides felt compelled to alter the term and create a new definition of a gentile hasid. He lived in a terribly turbulent time in Jewish history. Indeed, he opened his Mishneh Torah by explaining his reason for authoring his Code by stating: "These times are filled with tragedies and disasters affecting all so that wise men have lost their wisdom and the understanding of intelligent people has been hidden." (35) He lived through the period of the Second and Third Crusades (the bloody First Crusade was still a very fresh memory). The twelfth century witnessed the appearance of the horrendous blood libels in Norwich, England (1144), and in Blois, France (1171), which must have impacted Maimonides. His native Cordoba was conquered by invading fanatical Almohade hordes when he was but a bar mitzvah lad, and his family, along with Jews and Christians of the area, was compelled to live as outward Muslims. His family fled to Fez, Morocco, but found it inhospitable to Jews. They then made their way to Acre, only to discover that Jewish life in the Holy Land under the Crusaders was virtually impossible. Battered and bruised between Cross and Crescent, they finally found refuge and peace in Fustat, Egypt. After enduring all these perils under cruel and fanatical rulers, is it any wonder that Maimonides believed that the rewards of olam ha-ba would be waiting for benevolent and tolerant monarchs and non-Jews who displayed the quality of hesed? Small wonder that he adopted the term "hasid" and infused it with a new meaning, which he derived from an unlikely source. For a proof text, I suggest he turned to a new and unexpected source: the Zohar.
In this Temple there are four entrances divided into four sides facing out ... each illuminated by the Holy Light. That is the place set aside in each entrance for the pious of the other nations (hasidei shear ha-amim) who have not oppressed Israel but have dealt truthfully with them. These people stand in these entrances and rest there.... There are also windows that open to the Holy Light and these are the places reserved for the gentile kings who have not oppressed Israel but constantly protect them. They receive honor for the sake of Israel, enjoying the darkness in which they sit while basking in the Holy Light that shines from the side of Holiness. (36)
Here we discover another criterion for assuring salvation to a gentile: If he or she has been benevolent to Jews and has not oppressed or harmed them, that individual is assured salvation in the next life. It may seem strange that Maimonides, the ultimate rationalist and disciple of Aristotle, would turn to a mystical, proto-Kabbalistic text for his proof text, but even Maimonides had his mystical side. Early on he was attracted to the Heikhalot (Temples) school of mysticism, and that influence is evident in the introduction to the Guide of the Perplexed where he indicated that his purpose was to explain "the Account of the Beginning (maaseh bereshit), natural science, as well as the Account of the Chariot (maaseh merkavah), divine science." His remarkable "Sultan's Palace" metaphor at the end of his Guide also derives from the Heikhalot school. (37) Moreover, he believed in his family tradition that prophecy would be restored to Israel, a necessary forerunner of the messiah, in the year 1210, (38) so it is quite plausible that a passage that found its way into the Zohar evoked a positive response in Maimonides, notwithstanding his aversion to mystical thought.
Consequently, I suggest that Maimonides elected to stress the criterion the Zohar cited about divine rewards for benevolent gentiles and kings. Noahide Laws are a sine qua non for salvation for gentiles. However, one more ingredient is required, namely, the quality of hesed and the benevolent and decent treatment of the Jewish people.
Maimonides was not alone in evaluating salvation for gentiles along the lines suggested by the Zohar. Nahrnanides (Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, Spain and Eretz Yisrael, 1194-1274) wrote that
the ways of the Master of Compassion are such that He can have compassion on those who do good and proper things in the world even if they did so for the sake of paganism, as our sages have stated, concerning the righteous gentiles. Likewise, the Prophets have noted that a few nations were punished with exile for what they have done to Israel while others who have done no harm to Israel were not punished with exile. (39)
Joseph ibn Kaspi (France, c. 1279-1340) noted in his ethical will (1332), "Against those famous saints of the gentiles (hasidei umot ha-olam) such as Aristotle and Plato we have no complaint and therefore our sages asserted concerning them that they have a portion in the age to come." (40) Ovadiah Sforno (Italy, c. 1470- 1550) commented in his notes on the Psalms, "You will find among all of the gentiles individuals who deserve a portion with God, namely, the pious of the nations who are surely worthy of judging His people in righteousness." (41) Elsewhere, Sforno suggested, "Praised be God who will reward you, King Cyrus, as one of the pious of the nations and who merited the kingship and vast wealth in this world ... and merited a portion in the age to come along with all the pious of the nations." (42) In more recent times, Rabbi Israel Lipschitz (Germany, 1782-1860), author of the popular Mishnah commentary, Tiferet Yisrael, noted, "We see many pious persons (hasidim) among the non-Jews who apart from recognizing God the Creator, also believe in our holy Torah as divine and treat Jews kindly (osim gemilut hasadim gain le- Yisrael)." (43)
In short, there is good evidence to prove that Maimonides and others throughout the ages viewed monarchs, rulers, and ordinary non-Jews as hasidei umot haolam, who, in addition to abiding by the Noahide Laws, deal benevolently and fairly with the Jewish people and neither harm them nor oppress them. Such people deserve and will gain salvation--a portion in the next world. I believe this explains his change of the crucial noun in the classic phrase.
In surveying medieval developments of the notion of pious gentiles, I have detected several salient features. First, the phrase "hasidei umot ha-olam" has virtually replaced the classic rabbinic term, "tzaddikei umot ha-olam"--with rare exceptions. Second, it is not often quoted in the literature. Third, very few add the caveat found just once in Maimonides' ruling that pious gentiles must view the Noahide laws as God-given. Finally, the sages and philosophers who did deal with the concept followed two lines of development: There were those who maintained a more parochial and restrictive view by giving a very narrow interpretation to the implications of the concept; the majority included the more liberal and open-minded scholars who pursued a more open and welcoming line. I shall document this by analyzing religious disputations as well as ethical, moral, and philosophical writings and legal rulings.
In the disputation over the Talmud in Paris in 1240, the rabbis who defended the Talmud against the onslaughts of apostates and church leaders insisted that the references in the Talmud to non-Jews referred only to the pagans of that time-- not to Christians of the present day--and that it is sufficient for gentiles to abide by the Noahide Laws in order to achieve salvation. (44) In the lengthy Tortosa disputation (1413-14), Rabbi Zerahiah Halevi (Spain, fourteenth-fifteenth centuries) denied that Jews curse gentiles, and he quoted approvingly Maimonides' statement in the Mishneh Torah that the pious of all nations have a share in the age to come. (45) Rabbi Joseph Albo (Spain, c. 1380-1444), a participant in that disputation, wrote in his Ikkarim, "The Noahide and Mosaic Laws, although different in detail, exist at the same time and agree on general matters; the Mosaic laws exist for Israel whereas the other nations possess the Noahide Laws." (46) He added, "There is no doubt that the other nations attain human happiness through the Noahide Laws since they are divine; they could not reach, however, the same degree of happiness as attained by Israel through the Torah." Further, "For mankind attained some degree of the future life through the Noahide Laws, as the rabbis say, 'The pious of the gentiles have a share in the world to come." (47)
Meanwhile, the remarkable Provencal sage, Menahem Meiri (1249-1316) created a totally new category of non-Jews who are "bound and regulated by the laws and norms of religion," and he insisted that "every Noahide who observes the seven laws of Noah is one of the saints of the nations of the world and is in the category of the religious community and has a portion in the age to come." (48)
Maharam Alashkar (Spain, North Africa, Eretz Yisrael, 1466-1542) authored a long responsum defending Maimonides against the onslaught of Shem Tov ibn Shem Toy (Spain, c. 1380-1441). (49) Shem Tov had accused Maimonides of stressing the value of intellectual attainment over the observance of the mitzvot; of prizing the hakham above the hasid so that scholars might earn a share in the afterlife even if non-Jewish by mere intellectual achievements. Alashkar argued, "Maimonides insisted that a gentile does not enter into the category of the pious of the nations unless he believes in the seven Noahide Laws as Moses later commanded us to observe them." Maimonides never said that intellectual attainment alone, devoid of mitzvot, merits salvation. On the contrary, he insisted that "a Jew must combine intellectual and moral excellence in addition to observing the mitzvot." Whereas a gentile cannot equal the completeness of a Jew, "he can achieve a portion in the age to come by intellectual and moral excellence combined with the observance of the seven laws of Noah." (50)
To be sure, not all Spanish authorities were of one mind in this matter: there were the more conservative and closed-minded groups; there was also a cadre of liberals. Don Isaac Abravanel (Portugal, Spain, Italy, 1437-1508), who had a low opinion of gentiles, embittered as he was by his expulsion from his beloved Iberia, speculated that, when the messiah comes and resurrects the dead, the wicked gentiles and persecutors of the Jewish people will be severely punished and will ultimately reject their lying religion and turn to worship the God of Israel and be subservient to the Jewish people. (51) Elsewhere, he suggested that as long as the gentile nations abide by the rules of conduct required of them, namely, the seven laws of Noah, they will abide in their lands in peace and tranquility; if not, they will be destroyed. (52) However, Isaac Arama (Spain, c. 1420-94), argued forcefully that the statement, "All Israel has a portion in the age to come, whether wise or wicked, learned or ignorant," is really a terrible injustice whether relating to Jews or gentiles, because this is truly prejudicial judgment. It suggests that all Jews--righteous as well as wicked--have a portion in the afterlife merely by being part of the Jewish people and that is an injustice since the truly pious gentile surely is the equal of the sons of Israel. (53)
Italian scholars and philosophers were generally more liberal (except for the kabbalists among them) when dealing with non-Jews. (54) The renowned poet, Immanuel of Rome (c. 1261-c. 1328), imagined that the visitor to Eden would see many great rabbis, biblical heroes and heroines, and sages of the Talmud and would also observe people he or she did not recognize:
I observed men filled with honor and majesty's spark, Compared to whose beauty sun and moon were dark... These are the pious among the gentile state Who by their intellect and wisdom have become great ... While they with their intelligence searched out who formed them, and who was the Creator. (55)
Rabbi Simhah Luzzatto (Venice, c. 1583-1663) insisted in his Treatise on the Jews of Venice that "all humanity is created by one God and all peoples descend from one father, i.e., Adam, the first human so that humanity in the days of Noah stems from that ancestry." (56) Furthermore, he indicated, "Jews believe that gentiles and those of other faiths are part of the human family provided that they keep the natural moral laws and accept the concept of a Higher Power, for only Israel are obliged to keep all of the commandments." (57) Similarly, Rabbi Isaac Lampronti (Ferrara, 1679-1756), editor of the landmark Talmudic encyclopedia, Pahad Yitzhak, insisted that we must deal fairly and equitably with non-Jews, as Maimonides had ruled that the law follows Rabbi Joshua in the Talmud Sanhedrin 105a, namely, the pious of all nations have a share in the age to come. (58) Rabbi Ishmael Ha-Kohen of Modena (1723-1811), who had been invited to serve as a delegate at the Sanhedrin convened by Napoleon, opined: "We must deal with non-Jews with love since Christians serve one God as do we and they are not in the category of idolaters, as the Shulhan Arukh has ruled. Moreover, the Talmud Sanhedrin 105a concluded that Christians also have a share in the age to come, as Maimonides has ruled in his Mishneh Torah, Kings 8:11." (59)
Scholars in Central, and especially Eastern, Europe were often less liberally inclined than their Western colleagues toward non-Jews. Still, there were eminent sages who agreed that the righteous of the non-Jewish world do, indeed, inherit a reward in the afterlife. The famous mystic and kabbalist, Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague (Maharal, c. 1525-1609) suggested that "all human beings possess the image of God--both Israel and the gentile nations." Gentiles are more sensual compared to the more spiritually inclined Jews, but he sided with Rabbi Joshua's view against Rabbi Eliezer that the pious of all nations have a portion in the age to come, and he also cited the chapter in Avodah Zarah in which Rabbi Judah the Prince assured the Roman emperor that he did indeed have a portion in the afterlife due to his virtue, "for everything depends on a person's deed." (60)
Rabbi Moses Rivkes (Poland, d. 1671/2) authored a long commentary on the Shulhan Arukh on how Jews should relate to non-Jews, since they are not pagans, and we must therefore deal with them in integrity, fairness, and truth. He concluded his statement by citing Maimonides' ruling according to Rabbi Joshua that "the pious of all nations have a portion in the afterlife." (61) Rabbi Eliezer Fleckeles of Prague (1754-1826) issued a rather fascinating responsum on the following topic: May one allow children to marry followers of the false messiahs Shabbatai Zevi and Jacob Frank? Fleckeles responded that marrying heretics is like sacrificing the children to Moloch. These heretics are worse than Karaites or Samaritans, he wrote, and a fortiori, worse than gentiles among whom we reside who are not idolaters and commit no wrong. "Indeed, they are the 'pious of the nations who have a portion in the age to come'--not so the Shabbateans and Frankists!" (62)
Hasidic rabbis were normally negatively inclined toward non-Jews, in great measure due to the influence of the Kabbalah coupled with the abominable treatment of Jews in Eastern Europe. Still, despite their sense of contempt joined with a feeling of superiority, we can detect a few more moderate voices. For example, the Gerer Rebbe (Rabbi Judah Aryeh Leib Alter, Poland, 1847-1905) acknowledged and praised righteous gentiles who are God's servants alongside of Israel. (63) Rabbi Zadok Ha-Kohen of Lublin (1823-1900), in interpreting the biblical commandment to wipe out the memory of the wicked Amalekites, commented that "in every evil element there is some good. The good elements in the gentile world are the pious of the nations who are assured a portion in the afterlife, as Zephaniah had prophesied: 'Then I will turn all the nations to one language,' etc. (3:9). Those benevolent forces will remain in the future time even as the forces of idolatry and pagan scoffing will disappear." (64)
The impact of modern times, and especially of the Enlightenment and the Emancipation, was a profound one and changed the thinking of many Jewish scholars, sages, rabbis, and philosophers toward the non-Jewish world. The notion of the pious ones of the gentile nations now assumed greater importance and challenged many to interpret that ancient doctrine in a new light.
Baruch Spinoza (Amsterdam, 1632-77) dealt with the issue in his bitter critique of Maimonides in particular and Judaism in general. Spinoza utilized a text of Maimonides' Mishneh Torah in which it states that, if gentiles do not view the seven Noahide laws as divinely revealed but merely the result of logic or reason alone, they are not assured a portion in the next life and they are not even considered sages. "They [the Jews] maintain that true beliefs and a true way of life contribute nothing to blessedness as long as men embrace them only from the natural life of reason, and not as teachings revealed to Moses by prophetic inspiration. This is what Maimonides ventures to openly affirm in Chapter 8 of Kings, Law 11." Spinoza dismissed this as "mere figments of imagination, unsupported by rational arguments or Scriptural authority," adding that the suprarational faculty claimed by some as the way to true salvation "is the merest fiction and far inferior to reason." (65)
Moses Mendelssohn (1729-86), the eminent German-Jewish philosopher and perhaps the first Jewish thinker to wrestle with the challenges of Enlightenment and Emancipation, also criticized this understanding of salvation according to which only the acceptance of the Noahide Laws as divinely revealed assured a non-Jew salvation. "This law perverts the face of Judaism," he argued. It is not reason alone that qualifies a gentile saint for a portion in the next life, for all humans are "children of the same Deity." (66) He viewed the seven laws as the equivalent of natural law and cited John Selden in this regard. "All who conduct their lives in accordance with this religion of natural law are the righteous of the nations and have a share in the world to come," he wrote to Deacon Lavater in 1769. (67) He clashed with his literary friend, Rabbi Jacob Emden (Germany, 1697-1776), who, although he maintained a liberal attitude toward Christians, upheld the reading of the text of Maimonides that stated that the Noahide laws must be viewed as divinely revealed and not merely the fruits of logical study:
Should all inhabitants of the earth except ourselves be doomed to perdition unless they believe in the Torah, which was given as an inheritance to the congregation of Jacob alone, especially if it [the Noahide Laws] is something not even expressly written down in the Torah? ... Does God, then, treat His creatures the way of a tyrant, annihilating them and blotting out their names thought they committed no injustice? (68)
Lipschitz, whom I mentioned earlier, paid an enormous tribute to the great non-Jewish benefactors of society who have enriched our world. In his popular commentary on the Mishneh, he rebutted the view of the kabbalists who considered gentiles as mere animals. Were that true, he wrote, what would be the great virtue of God's saying to Israel, "You are the treasure of the all the peoples on earth"? "If all nations are mere animals, what is so marvelous to be superior to animals?" Moreover, the kabbalistic view that all the actions of gentiles are mere animalistic acts that merit neither reward nor punishment counters the ruling of Rabbi Joshua (Sanhedrin 105a) as codified by Maimonides in the Mishneh Torah, Melakhim 8:11. Had the sages not taught us this principle, we would have arrived at it through our own reason (seikhel). Then, in a remarkable passage, Lipschitz soared:
We see many pious ones [hasidim] among non-Jews who, apart from recognizing God the Creator, also believe in our holy Torah as divine, and treat Jews kindly [ve-osim gemilut hasadim le-Yisrael]. There are, moreover, gentiles who have brought great good to humanity. For example, [Edward] Jenner, the hasid who developed the vaccine [for smallpox], and as a result tens of thousands of humans have been saved from illness and death and scarring. And there is [Sir Francis] Drake who brought potatoes to Europe thereby warding off famine. And there is [Johannes] Reuchlin who endangered his life to save the Talmud from burning at the order of Kaiser Maximilian I in the year 1510, the result of a campaign of incitement by the apostate Pfefferkorn ... He gave his life and died in penury. Do you really believe that all of these great deeds will go unrewarded in the next world? God forbid! God does not diminish the reward of any creature. (69)
Somewhat later, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (1808-88), the eminent German neo-Orthodox rabbi, was battling the nascent Reform movement as well as the serious inroads of the Emancipation and Enlightenment movements in seeking to bolster Orthodoxy and stem the tide of defections and outright apostasy. Hirsch wrote that
although disparaged because of particularism, the Jewish religion actually teaches that the upright of all peoples are headed toward the highest goal. In particular, rabbis have been at pains to stress that while in other respects Christian views and ways of life differ from those of Judaism, the peoples in whose midst the Jews now are living have accepted the Jewish Bible of the Old Testament as a book of Divine revelation. They profess their belief in the God of heaven and earth as proclaimed in the Bible and they acknowledge the sovereignty of Divine Presence in both this life and the next. (70)
Elsewhere, Hirsch opined:
There is no greater power on earth than that religion that does not claim that it alone holds the key to salvation. Instead, they teach that the righteous of all nations have a portion in the world to come (Sanhedrin 105a). According to the Talmud, the Mosaic Law is eternally binding only on the people of Israel. All others are regarded as wholly righteous in the eyes of God as long as they obey the seven Noahide Laws ... God's nearness, bliss and salvation are promised to every person who loyally and scrupulously carries out the duties laid down for him by God. (71)
Rabbi Elia Benamozegh of Livorno (1823-1900) developed a remarkable theology of "the other" based on the seven laws of Noah. He urged a universal religion for non-Jews called "Noahism," since this law exists alongside the Mosaic legislation. A non-Jew need not convert to Judaism, he argued, for there are two doctrines that are really one in our faith. There are the "lay laws of Noah and his descendents" and the "Mosaic or priestly laws whose code is the Torah." "It is the same Eternal Law apprehended from two perspectives." (72) Consequently, Benamozegh urged: "And yet, far from feeling obliged to convert non-Jews to his practices, he [the Jew] confines himself to preaching to them universal religion whose establishment on earth was, in a sense, the purpose of his own existence," for Judaism assures salvation in the next world not only to Jews but for all the righteous. (73)
If there were no way to salvation available to gentiles outside the Mosaic Law, we should certainly expect to see in Judaism a much more pronounced tendency toward proselytism and not only a peaceful proselytism.., but also an ardent proselytism of conquest which would never tire of promising eternal damnation to all who fail to convert to the only true religion. (74)
As Jewry entered the twentieth century and more recent times, it has witnessed a good deal of ferment in dealing with Christian-Jewish relations, especially as the boundaries and borders between the faiths have been eroded, ghettoes demolished, and the lines of religious segregation diminished. Some of the greatest minds in Jewry have devoted some of their thinking and creativity to formulating a theology of other faiths.
German-Jewish thinkers have continued in the path blazed by Mendelssohn, Hirsch, and Emden. Hermann Cohen (1842-1918), professor of philosophy at Marburg University, devoted a large section of his Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism to a discussion of the Noahide Laws and the pious of the nations. He wrote:
The stranger and the son of Noah become 'the pious of the peoples of the world' ... What matters is to acknowledge literally the moral equality of the peoples of the world, and indeed to give religious expression to this acknowledgement. In this way originated the term, 'the pious of the peoples of the world.' The peoples of the world do not have to have the Torah, yet piety may originate among them. (75)
What is the fundamental meaning of "the pious ones"? mused Cohen. "He is one who exercises hesed. And what is hesed? It occurs in connection with hein, grace, and ahavah, love." (76) Cohen cited the three sources in Maimonides' Mishneh Torah discussed above. He rejected the reading of the Mishneh Torah text that those who accept the seven laws out of reason rather than divine revelation are not reckoned among the righteous gentiles or even among their wise ones, indicating that the text refers to a geir toshav, a resident alien, and not to a gentile who lives the moral life. This removes all doubt that the non-Jew may be acknowledged as pious; eternal life procured one this acknowledgment. (77) The immortality of the human souls won religious equality for him in the form of moral equality. "The person who adopts the seven laws is not only a son of Noah but by all means 'a pious person' for hasidut, piety occupies the highest rank of virtue." This constitutes one of the fundamental differences between Judaism and Christianity, which insists that salvation comes only through Jesus, noted Cohen. (78)
German Rabbi Leo Baeck (1873-1956), a survivor of the Shoah, followed the lead of Cohen, writing:
A famous Jewish saying which has come to be like an article of faith says with regard to the religious belief of a non-Jew that 'the pious among all nations will have a share in the life to come.' Piety is thus seen as independent of religious denomination. Not only is the stranger's right respected, but his moral and religious worth is recognized, for the path to piety is open to every one. What is decisive for this and the world to come is the human quality. In eternal life, there will be no special place for 'a stranger,' but only a place for the pious. (79)
Turning to some of the great rabbis of Eretz Yisrael in modern times, I note two very important sages who uttered views on our subject. Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook (Rav Kook, 1865-1935), the first Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of the Holy Land, supported the reading of Maimonides whereby the individual who accepts through reason rather than belief in revelation the seven laws of Noah is one of the sages of the gentiles and merits a portion in the afterlife. Kook suggested:
In my view, Maimonides' intention was that the virtue of "having a portion in the afterlife" is really a lowly sort of spiritual virtue since even lowly, ignorant and wicked Israelites are worthy of a portion in the afterlife.... Maimonides is striving to teach us that intellectual qualities are far more meaningful for a human than righteous behavior. When he rules that the statement, "those who have a portion in the after-life" refers to the pious non-Jews, he speaks of those who may not have achieved intellectual power but have accepted whole heartedly and with integrity the commandments as given by God. But one, who, via intellectual struggle, has accepted the seven laws, is indeed a wise-hearted person filled with understanding and is thus considered "one of their sages." The virtue of wisdom is a great one and it is not necessary to state that such a person has a portion in the age to come, for he stands on a level of sanctity which can only be described by an expression more ample than, "He has a portion in the age to come." (80)
Rabbi Ben Zion Uziel (1880-1935), the first Sephardic Chief Rabbi of the Holy Land, delivered a legal opinion of note that relates to our inquiry. He ruled that if a non-Jew enters the covenant of Israel via immersion in a mikveh (ritual bath) before two witnesses and accepts the mitzvot before three qualified judges, one is a full-fledged Jew. Failing this, one remains a gentile even if one observes the mitzvot including Shabbat, family purity, and kashrut. But, one can be counted as a hasid umot ha-olam who has a portion in the age to come. (81)
Two ultra-orthodox sages of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries expressed views about pious gentiles that are worthy of mention. One is by an advocate of the ideas of Rabbi Israel Lipkin Salanter (Lithuania, Germany, 1810-83), founder of the Musar (ethical) movement, Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler (Lithuania, Great Britain, Israel, 1892-1953), who wrote:
There is a general role for the gentiles to play in this world ... namely, their role is to build this world so that others who are placed here among them may reveal the glory of God via their deeds. If the gentiles follow this assignment completely and with appropriate intention, they are to be described as 'the pious of the nations' and they have a portion in the age to come for they have chosen to reveal the glory of God. (82)
Rabbi Menashe Klein (Hungary, Brooklyn, 1924-2011) in a legal opinion inserted his views about the non-Jewish world in a somewhat bitter reflection on the Shoah: "We pray for the pious gentiles of the world, for their peace and security, even as we are commanded by our sages to pray for our government's welfare." He then discussed the laws prohibiting cruelty to animals and the campaign of the humane societies attacking kosher slaughtering, lamenting, "But where were all these partisans of humane laws dealing with animals when we were being slaughtered in Auschwitz and Buchenwald? (83)
Contemporary Jewish thinkers and theologians have devoted relatively little of their writing and reflections to the topic at hand. For example, Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan (Lithuania, USA, 1881-1983), father of the Reconstructionist movement, wrote a great deal about salvation as at the heart of all religious traditions. He noted that both Christianity and Islam have assumed that Jews have forfeited the key to salvation either by refusing to acknowledge Jesus as the messiah or by failing to recognize Muhammad as "the seal of prophecy." "This, however, did not shake the Jews in their faith that they alone possessed the true means to salvation." (84) But, Kaplan completely overlooked the remarkably liberal notion of salvation via the Noahide Laws.
Dr. Abraham Joshua Heschel (Poland, USA, 1907-72), in his suggestive essay, "No Religion Is an Island," reiterated that "The ancient rabbis have proclaimed, 'Pious men of all nations have a share in the life to come.'" Holiness, remarked Heschel, is not the monopoly of any one particular religion or tradition and "Jews do not maintain that the way of the Torah is the only way of serving God." He quoted Maimonides' extraordinarily liberal view in his Mishneh Torah, Shemitah 13:13, analyzed above, insisting that "conversion to Judaism is no prerequisite for sanctity." (85)
Conservative scholar Rabbi Robert Gordis (USA, 1908-92) also acknowledged the role of the seven Noahide Laws as a means to salvation for all non-Jews. He wrote that they are the "basic principles on which all civilized society depends," and non-Jews who observe them are as "worthy of salvation no less than the Jews who observe the entire rubric of Jewish law." Hence, there is no imperative need for the non-Jews to accept the Jewish faith in order to be saved. (86) He added, "The teaching of the second-century sage, Rabbi Joshua, 'There are righteous among the gentiles who have a share in the world to come,' was slightly but significantly broadened by Maimonides into the generalization, 'The righteous among the gentiles have a share in the world to come.'" (87)
The late British theologian, Rabbi Louis Jacobs (Great Britain, 1920-2006), however, did deal more amply and sympathetically with the concept in several of his many works. He suggested that, although Jews believe that there is more truth in Judaism than in other faiths due to the stress on the idea of one God and a revealed Torah never superseded by any other religion, we still insist that God's revelation extends to other religions as well. Judaism "must believe that the good man of whatever faith (or, for that matter, of none), will be counted among what the rabbis call, 'the righteous of the nations of the world."' (88) Jacobs cited the debate between Rabbi Joshua and Rabbi Eliezer and noted that Rabbi Joshua's view was adopted. He discussed Maimonides' opinion and criticized his statement in the Mishneh Torah, Kings 8:11, because his narrow interpretation of Rabbi Joshua's views would condemn the majority of humanity to perdition. Jacobs cited the rabbinic notion that heathens are not responsible for their religious beliefs because they are like children raised among heathens and have been trained to follow heathen faiths without knowing better, so they really cannot help themselves. (89) We can conclude, wrote Jacobs, "that a 'good man' of the nations is to be understood in the purely ethical sense," and it does not matter whether the person was raised in this or that religion or no religion, "provided he leads a good ethical life." (90)
The eminent Reform theologian, Rabbi Eugene Borowitz (USA, 1924--), has much to say about the Noahide laws. "The foundation of the Jewish religious commitment to universalism is the covenant God made with Noah and his children, a theme that authorizes the halakhah concerning Jewish relations with gentiles. Already in the Genesis account, the universal human relationship with God had the same structure as that between God and the Jewish people, namely, a covenant." "It comes as no surprise," he noted, "that the medieval Jewish authorities could codify the dictum that the pious gentiles like the Jews 'had a portion in the life of the world to come."' (91) Borowitz added, "In Jewish law, gentiles do not have to become Jews; they need to be pious Noahides to be 'saved.'" Indeed, "most Jewish thinkers today believe pious Christians and Muslims fulfill the Noahide covenant and thus are 'saved."' (92)
Rabbi Irving Greenberg (USA, 1933--), distinguished modern Orthodox theologian, has reflected a great deal on the subject of Jewish-Christian relations: "As the laws of nature are given to all forms of life, so is the covenant of Noah offered to all of humanity. This covenant is not repealed or superseded by later covenants.. for God's promise is eternal and God's covenantal commitment is totally reliable." Greenberg suggested that the Noahide covenant is more than merely seven commandments but is inferior to the Abrahamic/Mosaic covenant of 613 commandments. "It is more than the Maimonidean framework by which gentiles connect to the way of life that earns them personal salvation in the world to come. The Noahide covenant is no less than a master paradigm of the structured love relationship that links the Divine to the human and the human to the Creator's cosmic plan." (93)
Somewhat surprisingly, the contemporary religious movements in Judaism have not cited the concept of hasidei umot ha-olam, perhaps because they have done little to formulate a theology of "the other." The earliest statement on the subject is found in the Pittsburgh Platform of the Reform movement (1885), which does not mention the "pious gentiles." (94) A resolution adopted by the Central Conference of American Rabbis (Reform) in 1988 resolved "that along with the memory of the six million Jews, the memory of Chasidei Umot Ha-olam--the righteous Gentiles--should be remembered on Yom Hashoah" (Holocaust Memorial Day, the 27th of Nissan). (95) But the document, "Principles for Reform Judaism," adopted in 1999 makes no mention of relations with other faiths or the pious gentiles.
The Conservative movement has attempted to formulate a theology of other faiths and the relationship between Judaism and other religions in its Emet Ve- Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism (1988; revised, 1990) but does not cite the hasidei umot ha-olam principle. (96)
The various Orthodox groups have had little to say about other faiths, since they rarely interact with non-Jewish faith groups. The Reconstructionist movement has not indicated its views on other religions in part due to its rejection of the notion of supernatural revelation at Sinai and divine covenants and its opposition to the concept of the chosen people. Neither movement cites the notion of "pious gentiles" in their official statements.
The State of Israel has breathed new life into the concept of hasidei umot ha- olam in the tribute to non-Jews who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust at the Yad Vashem memorial to the Six Million in Jerusalem. In 1963, a commission headed by justices of Israel's Supreme Court was charged with the duty of creating this special category. There were four criteria for inclusion: Only a Jewish party may put forth a nomination; helping Jews to convert to Christianity does not count; assistance had to be repeated and/or substantial; and assistance had to be given without financial gain in return (aside from rent or food). The names were placed in a special garden at Yad Vashem, since augmented by a Wall of Remembrance due to lack of space. As of July, 2013, names were inscribed for 24,811 men and women from forty-seven countries--6,394 from Poland alone (the first nation on the list)--as hasidei umot ha-olam.
What I have endeavored to demonstrate in this essay is that Judaism was far ahead of its time in recognizing that even pagans who are moral and ethical and live righteous lives have a portion in the age to come--all the more, those who abide by the seven Noahide Laws. Moreover, Judaism taught early on that other monotheistic faiths contain much that is true and valid and are manifestations of the divine revelation. Contrary to the ancient notion of the third-century church Father Cyprian of Carthage that is still very much alive in various circles of Christianity and Islam, Judaism rejected the idea that extra ecclesiam nulla salus--there is no salvation outside the official church or particular religious community or denomination or sect. (97) Judaism taught already in the early second century that "the righteous of all the nations have a portion in the age to come"; that one need not convert to Judaism in order to be "saved"; that a good, moral, righteous man or woman can stand before the Lord and receive immortal blessings.
It remained for Maimonides to define and refine the concept as he confronted the challenges of two monotheistic faiths: Christianity and Islam. He did so by requiring all to abide by the Noahide Laws. In the wake of the horrors of the Middle Ages marked by oppression, expulsions, massacres, and pogroms, especially in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, he expanded the doctrine to reserve a portion in the age to come for moral and honorable people who uphold a higher ethic, specifically those who do not press their rights up to the line of the law, and who exemplify the quality of hesed. He added an additional criterion: They must not oppress Jews. This became the normative position for Judaism and its sages and scholars throughout the ages.
This doctrine has acquired new urgency these days when religious imperialism and narrow bigotry are still prevalent in "civilized societies," when sectarian violence is rampant, when Sunnis and Shiites kill each other, when Muslims assault Christians, when some Christian denominations demonize different denominations, when Jews are victimized, when a few ultra-religious Jewish fanatics spit on Christian clergy in Jerusalem and deface churches and mosques in Israel. If humankind could adopt this warmly welcoming notion, we might advance a long way toward the goal for which all religions pray and aspire: peace on earth and love of other humans.
* I wish to thank Harvey Sukenic and Robert Listemick of the Library of the Hebrew College in Newton, MA, for their invaluable assistance.
(1) On salvation, see my What Can a Modern Jew Believe? (Eugene OR: Wipf and Stock, 2007), pp. xiii-xiv, 10-12, 212-214, 220-224, and passim; and Michael Wyschogrod, Abraham's Promise (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2004), pp. 161ff. I deal with the issue of salvation in Judaism in my essay, "Salvation Jewish Style," in Alan Berger, ed., Trialogue and Terror (Eugene OR: Wipf and Stock, 2012), pp. 23-36.
(2) The Hebrew word "helek" has both spatial and temporal meanings. We could translate the key phrase "a portion in the world to come" or "'a portion in the age to come."
(3) Tosefta Sanhedrin, ed. Moses Zuckermandel, chap.13, p. 434, para. 2; Sanhedrin 105a and Rashi, at ha shear nokhrim.
(4) Midrash Psalms, ed. Solomon Buber, 9, p. 90. The term "hasidei umot ha-olam" does not appear in the Buber edition, but he suggests that his text is incomplete. Cf. Yalkut Shimeoni 2 Kings, see. 296, and Isaiah, sec. 429. Also cf. Tanna d'bei Eliyahu Zuta, ed. Meir Friedman, chap. 20, p. 121, n. 13.
(5) Avodah Zarah 10b; Yerushalmi Megillah 1:13, 72b. The identity of the Antonine emperor is unclear, and various names have been proposed. See Salo W. Baron, A Social and Religious History of the Jews, 18 vols. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1952-83), vol. 2, p. 400, n. 19; and Ephraim E. Urbach, Hazal (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1969), pp. 482-483 and n. 68.
(6) E.g., Is. 2:3ff., 19:20-25, 66:18-24; Jer. 12:16, 16:19, 25:30-38, 46-51; Ez. 25, 30-32, 38-39; Amos 1-2; Zech. 14:9, 16; Obadiah 1.
(7) Jonah 4:10-11.
(8) The Rosh Hashanah and Yore Kippur liturgy and much of the Aleinu prayer apparently date to the days of the Second Temple. See Gershom Scholem, Merkabah Mysticism and Talmudic Tradition (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1960), pp. 27ff., 105-106; Joseph Heinemann, Ha-Tefillah be-Tekufat ha-Tanaim ve-ha-Amoraim (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1964), pp. 173ff.; and Ezra Fleischer, Tefillah u-Minhagei Tefillah Eretz Yiraelim be-Tekufat ha-Genizah (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988), pp. 127, 129, and 239. I should note that the Talmud records (Sukkah 55b) that on Shemini Atzeret seventy sacrifices were offered for the seventy nations of the world.
(9) Maimonides' Commentary on Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:2. Cf. the Commentary of Ovadiah Bertinoro.
(10) Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah ("Repentance") 3:5.
(11) Mishneh Torah, Edut ("Testimony") 11:10.
(12) Mishneh Torah, Melakhim ("Kings") 8:11. The seven Noabide laws are derived by the rabbis from Gen. 9:1-17 in Sanhedrin 56aff. They consist of six negative and one positive commandments: You shall not worship idols; you shall not blaspheme God; you shall not murder; you shall not steal; you shall not commit sexual immorality (adultery or incest); you shall not eat the limb of a living animal. The positive commandment is: You shall establish courts of justice in all communities. See David Novak, The Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism (Toronto: Edwin Mellen Press, 1983). Maimonides seems to contradict his statement in his Commentary to the Mishnah Hullin, chap.7, 100b, where he stressed that Jews must believe that the Noabide Laws were ratified at Sinai, by implication to the exclusion of gentiles.
(13) The crucial words are either "ela" (but) or "velo" (and not), and the correct reading hinges on one letter: either an aleph or a vav. Some texts read velo--"and not one of their wise men," but the Bodleian manuscript and Yemenite manuscripts read ela--"but one of their wise men." Thus, a critical theological difference depends on one tiny Hebrew letter.
(14) Mishneh Torah, Issurei Biah ("Prohibited Coitus") 14:4.
(15) Mishneh Torah, Shemitah ve-Yovel ("Sabbatical Years and Jubilees") 13:13. See the comments of Mishneh Yaakov, who noted that Maimonides stressed all humans--including gentiles. Maimonides' text seems to be derived from Midrash Psalms 146 (7), p. 536, where righteous gentiles are specifically included with those who enjoy the blessings of the age to come.
(16) Leo Strauss, Persecution and the Art of Writing (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1988), pp. 68-74. Aside from the contradiction between Mishneh Torah, Melakhim 8:11, and Shemitah ve-Yovel 13:13, Melakhim 8:11 contradicts what Maimonides wrote in his Moreh Nevukhim, Guide of the Perplexed, 3:17 (E.T.: Shlomo Pines [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1963]), p. 470: "Israel rewards all humans according to their deeds of honor and integrity even though they were not commanded to do so by a prophet ... since it is prompted by inborn disposition." See David Harlman, Maimonides: Torah and Philosophical Quest (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1976), pp. 48 ff., 220, n. 45, p. 266, n. 72, and passim.
(17) Hannah Kasher, Torat Moshe ke-Emtzaee le-Olam ha-Ba, Tarbiz, vol. 64 (1994- 1995), pp. 301-306.
(18) Kesef Mishneh to Mishneh Torah, Melakhim 8:11.
(19) Louis Jacobs, Principles of the Jewish Faith (New York: Basic Books, 1964), pp.437-438. Jacobs noted that the source is Mishnat Rabbi Eliezer, ed. Hyman Enelow (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1934), p.121. See Isidore Twersky, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1980), p. 455 and n. 239. Eliezer Berkovits in his Essential Essays on Judaism, ed. David Hazony (Jerusalem: Shalem Press, 2002), pp. 352-353 and n. 31, detected a conflict between the Mishneh Torah and the Moreh Nevukhim on the status of a Noahide. See Steven S. Schwarzschild, "Do Noahites Have to Believe in Revelation?" Jewish Quarterly Review 52 (April, 1962): 297- 308; and 53 (July, 1962): 30-65.
(20) Michael Zvi Nahorai, Hasidei Umot ha-Olam Yeish Lahem Helek le-Olam ha-Ba, Tarbiz, vol. 61 (1992), pp. 465-487. See, too, his Teguvah le-Teguvah, Tarbiz, vol. 64, no. 2 (1994-1995), pp. 307-308; and his essay, Yeish Lahem Helek le-Olam ha-Ba, Daat, vols.50-52 (2003), pp. 97- 105, wherein he essentially makes the case that, according to Maimonides, a hakham (wise person, scholar) is on an even higher level than a hasid (pious person).
(21) Novak in his Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism, p. 306, n.8, merely stated that the tzaddik of the Talmud is a law-abiding citizen; a hasid possesses greater spirituality. Allan Brill in his Judaism and Other Religions (New York: Palgrave/MacMillan, 2010), wrote (p. 42): "The formulation by Maimonides shifts the terminology of the rabbinic texts from the religious ('saints' of the nation) to the moral ('pious' of the nations)." Menahem Kellner in his Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism (Oxford, U.K.: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2006) did not even mention the switch; nor did Eugene Korn in his essay, "Gentiles, The World to Come, and Judaism: The Odyssey of a Rabbinic Text," Modern, Judaism 14 (October, 1994): 265-287. Harvey Sukenic brought this last reference to my attention.
(22) E.g., Ps. 30:5, 37:28, 50:5, 52:11, 97:10, and 149:1, 5, 9. Also cf. 2 Ch. 6:41 and 1 Sam. 2:9. Note that Noah is referred to twice as a tzaddik: Gen. 6:9 and 7:1. This is the reason, I believe, why those who keep the seven Noahide laws are described in rabbinic literature as tzaddikei umot ha-olam--the righteous people of the world. For the mention of tzaddilam in the Bible, see Ps. 31:19, 37:29 ft., and 97:11. Since the terms are often coupled, it appears that they are parallel and synonymous in the Bible, but the root meaning of tzaddik is one who has been exonerated or who has prevailed in judgment. See Dt. 25:1 and Jer. 12:1.
(23) 1 Maccabees 2:29, 42; 7:12-14; 2 Maccabees 14:6. On ancient hasidim, See E. P. Sanders, Judaism: Practice and Belief (London: SCM Press, 1992), pp. 13-29, 341-379, and 452-457; Shmuel Safrai, Hasidim ve-Anshei Maaseh, Zion, vol. 50, no. 50 (1985), pp. 133-154; and Menahem Ben-Shalom, Hasidim be-Tekufat Bayit Sheni u-ve-Tekufat ha-Mishnah (Tel Aviv: Hakibbutz Hameuhad, 2008).
(24) Hillel is called a hasid in Sanhedrin 11a. Honi the rain-maker is referred to as a tzaddik in Taanit 23a. Job is also described as a hasid in Baba Batra 15b, but, in the Talmud of Eretz Yisrael Sotah 5:8, 20d, he is called a tzaddik: Obviously, the terms were often interchangeable (see Avot de Rabbi Nathan, ed. Solomon Schechter, A, 8, p.38; Sanhedrin 110b). But, also see Joseph Schultz, "Two Views of the Patriarchs: Noahides and Pre-Sinaitic Israelites," in Michael A. Fishbane and Paul R. Flohr, eds., Studies Presented to Nahum N. Glatzer on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1975), pp. 43-59.
(25) Baba Metzia 83a. The proof texts are: Ex. 18:20, Dt. 12:28, and Prov. 2:20. The parallel case in Yer. Baba Metzia 6:8, 11a, does not cite the principle of lifnim meshurat ha- din.
(26) Baba Metzia 24b. Cf. Baba Metzia 30b, where Rabbi Yohanan declared that Jerusalem was destroyed because the judges insisted on adhering to the strict line of the law instead of remaining within the line. In Berakhot 7a, God is depicted as praying that God might judge with compassion and within the line of the law. Also cf. Baba Kama 99b-100a and Tosafot s.v. lifnim; Mekhilta, 3 vols., ed. Jacob Z. Lauterbach, Amalek vol. 2, p. 182. See Menahem Alon, Ha-Mishpat ha-Ivri, 3 vols., 3rd ed. (Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 1988), vol. 1, pp.137ff, and passim; Urbach, Hazal, pp. 291-294; and Zev Falk, Erkei Mishpat ve-Yahadut (Jerusalem: Mesharim Publishers, 1980), p. 52.
(27) Baba Kama 30a.
(28) Mishnah Berakhot 5:1.
(29) Mishnab Sukkab 5:2.
(30) Avot 5:10, 11, 13, 14. Cf Avot 2:11 and the Commentary Etz Yoseph.
(31) See Rosh Hashanah 17b (on Ps. 145:17): "At first a tzaddik, then He rises to be a hasid." The commentators view a hasid as a person who acts lifnim meshurat ha-din--"beyond the letter of the law," as we would say in English and American law. See Rashi and Bertinoro on Avot 2:8 and 6:1, and Rashi on Rosh Hashanah 17b, s.v. nikhnas lifnim meshurat ha-din.
(32) Mishneh Torah, Deot 1:5. Cf. Moreh Nevukhim, 2:39, p. 380. Also see Twersky, Introduction to the Code of Maimonides, pp. 459ff.
(33) Mishneh Torah, Deot 3:1. Lehem Mishneh commented on the contradiction to Deot 1:5.
(34) Mishneh Torah, Matanot la-Evyonim 10:1-2. See Keliner, Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism, pp. 254-255.
(35) Mishneh Torah, Introduction to Sefer ha-Mada (written in 1177), ed. Shmuel. T. Rabinowitz (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1993), pp. 14f.
(36) Zohar Pekudey, 2:268a. Cf. Mishpatim 2: 95b (E.T., Daniel Matt [Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2009], vol.5:9): "What becomes of those [tormented] souls? We have seen in the books of the ancients that from them issue the pious of the nations of the world and the bastard scholars who take precedence over an ignorant, renowned high priest, even though he enters within, within." Cf. also Zohar Hadash Ruth, ed. Reuven Margaliot, 156b: "Therefore a gentile who has repented and separated from idolatry and sins will be rewarded by the Holy One, blessed be He, who will infuse him with the holy spirit and a holy soul. Therefore he will have a portion in the age to come, although not together with Israelites, but a separate portion and a realm unto itself." Aleph Bet of Rabbi Akiva, ed. J. D. Eisenstein, Otzar Hamidrashim, 2 vols. (New York: E. Grossman, 1956), vol. 2, p. 415a, describes these righteous gentiles as "priests of God." See, too, Louis Ginzberg, The Legends of the Jews, tr. Henrietta Szold, 7 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1959), vol. 5, p. 418, n. 118, and vol. 6, p.33, n. 191. The source seems to be Sifra on Lev. 18:5, ed. Isaac H. Weiss, 86b: "Let the righteous gentiles enter the gates of Heaven."
(37) See Kellner, Maimonides' Confrontation with Mysticism, especially pp. 216- 264; Moshe Idel, "Maimonides and Kabbalah," in Isidore Twersky, ed., Studies in Maimonides (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1990), pp. 31-81; Mosbe Idel, Kabbalah: New Perspectives (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1988), pp. 253-254; Steven Harvey, "Maimonides in the Sultan's Palace," in Joel L. Kraemer, ed., Perspectives on Maimonides (Oxford, U.K.: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1991), pp. 47-75; Joel L. Kraemer, Maimonides (New York: Doubleday, 2008), pp. 370-- 371,570-.571, nn.70-78; Marc B. Shapiro, Studies in Maimonides and His Interpreters (Scranton, PA, and London: University of Scranton Press, 2008), pp. 85-93; and R. J. Zvi Werblowsky, Joseph Karo, Lawyer and Mystic (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1977), p. 170. See Ez. 1, 3, 10:3 ft.; and Hagigah 11b, 13a-14a. Cf. Saul Lieberman's Appendix D in Seholem, Jewish Gnosticism, pp. 124-125. See Moreh Nevukhim, Introduction to Book Three, pp. 415-417ft., 3:1; pp. 618-620, 3:51, for the metaphor of the "Sultan's Palace."
(38) Epistle to Yemen, ed. and tr. Abraham Halkin and Boaz Cohen (New York: American Academy for Jewish Research, 1952), pp. xvi-xvii and 80-86; Abraham Joshua Hescbet, Ha- He 'emin ha-Rambam she-Zakhah le-Nevuah? Louis Ginzberg Jubilee Volume, ed. Saul Lieberman, Alexander Marx, Shalom Spiegel, Solomon Zeitlin, 2 vols., Hebrew section (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1945), pp. 159-188. Recall that Maimonides died in 1204. In his Commentary to Mishnah Sanhedrin 1:3, he stated: "And I believe that the Sanhedrin will be restored before the revelation of the Messiah and this will be among the signs: 'And I will restore your judges as of old and your advisors as of yore. After that you shall be called City of Righteousness, Faithful City' (Is. 1:26). Rectitude will increase before the coming of the Messiah." Was this yet another Maimonidean allusion to his belief that he lived in messianic times, and was this perhaps his greatest incentive in preparing his monumental Code, Mishneh Torah?
(39) Kol Kitvei Ramban, ed. Charles Chavel, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1963), vol. 2, p.91.
(40) Joseph ibn Kaspi, "Ethical Will," in Israel Abrahams, ed., Hebrew Ethical Wills, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1948), vol. 1, p. 147.
(41) Ovadia Sforno, Commentary on Ps. 82:8, Kol Kitvei Rabbi Ovadiah Sforno, ed. Zeev Gottlieb, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1960), vol. 2, p. 170.
(42) Ibid., Commentary on Ps. 137:8, 2:243.
(43) Rabbi Israel Lipschitz, Tiferet Yisrael on Mishnah Avot 3:14. A modern commentator on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, Teshuvah 3:5, Ha-Derekh le-Teshuvah, noted: "The gentiles who will have a portion in the age to come include those who dedicated themselves to rescuing Israel."
(44) For the text of the Paris disputation, see Judah. D. Eisenstein, Otzar ha- Vikuhim (Jerusalem: n.p., 1969), pp. 81-86. See, too, Ephraim E. Urbach, Baalei ha-Tosafot (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1955), pp. 371-375; Jacob Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance (Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1961), pp. 106-113; Solomon Grayzel, The Church and the Jews m the Xlllth Century: A Study of Their Relations during the Years 1198-1254, Based on Papal Letters and Conciliar Decrees of the Period (New York: Hermon Press, 1966), pp. 251-253, 275-281; and Hyam Maccoby, Judaism on Trial (London: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 1982), pp. 19-32.
(45) See Solomon ibn Verga, Sheivet Yehudah, ed. Yitzhak Baer and Azriel Shochet (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1946), chap. 41, p. 110; Yitzhak Baer, A History of the Jews in Christian Spain, 2 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1966), vol. 2, pp. 170-243 and nn.l-54 on pp. 478- 485; and Jeremy Cohen, Tortosa be-Mabat le-Ahor, Zion, vol. 76, no. 4 (2011), pp. 417-452.
(46) Joseph Albo, Ikkarim, ed. and tr. Isaac Husik, 4 vols. (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1946), Book 1, chap. 25, vol. 1, p. 198.
(47) Ibid., Book 1, chap. 23, vol. 1, p.184. Also, see Book 4, chap. 31, vol. 4, part 2, pp. 310 and 315, on the status of a perfect tzaddik and his or her reward in the afterlife.
(48) Meiri on Sanhedrin 57a-b and 92a-b, ed. Yitzhak Ralbag (Jerusalem: Hemed, 1974), pp. 176, 226-227, 261; on Avodah Zara 10b, ed. Avraham Sofer (Jerusalem: Merkaz, 1944), p. 19.
(49) Shem Tov ibn Shem Tov (Spain, c. 1380-1441) had issued a strong critique of Maimonides' rationalism in his Sefer ha-Emunot.
(50) Maharam Alashkar, Bar-Ilan Collection, Responsa No. 117. See Yitzhak Baer, A History of the Jews in Christian Spare, vol. 2, pp. 234-239 and p. 484, n. 54. Also see Louis Jacobs, Theology in the Responsa (Oxford, U.K.: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2005), pp. 130- 134.
(51) Don Isaac Abravanel, Commentary to Isaiah (Tel Aviv: Elisha, 1956), p. 10b.
(52) Ibid., Commentary to Deuteronomy 2:3 (Jerusalem: Levin-Epstein, n.d.), p. 6a.
(53) Isaac Arama, Akeidat Yiizhak (Lemberg, 1868), p. 38, chap. 60.
(54) I have analyzed Italian sages' and philosophers' views of non-Jews in my essay, "Jewish Attitudes toward Other Faiths: The Italian Model," J.E.S. 44 (Spring, 2009): 203-225.
(55) Immanuel of Rome, Mahberet ha-Tofet ve-ha-Eden, ed. A. M. Haberman (Tel Aviv: Mahberet le-Safrut, 1957), p. 834, chap. 28 (E.T.: Hermann Gollanez [London: University of London Press, 1921]), pp. 64-65.
(56) Simhah Luzzatto, Maamar al Yehudei Venetia, ed. and tr. Dan Latttes, Ricardo Bachi, and Moshe A. Shulvass (Jerusalem: Mossad Bialik, 1950), p. 113, chap. 13.
(57) Ibid., p. 118, chap. 14.
(58) Isaac Lampronti, Pahad Yitzhak, 4 vols. (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1976), Introduction, vol. 1, pp. 38-39 and verbatim in vol. 4, pp. 438ff.
(59) Rabbi Yishmael Ha-Kohen's responses were published by Judah Rosenthal in his Mehkarim u-Mekorot, 2 vols. (Jerusalem: Mass, 1966), response to Question 4, vol. 2, pp. 524--525.
(60) Mabaral of Prague, Be 'erha-Golah (Jerusalem: n.p., 1972), p. 139b, chap. 7.
(61) Moses Rivkes' Commentary on the Shulhan Arukh. Be'er ha-Golah, Hoshen Mishpat 425:5. See, too, his Commentary on Yoreh Deah 367:1, wherein he reiterated this opinion about pious non-Jews, citing Joseph Karo's views. See Katz, Exclusiveness and Tolerance, p. 165.
(62) Eliezer Fleckeles, Teshuvot mei-Ahavah (Prague, 1791), no. 8. See Jacobs, Theology in the Responsa, pp. 206-207.
(63) Gerer Rebbe, Sefat Emet, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: Yeshivat Ohr Etzion, 1998), on Ex. 20:2, vol. 2, p. 180.
(64) Tzadok Ha-Kohen, Tzidkat ha-Tzaddik (New York: Mefitzei Torat Ha-Kohen, 1947), 150b, no. 264.
(65) Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, tr. Samuel Shirley (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1989), pp. 122-123, chap. 5.
(66) Moses Mendelssohn, Jerusalem and Other Jewish Writings, tr. Alfred Jospe (New York: Schocken, 1969), p. 66.
(67) See Shmuel Feiner, Moses Mendelssohn, tr. Anthony Berris (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2010), pp. 88-89 and 112-113.
(68) Letter to Rabbi Jacob Emden, October 26, 1773, quoted in Alexander Altman, Moses Mendelssohn (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1973), pp. 216-218 and p. 794, nn. 36--45. For more on Mendelssohn and Emden, see Katz, Exclusivenes and Tolerance, pp. 173ff.; and Novak, Image of the Non-Jew in Judaism, pp. 369-376.
(69) Israel Lipschitz, Tiferet Yisrael, on Mishnah Avot 3:14, found in most standard editions of the Mishnah.
(70) Samson Raphael Hirsch, Nineteen Letters on Judaism, tr. Jacob Breuer (New York: Feldheim, 1969), p. 63.
(71) Samson Raphael Hirsch, "Talmudic Judaism and Society," in Collected Writings of Samson R. Hirsch, 2nd ed. (New York: Feldheim, 1997), pp. 225 ft.
(72) Elia Benamozegh, Israel and Humanity, tr. Maxwell Luria (New York and Mabwab, N.J.: Paulist Press, 1995), p. 328. 73 Ibid., p. 327.
(74) Ibid., 240-241. Benamozegh was a faithful disciple of Rabbi Samuel David Luzzatto of Padua, whose liberal and open attitude toward Christianity is well known. See my study, "Jewish Attitudes toward Other Faiths," pp. 221-223.
(75) Hermann Cohen, Religion of Reason out of the Sources of Judaism, tr. Simon Kaplan (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1972), pp. 328-329.
(76) Ibid., p. 329.
(77) Ibid., p. 332.
(78) Ibid., p. 330. See, too, pp. 121-125, where Cohen equated the Noahide Laws with natural law.
(79) Leo Baeck, The Essence of Judaism (New York: Schocken, 1961), p. 199.
(80) Abraham Isaac Kook, Igrot Haraya, 3 vols. (Jerusalem: Mossad Harav Kook, 1943; repr. 1961), vol. 1, pp. 99-100.
(81) Ben Zion Uziel, Mishpetei Uziel (Jerusalem: n.p., 1952), Yoreh Deah, 2:55, at ha lamadeta.
(82) Eliyahu Dessler, Mtkhtav Me-Eliyahu. 6 vols. (Jerusalem: Society of Students of Rabbi Dessler, 1994), vol. 1, p. 148.
(83) Menashe Klein, Mishneh Halakhot (Brooklyn, NY: Balshon Press, 1960), 4:239 and 15:75.
(84) Mordecai M. Kaplan, The Greater Judaism m the Making (New York: Reconstructionist Press, 1960), pp. 84 and 230.
(85) Abraham Joshua Heschel, Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity, ed. Susannah Heschel (New York: Ferrar, Straus & Giroux, 1996), pp. 247-248.
(86) Robert Gordis, Judaism m a Christian Worm (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1966), pp. 115-116.
(87) Ibid., p. 145. A more correct translation is "The pious among the gentiles," etc.
(88) Louis Jacobs, A Jewish Theology (New York: Behrman House, 1973), p. 289.
(89) Ibid., p. 290.
(90) Ibid., p. 291.
(91) Eugene Borowitz, Renewing the Covenant (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 1991), pp. 185-186.
(92) Ibid., p. 188; also see p. 229.
(93) Irving Greenberg, For the Sake of Heaven and Earth (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2004), p. 56; also see p. 214.
(94) For the text of the Pittsburgh Platform, see W. Gunther Plaut, The Growth of Reform Judaism (New York: World Union for Progressive Judaism, 1965), pp. 33-34.
(95) CCAR Yearbook, vol. 98 (1988), p. 152. David Sandmel supplied this reference.
(96) Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, ed. Robert Gordis, 2nd ed. (New York: Jewish Theological Seminary, 1990), p. 43.
(97) To be sure, Cyprian was attacking heretics within the Catholic Church, and his attitude toward non-Catholics did not become part of the normative Magisterium of the Church. Vatican Council II (1962-65) in Lumen gentium, The Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Church, no. 16, stated: "Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the gospel of Christ or his church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience--those too may attain eternal salvation."
Gilbert S. Rosenthal (Conservative Jewish) was educated in New York City at Yeshiva University (B.A., B.R.E.), Columbia University (MA.), and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (rabbinical ordination and M.H.L., 1957; and D.H.L., 1960),where he was the Cyrus Adler Scholar. He did post-graduate work at the Hebrew University and Bar-Ilan University in Israel. He served from 1957 to 1990 as a congregational rabbi in New Jersey and New York, most notably at Temple Beth El of Cedarhurst, Long Island, NY. From 1990 to 2000, he was the executive vice president of the New York Board of Rabbis. Since 2001, he has served as director of the National Council of Synagogues, a partnership of the Reform, Conservative, and Reconstructionist movements in Judaism, dealing with interfaith affairs nationally. He has served as president of the New York Board of Rabbis and Vice President and trustee of the United Jewish Appeal-Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York. He has authored and edited eleven books including Four Paths to One God (Bloch, 1973), The Many Faces of Judaism (Behrman House, 1978, translated into German and Russian), What Can a Modern Jew Believe? (Wipf and Stock, 2007), and Let Us Reason Together (Witherspoon Press, 2010). His forthcoming volume on the fiftieth anniversary of Vatican II and Nostra aetate is slated to be published in 2015 by Wipf and Stock. His numerous articles and reviews in English and Hebrew have appeared in journals in the U.S. and Israel, including Judaism, Conservative Judaism, The Journal of Religion, J.E.S., Midstream, America, Tarbiz, and Kovetz Al-Yad. He has lectured widely throughout the U.S. and has taught senior homiletics at the Jewish Theological Seminary and religious thought at the graduate department of the Spertus College of Jewish Studies in Chicago. He hosted the television program, "Point of View" for eleven years on WOR-TV, Channel Nine, and on national cable network, and co-produced a six-part film, "Walking God's Paths." He was also involved in the editing and production of the Siddur Sire Shalom and the Etz Hayyim edition of the Humash.
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|Author:||Rosenthal, Gilbert S.|
|Publication:||Journal of Ecumenical Studies|
|Date:||Sep 22, 2013|
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