15. False Ger Toshav Status by Ger Leaders
15.1. Rabbi Chaim Richman Clarifies Noahide Pledge That He Wrote in 2008
Rabbi Chaim Richman
Shalom to All,
I was asked to help clarify a misunderstanding that is the result of several recent postings on social media.
1). The State of Israel currently does not recognize any ‘Ger Toshav’ status and makes no accommodation or privilege to anyone claiming this status. Any claims to the contrary are false.
2). No legitimate beit din that I am aware of in the State of Israel grants ‘Ger Toshav’ status based on a declaration made in front of the beit din.
The ‘Noahide Declaration’ which many upright Noahides have declared in the presence of a beit din, in recent years, grants the status of ‘Righteous Gentile’ (chasid u’mot ha’olam) to the individual. This is an important step in serving Hashem because it introduces a new spiritual level to the individual which is accomplished through the public declaration of the individual’s commitment to Hashem and public declaration of acceptance and intent to uphold the Seven Universal Laws. Halachic sources explain that through this declaration, the individual becomes as one who has been commanded by Hashem to uphold these laws, and thus his/her spiritual reward is greater, commensurate to the new spiritual level of opposition that will also be faced. However, this declaration has no connection to ‘Ger Toshav’ status and does not render such status according to halacha. Such was never intended or implied.
3). Thus, the language of the original declaration as it was presented and upheld by many participants at the Noahide Nations Conference in Florida in 2008, which I personally wrote based on the requirements of Maimonides and other authorities, reads:
I agree to uphold the Seven Universal Noahide Laws, which were given by G-d to Noah as a binding set of laws for all humankind And were revealed by Moshe. Details & observance of these laws have preserved, clarified, and expounded upon by the sages of Israel from generation to generation.
The Seven Basic Noahide Laws: The Prohibition Against Idolatry* in all Forms, The Prohibition Against Blasphemy,The Prohibition Against Murder, The Prohibition Against Theft, The Prohibition Against Sexual Immorality, The Prohibition Against Eating the Limb of a Living Animal, The Commandment to Establish Courts of Justice
Adherence to these Laws professed out of an understanding that they were initially commanded to all humanity, and subsequently are a manifestation of the Sinai Revelation, and bequeathed to all humankind through the Torah of Moshe grants a non-Jew the status of Righteous Gentile.
(It’s best to read this part aloud)
“I pledge my allegiance to HaShem, G-d of Israel, Creator and King of the Universe, and His Torah. I will adhere to the Seven Laws of Noah, and I furthermore pledge to continue to uphold these laws in all their details, according to the Oral Law of Moshe under the guidance of the rabbis.
Blessed are You G-d, King of the universe, Who has caused me to live, sustained me, and brought me to this day.”
This is the exact language of the declaration which can be found online at the website of Brit Olam, the Noahide World Center, and can be used as a self-declaration until appearance before a beit din can be arranged. See the declaration at https://noahideworldcenter.org/7/a-temporary-noahide-self-declaration/ Note that no mention is made of the ‘Ger Toshav’ status.
4). Any changes that were made to this version of the declaration, that may be in use by any individual or beit din, in Israel, the USA, or elsewhere, were made without permission or consultation with the author. This declaration was not intended to confer, refer to, or in any way imply the status of ‘Ger Toshav,’ and any implication of such is an incorrect use.
5). Recent social media postings have referred to the declaration that was administered to many participants at the 2008 Noahide Nations Conference and signed by myself and other rabbis as a ‘Ger Toshav certificate’ and a Facebook posting stated that I signed a ‘Ger Toshav Certificate.’ This is false. ‘Ger Toshav’ status was never alluded to or implied in our employment of this declaration in 2008 and to refer to it in this manner is inaccurate and misleading.
With love, and with blessings to all – may we merit to grow ever stronger in the service of Hashem,
Rabbi Chaim Richman
18 Sivan 5780 – June 10, 2020