Many Jews view the Torah as a gift from God that belongs to the Jewish
people alone, but is that still the case? More specifically, should Torah
study only be for Jews?
Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh, one of Israel’s foremost teachers of Kabbalah
(Jewish mysticism) and Chassidut (the study of the inner dimensions of
Torah), has been addressing this question for the past few years.
In a transcript of a recent talk called “The Fourth Revolution: Torah Study
for Gentiles,” Rabbi Ginsburgh acknowledged that the Torah was originally given
exclusively to the Jewish people. Over time however, there have been multiple
paradigm shifts in approaches to Torah study among which have included putting
the Oral Torah down in writing as well as opening up Torah study to women.
According to Rabbi Ginsburgh, the world is now ready for the fourth
revolution, which will be to more fully introduce Torah study for non-Jews. When
non-Jews study Torah, the words of Isaiah are being fulfilled.
And the many peoples shall go and say: “Come, Let us go up to the Mount of Hashem,
To the House of the God ofYaakov; That He may instruct us in His ways, And that we may walk in
His paths.” For instruction shall come forth fromTzion, The word
of Hashem fromYerushalayim. Isaiah 2:3
“It is the task of the Jewish people to teach and disseminate the Torah of
the Noahides to all of mankind,” Rabbi Ginsburgh acknowledged. “The Lubavitcher
Rebbe (beloved 20th century Chassidic rabbi) stressed that in our
generation, the world is ready and it is time for us to put this into
The “Torah of the Noahides” is a reference to the Sheva Mitzvot Bnei
Noach – the
seven Noahide Laws, which according to the Talmud, were given by God to
Noah and intended for all of humanity.
“In practice, the Noahide laws are the most fundamental human obligations,”
taught Rabbi Ginsburgh. “But, keeping the seven Noahide mitzvot does not
suffice. This level of Torah study alone cannot fully realize the idea of tikkun
olam (spiritual repair of the world in preparation for Messianic days).”
In other words, teaching the seven Noahide Laws to non-Jews is no longer
good enough in the current era, which is approaching the End of Days. Instead,
Rabbi Ginsburgh strongly advocates for much more Torah study among non-Jews.
“[T]he nations of the world can only recognize the Torah as the source of
all the sparks of truth that their religions contain if they are exposed to the
entire Torah in all its glory,” he explained. “They must study Torah in a way
that reveals its depth and its profound relevance to their own lives.”
What does this mean practically?
Rabbi Ginsburgh charges the Jewish people with a crucial mission.
“We are being called upon to begin
offering Torah to the non-Jews, without limiting them to studying only the
seven Noahide laws alone. They need to be exposed to the entire expanse of
“The intention in teaching Torah to
non-Jews Torah is not to preach conversion,” he stressed. “If a non-Jew wishes
to convert to Judaism, he or she may do so, but this must be from their own
free choice, without coercion.”
“Teaching Torah means sharing with
the nations of the world some of the infinite wisdom and beauty that it
For then I will make the peoples
pure of speech, So that they all invoke Hashem by name And serve Him
with one accord. Zephaniah
Anticipating that many Jews may find
his message to be radical, Rabbi Ginsburgh reminded his Jewish audience that
there are benefits for Jews willing to teach Torah to non-Jews.
“Teaching Torah to non-Jews is a
great challenge to any individual who takes it upon himself, but encountering
people who are far removed from Torah will bring him into contact with
questions and new perspectives that will rejuvenate his relationship with the
Torah and infuse it with new motivation,” he advised his Jewish students.
Rabbi Ginsburg also suggested that
“teaching the Torah to non-Jews augments the Jewish people’s status as ‘a
kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’”
But you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy
nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Yisrael.” Exodus 19:6
“The time has come to act for God.
With God’s help, the fourth revolution [more fully opening the doors of Torah
study for non-Jews] will… [bring] true peace and light to the world,” Rabbi