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Wearing a tallis?

Rabbi Moshe Weiner, author of "Sefer Sheva Mitzvot HaShem" and its translation, "The Divine Code," submitted the following guidance for our forum:

-----from Rabbi Moshe Weiner, Jerusalem:

Even if one has the opinion that a special garment for prayer is logical, as part of making prayer additionally special, adding tzizit fringes or something similar in appearance for Noahides would be an imitation of the Jewish mitzva, which relates to the shape of the garment (four corners) and is independent of prayer.

A beautiful garment of any size, color, any type of corners, without any tzizit fringes at all would be more appropriate than one with some type of tzizit fringes.

Just rounding one or more corners of a four-cornered shawl and adding fringes to the corners is only a minor change to the Jewish tallit, and misses the point that one should not make up new commandments for one's self.

If a Noahide were to go ahead and do so anyway, he should not say any blessing, or even attach any prayer to putting it on, since this would turn the wearing of the garment into an issue in its own right. The whole reason claimed for desiring to put on a prayer shawl is to assist in a Noahide's concentration in prayer, and no further religious rationals could be accepted.

If a Noahide wears a prayer shawl without tzizit-like fringes at all, then he is not imitating the Jewish mitzva. But Rabbi Shochet brought up another concern - a Noahide man who wears one might be mistaken for a Jew. In a synagogue, people don’t know of such a concept of inspecting other's tzizit fringes to see if they are tied in a Jewish style or otherwise. But if it would be a different type of garment - not like a Jewish tallis - then that wouldn’t be a problem either. *Nevertheless,* the general attitude of R. Shochet (which follows the rule explicitely given in the book "The Divine Code," Volume 1) is that a garment that looks generally like a tallis is not for Noahides.
Sh'lom Mark,

markashaw Wrote:After reading all the posts it is abundandly clear to me that Noachides shouldn't wear a tallit. 5 years ago I purchased one from Israel online. It is still in the original packaging along with a kippah. What should I do with them? May I donate them to some jewish organization or keep them for perhaps a time when I might attend an orthodox synagogue?

It would be a worthy act of charity to donate the tallit to a Jewish synagogue, or to give it to a Jewish man who is in need of a tallit.

Since it is OK for a Noahide to wear a kippah (a yarmulke/skull cap, within a few guidelines), you might want to keep that. You can find advice about a Noahide wearing a kippah on this page of our forum:

markashaw Wrote:Along those lines I have been wearing a Magen David necklace for years. Should I no longer wear that because people assume I am Jewish? If they ask I tell them I am not Jewish and that I am a Noahide.

If a Noahide chooses to wear Magen David (Star of David) jewelry, it is not a problem. It is not associated with any of the Jewish commandments. You are only wearing it to show your support for Jews and Judaism, and if any questions arise you can easily explain that.
Director Michael Wrote:The main point is that a Noahide should not create for himself (in his own mind) a religious precept to wear a specific garment (including a Jewish tallis or something similar to it), because he would be creating for himself an innovated commandment, which is forbidden.

With this in mind, if a Noahide wishes to wear an over-garment that does not look at all similar to a Jewish tallis (an example might be a pancho), then he is allowed, as long as he does not wear it with the intention that it is a religious precept, or that wearing it will bring any special merit to the person.

Can noahides gain blessings or merits from any optional observances?

Yes, but the optional observances may not be done by Gentiles in the manner of a religious obligation (as if they were religious commandments).


Also see the discussion in "The Divine Code, Volume 1," Chapter 3, regarding:

- permissable Torah study
- circumcision
- marriage
- proper charity (including tithing) and acts of kindness
- returning lost objects
- prayer to G-d
- honoring parents
- honoring the elderly and the Sages
- sending away a wild mother bird before taking its chicks or eggs
- not hating others
- not taking revenge or bearing a grudge
- any other commandment in which Jews are obligated or prohibited that is between people, or between people and G-d, that has a reason and a logical benefit for a person or society

The Rebbe includes mentioning a teaching in the name of its author.

"Rokeakh" includes inviting guests and escorting them when they leave.

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