When the army's troops enter the territory of gentiles, conquering them and taking them captive, they are permitted to eat meat from animals that died without being ritually slaughtered or which were trefe, and the flesh of pigs and similar animals, if they become hungry and can only find these forbidden foods.
Similarly, they may drink wine used in the worship of idols. This license is derived by the Oral Tradition which interprets Deuteronomy 6:10-11: 'God... will give you... houses filled with all the good things' as 'pigs' necks and the like.'
Similarly, a soldier may engage in sexual relations with a woman while she is still a gentile if his natural inclination overcomes him. However, he may not engage in sexual relations with her and then, go on his way. Rather, he must bring her into his home as Deuteronomy 21:11 states 'If you see a beautiful woman among the prisoners...You shall bring her into the midst of your home...'
It is forbidden for him to engage in sexual relations with her a second time until he marries her.
Relations with a yefat toar are only permitted while she is in captivity as the verse states ' If you see... among the prisoners.'
This license is permitted whether the woman is a virgin or not, even if she is married, for the gentiles' marriages are not recognized.
A number of laws are derived from the exegesis of the verse from Deuteronomy quoted above:
'And you desire' - even though she is not beautiful.
'Her' - and not another. He may not engage in sexual relations with two women. 'You may take her as a wife' - He may not take two women as captives with the intention of engaging in relations with one and saving the other for his father or brother.
What is the source which teaches that he may not pressure her in the midst of the war? Deuteronomy 21:12 states: 'You shall bring her into the midst of your home...' Thus, he must bring her into an (vacant) place and then, engage in relations with her.
A priest is also allowed relations with a yefat toar initially. For the Torah only permitted relations as a concession to man's natural inclination. However, he is not permitted to marry her afterwards, for she is a convert.
What is the procedure which a Jew must follow regarding a yefat toar after he had relations with her once while she is still a gentile? If she desires to enter under the wings of the Shechinah, he may have her immersed in a mikveh for the purpose of conversion immediately.
If she does not accept the Jewish faith, she should dwell in his house for thirty days, as ibid. 21:13 states: 'She shall mourn her father and mother for thirty days.' Similarly, she should mourn the abandonment of her faith. Her captor should not prevent her from crying.
She must let her nails grow and shave her head so that she will not appear attractive to him. She must be together with him at home. Thus, when he enters, he sees her; when he leaves; he sees her, so that he becomes disgusted with her.
He must be patient with her so that she will accept the Jewish faith. If she accepts Judaism and he desires her, she may convert and immerse herself in the mikveh for that purpose, like other converts.
A captor must wait three months before marrying his captive: the month of mourning and two months following it.
When he marries her, he must give her Kiddushin and a Ketubah. If he does not desire her, he must set her free. If he sells her, he violates a negative commandment, as Deuteronomy 21:14 states: 'You may not sell her for money.' Should a captor sell his captive, the sale is invalidated and he must return the money.
Similarly, if after having relations with her, he forces her to become a servant, he violates a negative commandment from the time he makes use of her as ibid. states: lo titamar boh. That phrase means 'he should not make use of her.'
Her captor must be patient with her for twelve months if she refuses to convert.
If she still refuses after this interval has passed, she must agree to accept the seven universal laws commanded to Noah's descendants and then, she is set free. Her status is the same as all other resident aliens.
Her captor may not marry her, for it is forbidden to marry a woman who has not converted.
If she conceives after the initial relations with her captor, the child has the status of a convert. In no regard is he considered as the captor's son, for his mother is a gentile. Rather, the court immerses him in the mikveh and takes responsibility for him.
Tamar was conceived from King David's initial relations with a yefat toar, but Avshalom was conceived after marriage. Thus, Tamar was only Avshalom's maternal sister and thus, would have been permitted to Amnon. This can be inferred from the statement II Samuel 13:13: 'Speak to the king, for he will not withhold me from you.'
A yefat toar who does not desire to abandon idol worship after twelve months should be executed. Similarly, a treaty cannot be made with a city which desires to accept a peaceful settlement until they deny idol worship, destroy their places of worship, and accept the seven universal laws commanded Noah's descendants. For every gentile who does not accept these commandments must be executed if he is under our undisputed authority.
Moses only gave the Torah and mitzvot as an inheritance to Israel, as Deuteronomy 33:4 states: 'The Torah... is the inheritance of the congregation of Jacob,' and to all those who desire to convert from among the other nations, as Numbers 15:15 states 'the convert shall be the same as you.' However, someone who does not desire to accept Torah and mitzvot, should not be forced to.
By the same regard, Moses was commanded by the Almighty to compel all the inhabitants of the world to accept the commandments given to Noah's descendants.
If one does not accept these commands, he should be executed. A person who formally accepts these commands is called a resident alien. This applies in any place. This acceptance must be made in the presence of three Torah scholars.
Anyone who agrees to circumcise himself and allows twelve months to pass without circumcising himself is considered as one of the nations.
Anyone who accepts upon himself the fulfillment of these seven mitzvot and is precise in their observance is considered one of 'the pious among the gentiles' and will merit a share in the world to come.
This applies only when he accepts them and fulfills them because the Holy One, blessed be He, commanded them in the Torah and informed us through Moses, our teacher, that Noah's descendants had been commanded to fulfill them previously.
However, if he fulfills them out of intellectual conviction, he is not a resident alien, nor of 'the pious among the gentiles,' nor of their wise men.
Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Moznaim is the publisher of the Nehardaa Shas, a new, state-of-the-art edition of the Talmud and all major commentaries in 20 volumes. Click here to purchase or email the publisher at firstname.lastname@example.org
As the sun made to set, a deep sleep fell upon Abra[ha]m; and, lo, a horror of great darkness fell upon him. And [G‑d] said to Abram: “Know surely that your descendents shall be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and they will be enslaved to them, and they will afflict them . . . [but] afterwards they will come out with great wealth . . .”
–From the Torah’s description of the “Covenant Between the Pieces,” Genesis 15:12–14