By the Grace of G‑d
19th of Elul, 5745 [Sept. 5, 1985]
Brooklyn, N. Y.


Greeting and Blessing:

This is to acknowledge receipt now of your letter of the 1st of Iyar, in which you write about your desire to learn Torah, though you are not Jewish.

I trust you know that the Torah itself has instructions as to the approach in such a situation. This is that the Torah – and in a broader sense it includes not only the Written Torah, but also the Oral Torah (Talmud, etc.) – contains parts which are in order to be studied by gentiles, namely, those that deal with the so-called Seven Noahite Laws, in all their ramifications and details, which are incumbent upon all human beings, both Jew and gentile. On the other hand, there are other parts of the Torah which are of no relevance to gentiles, and for various reasons, gentiles should not be encouraged to take time out to study them, time that they can use to better and practical advantage by studying, practicing and promoting the said Seven Noahite Laws.

In light of the above, I suggest that you should personally discuss the matter with a competent Orthodox Rabbi, who orally could explain the above more fully, and at the same time provide you with guidance as to how to go about your study of Torah.

I would like to add a further point, which I trust you know, that from the Torah viewpoint, there is no need whatever for a gentile to convert to Judaism, in order to achieve fulfillment in accordance with the design of the Creator. On the contrary, Jews are required to discourage a would-be convert from the idea of conversion, which could also be further explained to you by the Rabbi you will consult with.

I take this opportunity – inasmuch as Rosh Hashono, the Jewish New Year, is a day of Divine judgment pertaining to all peoples and nations – to extend to you prayerful wishes for success in the new year.

With blessing,

M. Schneerson

P.S. Because of your obvious concern with the matter, this letter is sent to you via special delivery.