WHAT THE TALMUD TEACHES ABOUT CHRISTIANS
Article II. - What the Talmud Teaches About Christians
In the preceding chapter we saw what the Jews think of
the Founder of the Christian religion, and how much they despise his name.
This being so, it would not be expected that they would have any better
opinion about those who follow Jesus the Nazarene. In fact, nothing more
abominable can be imagined than what they have to say about Christians.
They say that they are idolaters, the worst kind of people, much worse
than the Turks, murderers, fornicators, impure animals, like dirt, unworthy
to be called men, beasts in human form, worthy of the name of beasts, cows,
asses, pigs, dogs, worse than dogs; that they propagate after the manner
of beasts, that they have diabolic origin, that their souls come from the
devil and return to the devil in hell after death; and that even the body
of a dead Christian is nothing different from that of an animal.
Since Christians follow the teachings of that man,
whom the Jews regard as a Seducer and an Idolater, and since they worship
him as God, it clearly follows that they merit the name of idolaters, in
no way different from those among whom the Jews lived before the birth
of Christ, and whom they taught should be exterminated by every possible
This is best demonstrated by the names they give to Christians,
and by the unmistakable words of Maimonides which prove that all who bear
the name of Christian are idolaters.(42a)
And anyone who examines Jewish books which speak of the "Worshippers
of the Stars and Planets," "Epicureans," "Samaritans,"
etc., cannot but conclude that these idolaters are none other than Christians.
The Turks are always called "Ismaelites," never idolaters.
(42a) Vide Infra. ch. II, p. 42
2. CHRISTIANS WORSE THAN THE TURKS
Maimonides in Hilkoth Maakhaloth (ch. IX) says:
"It is not permitted to drink the wine of a stranger
who becomes a convert,(43) that
is, one who accepts the seven precepts of Noah, but is permitted to gain
some benefit from it. It is allowed to leave wine alone with him, but not
to place it before him. The same is permitted in the case of all gentiles
who are not idolaters, such as the Turks [Ismaelites]. A Jew, however,
is not permitted to drink their wine, although he may use it to his own
advantage. All the best known Rabbis agree on this. But since Christians
are idolaters, it is not allowed even to use their wine to advantage."
(43) There are two kinds of Jewish converts; some are
called Gere Tsedekh, converts to justice, who embrace the Jewish
religion and accept the whole law of Moses, not for external reasons only,
but for the glory of God and for the sake of true religion; others are
called Gere Toschabh, convert strangers, who are neither circumcized
nor baptized, and who observe only certain laws, namely those given to
the sons of Noah, which are: (1) Justice; (2) Praise of God; (3) Shunning
idolatry; (4) about fornication; (5) the shedding of blood; (6) Rape; (7)
not touching an animal's organ. Vide, Sanhed, 56a.
In Abhodah Zarah (22a) it says:
"A Jew must not associate himself with gentiles because
they are given to the shedding of blood."
Likewise in Iore Dea (153,2):
"An Israelite must not associate himself with the
Akum [Christians] because they are given to the shedding of blood."
In the Abhodah Zarah (25b) it says:
"The Rabbis taught: If a Goi joins an Israelite
on the road, he [the Jew] should walk on his right side.(44)
Rabbi Ismael, the son of Rabbi Jochanan the nephew of Beruka, says: if
he carries a sword, let the Jew walk on his right side.(45)
If the Goi carries a stick, the Jew should walk on his left side.(46)
If he is climbing a hill or descending a steep incline, the Jew must not
go in front with the Goi behind, but the Jew must go behind and
the Goi in front, nor must he stoop down in front of him for fear
the Goi might crack his skull. And if he should ask the Jew how
far he is going, he should pretend he is going a long way, as Jacob our
Father said to the impious Esau: Until I come to my Lord in Seir
(Gen. XXXIII, 14-17), but it adds: Jacob set out for Sukoth."
(44) So that if the Gentile should raise his hand to strike
him, the Jew can more quickly ward off the blow with his right hand.
(45) So that the Jew's right hand be nearer to the Gentile's sword,
and if he tries to draw it, the Jew can obstruct his right hand.
(46) So that the Jew be nearer to the Gentile's right hand which holds
the stick, and so may be able to grasp it quickly with his left hand.
In Orach Chaiim (20,2) it says:
"Do not sell your overcoat (Talith) with the
fringes to an Akum, lest he should join up with a Jew on the road
and kill him. It is also forbidden to exchange or lend your overcoat with
a Gentile, except for a short time and when there is nothing to be feared
In the Abhodah Zarah (15b) it says:
"Animals of the masculine sex must not be left in
the barns of the Gentiles with their men, nor animals of the feminine sex
with their women; much less must animals of the feminine sex be left with
their men and of the masculine sex with their women. Nor must sheep be
left to the care of their shepherds; nor must any intercourse be had with
them; nor must children be given into their care to learn to read or to
learn a trade."
In the same tract a little farther on (22a) it is explained
why animals must not be allowed in the barns of Gentiles, and why Jews
are not permitted to have sexual intercourse with them:
"Animals must not be allowed to go near the Goim,
because they are suspected of having intercourse with them. Nor must women
cohabit with them because they are over-sexed."
In fol. 22b of the same book the reason is given why animals
especially of the feminine sex must be kept away from their women:
"...because when Gentile men come to their neighbors'
houses to commit adultery with their wives and do not find them at home,
they fornicate with the sheep in the barns instead. And sometimes even
when their neighbors' wives are at home, they prefer to fornicate with
the animals; for they love the sheep of the Israelites more than their
It is for the same reason that animals are not to be entrusted
to Goi shepherds, nor children to their educators.
The Talmud gives two reasons why the Goim are unclean:
because they eat unclean things, and because they themselves have not been
cleansed (from original sin) on Mount Sinai. In Schabbath, (145b)
"Why are the Goim unclean? Because they eat
abominable things and animals that crawl on their belly."
Likewise in Abhodah Zarah, 22b:
"Why are the Goim unclean? Because they were
not present at Mount Sinai. For when the serpent entered into Eve he infused
her with uncleanness. But the Jews were cleansed from this when they stood
on Mount Sinai; the Goim, however, who were not on Mount Sinaim
were not cleansed."
6. COMPARED TO DUNG
"When ten persons are praying together in one place
and they say Kaddisch, or Kedoschah, anyone, even though
he does not belong there, may respond Amen. There are some, however, who
say that no dung or Akum must be present."
In Iore Dea (198, 48) Hagah, it says:
"When Jewish women come out of a bath they must take
care to meet a friend first, and not something unclean or a Christian.
For if so, a woman, if she wants to keep holy, should go back and bathe
It is worthy of note that the following list of unclean
things is given in Biur Hetib, a commentary on the Schulchan
"A woman must wash herself again if she sees any
unclean thing, such as a dog, an ass, or People of the Earth; a Christian
(Akum), a camel,(47) a
pig, a horse, and a leper."
(47) In the Vilna ed. of 1873, camel is omitted, since
there are no camels there; but People of the Earth, and Akum
7. NOT LIKE MEN, BUT BEASTS
In Kerithuth (6b p. 78) it says:
"The teaching of the Rabbis is: He who pours oil
over a Goi, and over dead bodies is freed from punishment. This
is true for an animal because it is not a man.(48)
But how can it be said that by pouring oil over a Goi one is freed
from punishment, since a Goi is also a man? But this is not true,
for it is written: Ye are my flock, the flock of my pasture are men
(Ezechiel, XXXIV, 31). You are thus called men, but the Goim
are not called men."
(48) The same holds for the dead body of any man.
In the Tract Makkoth (7b) he is said to be guilty
of killing "except when, if intending to kill an animal he kills a
man by mistake, or intending to kill a Goi, he kills an Israelite."
In Orach Chaiim (225,10) it says:
"He who sees beautiful creatures, even though it
be an Akum or an animal, let him say 'Blessed art thou Our Lord
God, King of the Universe, who has placed such things on the earth!' "
8. THEY DIFFER ONLY IN FORM FROM BEASTS
In Midrasch Talpioth (fol. 225d) it says:
"God created them in the form of men for the glory
of Israel. But Akum were created for the sole end of ministering
unto them [the Jews] day and night. Nor can they ever be relieved from
this service. It is becoming to the son of a king [an Israelite] that animals
in their natural form, and animals in the form of human beings should minister
We can quote here also what is said in Orach Chaiim,
"If pigs are to be pitied when they suffer from disease,
because their intestines are similar to ours, how much more should the
Akum be pitied when thus affected."(49)
(49) In Taanith (21b) it says: "How much more
the Nokhrim since they are similar to Israelites."
In Zohar, II, (64b) it says:
"...People who worship idols, and who are called
cow and ass, as it is written: I have a cow and an ass..."
Rabbi Bechai, in his book Kad Hakkemach, ch. I,
beginning with the word Geulah—redemption—referring to Psalm
80, v. 13: The boar out of the wood doth waste it, says:
"The letter ain is dropped [suspended] the
same as these worshippers are followers of him who was suspended."
Buxtorf (Lex.) says:
"By wild pig the author here means the Christians
who eat pork and, like pigs, have destroyed the vineyard of Israel, the
City of Jerusalem, and who believe in the 'suspended' Christ. Else the
letter ain is dropped in this word because they, as worshippers
of Christ who was hanged, are also dropped."
Rabbi Edels, in commenting on Kethuboth (110b)
"The Psalmist compares the Akum to the unclean
beast in the woods."
10. WORSE THAN ANIMALS
Rabbi Schelomo Iarchi (Raschi), famous Jewish commentator,
explaining the law of Moses (Deuter. XIV, 21) forbidding the eating
of meat of wounded animals, but which must be given to the 'stranger in
thy gates,' or which, according to Exodus (XXII, 30) is to be thrown
to the dogs, has this to say:
"...for he is like a dog. Are we to take to word
'dog' here literally? By no means. For the text in speaking of dead bodies
says, Or thou mayest sell it to an alien. This applies much more
to the meat of wounded animals, for which it is permitted to accept payment.
Why therefore does the Scripture say it may be thrown to 'dogs?' In order
to teach you that a dog is to be more respected than the Nokhri."
11. THEY PROPAGATE LIKE BEASTS
In the Sanhedrin (74b) Tosephoth, it says:
"The sexual intercourse of a Goi is like to
that of a beast."
And in Kethuboth (3b) it says:
"The seed of a Goi is worth the same as that
of a beast."
Hence it is to be inferred that Christian marriage is
not true marriage.
In Kidduschim (68a), it says:
"...How do we know this? Rabbi Huna says: You can
read: Remain here with the ass, that is, with a people like an ass. Hence
it appears that they are not capable of contracting marriage."
And in Eben Haezer (44, 8):
"If a Jew enters into marriage with an Akum
(Christian), or with his servant, the marriage is null. For they are not
capable of entering into matrimony. Likewise if an Akum or a servant
enter into matrimony with a Jew, the marriage is null."
In Zohar (II, 64b) it says:
"Rabbi Abba says: If only idolaters alone had sexual
intercourse, the world would not continue to exist. Hence we are taught
that a Jew should not give way to those infamous robbers. For if these
propagate in greater numbers, it will be impossible for us to continue
to exist because of them. For they give birth to sucklings the same as
12. CHILDREN OF THE DEVIL
In Zohar (I, 28b) we read:
"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast
of the field, etc. (Genes. III, 1.) 'More subtle' that is towards
evil; 'than all beasts' that is, the idolatrous people of the earth. For
they are the children of the ancient serpent which seduced Eve."(50)
(50) This ancient serpent, the parent of Christians, that
is, the devil in the form of a serpent, is called, Sammael (cf. Targum
Iobi, XXVIII, 7). Rabbi Maimonides writes in More (Bk. II, ch.
30) that Sammael took the form of a serpent and seduced Eve. He is also
called the 'Angel of Death,' and 'the Head of the assembly of evil ones.'
Debbarim Rabba (208c) calls him "Sammael the impious one, "the
prince of all devils." Rabbi Bechai (in Mikkets) calls him
"The Impious Sammael, the Prince of Rome."
The best argument used by the Jews to prove that Christians
are of the race of the devil is the fact that they are uncircumcized. The
foreskin on non-Jews prevents them from being called the children of the
Most High God. For by circumcision the name of God—Schaddai—is completed
in the flesh of a circumcized Jew. The form of the letter Isch is
in his nostrils, the letter Daleth in his (bent) arm, and ain
appears in his sexual organ by circumcision. In non-circumcized gentiles,
therefore, such as Christians, there are only two letters, Isch
and Daleth, which make the word Sched, which means devil.
They are, therefore, children of the Sched, the devil.(51)
(51) cf. Sanhedrin Jud. p. 88
13. THE SOULS OF CHRISTIANS ARE EVIL AND UNCLEAN
The teaching of the Jews is that God created two natures,
one good and the other evil, or one nature with two sides, one clean and
the other unclean. From the unclean side, called Keliphah—rind,
or scabby crust—the souls of Christians are said to have come.
In Zohar (I, 131a) it says:
"Idolatrous people, however, since they exist, befoul
the world, because their souls come out of the unclean side."
And in Emek Hammelech (23d) it says:
"The souls of the impious come from Keliphah,
which is death and the shadows of death."
Zohar (I, 46b, 47a) goes on to show that this unclean
side is the left side, from which the souls of Christians come:
"And he created every living thing, that is,
the Israelites, because they are the children of the Most High God, and
their holy souls come out from Him. But where do the souls of the idolatrous
gentiles come from? Rabbi Eliezer says: from the left side, which makes
their souls unclean. They are therefore all unclean and they pollute all
who come in contact with them."
14. AFTER DEATH THEY GO DOWN TO HELL
The Elders teach that Abraham sits at the gate of Gehenna
and prevents any circumcized person from entering there; but that all the
uncircumcized go down to hell.
In Rosch Haschanach (17a) it says:
"Heretics and Epicureans and Traitors go down into
15. THE FATE OF DEAD CHRISTIANS
The bodies of Christians after death are called by the
odious name of Pegarim, which is the word used in Holy Scripture
for the dead bodies of the damned and of animals, but never for the pious
dead who are called Metim. Thus the Schulchan Arukh orders
that a dead Christian must be spoken of in the same way as a dead animal.
In Iore Dea (377,1) it says:
"Condolences must not be offered to anyone on account
of the death of his servants or handmaidens. All that may be said is 'May
God restore your lost one, the same as we say to a man who has lost a cow
or an ass.' "
Nor must Christians be avoided for seven days after they
have buried someone, as the law of Moses commands, since they are not men;
for the burial of an animal does not pollute one.
In Iebhammoth (61a) it says:
"The Nokhrim are not rendered unclean by a
burial. For it is said: Ye are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture; ye
are men. You are thus called men, but not the Nokhrim."