Levels of acceptance
The levels of a Gentiles acceptance of the Commandments
- Unobservant Noachide (An Akum or Nokri) – A gentile who does not observe the seven commandments, i.e. an athiest, idol worshiper or practitioner of another religion.
- Observant Noachide (Righteous Noachide) – A Righteous Gentile who observes the seven commandments and does what the law requires of him.
- Noachide Chassid (Pious Noachide) – A Pious Gentile who ‘goes beyond the letter of the law’ and what is required of him.
- Ger Toshav – A resident stranger (gentile) in the Holy Land, who observed the seven commandments – Not applicable until the Moshiach comes.
- Ger Tzadek – A righteous stranger – a gentile who fully converts and takes on the status and commandments of a Jew.
- Chochmei Umos HaOlam – A wise gentile, a gentile who fulfills the Seven Commandments out of intellectual conviction.
- Chasidei Umot HaOlam – The Pious among the Gentiles, individuals who accept the Seven Commandments with proper intent, but do not formalize their acceptance.
- Ger Toshav – A resident alien who makes a formal commitment in the presence of a Beth Din. [N.B. Currently in this Era nobody can become a Ger Toshav, until the Jubilee Year is reintroduced in Israel when the King Moshiach comes].
In biblical times a Gentile who observed the seven Noachide laws in the Holy Land was regarded as a resident alien or Ger Toshav in Hebrew. (גֵר תּוֹשָׁב)
The Gemara (Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 64b) quotes three opinions regarding who is a Ger Toshav, and they are:
- Rebbi Meir maintains that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri (stranger) who accepts upon himself, in front of three “Chaverim” (Talmidei Chachamim), not to worship idols.
- The Chachamim say that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts upon himself to observe the seven Mitzvos of Bnei Noach.
- Acherim maintain that the above opinions are incorrect, and that a Ger Toshav is a Nochri who accepts all of the Mitzvos except for not eating Neveilos (animals that were not slaughtered properly).