The concept of the “Righteous Gentile” is originally rooted in the Torah’s recognition that members of other nations can serve the G-d of Israel by accepting and faithfully observing the Noahide Commandments. Known as “Gerei Toshav” (resident foreigners) in ancient Israel, “pious people of the world” were honored for renouncing idolatry and attaching their destiny to the Jewish nation.
In modern times, the term was applied to people who saved Jews from genocide during the Holocaust, regardless of whether they accepted the seven laws of Noah; but more recently it has been imbued with political connotations by those seeking Jewish validation for partisan agendas. For many secular liberals, the term refers to those who embody progressive ideals that are often inconsistent with or extraneous to Torah values.
To determine who can truly be called a Righteous Gentile, one must understand the scriptural basis and historical evolution of the concept and the character of those to whom it traditionally applied.
Given its classical meaning, the term would certainly include Noahides who reject idolatry and embrace the Torah. Their virtue is reflected not only in their faith, but in their recognition of the Jews as a “light unto the nations” and passionate belief in Jewish spiritual and national integrity. Many of today’s B’nai Noach are outspoken in their support for Israel and opposition to the growing evangelical threat against Israeli and Diaspora Jewry…
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