Complimenting Non-Jews

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Source

  1. One is forbidden to give a compliment to a non-Jew or to his actions.[1] One is forbidden to bless a non-Jew.[2]
    1. Some explain that this by all non-Jews except for a ger toshav.[3]
    2. Others explain that this only applies to idolaters[4]
    3. Others explain that this only applied to the seven nations that inhabited the land of Israel in the days of Yehoshua.[5]
  2. The prohibition is about the complimenting, not about the non-Jew benefiting. Therefore, it applies even if the non-Jew does not receive benefit.[6]
  3. The prohibition is only to express the praise, but thinking it is permissible.[7]
  4. Some permit praising a non-Jew if you don't really feel that way.[8]

Exceptions

  1. It is permissible to praise a non-Jew as a form of praise of God.[9]
  2. It is permissible to praise a non-Jew as a springboard to praising a Jew.[10]
  3. One may praise a non-Jew for good deeds he did for a Jew.[11] One may also pray for such a person.[12]
  4. One should pray and say kaddish for a non Jewish parent.[13]
  5. Some only praising an individual non-Jew, but allow praising a nation.[14] Others prohibit this as well.[15]
  6. Some only prohibit praising something that is uniquely not Jewish, but if it relates to the Torah it is permissible.[16]
  7. Some allow praising the wisdom of a non-Jew.[17]
  8. Some allow praising a non-Jew if there is no personal connection.[18]
  9. Some allow praising a non-Jew after he dies.[19]
  10. Some only prohibit praising a non-Jew with above normal abilities.[20]
  11. Some allow complementing a non-Jew if you have an ulterior motive.[21]

Links

  1. Rabbi Aryeh Lebowitz - Lo Sechaneim - Gifts and Compliments to Gentiles
  2. Rabbi Chaim Goldberg - Bein Yisroel L'Nochri Siman 28 page 394

Sources

  1. Avoda Zara 20b quoting Devarim 7:2. Rambam Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 10:4. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 151:14. Rav Moshe Feinstein (Igros Moshe O.C. 2:51) says this is specifically by non-Jews, but does not apply to irreligious Jews.
  2. Magen Avraham O.C. 189:1 says that when there is a non-Jew in the house, one must change the text of the Harachaman in Birkat HaMazon to kulanu yachad benay bris. The Taz says to say kulanu benay bris yachad
  3. Tosfos Avoda Zara 20a s.v. d'amar. Beis Yosef C.M. 249. Shach Y.D. 151:18. Sma C.M. 249:2 explains that a ger toshav is a person who accepts the sheva mitzvos bnei noach and we are therefore obligated to provide for him if he doesn't have and are allowed to give him gifts. However, one who doesn't abide by the sheva mitzvos can only be sold to
  4. Meiri Avoda Zara 20a, Shut HaRashba 1:8, and Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 426. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yalkut Yosef Kitzur Shulchan Aruch O.C. 328 and Yabia Omer Y.D. 10:41 expands this to any law abiding non-Jew who believes in God). Shut Titz Eliezer 15:47:5
  5. Torah Temimah in Devarim 7:2. Titz Eliezer 15:47 says this is not accepted as it is against the rishonim
  6. Avoda Berura Avoda Zara 20 Sefer HaChinuch 426 explains the reason for the prohibition is because by praising them, you’ll feel closer to them, and come to assimilate. The Sefer Charedim Mitzvos Lo Saseh 1:33 says therefore the prohibition primarily depends on your thoughts and emotions.
  7. Titz Eliezer 15:47 quoting from Rav Shalom Shulal (Sefer Naveh Shalom 24). However, he notes that some argue, so it is appropriate to be strict.
  8. Titz Eliezer 15:47 quoting from Rav Shalom Shulal (Sefer Naveh Shalom 24)
  9. Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 151:14. Shut Btzel HaChochma 1:46. Shut Titz Eliezer 15:47:4
  10. Sefer HaChinuch Mitzvah 426. Shut Titz Eliezer 15:47:3. Shut Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 4:197 recommends adding this if you praise a non-Jew
  11. Sefer Chasidim 746 uses this to explain how we can say Charvona Zachur LaTov on Purim after the Megillah reading
  12. Sefer HaChasidim 790. See Rav Chaim Palagi (Shut Chaim BiYad Siman 33) where he brings a proof from Elisha curing Naaman Rav Yitzchak Atiah (Rov Dagan Kuntres Os L'Tovah 45) quoted by Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Daas 6:60) says that if you don't know the non-Jew, you may pray that they return to do the proper thing and feel better.
  13. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Daas 6:60)
  14. Titz Eliezer 15:47 quoting from Rav Chaim Palagi (Nishmas Kol Chai 1:54)
  15. Titz Eliezer 15:47 quoting from the Gra Gemorah Shabbos 33b. Rav Menashe Klein (Shut Mishna Halachot 10:111) says that one cannot call his food after a non-Jewish country (i.e. Chinese food) as this is a form of praise
  16. Shut Titz Eliezer 15:47 quoting from Rav Chaim Palagi (Nishmas Kol Chai 1:54). The Titz Eliezer concludes that therefore we should praise those who have a medical breakthrough.
  17. Shut Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 4:197 bases this on the idea of Medrash Eicha Rabah 2:13 that we should believe that the nations of the world have wisdom. This also explains how the Rambam would compliment Aristotle's wisdom. However, it is always advisable to use the praise as a springboard for the Jews by adding "but not as smart as our sages."
  18. Shut Teshuvos V'Hanhagos 4:197 as you will not come closer to him
  19. Avoda Berurah Avoda Zara 20 as we no longer have to worry about becoming to involved with the non-Jew.
  20. Shut Divrei Yatziv 10:43
  21. Rabbi Pinchas Zvichi (Shut Ateret Paz E.H. 1:3:5) allows one to put up a sign lilu nishmot soldiers of the Israeli army including a non-Jew. He adds that there is also an additional concern of maintaining peace. On the other hand, Rabbi Amram Bloom (Shut Beit Shearim Y.D. 227) says one shouldn't facilitate a relationship between non-Jews even though he will be making money as he will likely come to praise them.