Oct 14, 2009

Interesting Psak from Rav Elyashiv: Davening on behalf of a non-Jew

The Director of Lev Malka, Rav Aharon Aberman asked Rav Elyashiv a shailoh if he is allowed to daven on behalf of a non-Jew at the Kotel. A non-Jew, a Christian (religious presumably and based on the article I will assume Catholic) once donated to his organization for sick children with cancer, and he recently contacted them offering another donation. The condition he set was that they daven for him at the Kotel to succeed in his business.

Rav Aberman was uncomfortable with the condition and asked Rav Elyashiv if he is allowed to or not.

Rav Elyashiv answered that one is allowed to daven on behalf of a non-jew who believes in the God of the jews, and is not an idol-worshipper. One cannot daven on behalf of a non-jew who is an idol-worshiper. (source: TOG)

Personally I would not have thought of asking. I would have assumed that because of Darkei Shalom, if asked specifically, one is allowed to daven for a goy. Differentiating between an idol-worshiper and a non-idol worshiper is an interesting distinction, and makes me think that the goy in question was a Catholic, as we consider Catholics to be idol worshipers, while other Christians are not necessarily idol worshipers (for them to be Christians - for a Jew it would be).


  1. we daven for all sorts of political leaders who are goyyim (and in some case idolators)

  2. maybe you should stop doing so.. :-)

    who do we daven for regularly? shuls might say prayer for the government, but that is not for a specific non-Jew idol worshiper.

    who do we daven for?

  3. We say a prayer for the government which names positions.
    What about if the Non-Jew gives to an organization that promises to have a gadol pray for you?

    Joel Rich

  4. Joel - you mean if they donate to kupat Ha'Ir and dont say anything about not being non-Jewish? I guess that would work. but maybe the prayer would be ineffective...

  5. what's the hava aminah? at minimum, for a goy who believes in monotheism, it's alloweed. v'ho rayeh - they are allowed to bring a shelamim and one can bring it on their behalf. and the cohen must have kavanah as for who the korban is for and what it is, etc. as well we pray for the world and the oomos haolam every day.

  6. Why do you make a distinction between Catholics and other Christians? We hold like Tosafos that Christians are not ovdei avodah zarah and merely believe in shituf, which is assur for a Jew who's commanded in yichud Hashem but not for bnei Noach. This is how the Rema poskins in Shulchan Aruch – that we can do business with the non-Jews and don’t have to worry that they’ll make a shavuah to avodah zara. And Tosafos was certainly talking about Catholicism, because that’s all there was in their day and age.

  7. I dont remember the details right now, but I do remember that when we learned hilchos avoda zara there was such a distinction. Maybe we misunderstood te differences between Catholics and other strains of Christianity, but I remember we did differentiate and called Catholicism Avoda Zara even for a goy, while other strains are only for a Jew.

  8. We're allowed to daven for leaders as they have a din of melech as we find that Yaakov Avinu davened for Paroh.


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