Who is considered Hebrew?

This page is a summary of requirements to be considered Torah observant Hebrew.

1) Your male ancestors must be Hebrew. Written Torah defines lineage according to the father (Exodus 6:15, Numbers 1:2-4), so you can only be considered Hebrew if your father was Hebrew. You can use this company or this company to do a quick and relatively cheap DNA test that will tell you for sure if you are Hebrew or not. Family tradition, especially rabbinic/religious tradition, IS NOT an indicator of being a Hebrew. So you must do a DNA test to be certain. Blood is the ONLY indicator permitted by the Written Torah.

2) Circumcision. You must be circumcised because circumcision is a sign of the covenant between God and man (Genesis 17:9-14) and because you can't observe commandments if you are not circumcised (I.e., Exodus 12:44). Also, check out Proper Circumcision post.

3) First-born Redemption. If you are first-born, you must be redeemed. Torah requires giving of 5 Shekels of Silver to a Priest, son of Aaron (I.e., Numbers 18:15-16). You can find a Priest (Kohen) in most (Ultra)Orthodox Synagogues. You can find more information about it in this post. And please note that the silver coins that you buy must be without graven images of other gods, so check out my Gift Shop for one without this problem and with the Torah theme. You must redeem your first-born male child as well.

4) Written Torah (Pentateuch) ONLY observance. You have to live by and follow ONLY the Written Torah as it states numerous times in Deuteronomy 17:18-20, 28:58, 28:61, 29:21, 30:10. For example, most Levites and Cohanim DO NOT have any authority to interpret the Torah or lead the people because they all follow something else than the Written Torah.

If you have satisfied these four requirements, you are considered Torah observant Hebrew, a native of the Land, and you are entitled to the Land Inheritance of the tribe to which you belong.

The only difference between observant sojourner (non-Hebrew/ger, whose father is not Hebrew) and the Hebrew/native is the Land Inheritance. Sojourners are NOT entitled to the land inheritance, while natives are. Otherwise, sojourners are required to live by and follow the Written Torah ONLY just like natives. (I.e., Exodus 12:49). And sojourners are allowed to bring offerings to God just like natives.

Further important reading:

How does Torah define lineage?
Who are Hebrews forbidden to marry?
Does maternal lineage matters?
Israelite and Tribal Ancestry are both through the Father's Line

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