Conversion (geirut) is a purely halakhic concept. It is not subject to substitution or punditry (parshanut). It is thus mandatory that geirut be in accordance with the halakha as explained by Maimonides and the Shulchan Arukh a. A convert who was circumcised and immersed but did not accept the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, is not a convert at all. Even if he accepted the mitzvot upon himself, if it was not in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, it is meaningless…

Kol HaRav: Ruling of Rav Ovadia Yosef and Rav Shlomo Amar on Conversions

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Posted here (link):

Conversion (geirut) is a purely halakhic concept. It is not subject to substitution or punditry (parshanut). It is thus mandatory that geirut be in accordance with the halakha as explained by Maimonides and the Shulchan Arukh

a. A convert who was circumcised and immersed but did not accept the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, is not a convert at all. Even if he accepted the mitzvot upon himself, if it was not in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, it is meaningless…

Continued here: link

About Gil Student

Rabbi Gil Student is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of TorahMusings.com, a leading website on Orthodox Jewish scholarly subjects, and the Book Editor of the Orthodox Union’s Jewish Action magazine. He writes a popular column on issues of Jewish law and thought featured in newspapers and magazines, including The Jewish Link, The Jewish Echo and The Vues. In the past, he has served as the President of the small Jewish publisher Yashar Books and as the Managing Editor of OU Press. Rabbi Student serves on the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America. He also serves on the Editorial Boards of Jewish Action magazine, the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society and the Achieve Journal of Behavioral Health, Religion & Community, as well as the Board of OU Press. He has published five English books, the most recent titled Search Engine volume 2: Finding Meaning in Jewish Texts -- Jewish Leadership, and served as the American editor for Morasha Kehillat Yaakov: Essays in Honour of Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks.

66 comments

  1. Shteit: c. Similarly, they will examine his motives and objectives for conversion. They will examine whether he is sincere in saying that he accepts the Torah and mitzvot upon himself, and is not deceiving the rabbinical court.

    d. If their assessment is that he will certainly not uphold the mitzvot, they should not accept him as a convert.

    That’s great for defining policy, but no one (AFAIK) argues about lekhatchilah. The question is bedi’eved — once a beis din goofed, and converted someone who never accepted mitzvos, is it me’aqev.

    Most hold that it is, the Bach says the Rambam says otherwise — but that’s not the only way to read the Rambam, nor does the Bach himself hold like his understanding of the Rambam. R’ Uzziel says qabbalas ol mitzvos was a shorthand for peoplehood, since until recently (in Jewish history scale of time) there was no way to be one of the crowd without being observant.

    In the Langer case, R’ Goren argued that he had sufficient proof that the first husband never accepted ol mitzvos, and therefore was never a Jew. (And therefore wasn’t her first husband lehalakhah, and therefore the children of the 2nd husband weren’t mamzeirim.) R’ Elyashiv argued that there was no such proof, and it’s quite likely the man did accept mitzvos but only later changed his mind. But both sides took for granted that had one could know that he never accepted mitzvos to begin with, the conversion would not be valid.

    This letter doesn’t touch this point at all, but this is the issue underlying the current conversion controversy.

    -micha

  2. From the aforementioned ruling above by Rav Amar:

    Regarding army conversions, it is clear that in addition to the circumcision and immersion being in the presence of a lawful rabbinical court of three, each convert accepts the yoke of Torah and the yoke of the mitzvot upon himself in the presence of a rabbinical court of three. This is after they are taught the rudiments of the mitzvot, as is known, are tested, and spend time with Torah- and mitzva-observant families who have even recommended them.”

    This is where he is very much mistaken. The majority of army “converts” do NOT actually accept (despite mouthing any never-intending agreement to) or ever intend to adhere to the mitzvos.

  3. Should the Dayyanim who failed in their duty to avoid being fooled, when anyone with any sense knows that the Gerim, by and large, have no plans to perform Mitzvos, continue in their positions? Certainly there are bigger Chachamim and Nevonim than they…

  4. >This letter doesn’t touch this point at all, but this is the issue underlying the current conversion controversy.

    The issue here for them is mumchim, which is an elastic term which will allow them to essentially rule whatever they like in any case which ever will happen, bediavad.

  5. Who knows what is in the heart of man?
    Joseph -how do you know what is in the heart of the Gerim?
    That is why there is a Beis Din.

  6. Joseph,

    Do you have any actual proof for your assertion? Keep in mind that these people volunteered to go through the conversion process; most of their compatriots simply opt out.

  7. Who knows what is in the heart of man?
    Joseph -how do you know what is in the heart of the Gerim?

    Well, if the first meal after the conversion is a cheeseburger, that might clue you in that there was no acceptance of the yoke of mitzvos.

  8. Tal,

    Was this the case with the army converts?

  9. Tal Benschar-
    Bring your evidence to Rav Amar.
    The army does not serve cheeseburgers.All the food is kosher.
    Your accusations against a Gadol are not understandable.

  10. Micha, R.Goren ztl used a different argument as well. he created doubt if the giur actually occured before a valid BD. since this was a case of mamzeirut, he felt between the possibility of NO giur or a likely a SHAM geirut he had basis to be matir the children. Others (including an expert in Rambam) agreed with him.

    He was castigated by some for his dismissive manner, something I can understand. he was opposed by others for overturning a geirut, something that stands as living testament to the derech of chareidi leadership. i guess they feel that consistency is the hobgoblin of (only) small minds.

  11. Bring your evidence to Rav Amar.
    The army does not serve cheeseburgers.All the food is kosher.
    Your accusations against a Gadol are not understandable.

    You seem to have misunderstood my comment, which was directed to you, not R. Amar. You asked how one can what is in the heart of a person. The answer is to look at his or her behavior.

    I have no first hand knowledge of how observant these converts are. There are apparently many in EY who do who are very skeptical. I recently received the following as part of an email posting, make of it what you will:

    A recently published study entitled Megilat Gerut, ostensibly intended to help the Israeli conversion programmes by presenting the real facts, shows that the declared purpose of the system is to ease the demands on prospective converts. The book includes extensive interviews, conducted by a woman who has taught at the Conversion Institutes for 20 years, with female conversion candidates from around the country who underwent government-sponsored conversion. The in-depth investigation reveals that
    only a small percentage of these converts described themselves as observant,while the vast majority admitted they never intended to keep mitzvot andwere “part of a system that has a whole lot of hypocrisy, and the pretences continued at the home of the host family and in the beit din … the moment you leave the beit din you resume your normal life.” Other women recounted living two separate lives. “Most of the people who come out of the
    Conversion Institutes are not religious; everyone is acting.” These
    revelations add further credence to the failure of the special conversion courts, where most conversion candidates never planned to keep Torah and mitzvot.

  12. tal benschar, i assume you know about the wife of the russian brother of a chareidi gadol that R. druckman would not convert. his chareidi buddies gave the wife a quickie conversion. IMHO< eating a chesseburger was not the wife's worse sin.

    rav druckman's allies are too western/polite to name names. the sephardi leadership does not suffer abuse so easily.

  13. Tal Benschar,

    If you think that conversions done privately throughout Jewish history were any better, you have another thing coming. See here for a frank description of the issue:

    http://aiwac.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/a-sober-assessment-of-conversion-in-israel/

  14. Maybe it’s happened, but I imagine it’s not usually as clear-cut as a ger driving from the Beit Din to the cheeseburger place.

    What if the ger lights Chanuka candles that night, but is then seen driving a car on Shabbat? If a ger has accepted that he is now beholden to Torah and Mitzvot, but is still not fully observant so he performs some mitzvot but not others, should that be enough to retroactively annul the conversion? Rav Rakeffet has touched on this issue in recent shiurim on YUtorah and quotes sources that basically say when someone converts, they convert to what they think a Jew is (he quotes a gemara about a convert who converted somewhere where there were no Jews and therefore didn’t know about Shabbat). So somebody that converts and then behaves like Bibi Netanyahu for example, is still a 100% valid (though perhaps not ideal) convert. As long as the ger performs some mitzvot, that means there’s room to grow, just like the rest of us.

    It seems ROY (and Rav Amar) feel the best course of action with the current situation is to cast as wide a net as reasonably possible within the halachic system for people that want to be considered Jewish. IMHO they’re absolutely right to do so.

  15. tal benschar, i assume you know about the wife of the russian brother of a chareidi gadol that R. druckman would not convert. his chareidi buddies gave the wife a quickie conversion. IMHO< eating a chesseburger was not the wife's worse sin

    I know of no such thing, but let’s assume it is true. And the point is what, exactly? Some Charedi abused halakha once, so therefore let’s turn a blind eye to (alleged) systematic abuse by another group, or the IDF Rabbinate?

    Does that work in any other context? If a Charedi institution is caught defrauding the government out of funds, does that justify systematic fraud by a non-Charedi yeshiva?

  16. Tal, I think you’re conflating 2 issues.

    The point of that example, I believe, is to show that it’s absolutely ridiculous and hypocritical for the Chareidi establishment to be outraged and on a witch-hunt for what they consider sub-par conversions, only when it was performed by a Religious Zionist/IDF Beit Din.

    Should we have higher standards le-chatchila for acceptance into the IDF conversion program? Maybe, but that’s an entirely separate discussion.

  17. “Some Charedi abused halakha once”

    No, it was abused many times. It’s just that most cases are hushed up.

  18. “Does that work in any other context? If a Charedi institution is caught defrauding the government out of funds, does that justify systematic fraud by a non-Charedi yeshiva?”

    No, it means that you stop having a double standard, which most Charedi critics of Rabbinate circles are guilty of perpetually.

    BTW, could you quote the statistics from the book exactly? I want to check it for myself.

  19. The allegtion of Chareidi double-standard are false. Nevertheless, even if true, the problem is when the “Chareidi” falsely accepted a non-true convert. That does not make kosher when the non-chareidim falsely accept a non-true convert.

    Rav Rakeffet has touched on this issue in recent shiurim on YUtorah and quotes sources that basically say when someone converts, they convert to what they think a Jew is (he quotes a gemara about a convert who converted somewhere where there were no Jews and therefore didn’t know about Shabbat). So somebody that converts and then behaves like Bibi Netanyahu for example, is still a 100% valid (though perhaps not ideal) convert.

    No true Beis Din would allow a potential convert to mistakenly think Bibi Netanyahu acts or behaves in a Jewish manner.

  20. Just to register that one of ROY’s predecessors, R. Uziel, had a far more liberal view in regard to conversion. I have provided links in the concurrent thread: https://www.torahmusings.com/2011/02/conversion-and-hillel/

  21. Dr. Bill, your contention that the current Hareidi rabbinic leadership is inconsistent on giyur needs modification. If Harav Elyashiv is to be the prime example, he is perfectly consistent – he is machmir. In the Langer case, he was machmir on safek giyur and mamzerut, and in more current cases he is simply machmir and presumes that thousands of giyur weren’t done with kabbalat mitzvot at the time of giyur – notwithstanding historical facts to the contrary. Not to mention our inability to truly know what is in the mind of a giyur candidate – particularly someone whom we do not know. Then it becomes a question as to whether the giyur bet din was legitimate or not. It is a novel doctrine that those batei din comprised of observant Jews who are familiar with hilchot geirut are, nonetheless, illegitimate if they disagree with a particular point of view.

  22. Historically, when it was socially disadvantageous and even dangerous to be Jewish, converts were more likely to have sincerely accepted the binding nature of Jewish law; at least they made a break with their former religions, lifestyles, and even families. Today, many if not most most conversions are done in order to facilitate intermarriage. Even with ulterior motives, some converts do decide to observe Jewish laws and customs. That would be evidence of sincere conversion. However, if a convert is known to ignore Jewish laws and customs immediately or very soon after conversion, then isn’t that evidence that no real conversion took place? Even those who accept conversion without nominal observance, should acknowledge the doubtful Jewish status of these converts, and the harm it will do. (1) These converts will be committing more sins as non-observant Jews than as gentiles. (2) Simple Jews who marry these converts may actually be intermarrying. (3) Future offspring from these unions will have doubtful Jewish status. (4) A new schism may develop, destroying Jewish unity.

  23. Can those who are stating that army converts don’t observe the mitzvot immediately after their conversion, can they please explain how they know this? Were you in an army unit that had many converts through the army rabbinate and you observed it firsthand? Please don’t cite anything said by a rabbi who has never been in the army and in whose circles no one has ever served in the army.

    Further, if the number of army converts is as high as I understand it to be, even assuming that most are not valid, mustn’t there be SOMEONE who did it sincerely, and if so, how can anyone claim they are ALL invalid.

  24. I should clarify that my last post wasn’t meant to denigrate rabbis who don’t serve in the army (in my view there should be at least as much of an exception for extraordinary talmidei chachamim serving in the army as there is for extraordinary soccer players so all the ‘gedolim’ are off the hook in my book), I am just looking for someone to provide first hand knowledge of the situation, or a report from someone who has first hand knowledge, and explain how the knowledge was obtained.

  25. Y Aharon: “If Harav Elyashiv is to be the prime example, he is perfectly consistent – he is machmir.”

    Respectfully, that in itself is not consistency. If you have to assume contradictory positions and come to opposite inferences to reach a desired goal you are not being consistent. Please note, I am not trying to attack RYSE, merely Y Aharon’s interpretation of his position.

  26. Canuck: the R. Uziel piskei halacha are responsive to the point you raise, as I understand them from the literature (I have not read them myself).

  27. Y aharon, As snag said, to be machmir is fine; nonetheless he is inconsistent. Besides, this is not how poskim traditionally behaved except when being machmir for themselves. furthermore, to be machmir in a case of mamzeirut and with the same logic not be maikil based on the history of jewish oppression in communist Russia, is not just inconsistent but indicative of a view that some might attribute to an anti-zionist bias. Given, R. Elyashiv’s age and his reliance on others for facts, this reflects more on others who independantly agree, than on him.

  28. >However, if a convert is known to ignore Jewish laws and customs immediately or very soon after conversion, then isn’t that evidence that no real conversion took place?

    Is there some kind of period of time when converts receive their yetzer ha-ra like everyone else? I don’t ask this facetiously.

  29. S.: > Is there some kind of period of time when converts receive their yetzer ha-ra like everyone else? I don’t ask this facetiously.

    What are you talking about? Why would a convert receive a new yetzer ha-ra (bad inclination)? Like everyone else, he is born with it. Are you are implying that a recent convert who doesn’t observe Jewish laws is simply giving in to his urges, but this says nothing about his sincerity at the time of conversion? If he sins, but feels remorse, then maybe he really is Jewish. But, if he scoffs, or claims he is not sinning, then why assume he was sincere at the time of conversion?

  30. The Rambam can be read only one way. A mistake is unalterable. If someone claims to take on the mitzvot and is accepted he is a convert. End of story. The idea of an ex post facto right to de convert a Jew is a modern innovation that has no basis whatsoever in Halacha. Sorry guys. Facts are facts.

  31. >What are you talking about? Why would a convert receive a new yetzer ha-ra (bad inclination)? Like everyone else, he is born with it. Are you are implying that a recent convert who doesn’t observe Jewish laws is simply giving in to his urges, but this says nothing about his sincerity at the time of conversion? If he sins, but feels remorse, then maybe he really is Jewish. But, if he scoffs, or claims he is not sinning, then why assume he was sincere at the time of conversion?

    What I’m saying is that people sin. Mumar le-teyavon is a relatively weak category of sinner precisely because Razal understood that the heart is willing, but the flesh weak. People sin, and that’s understandable.

    Is it okay if it takes a week? I was born Jewish, and there’s no period of time needed for me to abstain from sinning to prove anything. If it took a convert a year, presumably we will agree that he was sincere and is just sinning out of weakness like most people who sin. What about six months? Six weeks? Surely there is some point where we can’t say that his sinning reveals his intent. I know that logically it shouldn’t be six minutes after the conversion, but what about six days? Where do we draw the line so that we can really say that we know what his intent was, rather than that he was weak, just like any normal person can succumb?

  32. The IDF is no place for conversions. Soldiers can convert before joining up, or after discharge, where they sould seek guidance and mentorship from local community rabbis.

    David S: We’re not talking about revoking a conversion (which is impossible as you suggest). We’re talking about how to determine if a real conversion (of the heart) took place. Some of us accept that the forms of conversion are sufficient. Others believe that sincerity is required, otherwise the conversion never took place.

  33. Canuck-Because te Beis Din said he is a ger.
    We follow the Beis Din BECAUSE WE CANNOT READ PEOPLE’S HEARTS.

  34. “Rav Rakeffet has touched on this issue in recent shiurim on YUtorah and quotes sources that basically say when someone converts, they convert to what they think a Jew is (he quotes a gemara about a convert who converted somewhere where there were no Jews and therefore didn’t know about Shabbat). So somebody that converts and then behaves like Bibi Netanyahu for example, is still a 100% valid (though perhaps not ideal) convert.”

    IMHO the above is not inconsistent with the psak the Rav gave once. Fact pattern -a couple “convert” via a Reform conversion, then get “married” by a Reform Rabbi. Couple gets a civil divorce-wife wants to get married again and is in contact with an Orthodox Rabbi. The Rabbi asks the Rav the sheilah and is told that the women hasto get at least a get mesafek.
    The Rav was choshed that the women when converting accepted what she thought was Torah and thus was choshed that there was proper acceptance of mitzvot-this is despite the factthat a Reform Rabbi wouldn’t have instructed the convert on Taharas Mishpacha etc. BTW-the problem of edus and how could the Reform Rabbi be a witness-the Rav was afraid the Reform Rabbi didn’t reject Halacha-he was afraid he was an am haaretz in which case the edus could have been valid.

  35. >S. Is it okay if it takes a week?

    I also don’t know how long it takes to be sure a convert is sincere. But, you seem to acknowledge that there is a duration after conversion when a convert’s actions can determine his initial sincerity. This is an issue for the rabbis to determine. If the rabbis are bringing in converts who don’t believe in G-d or who don’t want to observe the commandments, then they are doing a great disservice to the nation. That there is a major dispute on this is amazing. This could devolve into a major uncertainty as to who is a Jew.

  36. > daat y:Canuck-Because te Beis Din said he is a ger.
    We follow the Beis Din BECAUSE WE CANNOT READ PEOPLE’S HEARTS.

    daat y: If you accept these IDF converts, would you eat in their homes? Would you allow your children to marry them? Would you give them an aliya in your synagogue?

  37. “daat y: If you accept these IDF converts, would you eat in their homes? Would you allow your children to marry them? Would you give them an aliya in your synagogue?”

    I don’t know how daat y will answer but here are mine: sure, if the house is kosher; putting aside the word “allow,” the fact that person was an IDF convert wouldn’t affect what I would think about the match; of course (if the convert is male, unless it’s in a Shirah Chadasha minyan :-)).

  38. Joseph Kaplan: I was referring to converts who do not keep kosher and do not observe the Sabbath.

  39. “We’re talking about how to determine if a real conversion (of the heart) took place. Some of us accept that the forms of conversion are sufficient. Others believe that sincerity is required, otherwise the conversion never took place.”

    This is sophistry. The conversion takes place if is recognized by witnesses who are qualified to judge and the convert is circumcized and immerses in a mikveh. Since the only way to know what is in the persons heart is to be that person (or to be Hashem) there is not such thing as the conversion not taking place. It is post facto at that time and the person is a proselyte. The IDF converts have been pronounced proselytes by a qualified judge. Whatever was in their hearts no longer matters. They have fulfilled the requirements and they are now in the club and are responsible to Hashem for non adherence. Any attempt to nullify based upon speculation as to what a person was thinking is an addition to the Torah and not in keeping with Halachic due process. Sorry.

  40. Canuck-Now you add on QUALIFICATIONS.
    WOULD YOU EAT IN A HOME THAT IS NOT KOSHER?OBVIOUSLY NOT.
    THE ISSUE IS IF THEY ARE SHOMER SHABBAT AND KOSHER NOW I WOULD EAT THERE.
    OF COURSE,I ONLY EAT BADATZ!-)

  41. Thank you Joseph Kaplan for your clear answer while I was away.If you cannot trust a Beis Din okayed by the Rabanut in Israel,we are in deep trouble.

  42. A good book to get a background on this topic is Conversion Halakhah and Practice by Menachem Finkelstein-BAr Ilan University Press.-translated from the Hebrew by EdwardLevin

  43. David S.: Were you trying to insult me by labelling my comments as sophistry? We obviously disagree on what makes a convert. How do you explain that leading rabbis in Israel are opposed to these IDF conversion courts, and consider many of those converts to be phoney?

  44. Doron Beckerman

    If a Beis Din validates Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Milah, when in fact the person cut his fingertip, it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    If a Beis Din validates Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Tevilah, when in fact he took a shower, it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    If a Beis Din accepts Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Kabbalas Ol Mitzvos, when in fact any 4 year old sitting in the Beis Din knows that the statement is a complete sham, Devarim Shebelibo Uvelev Kol Adam, Anan Sahadei that the guy will drive on Yom Kippur to get a ham sandwich, then it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    Beis Din cannot validate Geirus against an objective reality, and their validation is batel k’afra d’ar’a.

    The only question is whether there is any credible safek as to the kabbalas ol Mitzvos of the IDF gerim. .

  45. I understand Rav Amsellam’s shitta loud and clear. He says that even if the candidates are just giving lip service they are still Jewish. I can get down with that. I do not understand Rav Amar’s position in light of the fact that it can be presumed that most candidates from the FSU are not really intending to be observant.

    I am confused as to what Rav Ovadiah really holds in general because he just has not been consistantly spelling it out.

  46. There are a few misconceptions in these discussions:

    a) who can know what is in their hearts: This whole idea is incorrect. One of the most important points for a Beit Din to be present at the gerut and Kabbalat mitzvot (which is meakev the presence of beit and “bayom” according to everyone as ruled in SA) is so that they verify that the person is actually sincere in the commitment to observe.

    b) There is a huge misconception that it is clear that the Bach read the Rambam not to require kabbalat mitzvot. If one reads the bach meticulously he will see that the bach meant was that there is no need that *at the time of tevilah* that there be kabbalat mitzvot.

    c) It is clear that the Shuclhan Aruch (which all yidden follow their pssak) holds that the Rembam (and others) hold that kabbalat mtizvot is leikuva and for a Beit Din to be present at that time.

    d) Another misconception: that in *all cases* the gerut does not stand to be assseed. It is simply not true. Shulchan Aruch (and Rambam) rule that in cases where there is reason to suspect that the gerut gerut was done for ulterior motive, then “chosshin loy ad shetitbaer tzidkatoy” we are choshesh for the grut (which many/most hold that there is doubt to his conversion) until we verify his righteousness. This btw, disproves completely that all that is necessary for kabbalat mitzvot and gerut is “lip service” (amsalem’s position).

    e) It is worthwhile to remind people: RISHONIM (tossafot, ritva, rashba and many more) state that the Kutim had to reconvert (mass reconversion) because their initial conversion was not “belev shalem”. (Rav Kook states that this is NOT only wrt to the sin of avoda zarah). All those who talk that there is no such thing of “canceling” conversions in jewish history and halacha should look at these texts.

  47. >e) It is worthwhile to remind people: RISHONIM (tossafot, ritva, rashba and many more) state that the Kutim had to reconvert (mass reconversion) because their initial conversion was not “belev shalem”. (Rav Kook states that this is NOT only wrt to the sin of avoda zarah). All those who talk that there is no such thing of “canceling” conversions in jewish history and halacha should look at these texts.

    The Kutim were a kat – always a kat. It’s not a precedent.

  48. “he is perfectly consistent…In the Langer case, he was machmir on safek giyur and mamzerut, and in more current cases he is simply machmir and presumes that thousands of giyur weren’t done with kabbalat mitzvot at the time of giyur”

    From what I understand, we always try to be mekel in cases of mamzerut, and look for a way out. Of course, it’s got to be done halachically. I’m not sure, if we can therefore declare R’ Elyashiv machmir on mamzerut. Rather, he wasn’t going to declare Borokovsky’s gerut null & void after the fact. And that’s where the inconsistency would lie.
    Don’t forget that not only was Borokovsky not observant, he identified himself as a Christian. That’s worse than an insufficient kabbalat mitzvot, since it means he never desired to identify himself as Jewish. That’s not the case with today’s “converts”. Also, R’ Goren cast doubt as to whether any conversion ceremony, legitimate or not, actually took place.
    There are thus two main differences between the Langer case, and out dilemma:
    1) Borokovsky’s conversion was more problematic- he identified as non-Jewish, and the conversion may not have even occured.
    2) It was a case of mamzerut, where there is motivation to mekel. (I presume that the kind of doubts and leniencies that arise in the case of mamzerut may not apply elsewhere. Can someone verify this?)
    That being the case, I fail to see where R’ Elyashiv is being consistent.

  49. Kol HaRav: Ruling of Rav Ovadia Yosef and Rav Shlomo Amar on Conversions
    February 16, 2011

    Posted here (link):

    Conversion (geirut) is a purely halakhic concept. It is not subject to substitution or punditry (parshanut). It is thus mandatory that geirut be in accordance with the halakha as explained by Maimonides and the Shulchan Arukh

    a. A convert who was circumcised and immersed but did not accept the commandments (mitzvot) of the Torah in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, is not a convert at all. Even if he accepted the mitzvot upon himself, if it was not in the presence of three who are qualified to judge, it is meaningless…

    Continued here: link
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    49 Responses to Kol HaRav: Ruling of Rav Ovadia Yosef and Rav Shlomo Amar on Conversions

    1.
    micha on February 16, 2011 at 11:17 am

    Shteit: c. Similarly, they will examine his motives and objectives for conversion. They will examine whether he is sincere in saying that he accepts the Torah and mitzvot upon himself, and is not deceiving the rabbinical court.

    d. If their assessment is that he will certainly not uphold the mitzvot, they should not accept him as a convert.

    That’s great for defining policy, but no one (AFAIK) argues about lekhatchilah. The question is bedi’eved — once a beis din goofed, and converted someone who never accepted mitzvos, is it me’aqev.

    Most hold that it is, the Bach says the Rambam says otherwise — but that’s not the only way to read the Rambam, nor does the Bach himself hold like his understanding of the Rambam. R’ Uzziel says qabbalas ol mitzvos was a shorthand for peoplehood, since until recently (in Jewish history scale of time) there was no way to be one of the crowd without being observant.

    In the Langer case, R’ Goren argued that he had sufficient proof that the first husband never accepted ol mitzvos, and therefore was never a Jew. (And therefore wasn’t her first husband lehalakhah, and therefore the children of the 2nd husband weren’t mamzeirim.) R’ Elyashiv argued that there was no such proof, and it’s quite likely the man did accept mitzvos but only later changed his mind. But both sides took for granted that had one could know that he never accepted mitzvos to begin with, the conversion would not be valid.

    This letter doesn’t touch this point at all, but this is the issue underlying the current conversion controversy.

    -micha
    2.
    Joseph on February 16, 2011 at 11:28 am

    From the aforementioned ruling above by Rav Amar:

    Regarding army conversions, it is clear that in addition to the circumcision and immersion being in the presence of a lawful rabbinical court of three, each convert accepts the yoke of Torah and the yoke of the mitzvot upon himself in the presence of a rabbinical court of three. This is after they are taught the rudiments of the mitzvot, as is known, are tested, and spend time with Torah- and mitzva-observant families who have even recommended them.”

    This is where he is very much mistaken. The majority of army “converts” do NOT actually accept (despite mouthing any never-intending agreement to) or ever intend to adhere to the mitzvos.
    3.
    Alan on February 16, 2011 at 11:32 am

    Should the Dayyanim who failed in their duty to avoid being fooled, when anyone with any sense knows that the Gerim, by and large, have no plans to perform Mitzvos, continue in their positions? Certainly there are bigger Chachamim and Nevonim than they…
    4.
    S. on February 16, 2011 at 11:34 am

    >This letter doesn’t touch this point at all, but this is the issue underlying the current conversion controversy.

    The issue here for them is mumchim, which is an elastic term which will allow them to essentially rule whatever they like in any case which ever will happen, bediavad.
    5.
    daat y on February 16, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Who knows what is in the heart of man?
    Joseph -how do you know what is in the heart of the Gerim?
    That is why there is a Beis Din.
    6.
    aiwac on February 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Joseph,

    Do you have any actual proof for your assertion? Keep in mind that these people volunteered to go through the conversion process; most of their compatriots simply opt out.
    7.
    Tal Benschar on February 16, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Who knows what is in the heart of man?
    Joseph -how do you know what is in the heart of the Gerim?

    Well, if the first meal after the conversion is a cheeseburger, that might clue you in that there was no acceptance of the yoke of mitzvos.
    8.
    aiwac on February 16, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Tal,

    Was this the case with the army converts?
    9.
    daat y on February 16, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Tal Benschar-
    Bring your evidence to Rav Amar.
    The army does not serve cheeseburgers.All the food is kosher.
    Your accusations against a Gadol are not understandable.
    10.
    dr. bill on February 16, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Micha, R.Goren ztl used a different argument as well. he created doubt if the giur actually occured before a valid BD. since this was a case of mamzeirut, he felt between the possibility of NO giur or a likely a SHAM geirut he had basis to be matir the children. Others (including an expert in Rambam) agreed with him.

    He was castigated by some for his dismissive manner, something I can understand. he was opposed by others for overturning a geirut, something that stands as living testament to the derech of chareidi leadership. i guess they feel that consistency is the hobgoblin of (only) small minds.
    11.
    Tal Benschar on February 16, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Bring your evidence to Rav Amar.
    The army does not serve cheeseburgers.All the food is kosher.
    Your accusations against a Gadol are not understandable.

    You seem to have misunderstood my comment, which was directed to you, not R. Amar. You asked how one can what is in the heart of a person. The answer is to look at his or her behavior.

    I have no first hand knowledge of how observant these converts are. There are apparently many in EY who do who are very skeptical. I recently received the following as part of an email posting, make of it what you will:

    A recently published study entitled Megilat Gerut, ostensibly intended to help the Israeli conversion programmes by presenting the real facts, shows that the declared purpose of the system is to ease the demands on prospective converts. The book includes extensive interviews, conducted by a woman who has taught at the Conversion Institutes for 20 years, with female conversion candidates from around the country who underwent government-sponsored conversion. The in-depth investigation reveals that
    only a small percentage of these converts described themselves as observant,while the vast majority admitted they never intended to keep mitzvot andwere “part of a system that has a whole lot of hypocrisy, and the pretences continued at the home of the host family and in the beit din … the moment you leave the beit din you resume your normal life.” Other women recounted living two separate lives. “Most of the people who come out of the
    Conversion Institutes are not religious; everyone is acting.” These
    revelations add further credence to the failure of the special conversion courts, where most conversion candidates never planned to keep Torah and mitzvot.
    12.
    dr. bill on February 16, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    tal benschar, i assume you know about the wife of the russian brother of a chareidi gadol that R. druckman would not convert. his chareidi buddies gave the wife a quickie conversion. IMHO< eating a chesseburger was not the wife's worse sin.

    rav druckman's allies are too western/polite to name names. the sephardi leadership does not suffer abuse so easily.
    13.
    aiwac on February 16, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    Tal Benschar,

    If you think that conversions done privately throughout Jewish history were any better, you have another thing coming. See here for a frank description of the issue:

    http://aiwac.wordpress.com/2010/08/27/a-sober-assessment-of-conversion-in-israel/
    14.
    SB on February 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    Maybe it’s happened, but I imagine it’s not usually as clear-cut as a ger driving from the Beit Din to the cheeseburger place.

    What if the ger lights Chanuka candles that night, but is then seen driving a car on Shabbat? If a ger has accepted that he is now beholden to Torah and Mitzvot, but is still not fully observant so he performs some mitzvot but not others, should that be enough to retroactively annul the conversion? Rav Rakeffet has touched on this issue in recent shiurim on YUtorah and quotes sources that basically say when someone converts, they convert to what they think a Jew is (he quotes a gemara about a convert who converted somewhere where there were no Jews and therefore didn’t know about Shabbat). So somebody that converts and then behaves like Bibi Netanyahu for example, is still a 100% valid (though perhaps not ideal) convert. As long as the ger performs some mitzvot, that means there’s room to grow, just like the rest of us.

    It seems ROY (and Rav Amar) feel the best course of action with the current situation is to cast as wide a net as reasonably possible within the halachic system for people that want to be considered Jewish. IMHO they’re absolutely right to do so.
    15.
    Tal Benschar on February 16, 2011 at 1:55 pm

    tal benschar, i assume you know about the wife of the russian brother of a chareidi gadol that R. druckman would not convert. his chareidi buddies gave the wife a quickie conversion. IMHOHowever, if a convert is known to ignore Jewish laws and customs immediately or very soon after conversion, then isn’t that evidence that no real conversion took place?

    Is there some kind of period of time when converts receive their yetzer ha-ra like everyone else? I don’t ask this facetiously.
    29.
    Canuck on February 16, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    S.: > Is there some kind of period of time when converts receive their yetzer ha-ra like everyone else? I don’t ask this facetiously.

    What are you talking about? Why would a convert receive a new yetzer ha-ra (bad inclination)? Like everyone else, he is born with it. Are you are implying that a recent convert who doesn’t observe Jewish laws is simply giving in to his urges, but this says nothing about his sincerity at the time of conversion? If he sins, but feels remorse, then maybe he really is Jewish. But, if he scoffs, or claims he is not sinning, then why assume he was sincere at the time of conversion?
    30.
    David S on February 16, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    The Rambam can be read only one way. A mistake is unalterable. If someone claims to take on the mitzvot and is accepted he is a convert. End of story. The idea of an ex post facto right to de convert a Jew is a modern innovation that has no basis whatsoever in Halacha. Sorry guys. Facts are facts.
    31.
    S. on February 16, 2011 at 6:35 pm

    >What are you talking about? Why would a convert receive a new yetzer ha-ra (bad inclination)? Like everyone else, he is born with it. Are you are implying that a recent convert who doesn’t observe Jewish laws is simply giving in to his urges, but this says nothing about his sincerity at the time of conversion? If he sins, but feels remorse, then maybe he really is Jewish. But, if he scoffs, or claims he is not sinning, then why assume he was sincere at the time of conversion?

    What I’m saying is that people sin. Mumar le-teyavon is a relatively weak category of sinner precisely because Razal understood that the heart is willing, but the flesh weak. People sin, and that’s understandable.

    Is it okay if it takes a week? I was born Jewish, and there’s no period of time needed for me to abstain from sinning to prove anything. If it took a convert a year, presumably we will agree that he was sincere and is just sinning out of weakness like most people who sin. What about six months? Six weeks? Surely there is some point where we can’t say that his sinning reveals his intent. I know that logically it shouldn’t be six minutes after the conversion, but what about six days? Where do we draw the line so that we can really say that we know what his intent was, rather than that he was weak, just like any normal person can succumb?
    32.
    Canuck on February 16, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    The IDF is no place for conversions. Soldiers can convert before joining up, or after discharge, where they sould seek guidance and mentorship from local community rabbis.

    David S: We’re not talking about revoking a conversion (which is impossible as you suggest). We’re talking about how to determine if a real conversion (of the heart) took place. Some of us accept that the forms of conversion are sufficient. Others believe that sincerity is required, otherwise the conversion never took place.
    33.
    daat y on February 16, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Canuck-Because te Beis Din said he is a ger.
    We follow the Beis Din BECAUSE WE CANNOT READ PEOPLE’S HEARTS.
    34.
    mycroft on February 16, 2011 at 7:45 pm

    “Rav Rakeffet has touched on this issue in recent shiurim on YUtorah and quotes sources that basically say when someone converts, they convert to what they think a Jew is (he quotes a gemara about a convert who converted somewhere where there were no Jews and therefore didn’t know about Shabbat). So somebody that converts and then behaves like Bibi Netanyahu for example, is still a 100% valid (though perhaps not ideal) convert.”

    IMHO the above is not inconsistent with the psak the Rav gave once. Fact pattern -a couple “convert” via a Reform conversion, then get “married” by a Reform Rabbi. Couple gets a civil divorce-wife wants to get married again and is in contact with an Orthodox Rabbi. The Rabbi asks the Rav the sheilah and is told that the women hasto get at least a get mesafek.
    The Rav was choshed that the women when converting accepted what she thought was Torah and thus was choshed that there was proper acceptance of mitzvot-this is despite the factthat a Reform Rabbi wouldn’t have instructed the convert on Taharas Mishpacha etc. BTW-the problem of edus and how could the Reform Rabbi be a witness-the Rav was afraid the Reform Rabbi didn’t reject Halacha-he was afraid he was an am haaretz in which case the edus could have been valid.
    35.
    Canuck on February 16, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    >S. Is it okay if it takes a week?

    I also don’t know how long it takes to be sure a convert is sincere. But, you seem to acknowledge that there is a duration after conversion when a convert’s actions can determine his initial sincerity. This is an issue for the rabbis to determine. If the rabbis are bringing in converts who don’t believe in G-d or who don’t want to observe the commandments, then they are doing a great disservice to the nation. That there is a major dispute on this is amazing. This could devolve into a major uncertainty as to who is a Jew.
    36.
    Canuck on February 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    > daat y:Canuck-Because te Beis Din said he is a ger.
    We follow the Beis Din BECAUSE WE CANNOT READ PEOPLE’S HEARTS.

    daat y: If you accept these IDF converts, would you eat in their homes? Would you allow your children to marry them? Would you give them an aliya in your synagogue?
    37.
    Joseph Kaplan on February 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    “daat y: If you accept these IDF converts, would you eat in their homes? Would you allow your children to marry them? Would you give them an aliya in your synagogue?”

    I don’t know how daat y will answer but here are mine: sure, if the house is kosher; putting aside the word “allow,” the fact that person was an IDF convert wouldn’t affect what I would think about the match; of course (if the convert is male, unless it’s in a Shirah Chadasha minyan :-)).
    38.
    SJ on February 16, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    read my latest blog post http://thoughtsofasj.blogspot.com/2011/02/how-to-make-judaism-enjoyable.html
    39.
    Canuck on February 16, 2011 at 9:00 pm

    Joseph Kaplan: I was referring to converts who do not keep kosher and do not observe the Sabbath.
    40.
    David S on February 16, 2011 at 9:28 pm

    “We’re talking about how to determine if a real conversion (of the heart) took place. Some of us accept that the forms of conversion are sufficient. Others believe that sincerity is required, otherwise the conversion never took place.”

    This is sophistry. The conversion takes place if is recognized by witnesses who are qualified to judge and the convert is circumcized and immerses in a mikveh. Since the only way to know what is in the persons heart is to be that person (or to be Hashem) there is not such thing as the conversion not taking place. It is post facto at that time and the person is a proselyte. The IDF converts have been pronounced proselytes by a qualified judge. Whatever was in their hearts no longer matters. They have fulfilled the requirements and they are now in the club and are responsible to Hashem for non adherence. Any attempt to nullify based upon speculation as to what a person was thinking is an addition to the Torah and not in keeping with Halachic due process. Sorry.
    41.
    daat y on February 16, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    Canuck-Now you add on QUALIFICATIONS.
    WOULD YOU EAT IN A HOME THAT IS NOT KOSHER?OBVIOUSLY NOT.
    THE ISSUE IS IF THEY ARE SHOMER SHABBAT AND KOSHER NOW I WOULD EAT THERE.
    OF COURSE,I ONLY EAT BADATZ!-)
    42.
    daat y on February 16, 2011 at 10:50 pm

    Thank you Joseph Kaplan for your clear answer while I was away.If you cannot trust a Beis Din okayed by the Rabanut in Israel,we are in deep trouble.
    43.
    mycroft on February 16, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    A good book to get a background on this topic is Conversion Halakhah and Practice by Menachem Finkelstein-BAr Ilan University Press.-translated from the Hebrew by EdwardLevin
    44.
    Canuck on February 17, 2011 at 12:06 am

    David S.: Were you trying to insult me by labelling my comments as sophistry? We obviously disagree on what makes a convert. How do you explain that leading rabbis in Israel are opposed to these IDF conversion courts, and consider many of those converts to be phoney?
    45.
    Doron Beckerman on February 17, 2011 at 4:41 am

    If a Beis Din validates Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Milah, when in fact the person cut his fingertip, it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    If a Beis Din validates Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Tevilah, when in fact he took a shower, it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    If a Beis Din accepts Geirus of someone, claiming he did a proper Kabbalas Ol Mitzvos, when in fact any 4 year old sitting in the Beis Din knows that the statement is a complete sham, Devarim Shebelibo Uvelev Kol Adam, Anan Sahadei that the guy will drive on Yom Kippur to get a ham sandwich, then it isn’t a valid Geirus.

    Beis Din cannot validate Geirus against an objective reality, and their validation is batel k’afra d’ar’a.

    The only question is whether there is any credible safek as to the kabbalas ol Mitzvos of the IDF gerim. .
    46.
    Bartley Kulp on February 17, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I understand Rav Amsellam’s shitta loud and clear. He says that even if the candidates are just giving lip service they are still Jewish. I can get down with that. I do not understand Rav Amar’s position in light of the fact that it can be presumed that most candidates from the FSU are not really intending to be observant.

    I am confused as to what Rav Ovadiah really holds in general because he just has not been consistantly spelling it out.
    47.
    shalem on February 17, 2011 at 8:55 am

    There are a few misconceptions in these discussions:

    a) who can know what is in their hearts: This whole idea is incorrect. One of the most important points for a Beit Din to be present at the gerut and Kabbalat mitzvot (which is meakev the presence of beit and “bayom” according to everyone as ruled in SA) is so that they verify that the person is actually sincere in the commitment to observe.

    b) There is a huge misconception that it is clear that the Bach read the Rambam not to require kabbalat mitzvot. If one reads the bach meticulously he will see that the bach meant was that there is no need that *at the time of tevilah* that there be kabbalat mitzvot.

    c) It is clear that the Shuclhan Aruch (which all yidden follow their pssak) holds that the Rembam (and others) hold that kabbalat mtizvot is leikuva and for a Beit Din to be present at that time.

    d) Another misconception: that in *all cases* the gerut does not stand to be assseed. It is simply not true. Shulchan Aruch (and Rambam) rule that in cases where there is reason to suspect that the gerut gerut was done for ulterior motive, then “chosshin loy ad shetitbaer tzidkatoy” we are choshesh for the grut (which many/most hold that there is doubt to his conversion) until we verify his righteousness. This btw, disproves completely that all that is necessary for kabbalat mitzvot and gerut is “lip service” (amsalem’s position).

    e) It is worthwhile to remind people: RISHONIM (tossafot, ritva, rashba and many more) state that the Kutim had to reconvert (mass reconversion) because their initial conversion was not “belev shalem”. (Rav Kook states that this is NOT only wrt to the sin of avoda zarah). All those who talk that there is no such thing of “canceling” conversions in jewish history and halacha should look at these texts.
    48.
    S. on February 17, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    >e) It is worthwhile to remind people: RISHONIM (tossafot, ritva, rashba and many more) state that the Kutim had to reconvert (mass reconversion) because their initial conversion was not “belev shalem”. (Rav Kook states that this is NOT only wrt to the sin of avoda zarah). All those who talk that there is no such thing of “canceling” conversions in jewish history and halacha should look at these texts.

    The Kutim were a kat – always a kat. It’s not a precedent.
    Where do Tosefot and Rishonim define their proper conversion due to them being a “kat”? They state that the convesion was invalid because they did not do it “belev shalem” or the like!

  50. I’m sorry for the previous post.

  51. And Rav Kook and others do quote the Kutim as a precedent!

  52. “David S.: Were you trying to insult me by labelling my comments as sophistry? We obviously disagree on what makes a convert. How do you explain that leading rabbis in Israel are opposed to these IDF conversion courts, and consider many of those converts to be phoney?”

    Insult you? No. Calling an argument sophistry is insulting the argument not you. I explain that leading IDF conversion courts are against these conversions because they have created a new law regarding conversions a law that does not conform to the Rishonim. They are claiming that the situtaion is new and that they are simply applying a logical extension of the law, but in fact they have created brand new law here in plain sight and in direct contravention of Halachic process.

    Now they are saying that there is an ex post facto right to judge a convert. If he was not sincere the conversion never took place. Rambam says there isn’t such a post facto right to examine a convert. Once its done its done. Its really that simple. If I had to choose between Rambam and any posek of the last 200 years, I go with Rambam.

  53. “Now they are saying that there is an ex post facto right to judge a convert. If he was not sincere the conversion never took place. Rambam says there isn’t such a post facto right to examine a convert”.

    not true at all: Rambam and Shulchan Aruch both rule that if the conversion was done for a reason then “chosheshin loy ad sheyutbaer tzidkatoy”. WE are certain the person is jewish until the righteousness wil be verified.

    Likewise, Tossfeot and Rishonim write that the original conversion of the kutim was illegitimate and they had to reconvert.

    What Rambam and SO write that once a ger is always a ger is when there clearl sincere gerut at the conversion process; not when the whole thing is a sham to begin with and it is clear to all that the person was never sincere to commit to observe kepashut.

  54. there was a typo in the previous comment: It should read “we are NOT certain the person is Jewish until we will verify his righteousness”.

  55. I conclude from these discussions that orthodoxy prefers religious converts, but will accept non-observant (or minimally observant) converts. The IDF and government rabbis are apparently under political pressure to convert these immigrants from the FSU, as in a conversion factory. Do they even know these prospective converts? It reminds me of the conversions of the foreign wives of King Solomon, and of the Idumeans.

  56. The article on pages 14-15 of this week’s “Matzav Ruach” parsha sheet (http://tinyurl.com/6kx62nv) has a quite different perspective on both the seriousness of IDF conversions and R’ Amar’s psak from this article/thread.

  57. Lawrence Kaplan

    Shalem: We have been through this before. From the context of the Rambam’s halakhah it is almost impossible say that “hosheshin lo” means we suspect the convert is not Jewish. See the comment of the Rambam immediately following about how the convert is a yisrael gamur.

  58. Shalom Alechem,

    Yes, we have through this before. And from the context of the rambam it is impossible to explain to say that “chosheshin loh” t means something other than the the context of this Halacha: the acceptance of him as ager and as a jew. The comment of the rambam immediately after this refers to someone who already reached “titbaer tzidkatoy”!

  59. See also the next chapter how the Rambam formulates about an eved knaani “יצא מכלל עכו”ם …ולא בא לכלל ישראל “. The same seems to be about someone who converts for another reason, that “יצא מכלל עכו”ם” but not yet past that until “יתבאר צדקתו” . SO the meaning of the halacha is clear in the nussach and context written. obviously what he writes *following8 this statement refers to someone who reached already “yitbaer tzidkatoy” and then reverts back (chozer lessuoh).I reiterate that this is the most *literal* and plain reading of the rambam (without pilpul and putting words in his mouth that he might be referring to other kiruv approach something that is not mentioned AT ALL in this halacha).

  60. See also: This Halacha is brought down in YD 268 12 , almost verbatim from the Rambam אפי’ נודע שבשביל דבר הוא מתגייר, הואיל ומל וטבל יצא מכלל העובדי כוכבים, וחוששים לו עד שתתברר צדקתו; כח] ואפילו חזר ועבד עבודת כוכבים, הרי הוא כט] כישראל מומר שקדושיו קדושין. . Note the discrepancy between this Halacha and Halacha 2
    וכיון שטבל הרי הוא כישראל, שאם חזר לסורו הרי הוא כישראל מומר שאם קדש קדושיו קדושין: By a genuine Ger SA rules that immediately at immersion he is like “a yisrael” (and if reverts back like “ysrael mumar”); whereas by a ger that is known “bishvil davar”, then immersion only accomplishes “yatzah miklal akum”; not yet “harey hu keyisrael…”. to reach that level one needs to wait until “yitbaer tzikatoy”‘ in which case he is yisrael gamur (and then : even if he reverts he is *only then* keyisrael mumar).

  61. While not a direct counter to Shalem, I just started reading Prof. Shapiro’s “Limits of Orthodox Theology” earlier this evening and some readers may be interested in this additional context from p.7:

    “Finally, remembering that Maimonides stated that belief in the Thirteen Principles is essential to being a Jew, one must wonder why there is no mention of the Principles in his discussion of what a future convert should be taught about the religion. While it is common today for prospective Orthodox converts to be instructed in the Principles, all that Maimonides himself writes about theology and converts is the following: ‘He should then be made acquainted with the principles of the faith, which are the oneness of God and the prohibition of idolatry’. This limited theological instruction is itself significant, since the Talmud has nothing of the kind, mentioning only that a convert is instructed ‘in some of the less weighty and some of the more weighty commandments’. As Maimonides was adding to the talmudic prescription, why did he not add the other Principles, especially the Third Principle, that of divine incorporeality?”

  62. “…This limited theological instruction is itself significant, since the Talmud has nothing of the kind…”,
    The Gra on the Shluchan Aruch cites this as a source in the Talmud Yebamot for the need to notify him “ikrey hadat”
    ביאור הגר”א יורה דעה סימן רסח ס”ק ו
    [ו] עיקרי הדת כו’. שם אר”א מאי קרא ותרא כו’:

  63. Lawrence,

    רמב”ם הלכות מטמאי משכב ומושב פרק י

    הבא לקבל דברי חבירות …
    כשמקבלין אותו חוששין לו כל שלשים יום עד שילמד ויהיה רגיל בטהרות

    Please note that here too, rambam used the term “chosheshi n loy” and the meaning is that the person does not attain the status of “chaver” until we are statified tthat he is accustomed to the practices of taharot (it does not refer to any other benefits or brownies that we or might not give to this person; it refers to being accepted a s a chaver). So to, is the literal meaning of “chosheshin loy” by hilchot gerin that until we are satisfied of his tzidkus we are not certain that he is a ger.

  64. the ger borovsky sent his chuldren ro dati schools in .1949 tel aviv ,went to achul on shabas…not as stated…

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