Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Clearing the air

Are You People For Real? wrote:

Who on earth is for proselytizing? I'm surely not.

Rabbi, you really should put a check on the rabid anti-ger undercurrent flowing through your blog by well-meaning yet idiotic Orthodox Jews who live in a shell.

I have read here that there is no such thing as a sincere convert, that all female converts are a sham and how it shows in their households for generations.

Is this your viewpoint as well?

----------------------------

Aside from making provocative and abusive statements about those who disagree with you - you don't seem to have read the majority of material that I have posted. In addition you have not responded to challenges to your apparently knee jerk responses to the rather complex issue of intermarriage and conversion. I am puzzled that someone as intelligent and concerned as you are [I am not being sarcastic] - can be asking the above question. The point of my posting is to present the dialectics involved. You seem to feel that your understanding is the only one and therefore you have absolutely nothing to learn from those who disagree. You view them simply as "well-meaning yet idiotic Orthodox Jews who live in a shell." You seem to doubt the sincere concern that others have for their fellow Jews as well as fellow man - if they point out problems and failings.

The mere fact that you are still posting indicates to me that either you can not get over your astonishment at the stupidity of others and that you feel it is your obligation to set everyone straight - or that you really are bothered by the problems and you are patiently wading through a lot of junk in the hope of discoverying something of value.

You have to understand that many others who read this blog find your comments as offensive and insensitive as you find theirs. I tolerate a certain amount of abusive lanuagage as long as it seems to help clarify issues. Thus there are comments that are critical of converts - but you find these also in the Talmud and well as the contemporary rabbinical writings. However there are also comments that praise converts.

Regarding your opposition to proselytization you should scroll back to my translation of Rabbi Tropper's interview in Mishpacha magazine - as well as a number of my postings regarding the activities of Eternal Jewish Family.

If you want to elevate the level of discussion on this blog it would be helpful if you first attended to the way you express yourself. You don't have to first call someone stupid or idiotic before raising a question or making a criticism.

12 comments:

  1. Are You People For Real?February 6, 2008 at 6:02 PM

    When you rebuke & correct those who claim that all converts are insincere and that their households remain goyishe for ever, since they claim it can be clearly witnessed for generations, then I will continue this conversation in an intellectual manner.

    According to them King David was a goy as his great grandmother Ruth was a convert. And that also applies to Moshe's wife and Yisro's entire family.

    I assume that means Moshiach will never come, as he will be from the seed of King David, the illegitimate goy king of Israel.

    If you do not correct them, then there is no use continuing a conversation with those obviously biased.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Are You People For Real? said...

    .....

    According to them King David was a goy as his great grandmother Ruth was a convert. And that also applies to Moshe's wife and Yisro's entire family.

    I assume that means Moshiach will never come, as he will be from the seed of King David, the illegitimate goy king of Israel.
    ------------------------

    You really can't control yourself. Nobody has made such claims. You insist on believing things that aren't simply are not true. I don't see that you are advancing anyone's understanding.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ruth was a Giyoret Tzedekket because she joined the Jewish people out of her love for Hashem AFTER her Jewish husband had died. Naomi called herself Mara (bitterness) because she went abroad full (with her sons) and returned empty after both of her sons died childless as a punishment for intermarrying. Ruth was married to Mahlon, Naomi's son.

    It was only AFTER the death of her Jewish husband that Ruth made the commitment to join the Jewish people, a commitment that can only be made for the sake of Hashem. Ruth and Naomi gathered the gleanings of the fields left for paupers so it could not be said that Ruth joined the Jewish people for the sake of riches nor was it for the sake of an intermarriage because Ruth's Jewish husband had died.

    How many Gentile wives of Jewish men would still seek to convert if the Jews with whom they were involved had died and left them childless, forced to beg for their sustenance? Ruth clearly passed the test of sincerity and this is why our Torah holds her up as a testament for the generations of the 'Righteous Convert".

    Yitro was the High Priest of Midyan and a magician of Pharoah. Yitro CERTAINLY did not seek glory in giving up his lofty position in the Egyptian court in order to join the lowliest people on the earth at the time, the Hebrews!! Rather Yitro had witnessed the wonders and miracles of Hashem and decided to join Bnai Yisrael in serving the One and True G-d.

    In contrast to the stories of Ruth and Yitro are the Erev Rav who left Egypt along with Moshe despite Hashem's warning to Moshe not to accept them.

    The Erev Rav caused much grief to the Jews of that generation, instigating the sin of the Golden Calf and other rebellions against Hashem in the desert. And their descendants continue to bring many troubles upon Israel to this day.

    Our Sages have commented on Isaiah, 1:25-26 that Moshiach cannot come until the Erev Rav are purged from our midst.The Erev Rav delay the redemption far more than all the nations of the world. (Zohar, Raya Mehemna)

    "The Erev Rav think it is right to counter Torah and and consider themselves brave for taking steps that run contrary to Torah opinion. They may not do it as a conscious act of rebellion, but as a course in life charted for the waters of a modern and Western society. Their anger is not directed against G-d, but against people who strive to be doing G-d's work, which they don't believe is true. They might not even believe in G-d, at least one who gave Torah and evaluates the actions of man. FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, their war is not one AGAINST truth (Torah), but ON BEHALF OF truth, that is, on behalf of Western ideals, which they belief are the wisest of ideals known to man. They are certainly the most convenient making the 'American Dream' attainable for the Jews of America.You can often tell a Jew who does not believe in G-d, or does believe in G-d but not in Torah from Sinai, because his entire being seems bothered by the existence of fellow Jews who still cling to the ways of their forefathers.

    The Vilna Gaon (1720-97) wrote:

    They are called 'Erev Rav' because they are the heads of the Jews in exile, and therefore they are called 'rav.' (Likutim HaGra)

    And some of the most frightening words come from the Divrei Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam (1793-1876):

    "Before the arrival of Moshiach, most of the rabbis will be from the Erev Rav, because Israel in themselves are holy, but the Erev Rav only work for their own benefit . . . wanting to rule over the public . . . One should only join with those who truly serve G-d and sacrifice themselves to Him, but not in order to receive any benefit." (Divrei Chaim, Parashas Vayakhel, 'Omissions')

    A tell-tale sign of Erev Rav is not what the person does, but his motivation for doing it, which is not always simple to know. However, over time it is clear which leaders serve G-d and His people 'lishmah' - for altruistic reasons - and which ones do so for the sake of some personal benefit. Thus, you can find simple, unlearned but devoted Jews who are cherished by Heaven, and intelligent and well-learned leaders who are self-serving, and despised by Heaven, especially when they fool the public and garner their respect. It becomes clear that the Erev Rav does not necessarily have an outwardly secular nature. On the contrary, they can appear quite religious and, for the most part, fulfill all of the mitzvos incumbent upon a Jew today, at least externally."

    Prophetic, to say the least. Text quoted from Rabbi Pinchas Winston http://www.thirtysix.org

    ReplyDelete
  4. King David was not a goy because Ruth passed the standards for conversion as decribed in the Talmud.

    The entire debate that has been unfolding is whether or not the massive amounts of "conversions" done today [in order to enable intermarriage] actually adhere to the long established Jewish standards.

    I have not yet seen a post which says that converts should not be accepted. The question is "who is a convert", not whether or not converts exist or should be accepted.

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  5. Are You People For Real?February 7, 2008 at 7:24 AM

    Rabbi, why did you not post this from last evening?

    This is the PROOF that you have disgusting people here who reject all converts.
    Let us see you rebuke & correct people like this evil rasha.
    According to her, our entire belief system is a joke as Moshiach will be a goy himself, as his bloodline makes him a goy.

    December 24, 2007 10:35 PM

    "People who are being brought in to our community by both kiruv programs and through conversion - have a different culture with different values."

    It has been my personal experience that a Jew, no matter how assimilated, has been raised by his/her Jewish mother with a sense of dignity, morality and "boosha".
    I am not saying that Jews do not do things that they know to be wrong, only that there is a healthy sense of "Jewish guilt" that often prevents the worst of it.

    Those who have lapses in their observance will usually go outside the community to do what they know they should not.

    My personal observations have not been such regarding those who have been converted to permit intermarriages, their Jewish spouses or the children from such unions.

    The level of immorality and depravity and the bizarre NEED to share it that I have seen sheital wearing, frum appearing "giyores" in the communities in which I have lived is beyond anything I could have ever imagined in my sheltered upbringing.

    One can just about correlate the percentage of "youth at risk" to the percentage of "giyores to solve the intermarriage problem" in any Jewish community.

    Women make the home and for the most part raise the children. There is a lot more to a Jewish home and the upbringing of Jewish children than shopping for the right hechsher, seeming to observe Shabbos and wearing a sheital. I have not yet seen such a home that was not really a "Goyishe" home that only appeared to be Jewish. And this, from what I have seen remains true two or three generations later.

    And with regard to the men married to these shams, we learned a long time ago not to do business with them. He knows he has successfully cheated Hashem by intermarrying and having it permitted. Such a man (and his offspring) will have no compunction whatsoever about cheating you as well.

    I learned from my parents that in any case of ganeva to the point that a man will cheat members of his own community, one can almost always point to the yichus of the wife and see she is not Jewish.

    We might think that we are "doing the right thing" , "solving an intermarriage emergency" or "preserving our Jewish numbers" via these conversions, but what we are really doing is destroying ourselves, our institutions, our communities and our children.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Are You People For Real? said...

    Rabbi, why did you not post this from last evening?

    This is the PROOF that you have disgusting people here who reject all converts.

    --------------
    No one has said that there are no kosher converts. Why do you insist on making wild accusation instead of asking questions or asking for clarification.

    However to get to the substance of your accusation. I don't agree with your reading of the comment - "This is the PROOF that you have disgusting people here who reject all converts."

    She is simply reporting her personal experience. Would you accuse the following authories of being "rabidly anti-ger"

    Rav Chaim Ozer Grodinski (Achiezer 3:28):

    "Concerning the common practice of converting women who are married to Jews - according to the straight halacha it is not corrrect to convert them. That is because they are converting for the sake of marriage. Therefore even after marriage she is prohibited to him as is clear from the Rashba (#1205). While previously I had written to be lenient in these cases and I based myself on the Rambam (Pe’er HaDor 132) and Rav Shlomo Kluger also paskened leniently in an actual case. Nevertheless the fact is that there is not genuine acceptance of mitzvos in these cases. It is quite obvious that their hearts are not with the Jewish people since they do not observe Shabbos or niddah and they eat unkosher food as I wrote in the previous letter. This problem has already been noted by by the Beis Yitzchok who concluded that a proper beis din would not be involved in this."

    Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote:

    "Y.D. (1:159): …In general this whole enterprise of conversion for the sake of marriage is displeasing to me. Therefore I refrain from involvement in it. Not only from the halachic viewpoint that one should not convert someone for the sake of marriage lechatchila, but also because of the reason - that it is almost certain based on our experience - that they are not actually accepting the obligation to do mitzvos. They are just making empty assertions that they will keep the mitzvos."

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ruth was a Giyoret Tzedekket because she joined the Jewish people out of her love for Hashem AFTER her Jewish husband had died. Naomi called herself Mara (bitterness) because she went abroad full (with her sons) and returned empty after both of her sons died childless as a punishment for intermarrying. Ruth was married to Mahlon, Naomi's son.

    It was only AFTER the death of her Jewish husband that Ruth made the commitment to join the Jewish people, a commitment that can only be made for the sake of Hashem. Ruth and Naomi gathered the gleanings of the fields left for paupers so it could not be said that Ruth joined the Jewish people for the sake of riches nor was it for the sake of an intermarriage because Ruth's Jewish husband had died.

    How many Gentile wives of Jewish men would still seek to convert if the Jews with whom they were involved had died and left them childless, forced to beg for their sustenance? Ruth clearly passed the test of sincerity and this is why our Torah holds her up as a testament for the generations of the 'Righteous Convert".

    Yitro was the High Priest of Midyan and a magician of Pharoah. Yitro CERTAINLY did not seek glory in giving up his lofty position in the Egyptian court in order to join the lowliest people on the earth at the time, the Hebrews!! Rather Yitro had witnessed the wonders and miracles of Hashem and decided to join Bnai Yisrael in serving the One and True G-d.

    In contrast to the stories of Ruth and Yitro are the Erev Rav who left Egypt along with Moshe despite Hashem's warning to Moshe not to accept them.

    The Erev Rav caused much grief to the Jews of that generation, instigating the sin of the Golden Calf and other rebellions against Hashem in the desert. And their descendants continue to bring many troubles upon Israel to this day.

    Our Sages have commented on Isaiah, 1:25-26 that Moshiach cannot come until the Erev Rav are purged from our midst.The Erev Rav delay the redemption far more than all the nations of the world. (Zohar, Raya Mehemna)

    "The Erev Rav think it is right to counter Torah and and consider themselves brave for taking steps that run contrary to Torah opinion. They may not do it as a conscious act of rebellion, but as a course in life charted for the waters of a modern and Western society. Their anger is not directed against G-d, but against people who strive to be doing G-d's work, which they don't believe is true. They might not even believe in G-d, at least one who gave Torah and evaluates the actions of man. FROM THEIR PERSPECTIVE, their war is not one AGAINST truth (Torah), but ON BEHALF OF truth, that is, on behalf of Western ideals, which they belief are the wisest of ideals known to man. They are certainly the most convenient making the 'American Dream' attainable for the Jews of America.You can often tell a Jew who does not believe in G-d, or does believe in G-d but not in Torah from Sinai, because his entire being seems bothered by the existence of fellow Jews who still cling to the ways of their forefathers.

    The Vilna Gaon (1720-97) wrote:

    They are called 'Erev Rav' because they are the heads of the Jews in exile, and therefore they are called 'rav.' (Likutim HaGra)

    And some of the most frightening words come from the Divrei Chaim, Rabbi Chaim Halberstam (1793-1876):

    "Before the arrival of Moshiach, most of the rabbis will be from the Erev Rav, because Israel in themselves are holy, but the Erev Rav only work for their own benefit . . . wanting to rule over the public . . . One should only join with those who truly serve G-d and sacrifice themselves to Him, but not in order to receive any benefit." (Divrei Chaim, Parashas Vayakhel, 'Omissions')

    A tell-tale sign of Erev Rav is not what the person does, but his motivation for doing it, which is not always simple to know. However, over time it is clear which leaders serve G-d and His people 'lishmah' - for altruistic reasons - and which ones do so for the sake of some personal benefit. Thus, you can find simple, unlearned but devoted Jews who are cherished by Heaven, and intelligent and well-learned leaders who are self-serving, and despised by Heaven, especially when they fool the public and garner their respect. It becomes clear that the Erev Rav does not necessarily have an outwardly secular nature. On the contrary, they can appear quite religious and, for the most part, fulfill all of the mitzvos incumbent upon a Jew today, at least externally."

    Prophetic, to say the least. Text quoted from Rabbi Pinchas Winston http://www.thirtysix.org

    --------------------------------

    Yitro came to the desert after the makkos, after the splitting of the sea, after the giving of the Torah. The most sacred events in the world, which as the midrash points out, everyone knew occured (Bilam was asked why the world was shaking and he told them that the Jews were getting the Torah).

    Yitro was the father in-law of the greatest leader (closest to G-d) and was immediately honoured on his arrival. Those "low" hebrews were on the 49th level of Taharah (Maharal) and defeated the greatest empire of the time (Egypt).

    Is it obvious that such a person did it l'shema? No... But it is discernable..... Clearly as he converted.



    In regard to Naomi her great story is not how we know she should have been converted, but how we know that she deserved to be part of the line for the moshiach. You can argue conversely as you did, but there is no reason to say that either statement is more correct unless you have source.

    In regard to the Chet Ha'Egel (sin of the Golden Calf) some argue that this is "the sin of the greats". Horribly misunderstood as the plain meaning literally true (ie: idolatry) was not the same as me bowing to a calf thinking it can do something. An accepted understanding (one of many).Keep in mind chazal CLEARLY state that woman were not involved (erev rav included).

    All of those witnessing the splitting of the sea and the nevuah of Hezkiyahu (midrash).

    I 100% agree that a convert has to convert le'shma. Should they be in the process of marriage? No.... But if a Rav thinks someone has converted l'shma then how can I second guess? "Be'kerev elokim yishpot" (3 judges).

    Finally, one can NEVER generalize about converts. It is truly a case by case basis imo.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "Be'kerev elokim yishpot" (3 judges).

    One of issues at hand with regard to American "convert" is "What are 3 Judges"?

    Many people believe that "3 Judges" means THREE Dayyanim who have passed an exam and became Dayyanim l'Giyur (administered by a recognized Gadol Hador).

    In making a convert, we are second guessing Hashem's creation by taking a person Hashem made a goy, and making her a Jew. Should nurse's aides do brain surgery?

    I have not yet met a convert whose conversion was presided over by THREE DAYYANIM.

    The Dayyanim I know (with one exception) will not do conversions because they consider it TOO MUCH OF A RESPONSIBILITY!

    The dozens of "converts" whom I have met were "converted" by Batei Din comprised of:

    a). kiruv "Rabbis", supercharged and committed Baalei Teshuva with an "outreach smicha" from the kiruv organization. My husband, a true Yirat Shamayim with one of those, can tell you what to do if you have put a dairy spoon into a meat soup, nothing heavier.

    b). Any combination of the following:

    1). Conservative Rabbi
    2). mohel
    3). shochet
    4). sofer
    5). yeshiva Rebbe
    6). out of town community Rabbi who mainly earns a living giving kashrus certification to vegetable canneries or Kosher for Pesach Coca Cola bottling

    Sometimes the "qualified Dayyan whose conversions have been accepted in Israel" will be in Chicago while the "conversion" will be done in NY. This particular Dayyan never even met many of the "converts" he made.

    As far as generalizations go, you can generalize that such a "convert" (the one whose ketuba is dated the week after her Certificate of Conversion) and her descendants will not be accepted as Jews by most sincerely observant Jewish families around the world.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Are You People For Real?February 8, 2008 at 1:39 PM

    Good Shabbos to all the haters in frum land.

    I'll be b'simcha davening to Hashem.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous said:
    The dozens of "converts" whom I have met were "converted" by Batei Din comprised of:

    a). kiruv "Rabbis", supercharged and committed Baalei Teshuva with an "outreach smicha" from the kiruv organization. My husband, a true Yirat Shamayim with one of those, can tell you what to do if you have put a dairy spoon into a meat soup, nothing heavier.

    b). Any combination of the following:

    1). Conservative Rabbi
    2). mohel
    3). shochet
    4). sofer
    5). yeshiva Rebbe
    6). out of town community Rabbi who mainly earns a living giving kashrus certification to vegetable canneries or Kosher for Pesach Coca Cola bottling

    Sometimes the "qualified Dayyan whose conversions have been accepted in Israel" will be in Chicago while the "conversion" will be done in NY. This particular Dayyan never even met many of the "converts" he made.

    As far as generalizations go, you can generalize that such a "convert" (the one whose ketuba is dated the week after her Certificate of Conversion) and her descendants will not be accepted as Jews by most sincerely observant Jewish families around the world.


    -----------------------------------------


    Wow.... I am not sure what beis din you have seen convert people....

    I know of many major Rabbis/Dayanim that deal with converts (and serious shailas of safeks).

    As far as your disdain for as you said "Kiruv 'Rabbis'" and balei teshuvah who according to you have "outreach smicha".... I honestly can't speak about too many Kiruv Rabbis, but the few that I have met have suprised me an enormous amount. One of them being described as a Baal Mussar (a Talmid Muvak of one of the past generations Baalei Mussar). Clearly an over-generalization.

    In regard to Balei Teshuvahs who according to you dont know halacha b'iyun.... I suppose Roshei Yeshivahs and Rabbonim like Rav Akiva who are balei teshuvah imo show another over-generalization.


    At any rate, for people who marry converts, should they make sure that the convert, converted properly? Yah... But that is also required by checking that a frum Jew actually has Yirat Hashem and Ahavat Hashem....

    ReplyDelete
  11. "I am not sure what beis din you have seen convert people...."

    In NY, NJ, Chicago, LA and Miami I have seen Beis Dins do conversions to permit intermarriages. Rabbis are human beings and can have bad judgment. Many "conversions" that will permit an intermarriage are done out of misplaced "compassion" and "kindness".

    The Rabbi wants to "keep the family together" or "save a Jew from sinning" or "make a Jewish home".
    In America its hard not to be affected by American values when the overwhelming culture is democracy and non discrimination.

    So we want to welcome everyone and not discriminate. But that is not Torah, it is pop culture.

    And each Rabbi thinks he is the only one doing conversions for marriage. Before you know it a major Jewish community is full of non Jews.

    A local Rabbi told my husband that of the 40 young people who have approached him for shidduchim in the past year or so, only THREE had mothers and maternal grandmothers who were born Jews.

    Granted, it is worse outside of the NY metro area, but a friend of my husband's who is a Rabbi who does shidduchim in Brooklyn told us that of the young people who approached him for shidduchim in the past year, about HALF had either mothers or maternal grandmothers who had converted for marriage to a Jew.

    Kiruv Rabbis are tremendously dedicated people who are often very learned. But the level of education that it takes to recreate Hashem's creation and to make a Jew from a Gentile is very rare.

    Conversions should not be done by community Rabbis anymore than brain surgery should be done by nurse's aides.

    Only Gadolei Hador should be entrusted to recreate Hashem's work in a way that affect Klal Yisrael forever. Only Gadolei Yisrael can be entrusted to recreate neshamos.

    ReplyDelete
  12. "I am not sure what beis din you have seen convert people...."

    In NY, NJ, Chicago, LA and Miami I have seen Beis Dins do conversions to permit intermarriages. Rabbis are human beings and can have bad judgment. Many "conversions" that will permit an intermarriage are done out of misplaced "compassion" and "kindness".

    The Rabbi wants to "keep the family together" or "save a Jew from sinning" or "make a Jewish home".
    In America its hard not to be affected by American values when the overwhelming culture is democracy and non discrimination.

    So we want to welcome everyone and not discriminate. But that is not Torah, it is pop culture.

    And each Rabbi thinks he is the only one doing conversions for marriage. Before you know it a major Jewish community is full of non Jews.

    A local Rabbi told my husband that of the 40 young people who have approached him for shidduchim in the past year or so, only THREE had mothers and maternal grandmothers who were born Jews.

    Granted, it is worse outside of the NY metro area, but a friend of my husband's who is a Rabbi who does shidduchim in Brooklyn told us that of the young people who approached him for shidduchim in the past year, about HALF had either mothers or maternal grandmothers who had converted for marriage to a Jew.

    Kiruv Rabbis are tremendously dedicated people who are often very learned. But the level of education that it takes to recreate Hashem's creation and to make a Jew from a Gentile is very rare.

    Conversions should not be done by community Rabbis anymore than brain surgery should be done by nurse's aides.

    Only Gadolei Hador should be entrusted to recreate Hashem's work in a way that affect Klal Yisrael forever. Only Gadolei Yisrael can be entrusted to recreate neshamos.

    ---------------------------------

    I honestly can't believe that statistic.... I also question how one knows intent of a grandmother.

    Are there Rabbis who may convert people out of Rachmanus (pitty). I can't imagine there aren't cases... but then this frum Jew who has a safek status converts. Whats the issue?

    Is a safek convert who goes through the process for real reasons (safek brachas we are mekel etc...) any less of a convert then someone who didn't have a grandparent who falsely converted?

    I don't see the issue. If they didn't WANT to do this, okay....

    Honestly, so far I have never met a Kiruv Rabbi that does conversions in a Beis Din. Maybe in the U.S. its a problem....

    Am I ignorant to think some people NEVER get by? Obv. some do, I am sure... but frum people are going to break Torah law to not let their kids talk to gerim out of fear of a bad conversion? Your worried about shidduchim, how about you meet the boy/girl, see what their Hashkafa is at least.


    I certainly would not limit conversions to Gedolei Hador; however, Roshei Yeshivah and Roshei Kollel etc... I can understand. I am not sure how one can complain of such yiras shamayim yidden on a beis din.

    ReplyDelete

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