Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Rav Riskin & Rav Goren - support[ed] the Chareidi viewpoint?

Originally published May 19, 2008

Given the assertions from various MO/RZ sources about the place of acceptance of mitzvos - I found the following cogent comments by Rav Riskin - from 34 years ago - very interesting. Also his citation of Rav Goren that subsequent post conversion non-observance of mitzvos shows that the conversion is not valid.

=============
Conversion in Jewish Law

By Rav Shlomo Riskin - Tradition 14,2 (1974) 29-42

The “Who is a Jew” controversy in Israel has bitterly divided the religious parties and has caused untold animosity between the religious and nonreligious camps. The secularists agonizingly cry: Is the Russian émigré married to a Christian, who has risked life and limb to leave the “Communist paradise” and re-establish historic ties in Israel, to be told that his children are not Jews and cannot be married in a religious ceremony? Is the Israeli kibbutznik who was born to Christian parents but who has placed her destiny with Israel’s future and who has worked and fought for Israel’s development to be denied the status of a Jew merely because she did not undergo some pro forma rite of acceptance? And the religionist staunchly responds: We must maintain the sanctity of Israel! Our faith commitment is based upon a precise legal system which has been responsible for the preservation of our people these three thousand years. We dare not compromise our halakhic standards.
[…]
In an article in TRADITION (Spring 1971) by J. David Bleich entitled, “The Conversion Crisis: A Halakhic Analysis,” the author asserts on the basis of numerous responsa that: “all authorities agree that an application for conversion may justifiably be entertained only if the Bet Din is satisfied that upon conversion the candidate will become a God-fearing Jew and will scrupulously observe the commandments of the Torah. . . Where it is evident that the candidate will be non-observant, the conversion is null and void despite- the candidate’s oral declaration of acceptance of the yoke of mitzvot.”
And in the recent Langer controversy, Rav Goren suggests in a published responsum that a convert who does not live in accord with Jewish law but reverts to his original practices thereby nullifies the act of conversion [2a. Goren, Pesak Hadin Re: Inyan Ha’ack Vhaachot) Jerusalem 5733, p. 137ff. ] But two issues later in TRADITION (Winter-Spring 1972) Marc D. Angel wrote “Another Halakhic Approach to Conversions,” in which he asserts in the name of Rav UzieJ, former Rishon Lezion, that there is no requirement to ask the non-Jew actually to observe the mitzvot. We do not require his assurance that he will be an observant Jew. .
And at a recent Mizrachi forum a popular Orthodox Rabbi, in an attempt to empathize with the plight of the Israeli secularists, queried: Should not conversion by fire be at least as acceptable to Jewish tradition as conversion by water? [4. Rabbi Yitzchak Greenberg. Mizrachi Fellowship Meeting. May 4, Fifth Avenue Synagogue.]
[…]
At least according to this authority [Rav Uziel], it would seem that conversion is – if only post facto – a pro-forma ritual of circumcision and ritual immersion which takes effect even without the judges having informed the would-be proselyte of the particulars of his Jewish status. This is the basis of the responsum of UzieI, and this might lead us to believe that acceptance of Commandments is a desirable but not necessary constituent of conversion.
I must strongly disagree with the conclusion, and a more intensive study of the sources will demonstrate that the acceptance of commandments is a far more integral part of conversion than might appear.
[…]
Both the Schach and Taz explain this insistence of the Yoreh Deah [268:3] on three qualified judges for the acceptance of the commandments on the principle that: “This is the essence of the matter (of conversion) and its first step.”
I would submit that even according to Maimonides the acceptance of commandments is a necessary prerequisite for conversion.
[…]
I cannot accept an essential distinction between the acceptance of commandments and the observance of commandments. It is self-understood that no Jewish court can guarantee future actions of the convert. Nevertheless it is to be expected that the expressed acceptance of commandments implies the willingness on the part of the convert to live in accordance with the scrupulous observance of these commandments for the rest of his life. Unlike Christianity, Judaism has never recognized a faith commitment apart from its tangible expression in deed. Whether or not there actually exists a commandment to believe in God is questioned by the various Biblical commentaries,17 whereas the entire halakhic process bespeaks an emphasis upon proper observance as the necessary expression of sincere faith. The convert who accepts the commandments is expected to observe them.18 Were the acceptance and subsequent observance of commandments not an inextricable aspect of conversion, the status of the proselyte who converted with ulterior motives would never have been questioned by the Talmud. Although we conclude that post facto all those who converted for ulterior motives are valid converts,19 Hillel and R. Chiya accepted such converts because, explains the Baalei Tosafot, “they knew that ultimately they would be complete proselytes.” There is therefore a degree of latitude accorded the individual court to decide as to the ultimate sincerity of the specific convert – sincerity as to his halakhic observance.

7 comments :

  1. Normal in 1974 = Chareidi in 2008.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Invasion of the Body Snatchers

    Set in the fictional town of Santa Mira, California, the plot centers on Dr. Miles Bennell, a local doctor, who finds a rash of patients accusing their loved ones of being impostors.

    Assured at first by the town psychiatrist Dr. Dan Kaufman, that the cases are nothing but "epidemic mass hysteria," Bennell soon discovers that the townspeople are in fact being replaced by simulations grown from plantlike pods; perfect physical duplicates who kill and dispose of their human victims. The Pod People are indistinguishable from normal people, except for their utter lack of emotion. The pod people work together to secretly spread more pods—which grew from "seeds drifting through space for years"—in order to replace the entire human race.

    The film climaxes with Bennell and Driscoll attempting to warn the rest of humanity. They hide; Driscoll falls asleep and is subverted. With the pod people close behind, a seemingly crazed Bennell runs onto the highway frantically screaming of the alien force which has overrun Santa Mira to the passing motorists and looks into the camera and yells, "They're here already! You're next!"

    Tens of thousands of converts from Christianity to Judaism including ministers, priests, nuns and other religious workers, plus the influence of the outside Christian culture in general = normative Judaism now being labeled "extreme", "cruel", and "hatred, grudge and demonization".

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the "invasion of the body snatchers" parallel!

    It is so true because we see today many Rabbeim who once supported Halacha (like Rav Riskin and Rav Goren), who now suddenly espouse religious viewpoints that are completely 'alien' to Judaism.

    ReplyDelete
  4. RAV JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK AS POSEK OF POST-MODERN ORTHODOXY
    By Walter S. Wurzburger
    This article originally appeared in Tradition Volume 29, 1994

    The Rav's opposition to moves which threatened the unity of the Jewish community also manifested itself in his attitudes towards non-Orthodox groups. He counselled against denying Conservative or Reform Rabbis the right to use communal mikva'ot for conversions. Moreover, he once instructed me that Reform conversions that were accompanied by circumcision and immersion in a mikve had to be treated as a safek giyur, (Accordingly, a get would be required to dissolve a marriage in which one of the partners previously underwent a Conservative or Reform conversion which conformed to the requirement of mila and tevila).

    Shiur HaRav Soloveichik ZT"L on Rus V'Inyanei Gayrus
    : (Shiur date: 5/24/68. Tape #5285)
    : What is the status of a convert who converts for marriage or financial
    : reasons and later keeps all the Mitzvos correctly and for the proper reasons,
    : what is his status? Is he a Ger Tzedek or a plain Ger with an incomplete
    : Kabbalas Hamitzvos? The Rav said that when he starts to keep the Mitzvos for
    : the appropriate reasons he creates the full Kdushas Yisrael at that time,
    : even though at the time of his conversion he was lacking in Kdushas Yisrael,
    : Kdushas Yisrael that can only come together with the appropriate keeping of
    : Mitzvos. The moment he starts to keep the Mitzvos correctly he consummates
    : the Kdushas Yisrael and becomes a Ger Tzedek. It makes no difference
    : when he starts to keep Mitzvos correctly, even though at the time of the
    : conversion he was lacking. The conversion applies even to someone who is
    : lacking Kabbalas Hamitzvos and remains as such until he acts appropriately
    : and graduates to the status of Ger Tzedek. Even though Shlomo's wives later
    : revealed themselves as idolatrous they retained the status of Geirim. Even
    : if the convert returned to his idolatrous ways he has the same status as a
    : Jewish Mumar who is still considered a Jew.

    ReplyDelete
  5. RAV JOSEPH B. SOLOVEITCHIK AS POSEK OF POST-MODERN ORTHODOXY
    By Walter S. Wurzburger
    This article originally appeared in Tradition Volume 29, 1994

    The Rav's opposition to moves which threatened the unity of the Jewish community also manifested itself in his attitudes towards non-Orthodox groups. He counselled against denying Conservative or Reform Rabbis the right to use communal mikva'ot for conversions. Moreover, he once instructed me that Reform conversions that were accompanied by circumcision and immersion in a mikve had to be treated as a safek giyur, (Accordingly, a get would be required to dissolve a marriage in which one of the partners previously underwent a Conservative or Reform conversion which conformed to the requirement of mila and tevila).

    Shiur HaRav Soloveichik ZT"L on Rus V'Inyanei Gayrus
    : (Shiur date: 5/24/68. Tape #5285)
    : What is the status of a convert who converts for marriage or financial
    : reasons and later keeps all the Mitzvos correctly and for the proper reasons,
    : what is his status? Is he a Ger Tzedek or a plain Ger with an incomplete
    : Kabbalas Hamitzvos? The Rav said that when he starts to keep the Mitzvos for
    : the appropriate reasons he creates the full Kdushas Yisrael at that time,
    : even though at the time of his conversion he was lacking in Kdushas Yisrael,
    : Kdushas Yisrael that can only come together with the appropriate keeping of
    : Mitzvos. The moment he starts to keep the Mitzvos correctly he consummates
    : the Kdushas Yisrael and becomes a Ger Tzedek. It makes no difference
    : when he starts to keep Mitzvos correctly, even though at the time of the
    : conversion he was lacking. The conversion applies even to someone who is
    : lacking Kabbalas Hamitzvos and remains as such until he acts appropriately
    : and graduates to the status of Ger Tzedek. Even though Shlomo's wives later
    : revealed themselves as idolatrous they retained the status of Geirim. Even
    : if the convert returned to his idolatrous ways he has the same status as a
    : Jewish Mumar who is still considered a Jew.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Kalonymus AnonymusAugust 8, 2019 at 11:54 PM

    "support[ed] the Chareidi viewpoint?"

    a) rational approach: There are multiple opinions, leniencies and strictures, that are not exclusive territory of the Chareidi world.

    b) cynical approach: The Chareidi viewpoint is only what their taskmaster or leader says at a certain point in time, which itself is informed by political expediency. Chareidi viewpoint is to maintain their hegemony, and also hege-money. Thus, for example, Rav Shternbuch chided R' Goren for the alleged "mamzerim" (anulling a giur to free mamzerim), yet a fully religious ger tzedek who was converted by the Druckman BD was not recognized as Jewish by Rab Shternbuch himself! The absurd argument was that the BD is not kosher because they do not require observance of mitzvot to convert. hence a convert who does observe mitzvot, is not Jewish because his BD doesnt require him to observe mitzvot!

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.