Friday, September 19, 2008

Conversion - Beis Din/ Can a ger be a member?

There is a recording on the internet of a typically excellent shiur given by Rav Herschel Shacter, shlita on the subject of geirus.

In an incident of hashgacha protis someone kindly notified me yesterday of the existence of this shiur [Posted on Hirhurim Audio Roundup XI by Joel Rich] and noted that at the end of the recording [118 minutes out of 125] there is a discussion about a"certain Spanish speaking rabbi in New York who is himself a convert" and is part of the beis din for conversion. Rav Shachter notes that there is a serious question regarding the validity of such a beis din in which a ger is one of the judges and that it shouldn't be done.

Shortly before receiving that email - I had received an email from someone else who is seriously contemplating conversion with a "certain Spanish speaking rabbi in New York who is himself a convert" - and that correspondent noted that he had been informed by one of the readers of this blog that the conversion might be problematic. He wanted to know if I had any information on the matter.

13 comments:

  1. To be fair - Rav Shachter points out that his being a ger is the ONLY problem with his conversions, unlike what has been implied on this blog.

    Also, Rav Shachter clearly doesn't like a ger on a gerut beit din, but he never says the conversions would not be valid.

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  2. Spanish speaking JewSeptember 19, 2008 at 3:09 PM

    Obviously, that certain Spanish speaking Rabbi who is himself a convert is Manny Vinas, the topic of a great deal of discussion on this blog.

    "Rav Shachter notes that there is a serious question regarding the validity of such a beis din in which a ger is one of the judges and that it shouldn't be done."

    There does not seem to be a question as Rav Shachter has already answered it:

    "It shouldn't be done".

    The Israeli Chief Rabbinate does not automatically recognize Diaspora conversions. (The RCA, with its 1000 member Rabbis also has agreed to abide by the terms of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate under the new GPS system. ). I wonder if Rav Shachter, if asked would count for a minyan, a "Spanish speaking Rabbi who is himself a convert" if the conversion is not recognized by the Israeli Chief Rabbinate or the RCA?

    Thanks to dialogue published first on this blog, Manny Vinas is publicly known to be a person who does not respect Judaism's most important tenets (ie proselytizing to non Jews).

    I would wish to ask Rav Shachter if "the Spanish speaking Rabbi's" OWN conversion is valid even if the Beis Din that converted Manny Vinas as a child along with his entire family were one of the recognized Batei Din in Israel whose conversions have been previously accepted. (There is only ONE Beit Din in Miami that has ever had a conversion accepted by the CR and that is Rabbi Dovid Lehrfield).

    I would also wish that as Rosh Yeshiva of YU, Rav Shachter would make a more public statement in the name of not "putting a stumbling block before the blind" and either endorse or disown the "Spanish speaking Rabbi in New York" who is, walking around with the prestigious "brand label" of YU on his resume.

    Depending upon one's opinion of Manny Vinas and his infamous outreach work, either YU gives the "Spanish speaking Rabbi" the credibility of one of the most prestigious Modern Orthdox institutions in the world or YU loses their own credibility as an institution of higher Jewish learning because of Vinas who via his notorious "outreach" to Gentiles, has become one of YU's more infamous graduates.

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  3. If he is kosher to be a dayan why wold it be valid? If Rav Shechter would raise doubts regarding a woman being a dayan, would you say that since rav Shechter did not say that the conversion is not valid...therefore??

    And Rav Shechter did speak out many times how Kabbalat Hamitzvot is essential to gerut and his ommission to discuss these aspects does not indicate that there are not other possible problems; he just picked up the obvious and open one.

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  4. Dov said...

    To be fair - Rav Shachter points out that his being a ger is the ONLY problem with his conversions, unlike what has been implied on this blog.

    Also, Rav Shachter clearly doesn't like a ger on a gerut beit din, but he never says the conversions would not be valid.
    ================
    Rav Shachter didn't say that everything he does with conversions is acceptable except.... He said this rabbi is Orthodox and a nice guy - which he is and he is on the beis din - which he shouldn't be. My problem is with his understanding of the halacha and there is no hechsher from Rav Shachter for him on this recording.
    Regarding being a member of beis din - Rav Shachter points out if there is no valid beis din there is no conversion. Consequently there is a sofek on the validity of all his geirim. I find it very strange that a rabbi would create this dilemma for anyone. Why is it so important that he be on the beis din? Would you advise someone to use his beis din?

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  5. I do not want to sit through a shiur on the internet. Instead of "he says - she says" can someone explain the problem. It might be important to know a subject before commenting.

    I know that being a ger in general on a Bes Din for anything involving a Yisrael for nefoshos (yibum-chelitzah) can be an issue-gerus is more tham money matters. I believe it is a matter of seroroh. -- mekerev achechoh" Maybe, that is the problem. Could someone clarify. I am sure that the problem is not that difficult. And, I am sure that there might be opinions. How about Daas Torah commenting.

    I am not next to seforim. I do remember the sugya in Yevomos but do not have the Shulchan Oruch in front of me. I do remember that a ger can be on a Bes Din involving gerim. So, remind us.

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  6. shlomo said...

    I do not want to sit through a shiur on the internet. Instead of "he says - she says" can someone explain the problem. It might be important to know a subject before commenting.
    ==============
    We are not dealing with hearsay - Rav Schacter is very clear saying that a ger should not sit on the beis din.

    I will try bli neder to collect some sources after Shabbos. Rav Schacter at minute 118 on the shiur states that there is a question as to whether a ger can serve as a judge on a conversion beis din. He says therefore a ger should not. He does not cite sources.

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  7. Spanish speaking JewSeptember 19, 2008 at 6:52 PM

    On this blog, you had already discussed whether or not a ger can be a Rosh Kehillah. I can't find it now. I LOVE this blog, I just which it was searchable.

    ReplyDelete
  8. dass torah wrote:
    " there is no hechsher from Rav Shachter for him on this recording."

    Fair enough. But there is no indication that Rav Shachter has any objection to his outreach work either. That's the point I was trying to make.

    On this very tape, the Rav Shachter warns of misquoting or reading too much into the words of big Rabbis. Let us not be guilty of that ourselves.

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  9. I'm curious as to your take on the amoraim still possibly being mchadeish doraita's.

    BTW I'm really pleased that people actually read the reviews and refer them to interested parties.

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  10. Spanish speaking Jew said...

    On this blog, you had already discussed whether or not a ger can be a Rosh Kehillah. I can't find it now. I LOVE this blog, I just which it was searchable.
    ====================
    It is searchable - I just have not inserted tags into the post. If you type the word vinas into the search window at the top of the page you will find the post you are looking for. I have inserted the results [http://daattorah.blogspot.com
    /2008/06/rabbi-vinas-replies-to-criticism-ii.html] in the comment section for
    http://daattorah.blogspot.com/2008/09/ger-as-dayan-for-geirus.html

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joel Rich wrote:

    I'm curious as to your take on the amoraim still possibly being mchadeish doraita's.

    BTW I'm really pleased that people actually read the reviews and refer them to interested parties.
    ================
    I am really appreciative of your efforts thank you.
    Regarding your question of amoraim - if you could elaborate a bit on the question I'll will be glad to make it into a post so it can properly discussed.

    ReplyDelete
  12. IIUC R'HS follows the Rambam that the TSBP that Moshe received was basically the TSBC plus rules for drashot(versus the school that he received all the actual drashot). The question is who had the right to make new drashot and when did that stop (I suppose it's clear that whichever view you take there are supporting and contrasting data points in the gemara itself)

    KT
    Joel Rich

    ReplyDelete
  13. Recipients and PublicityOctober 19, 2008 at 5:36 AM

    While Halacha rules out a Ger from being a Dayan on a Beis Din for Giur, here is a story of a Ger who was a member of the Lakewood Yeshiva for 40 years (he lived in their dormitory for 40 years, rather unusual it seems, why couldn't they find him a shidduch in all that time?) and now at the time of his passing is receiving an official "state funeral" from them as reported briefly on October 18, 2008 by YW

    http://www.theyeshivaworld.com/news/General+News/24698/Petira+of+Ger+Tzedek+Dr+Kenny+Trabert.html

    "Petira of Ger Tzedek Dr Kenny Trabert

    YWN regrets to inform you of the Petira of the 'Ger Tzedek' Dr. Kenny - Yisroel Mordechai - Trabert Z”L. Kenny - as he was widely known - had lived in the dormitory, and learned in the Bais Medrash of Lakewood’s BMG since he was Megayer approximately 40 years ago.

    The Levaya will take place in front of BMG at 12:30 tonight & from there to the Lakewood cemetery..

    Boruch Dayan Emmes…"

    ReplyDelete

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