Friday, December 19, 2008

Father's Jewish - try to convert?

This is an excerpt from R' Aryeh Ginzburg's sefer [pp 266-267.] As a young man he went around to gedolim with many important questions. He compiled this sefer from the answers. I personally find the sefer very frustrating since these are not teshuvos written by gedolim. Consequently there is no context or clarity. In other words you can't rely on these halacha le'maseh. It is also not valid to make diyukim in what he says. On the other hand he had very solid haskomas. Bottom line this material is thought provoking and encourages further study of the matter. The full sefer itself is available at Hebrew Books
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There is a fundamental difference between what Rabbi Tropper is doing and the possible heter of a number of gedolim. As Rabbi Fuerst of Chicago has pointed out.

Are we dealing with someone who views themselves as Jewish? Someone who views themselves as Jewish and is enrolled in a Jewish school or attending kiruv meetings - is a serious problem for intermarriage. Rav Moshe Feinstein also suggests converting non-Jewish children who are attending a day school. He also says a similar heter regarding the Ethiopians in Israel who view themselves as Jewish.

On the other hand Rabbi Tropper is targeting non-Jews who have no doubt that they are not Jewish and are married to Jews. He claims that conversion is necessary for the sake of kiruv for the Jewish spouse.

Non of the gedolim mentioned advocated running after intermarried couples. In fact Rav Eliashiv explicitly stated concerning kiruv that the time honored practice has always been to ostracize such couples. Rav Eliashiv also makes an exception for a Jew who is married to a non-Jew who mistakenly thinks he/she is Jewish.

10 comments :

  1. This essentially fits with what I have been taught is the halacha in this case. I have not yet studied the laws of geirus in depth, but when dealing with a similar issue(possibly having a goya whose faither is Jewish and her mothers father is)Tetay with our family during Pesach, every dayyan I spoke to about it said essentially this same thing, in such a case it is a mitzvah to convert her.

    The woman I know is a friend of my wife's from way back. She grew up in a Conserva-dox household and then made Teshuvah. No one ever asked if her mother's mother was Jewish. So when I met her I had the esteemed privilege of being the first to inform her that she wasn't Jewish. That was not a pleasant experience especially as three quarters of her family were holocaust survivors.

    Fast-forward to the present when she decides to convert Orthodox(which she has been living for a number of years). She had to deal with the frustration of having program after program(as you need to be sponsored before a Beis Din by a program or Rav), give the same run around as they would a non-Jew off the street. So eventually I got one of the dayyanim that teach my dayyanus classes who is a dayan on Rabbi Eisestein's Vaad HaRabbonim HaOlami HaGiyur to make a call, and straighten things out. All of that to say that while this may be the halacha I don't know how much traction it has on the ground with the gate keeper organizations.

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  2. Recipients and PublicityDecember 19, 2008 at 11:32 AM

    Dear Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah, I think it would be a very good idea for the benefit of those readers who are not familiar with this sefer, if you would please say who the mechaber of this sefer "Divrei Chachomim" is and where and when and why it was published. What else is this sefer about and anything else this mechaber published. This would help give the post a proper context. Thank you!

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  3. Recipients and Publicity said...

    Dear Rabbi Eidensohn/da'as torah, I think it would be a very good idea for the benefit of those readers who are not familiar with this sefer, if you would please say who the mechaber of this sefer "Divrei Chachomim" is and where and when and why it was published. What else is this sefer about and anything else this mechaber published. This would help give the post a proper context. Thank you!
    =================
    Thank you for your suggestion. Most of the relevant information can be obtained by viewing the sefer at Hebrew Books - in particular the haskamos. Regarding the author himself - a google search should turn up additional information.

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  4. There seems to a silent consensus amongst many gedoyley posskim in a bechina of "halacha." not to be publicized but to be adopted to try to help such people with genuine conversion.

    In the EJF kuntress they gave out last year, there seems to be a similar ruling recorded by Rav Eisenstein in the name of Rav Elyashiv. And so the "Rumor" goes about many of gedoyley haposskim (like RMf) and others). There he emphasizes though that there should be no compromise about Kabalat hamitzvot!

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  5. R' Yaakov Kamenetsky was also of this opinion (though this is something you have disputed here in the past).

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  6. There is a fundamental difference between what Rabbi Tropper is doing and the possible heter of a number of gedolim. As Rabbi Fuerst of Chicago has pointed out.

    Are we dealing with someone who views themselves as Jewish? Someone who views themselves as Jewish and is enrolled in a Jewish school or attending kiruv meetings - is a serious problem for intermarriage. Rav Moshe Feinstein also suggests converting non-Jewish children who are attending a day school. He also says a similar heter regarding the Ethiopians in Israel who view themselves as Jewish.

    On the other hand Rabbi Tropper is targeting non-Jews who have no doubt that they are not Jewish and are married to Jews. He claims that conversion is necessary for the sake of kiruv for the Jewish spouse.

    Non of the gedolim mentioned advocated running after intermarried couples. In fact Rav Eliashiv explicity stated concerning kiruv that the time honored practice has always been to ostracize such couples. Rav Eliashiv also makes an exception for a Jew who is married to a non-Jew who mistakenly thinks he/she is Jewish.

    Roni regarding the alleged psak of R' Eliashiv - do you have a copy of this kuntres since the way you are explaining it it directly contradicts a letter to a rav that Rav Efrati wrote in Rav Eliashiv's name dealing with kiruv. I have copy in my possession.

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  7. DT,

    I'm sorry. I had this somewhere and I do not know where I placed it. If my memory serves me right though, the pssak printed there was in the vein that i repeated before (as I remember being kind of chocked last year when I read it then) and I remember that there was implication for leniency with one caveat only: no comprmise in kabbalalt hamitzvot.

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  8. Dt,

    I asked someone who verified to me: that it is a letter given out to Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein (son in law) to HaRav elyashiv where he states that in cases of already intermarried one can help the spouse to convert. The only caveat is no compromise in Kabbalat Hamitzvot.

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  9. Roni said...

    Dt,

    I asked someone who verified to me: that it is a letter given out to Rav Yitzchok Zilberstein (son in law) to HaRav elyashiv where he states that in cases of already intermarried one can help the spouse to convert. The only caveat is no compromise in Kabbalat Hamitzvot.
    =======================
    So who has a copy of the letter?
    The letter I have from Rabbi Efrati which cites Rav Eliashiv - directly contradicts your assertion. 1) Either there are intervening variables which need to be identified 2) Somebody is misquoting Rav Eliashiv 3) Rav Eliashiv changed his mind.

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  10. Maybe, if you are interested in the truth you can start by calling RAv Yitzchok Silberstein
    HaRav ELyashiv's son in law. The letter was printed and given out to hundreds of people I very much doubt that he would print an untruthful letter.

    ReplyDelete

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