Friday, July 17, 2009

Rosh Yeshiva teaches conversion is desirable

Anonymous wrote:

my rosh yeshivah said it is better for a goy to convert than even to keep the sheva mitzvos bnei noach because they s'char for being a Jew is greater. What issur is there to proselytize? As long as you tell, like Shulchan Aruch says, "why do you want to be Jewish, don't you see there is anti-semitism, don't you know you have to keep mitzvos now, before you could eat what you want, now only kosher, there is gan eden but also gehinom" you fulfill what you need to push away, then you have to draw near like the shulchan aruch says "kdai l'chababan l'mitzvos". Too many people push away yosair m'dai and they are making new amalek like when Timna went to Eisav. If we don't make kosher gerus, then too many people will wind up going to reform and conservative r"l. As long as they will be frum it is a mitzvah v'ahavtem es hager!

I wish someone would show me a halachah somewhere that it is assur to proselytize - it is only assur to do gerus without kabalas hamitzvos, but if we can make them frum, it is a mitzvah!

12 comments :

  1. The mitzvah of ahavas hager clearly has no bearing on this issue. A ger is only a ger after conversion, there is no mitzvah to make someone into a ger.

    On the other hand, the idea that we do, to some degree, desire the convert can be supported from the halacha. Although the court is required to make statements to discourage conversion, the court is not supposed to overdo it (SA YD 268:2). The Shach there (from the Bach) says that the reason we don't overly stress the severity of Judaism is דשמא כוונתו לשמים. The implication is clearly that if we are truly confident that the convert is motivated l'shem shamayim, then we do desire to convert him.

    Although I doubt there is any issur against proselytizing per se, general proselytizing clearly runs against the intent of the halachos of geyrus.

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  2. LEt me turn a little bit:

    Thispiece shows that HaRav Shlomoh Zalman Aurbach does not agree with your position:

    , מ"מ לאותו סוג גרים אשר קבלתם עול מצוות קרובה להחשב כדברים שבלבו ובלב כל אדם, שלבם בל עמם, והננו כמעט בטוחים שאינם חושבים כלל לקיים ולשמור מצוות ד', בכגון דא נלענ"ד שכל המסייעים לגירות כזו, אף אם הם טועים לחשוב שהם גרים גמורים, אפי"ה גם לשטתם המגיירים אותם עוברים בלאו של לפני עור וגו', שהרי כל דבר הנעשה נגד רצון ד' קרוי מכשול, וכידוע שאסור להושיט אבר מן החי אפי' לבן נח, והוא מפני שעבירה קרויה מכשול, ונוהג לאו זה בין בישראל ובין בנכרי, וגם דבר זה סברא הוא דאין לחלק כלל בין מקרב יין לנזיר או נזיר ליין, ונמצא דמה שגר כזה חילל שבת ואכל נבלה לפני שהתגייר - לא היה בכך שום עבירה ולא נעשה כלל שום מכשול, ואילו עכשו כשהוא ממשיך ללכת בדרך זו גם להבא, הרי כל מעשיו נהפכים לפוקה ומכשול, וכיון שכל זה נעשה רק מפני הגירות - נמצא שכל המגיירים והמסייעים לכך הו"ל כגדול המחטיאו, ועוברים בלאו של ולפני עור לא תתן מכשול.

    If he would hold like you RY he would not say that that would be called a "michshol" (according to the wrong shita -not subscribed by HaRav SZA that the gerut would be chal -which again RSZA does not agree with; he states that it is a "taut"), since they actually do him a favor by making him jewish and getting grerater schar!

    And actually: how can something like this true? IF what is desirable is to keep the WIllof Hashem, how canone say that being jewish and not keeping HIs Will is better than being aGentile and keeing HIs will?

    With regards to "proselytize": Although it does not state anywhere a clear issur; nevertheless it is axiomatic that conversion is done by the *convert* pushing himself to become jewish! MAking it the other way around is simply contrary to the ESSENTIAL DEFINITION OF COVNERSION! And while we are not to push them away, we should be conmoofrtable that they are really sincere! IF we are doubtful to their sincerity and inner will it is contrary to the concept of real kabbalat hamitzvot: which is the inner commitment of the convertee to want to convert!

    That is imho the reason that nowhere will you find in halachathe language that "we ask them to convert", for this is the contrary of the essential idea of conversion.

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  3. I'm not following Roni's point with citation from R' Shlomo Zalman. The poster clearly states that he is only talking about when the converts become frum. R' Shlomo Zalman is talking about converts who won't keep the mitzvos.

    I would also be interested in knowing where he found the "essential definition of conversion". The halachos of geyrus deal with the behavior of a beis din when presented with a prospective convert. But what is there to forbid an ordinary Jew from discussing the beauty and truth of Judaism with his non-Jewish neighbor. I am not aware of any such prohibition (although actually teaching him Torah is forbidden). Ultimately, that is all that proselytizing is.

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  4. LazerA,

    Shalom!

    I'm sorry i did not explain myself. WE both agree that if the convert comes on his own and keeps torah and mitzvah he is highest of the highest, and we commanded so many times for ahavat hager; we both agree that if the person is nto interested in keeping ahead of conversion that itis not a favor for him to become aJew (although there are some who say otherwise in certain situations); but we dealing with most situations where we are unsure of the outcome, is it beneficial for us to "prosetyze" (that is the word used in this blog) or not.

    Here the question is: When one proseletyzes in a way that it is not the initiative of the convert, there may be more room for the lack of real desire to become a Jew. When we are unsure if the fellow will keep 613 or not, then better him stay where bhe is and keep what is possible for him to keep than bring him into a new lifestyle that is extrmely difficult for him to live that lfiestyle unless it is his real ddesire.In a case of safek "shev veal tasse adif".

    IN addigtion i would like to add: Hashem created Jews and non Jews. It is obcvious that there is a purpose and Will of Hashem for both. Hashem gives more schar for lots of things. Nevertheless it does not necessarily mean that we change the way Hashem created so that there will be extra schar.

    In addition: Nowhere does Shulchan Aruch say that we shoiuld go and look for GErim. While when the ger com es to be megayer it becomes amitzvah to be megayer him; nowhere does it say that we should look for this extra mitzvah. Rambam actaully writesin hilchot melachim that Hashem commanded Jews to tell non Jews about their obgliation to keep 7 Noahide laws and that they were instructed so from Sinay. Not a single word about telling him that it woiuld a good idea to covnert to judaism.

    to be contniued

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  5. I also would like to make a commnet ragarding TImna. The Talmud in sanhedrin 99b when making the comment about not distancing her prefsaces: that "boss" (she came) "baye leigayrah" (she wanted to be megayer) and they distanced her; it does not say that we should go out and call them to be megayer!


    If you will check the Rambam writing in all areas of halacha about a ger (whether in iossurey biah or melachim) you will find that he always prefaces "keshebah lehitgayer", when teh CONVERT COMES TO be converted! Another interesting Halacha that shows the inherent and essnetial nature of conversion that is the will to convert according to Rambam is: that Rambam 's shita would be that yefeh toar first biah was while she was a goya and not megayer yet (unlike rashi who learns that even the first biah was after some giyur), for (although rashi would learn that this is an extraordinary chiddush that giyur was sheloy midaatoh, yet) rambam learns that the first biah was while goya and then the whole process continues until she CHOOSES to become jewish and to be mitgayer. There is no giyur sheloy midaatah even in extraordinary circumnstaces where torah is matir keneged yetzer harah but there was no change in the way a person can become jewish!

    to be continued

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  6. REgarding the "essential definition of conversion"' I"m refering to the formular codified by Rambam :
    רמב"ם הלכות איסורי ביאה פרק יג הלכה ד

    וכן לדורות כשירצה העכו"ם להכנס לברית ולהסתופף תחת כנפי השכינה ויקבל עליו עול תורה צריך מילה וטבילה

    This is not the "the behavior of a beis din when presented with a prospective convert"; this is the definition of what the convert is so that Beis Din performs the performances reuired forthe conversion! The prospective convert "WANTS TO ENTER THE COVENANT"! (BRIT REPRESENTS THE COMMITMENT FROM A JEW TO HASHEM AND TORAH AS BRIT HAR SINAY!) HE WANTS TO DWELL UNDER THE WINGS OF THE HOLY SHECHINAH! AND WANTS TO ACCEPT THE YOKE OF TORAH, only then can Beis Din begin the process! .

    While I'm also not aware of an "issur" to speak with goyim about the nature of judaism in order for them to convert (which is the reason I am opposing the war on Rt on this blog); it does not seem that this the proper way and procedure to conversions and certainly it does not seem to be the formula to have converts who earn the title "gerey HaTzedek" , who are those who look on their own to decide to convert and not superimposed by others.

    Kol Tuv, and shabbat shalom,
    Roni,

    ReplyDelete
  7. the Monsey TzadikJuly 19, 2009 at 9:48 PM

    While I'm also not aware of an "issur" to speak with goyim about the nature of judaism in order for them to convert (which is the reason I am opposing the war on Rt on this blog)

    Tropper,

    Enough with the shtuios that you and Roni are two different people! you are not fooling anybody!.

    Nobody is objecting to talking with gentiles about any subject, the people (that ones you were not able to buy) object your proselytizing campaigns, your running after them, flying them around, feeding them, paying them and forcing them to follow your version of frumkeit

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  8. Just to briefly reply to Roni:
    I think we are thinking of different things when we speak of proselytizing.

    I am unaware, and doubtful of the existence, of any prohibition against Jews speaking positively of Judaism towards non-Jews, even with the intent to encourage them to convert to Judaism. While I think that such intent is not really in keeping with Jewish tradition, I don't believe there is any prohibition.

    Organized large scale campaigns, on the other hand, do raise a whole range of serious problems in regards to our confidence in the sincerity and commitment of the prospective convert, and should clearly be avoided. Even then, however, I am not aware of a prohibition per se, as long as the organization has no influence on the converting beis din.

    The definition of a convert that you have cited from the Rambam says nothing about how the non-Jew came to be interested in conversion. His definition would apply equally to those who came to their interest through the proselytizing efforts of Jews and to those who came to it through their own spiritual search. All that matters is that, at this time, their interest is genuine, sincere, and based on a real understanding of the commitment they are accepting.

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  9. mtr

    "Tropper,

    Enough with the shtuios that you and Roni are two different people! you are not fooling anybody!.",

    The only one who is fooling himself is you! who thinks that two people are one! truthfully you and RT and myself are one people, but that is only by our souls, but in person, we are three different people) and you would win championship for the shuts that we are the same person,



    Roni (not RAv T)

    "Nobody is objecting to talking with gentiles about any subject, the people (that ones you were not able to buy) object your proselytizing campaigns,",

    Besides you and some handful of people no one is objecting anything about the program of HaRav Tropper!

    "forcing them to follow your version of frumkeit",

    MTR,

    RAv Tropper does not put a gun on anyone's head; anyone who does not wish to participate can do so. After all America is a free country. but you and some others cannot make up your minds: either RT is guilty for talking to gentiles about conversion or he is guilty for being too frum and allowing them to take a free ride for conversion! You are a bunch of confused people; the only commonality is that you criticize at HaRav Tropper for whatever he does! Have fun!

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  10. LazerA

    I think I agree with you 98.%

    LazerA:"I am unaware, and doubtful of the existence, of any prohibition against Jews speaking positively of Judaism towards non-Jews, even with the intent to encourage them to convert to Judaism".

    Roni: Agree with you that there is no "prohibition", but I believe that Judaism is not into encouraging them to convert in general (except if there are extenuating circumstances then maybe it might be done).

    Lazera: "While I think that such intent is not really in keeping with Jewish tradition, I don't believe there is any prohibition".

    Roni: Agreed (but I beleive that the tradition as we know from Shulchan Aruch has to do with the gerut procedure + the fact that according to tradition there is no point to generally encourage someone to change the way Hashem creted him and hismission bto serve Hashem's plan. (ie. it is not only coincidental and it is not also (only) a result of not enraging the non jeiwsh govemrnts and their relgious clerics, but according to SA and Rambam it appears that this is not what we should aim for).

    "Organized large scale campaigns, on the other hand, do raise a whole range of serious problems in regards to our confidence in the sincerity and commitment of the prospective convert, and should clearly be avoided".

    Roni: AGreed. But imho the same may be said when it is done on an individual level. When someone is asked to do something not on his own then it lacks his real sincerity and this is not the ideal in gerut. After all, even Bney Yisroel had Purim "hodor kibluhoho" as earlier it was superimposed upon them by the threat of "kafa alehem har kegigit" (and whatever that means it lacked their inner self inititiave).

    LAzera: " Even then, however, I am not aware of a prohibition per se, as long as the organization has no influence on the converting beis din".

    Roni: Agreed.

    Lazera: "The definition of a convert that you have cited from the Rambam says nothing about how the non-Jew came to be interested in conversion His definition would apply equally to those who came to their interest through the proselytizing efforts of Jews and to those who came to it through their own spiritual search".

    Roni: Perhaps the most ideal journey to bring the will to enter the covenant should be like by the times of Purim when it comes about by the person himself and not superimposed (Even by the "prosetyzing" of the great manifestations and revealtions of G-d that "compeleed" the person to want to covnert might not be the ideal regarding Geut).

    LAzera:"All that matters is that, at this time, their interest is genuine, sincere, and based on a real understanding of the commitment they are accepting".

    Roni: agreed 99% Itmostly matters what you wrote, And I would add that I agree you more if the "proseltyzing" that you talked about is only to teach the beauty of juaism and it;s teachings as opposed to a direct talk and inspiration that *he* make the step to convert. That would certainly be contrary to the spirit and ideals and implications of Ramba's phraseology.

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  11. Rabbi Yeshayahu HollanderAugust 31, 2009 at 10:45 AM

    Shalom!
    I have been involved with Bnei Noah for some years. The statement that it is benficial to non-Jews to convert them because it assures them of a "reward in the world to come" is well founded, for instance in Rambam Hilchot Melachim 8,11.
    Those Bnei Noah [men and women] whom I have had the honor to meet are indeed Yireiei Shamayim, and if they convert, they indeed intend to keep ALL the mitzvot.
    However, that is not the only consideration.
    The opening of Mesilat Yesharim [Chapter 1] says [my translation]:
    "The basis for the perfect worship of Gd is that each person clarify and assure one's duty in this world, AND TOWARDS WHAT GOAL ONE SHOULD DIRECT ONE'S EFFORTS IN AL OF HIS ACTIVITIES THROUGHOUT HIS LIFE."
    As pointed out by the Vilna Gaon, that to try to increase one's reward in the world to come it IS NOT A WORTHY OBJECTIVE [and for that reason he instructed his diciples NOT to put on Tefillin of Rabeinu Tam].
    In today's world, there are much more important goals which a Ben Noah achieve - which they are more capable of achieving than Jews are.
    It is well known that a great many young people leave their religions and seek a relation with the Almighty different than the one that they have been raised in. This is a great opportunity to teach them the service of the Almighty which the Torah asks of non-Jews [the Miztvoth of Bnei Noah]. Unfortunately, we Jews are not successfull in this.

    Thus while a non-Jew may convert, and we should accept them according to the proper procedures, and love them [Devarim 10,19, Iggrot Moshe YD part 4,26] it is seemingly NOT the best option for these excellent people in the service of the Almighty.

    ReplyDelete
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