Thursday, February 11, 2010

Should one's child marry a ger?


Guest post: DK

I write this with a great deal of trepidation.  G-d Forbid that I should cause any more pain to any ger tzedek.

Some personal background.  I am an MO BT, not especially learned, with sons and daughters. 

1.  I have a general concern about any son or daughter marrying a ger tzedek.  What if the ger tzedek decides, two or five or ten years later, not to be Jewish anymore?  What happens to the children?  I realize that a similar issue could arise in the case of a BT or FFB who "falls Off The Derech".

2.  These days, there are people in apparent positions of authority in Klal Yisrael who claim they have the power to retroactively revoke conversions.  As those reading this post who are learned know better than I do, the consequences of such a revocation, particularly in the case of a female ger tzedek whose daughters have already married at the time the revocation occurs, can cause tragedies.  Until this issue is resolved, I would discourage a son from marrying any convert, no matter how much of a bat Yisrael she has become.  The issue is different for a daughter, as her children are Jews according to halacha regardless of who she marries.

[3. There is a also an extra requirement of loving a ger and not distressing a ger - in addition to that which applies to a Jew from birth. This however is a two edge sword. That means that if your husband or wife is a ger and things go well that you get extra reward for loving and not upsetttng them. But if you have on occasion a disagreement then you get punished more. In fact these additional mitzvos were given because a ger is psychologically more apt to be hurt so you also have to treat the spouse with much greater care. This itself can be be  the basis of fights since the attitude of I deserve to treated nicer than you are treating me - is amplified through the additional mitzvos of the Torah. DT ]

In sum, marrying a ger is not the same as marrying someone of a different race or different social class.

110 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. We are seeing a whole new generation of Jews - from the lowliest scholars to the greatest Gedolim - violate one of the most important mitzvahs of the Torah - (in this week's parsha) - to love converts. The Yezer Hara makes up all kinds of excuses and justifications why not to accept Gerim. The effect goes deeper than just Gerim though. It also effects the love we have for each other as Jews. Because once Gerim aren't accepted, we start to not accept legitimate Jews (for who really knows a person's lineage). The dire consequences of departing from the path of Torah are well known. Too bad this generation seems to have forgotten the lesson of yore.

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  3. Eddie - shame on you. You should immerse yourself in a mikveh - I mean, full submersion, for a few hours. Head and all.

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  4. Sadly, this is one of those posts that confirms that Reb Moshe Feinstein isn't the posek haDor anymore. Reb Moshe clearly writes that one shouldn't be hesitant to marry a ger. If a ger is frum enough for you to consider as a life partner, he/she should be frum enough to be accepted as a ger. I guess that we are too frum for Reb Moshe now a days.

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  5. Dee said...

    We are seeing a whole new generation of Jews - from the lowliest scholars to the greatest Gedolim - violate one of the most important mitzvahs of the Torah -
    ===========
    These concerns were already expressed in the gemora and rishonim. They are legitimate concerns and do not violate any precept of the Torah.

    Are you saying that if one has a choice of marrying two women that one should give preference to the ger?

    The Torah says to love them - it doesn't say affirmative action is required.

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  6. Publicly discussing why it's rational or reasonable to shun gerim as marriage partners seems to go beyond refraining from establishing affirmative action to integrate gerim into the Jewish community.

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  7. loving a ger and falling in love with a ger are 2 seperate things

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  8. I don't understand point #1. What do you mean "decides... not to be Jewish anymore?" Once they convert, they are Jewish. They can't "decide" to revoke that. It's their status, and it's over. So the concern is equally valid with a BT. He decided to keep mitzvot, but what if he decides later to go back to his secular ways? And as you mention, an FFB can "fall off the derech," so what happens if an FFB decides to become secular? While it could be argued that having a different background would make it more likely (ie for a ger and BT) to make a switch back to the old background (however, you can just as easily argue for the exact opposite, that since they made an active change to the Torah way, it is less likely) - In either case such a problem is across the board.

    You should only marry a person you feel is committed and devoted to a Torah lifestyle. If you are convinced of that great. If not, then it's not right for you. But them being a ger or a BT or an FFB has nothing to do with it. This sounds like it's not an issue with the shidduch but actually with you. No offense. You're not willing to survey the situation and decide if it's suitable and then commit to it based on the extent of human means of arriving at a judgement, or you don't trust your kids to do so. But we can only know so much. Anything can happen to anyone. And sometimes you have to trust your kids to make a good decision.

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  9. Dee, I am being realistic.
    I am not saying i wouldn't marry a Ger, but I would look at the background they came from -

    And several hours in a mikve, hmm, would that make me kosher?

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  10. Shqueez posted:
    I do no wish to insult any Gerim, but a shiksa may come out of the mikveh Jewish, but her deep genetic character is still goyish...

    Oy! What positions on the DNA strand are those goyish chromosome pairs? That statement seems to disregard the mitzvah of loving a ger because it reeks of racial bigotry, IMO.

    Personally, all else being equal, I wouldn't want a shadchan to set my children up with geirim. But this is mainly because of reason associated with reason one. Just like many don't want their children set up with children of divorcees, since they feel the children have an acceptance of divorce or just may copy their parents behavior, there is a possibility that the child of a geir may decide that this is not the religion for them and choose another.

    But I said all else being equal. I would not want a shadchan setting them up. But if I met a geir or giores who one of my children felt was the one, and I was impressed by character, sincerity, stability, reasons for being migayor, etc., then I agree it could be the best possible shidduch.

    So I guess the answer is that every case stands by itself.

    BTW, reason two could cause serious stress and pain in the marriage, so must be considered at the outset. If it were to happen, I think that at this point there are people who would fife un any revocation done for political reasons. I would recommend that my child find a group of such people and move there if it were to happen.

    Reason three is of course valid, but people move to Eretz Yisroel and have similar issues with mitzvos. So I guess a ground rule for the marriage would need to be no ger name calling. Which means that all this would need to be discussed between them before they decide to go out seriously.

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    1. I just wanted to let you know I am a child of divorced parents. Nothing was more painful than my family being torn apart in a bitter divorce. I was left without a whole family. Now as an adult I am determined not to let that happen to me and have begun to try to finally start a family of my own. However, because of people like you, it is hard for me to even get passed step one and meet an actual shidduch. It's c'mo saying you won't date a holocaust survivor- why do you cause all this pain to innocent children? All things being equal- why not dafka choose the person who has had no full family for so long and is looking to start a new one? If he has issues you realize later on, don't marry him. But to make it all the more harder for him to find someone is so wrong and your comment confirmed what I though was happening all this time. It is truly painful to read.

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  11. >Because once Gerim aren't accepted, we start to not accept legitimate Jews (for who really knows a person's lineage).<

    >I do no wish to insult any Gerim, but a shiksa may come out of the mikveh Jewish, but her deep genetic character is still goyish...<

    Both of the first two posters actually violate the very commandment by their callous and inacurate language!

    Joseph2

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  12. As in all issues in life, my opinion is that one should do their hishtadlus and look into things as much as possible. After that, it's all in Hashem's hands and if you did the right thing, He'll do the right thing by you (even if it's not always obvious).

    Is there any other way to live?

    Joseph2

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  13. (I am trying my level best to post in a level-headed manner. If I failed to do so, please accept my apologies, and feel free to edit my comment)

    My response to the points raised:
    What if the ger tzedek decides, two or five or ten years later, not to be Jewish anymore? What happens to the children?
    A: According to any legitimate halachic standard, absolutely nothing. The only criterion is that the kabbalat mitzvot was sincere at the time of gerut. This is explicit in the gemara, and is NOT revokable. Yisrael, af al pi shechata, Yisrael hu. There is ZERO basis for "revoking" gerut, and the only cases I know of where a posek definitively declared a gerut invalid after the fact were to prevent agunah or mamzerut.

    These days, there are people in apparent positions of authority in Klal Yisrael who claim they have the power to retroactively revoke conversions.
    A: Anyone claiming such a power has no basis in being in a position of authority, and his halachic opinion should no more be heeded than a rabbi who eats pork.

    There is a also an extra requirement of loving a ger and not distressing a ger - in addition to that which applies to a Jew from birth. This however is a two edge sword. That means that if your husband or wife is a ger and things go well that you get extra reward for loving and not upsetttng them. But if you have on occasion a disagreement then you get punished more.
    A: No one should ever plan on causing distress to his or her spouse. The idea that one should avoid marrying a ger because there's an extra obligation to love him or her is ludicrous on its face.

    DT: No, there is no "affirmative action" needed in this regard for gerim, but socially treating a ger negatively in any way relative to a born Jew on the basis of his/her status is halachically despicable.

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  14. Just a couple of thoughts from decades of personal experience as a ger:

    1. Everyone's background is different. Someone in a kiruv kollel (FFB) once asked me how it was to sleep around and eat aiver chai. I have no idea... I grew up with a very strong set up morals and emunah. Turns out, he had engaged in behaviors while "frum" that I never would have thought of. I find this is often true.

    2. Dating for me was a shocking experience. I never dated before becoming a ger. So, I have no idea the way things work in the goyish world. But, I was set up with about a dozen girls. Years later, I coined a term for them: "Issue girls." What do I mean? Examples:

    a. A girl tells me that all of her BY friends hug and kiss boys when they go on shiduch dates. And she tells me that most of them have sexual relations with the boys after engagement and before marriage.

    b. Another girl admitted to me on the 3rd date that she is a lesbian. She told me that her BY principal counseled her about this after she propositioned another girl in high school. She asked me to marry her a few minutes later after telling me that she was going to force herself to be straight "because that's what the community expects." Obviously, my answer was "No." Since when are women supposed to propose to men? That's tznius?

    c. Another girl told me that she has issues with taharas hamishpocha because it really makes her mad that men believe that a woman's natural body functions are somehow "nasty" and "filthy". She hates the idea of being filthy every month. But, she'll do whatever the halacha tells her that she absolutely must - and no more.

    d. Another girl told me that the rabbis were sexists because they make women "sit behind a fence like lepers." And, if she could, she'd get rid of the "fence." But... alas... she'll do whatever the community expects.

    I became frustrated. These are not the kinds of attitudes I wanted to pass along to my children. They certainly weren't the attributes that I ever had.

    My wife is a daughter of a giores. We've been married 14 years. We met online through a frum "email list". Before we spoke on the phone or met in person, we each had our rabbeim call each other and call several members of our respective communities. There are "no issues" in our family with anything - just complete emunah in Hashem and complete, joyful, observance of all mitzvos.

    So... genetics? I don't believe it. However, looking at my limited evidence, genetics would seem to point to exactly the opposite conclusion as the poster came to.

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  15. I don't understand point #1. What do you mean "decides... not to be Jewish anymore?" Once they convert, they are Jewish.
    ============
    This issue was mentioned by Chazal as a reason to be careful with the way a ger is treated


    Maharal (Shemos 23:9): Don’t upset the ger because his “soro” is evil. This is referring to his evil inclination which causes a person to deviate – is especially evil in a ger. Because of this he is predisposed to revert back to his earlier ways. Consequently one should not upset him.

    Bava Metzia (59b): It has been taught: R’ Eleazar HaGadol said: Why did the Torah warn in 36 places – while others say in 46 places – against wronging a convert? It is because he has a strong inclination to evil -Rashi Horios 13a]


    Rashi (Horios 13a):Because the ger’s “soron rah”. That means that the desire in the ger’s heart is to do evil more than the average. The term “soro” refers to their master as it says in Bava Metzia (49b) where it also is understood as the evil inclination (yetzer harah) which is his master – is evil.

    Sifsei Chachomim (Shemos 23:9): Don’t uspet the ger because his innate inclination is to evil - Some explain this term “sar” refers to the evil inclination and so it means that because his evil inclination is problematic and he is easily influenced to do evil. Others say that “sar” indicates that he will turn from the correct path and will not return despite pleading.

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  16. DK: [3. There is a also an extra requirement of loving a ger and not distressing a ger - in addition to that which applies to a Jew from birth.

    Most people give their wives a kesuva promising to honor them, so I guess if you don't do comply with that promise, you are violating a neder; a serious offense.

    My wife has a friend who lives down the street from us who is a giyoret. Her husband just received smicha a few weeks ago. The rabbi calls her a "bitch" on an almost daily basis; an interesting way of honoring one's wife.

    Ask your rabbi if you can do this. Maybe you can get in on the fun.

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  17. No ger expects to marry the Rosh Yeshiva's son or daughter.

    Gerim in particular harbor no illusions as to they challenges they face. The struggle with those truths long before they appear in front of a beis din.

    The problem has never been unrealistic expectations of the ger. The problem is in how the frum community in larger centers further marginalized the ger.

    Gerim in smaller cities have an easier time finding an shidduch because in smaller cities, every Jew counts. There isn't the inherent need to ostracize or marginalize the ger.

    Smaller communities have always been more open to accommodation of all kids of Jews, gerim included. Jews in smaller cities have no agenda to be frumer than anyone else. They just want to be frum, period and they will bend over backwards to be more inclusive and not exclusive.

    We have made the cornucopia of religious dysfunction normal. Gerim come into our communities and see how scandals, bad behaviors of all kinds and worse are swept under the rug, ignored or justified. Worst of all we have made rejecting them a symbol of our frumkeit.

    We ought to be ashamed of ourselves.

    I live in a small community now, having grown up in a large center with every amenity.

    I cannot begin to tell you how happy I am to be far away from the dysfunction and failure.

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  18. Formal revocation of geirus is very unusual, a more common issue is having a geirus placed in doubt. But this could happen to anyone! I know of a very religious FFB person who discovered that he was a kohen and had to quit his job working for a chevra kadisha! Anyone who does not have an absolutely clear megilas yuchsin might discover a question about his Jewishness... but it is pretty unlikely. If a person is now a frum Ger, the odds of his geirus being revoked are almost nil.

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  19. Does anyone have recidivism statistics?

    I know of rebbeim who discourage their FFB talmidim from going out with BTs who haven't been frum for at least 3-5 years. After all, what someone chose once, they could change their mind later. But after a number of years, the thought is that the BT is firmly entrenched in the community, and they aren't more likely to go off the derekh than an FFB would.

    I don't think that's based on hard science, though.

    In any case, I would presume that the statistics for geirim would prove to be not all that different.

    And if the ger after 8 years isn't likely to revert, then it would be their sar doesn't overcome all the other factors in O society today that keep them involved. (As well as Judaism's impact on the cultures of their birth to mute that sar...)


    Speaking as an FFB with a BT wife...

    There are issues that come up because of cultural differences. My recordings from my childhood as to what a happy couple is and how parenting is done are more different than my wife's than if our backgrounds matched more often.

    OTOH, it's easier to find an idealist to marry if you look among people who turned their entire lives over because they fell in love with the Torah's ideals.

    -micha

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  20. DK What if the ger tzedek decides, two or five or ten years later, not to be Jewish anymore?

    Can you explain the thought process behind a belief like this? I've often wondered based on a personal experience that I had after my brother died.

    You see, I learned in a yeshiva for seven years. After I got married, I left and moved away. My brother died about two years later at the age of 31. After burying my brother, with whom I was very close, I called some of the yungeleit to talk about it.

    Wouldn't you know, that some people actually asked me if I served avodah zara during my brother's funeral? Or how my friend, in the same yeshiva, who was riding with one of the yungeleit and he glanced at a church as they whizzed by in the car? He asked him, "You could go back easily, couldn't you?"

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  21. Mississippi Fred MacDowell said...

    Publicly discussing why it's rational or reasonable to shun gerim as marriage partners seems to go beyond refraining from establishing affirmative action to integrate gerim into the Jewish community.
    ============
    Would you suggest we whisper it in private so that gerim are not informed about these things? Or maybe you think that Jews from birth should feel guilty for thinking these things which Chazal and Rishonim state quite openly?

    Would you like a p.c. statement that everyone is equal in every sense? It is quite obvious from the very bitter statements made on this blog by gerim that they don't find out about the reality of these issues until after they convert

    Bitterness and hurt feelings are not going to help them being treated the way they were expecting. And it surely doesn't increase the likelihood of their being integrated into the community.

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  22. Shouldn't necessarily shun them in any way - should welcome them. But marriage is a personal thing, and a cultrual one. For example, most Haredim would prefer not to marry with MO or Zionist types. Lithuanians not with Sephardim. Amongst Sephardim, often communities keep to themselves, and avoid certain other (sephardi) communities.
    I am told that people from differnet parts of the USSR don't like those from other regions.
    So ther is a lot of diversity. I know some very fine gerei Tzedek who married frum peopel and have wondewful families. It is just an added level of complexity, and the downside of being in a marriage that fails can be mad worse, if for some reason the children are deemed non Jewish. This happened in London, when a convert was married to a Jew by the Chief Rabbi, and years later he deemed her children non -Jewish.

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  23. Ger,

    you actually prove my point -

    you acted and still do according to your upbringing - which was highly moral - hence you are now still a highly moral and ethical person.

    Sometimes it can be the other way round. But as you say, one does not need to be a nochri in order to be immoral, as there are even immoral Jews.

    I apologize, I was being rude and insulting - and generalising. The point i hld by is that you should look at a person's background, and even a BT or FFB may have a troubled background.

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  24. I do no wish to insult any Gerim, but a shiksa may come out of the mikveh Jewish, but her deep genetic character is still goyish...

    You idiot. You've just reduced Judaism to a race. It's actually beyond that.

    You know who else had an interest in racial theories?

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  25. Micha: Recidivism rates? Again, I'll speak from my own observations. First, I've known probably two dozen gerim. Absolutely none of them became gerim because of involvement with a Jew or because of previous "marriage" to a Jewish partner.

    Secondly, I have never known a single ger who slipped off of the derech. Not one.

    This is why I'm extremely leary of all of the talk I hear about phony conversations for marriage and other reasons.

    I just want to clarify something that I said earlier: I am not saying that I don't believe chazal. What I'm saying is that it seems that chazal's words could very well be referring to a person's upbringing rather than "genetics." When times get tough, people definitely do tend to slip back into previous behavioral patterns. But, if a person has never behaved in such a way... Perhaps Rabbi Eidensohn has thoughts on this?

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  26. DT, please present the above sources from Chazal and Rishonim in a way that will make it clear to me what's said by Chazal and what's said by Rishonim commenting on what's said by Chazal. Also,please comment on the meaning of "evil" in this context. Surely nobody's assuming that converts were inclined toward "evil" in the ordinary sense prior to their conversions.

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  27. Dee said: (bolded by me) " Because once Gerim aren't accepted, we start to not accept legitimate Jews (for who really knows a person's lineage..."

    That (bolded)description ruined any positive argument you could have presented. A convert is a 'legitimate' Jew. Your prejudice is showing.

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  28. "The Torah says to love them - it doesn't say affirmative action is required."

    Sounds like we are to tolerate them? How generous!

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  29. Eddie, you rationalize not marrying a ger by saying it also makes sense to look for someone like you (e.g., chassidim with chassidim, etc).

    That point is not relevant to this argument. Just assume we are talking about a ger who is MO for a fFB MO, etc.

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  30. Recidivism among gerim? Please.

    The olam has far more to worry about a whole lot closer to home, no matter how minuscule the recidivism rate.

    FFB's are falling off in record numbers, dysfunction, scandal and bad behavior of all kinds have become the norm on frum communities and the problem is gerim?

    This sounds a lot like Arabs complaining that everything that is wrong in the Arab and Islamic world is the fault of Israel.

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  31. R' Eidensohn,

    "It is quite obvious from the very bitter statements made on this blog by gerim that they don't find out about the reality of these issues until after they convert"

    As you've noted, the attitude of Chaza"l toward gerim is that of strong ambivalence (not in the colloquial sense of being neither here nor there, but in the sense of its dictionary definition of "having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone").

    I imagine that when a non-Jew drawn to Judaism is going through the process of geirus, s/he is taught a lot of the biblical and rabbinic sources that describe geirim in a very positive light, while those that describe them in a negative light are either ignored or glossed over. On the other hand, it very well may be that, in some parts of the frum world, the sources regarding geirim that are emphasized and oft-quoted are precisely those that paint geirim in a negative light.

    I suspect that there may a wide-spread deficiency in familiarity with sources dealing with geirim not just among geirim, but among many natural-born Jews as well. The solution would be to ensure that both groups of people are introduced to the full spectrum of rabbinic opinion regarding geirim without falling into the error of ommision on either side of the spectrum.

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  32. Perhaps the warnings given to someone thinking of becoming a ger (Rambam, Hil. Issurei Biah 14) ought to be expanded to include that many Jews won't want to marry a ger?

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  33. Rabbi DE: Your post of 2/11/10 9:29 PM left me flabbergasted. Even if these weren't cherry-picked quotes, don't you realize how much pain you're causing any Ger who reads your post??

    Joseph2

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  34. "I do no wish to insult any Gerim, but a shiksa may come out of the mikveh Jewish, but her deep genetic character is still goyish..."

    No, Eddie, that's pretty insulting.

    "I am not saying i wouldn't marry a Ger, but I would look at the background they came from"

    Eddie,
    If you keep looking at where someone came from instead of looking at who they've become or where they are going, then you can just as easily end up with an OTD.

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  35. Lucky for Ruth she didn't have to pass muster with DT!

    Joseph2

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  36. I personally know of far more cases of FFB spouses waking up one day and deciding they don't want to be frum anymore than of Gerim changing their mind.

    Unless you can back your fears and assertions up with some meaningful statistics you're post is simply mean spirited, hurtful, and probably in violation of a whole slew of halachot. You should be ashamed.

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  37. I did apologize, but i have come across several gerim who have brougth some negative character taits - it cannot be gneralised, and the opposite is also true, some can bring positive character traits.

    do you want me to apologise again? and whats an OTD? A disease?

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  38. Daas said:
    "The Torah says to love them - it doesn't say affirmative action is required."

    Michal says...
    Ok, so, no affirmative action, that's fine. How about a single person think about other aspects. Does a man want a stay at home wife or a working wife? Does he want to live in the suburbs or the city? Does he want pets? If so, which ones? You also need two people who keep kosher about the same.

    Men need to try to figure out what's really important. There's more to look at than how a woman's raised. Someone should look at these items instead and if the girl who is what a guy wants happens to be a gyoress then is it so bad? A further problem is that men don't know what they want.

    The line about children of divorced parents gravitating towards divorce was obnoxious, too. My parents were divorced. I think it makes me want to do it right and not settle. My parents were older and probably never really liked each other. For this reason, I won't be pushed into marrying someone I don't want... I know, it's the Jewish way.

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  39. Yerachmiel, you are right.

    There is no single type of "ger" or group. Just like all born Jews are different individuals, so are all Gerei tzedek.

    Maybe i am just showing my own prejudice/ generalisation. No two peopel are the same.
    But, then you have to understand that there is this subconscious fear that some people might have. I cannot go into detail, but I have had some connectiosn with some non Jews who were converting, and they did contain some negative experiences.

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  40. Oh please, if the recent parade of degenerate and unethical orthodox Jews has taught us anything it should be that we, as humans, are not intrinsically better than anyone else. ANYONE, born Jew or not, who chooses to properly follow the Torah has the ability to reach terrific heights.

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  41. Meam Loez:

    Ruth suffered poverty and loneliness to cleave to G-d, and she gave Israel the house of David and the light of the Messiah. From her story we learn compassion and love for the proselyte who leaves his father and mother to shelter under the wings of the Shechinah.

    Precious are the geirim, proselytes, for the patriarchs and prophets called themselves geirim, which also means strangers. Abraham said, "I am a stranger and sojourner with you" ; Isaac was called a stranger as G-d said to him, "Sojourn (gur) in this land"; and the sons of Jacob said, "To sojourn (lagur) in this land have we come". David said, "For I am a stranger with you, a sojourner, as were all my fathers"; "I am a sojourner in the earth"; "For we are strangers before You, and sojourners, as were all our fathers".

    Our sages compared the proselyte to the ewe that fled from the field and joined the shepherd's flock. The shepherd loved the new sheep more than all the rest, for the rest of his flock he had to pay for, but he acquired her without payment. Similarly, G-d performed many miracles and wonders for Israel before they accepted the Torah, but the convert accepts the Torah without first witnessing miracles.

    G-d loves Israel and converts equally, and converts are equal to Jews in all matters. It is a positive precept to "Love therefore the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt". Therefore we are also commanded: "A stranger shall you not afflict [by reminding him of his past]; neither shall you oppress him [by cheating him]".

    Converts are as dear to G-d as the Sabbath. The Torah warns twenty-eight times to treat converts properly, the same number of times that it warns against desecrating the Sabbath and against worshipping idols.

    Precious are converts; throughout the scriptures they are likened to Israel. ...

    Rabbi Eliezer said: Joining Israel through conversion is considered as doing a kindness for all of Israel, as Saul said to Yithro's descendants: "For you showed kindness to all the children of Israel when they came up out of Egypt". Can anyone possibly do kindness for an entire nation? But because he converted - as we learn from his words, "Blessed be the Lord, Who has delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians...Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods" - it is considered as if he did kindness with them all.

    Precious are the converts, for G-d adds to their names, as in the case of Yithro...This marks high attainment...

    A gentile who embraces Judaism is rewarded like a Jew who has toiled at the Torah all his life. ...

    Read it in its entirety in Meam Loez on Megillas Rus.

    Listen, I really at this point just don't care what everybody else thinks. What matters is the connection to Hashem. So there's more of a yetzer hara? So then there's more schar for overcoming it! I also find it laughable to think that anybody would tell his or her spouse not to mistreat them because they're a convert! In almost 20 years of marriage, honestly that thought never even crossed my mind, much less my lips!

    Rabbi Eidensohn, just for a change of pace, why not post a series of sources with all of the positive comments in Talmud, Tanach, and gedolim - it would be a much lengthier list than the negatives.

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  42. Yes, OTD is a disease. You'd be surprised how many people are infected. People who, unknown to their families, use hot water in the bathroom on Shabbos. People who turn off their alarm clocks. Ladies who don't go to mikvah. (Example - one lady my wife knows slipped up a few months ago and told me that she tovels her dishes in a lake because she can't imagine tovelling them in a mikvah. Why? Because the mikvah is not chlorinated. I know she has a good sense of smell. If she were a mikvah user, she'd know that the local mikvah reeks of heavy chlorine smell.)

    OTD = Off the Derech

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  43. Another Giyoret makes a valid point.You are picking and choosing the negative and overlooking the positive.
    You were correct about R.Tropper and EJF.In my estimation his deserved downfall was because his goal was power,control, money and as we found out sexual improprieties.
    Beis Shamai and Beis Hillel 'intermarried 'between themselves though they differed on halachos related to marriage and divorce.

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  44. (Example - one lady my wife knows slipped up a few months ago and told me that she tovels her dishes in a lake because she can't imagine tovelling them in a mikvah. Why? Because the mikvah is not chlorinated. I know she has a good sense of smell. If she were a mikvah user, she'd know that the local mikvah reeks of heavy chlorine smell.)
    ----------------------

    ahh, but the Mikva for kelim isnt the same as the women's mikveh, because of the risk of broken glass...

    So perhaps she does go, or has another mikve to go to... or also goes to the lake, who knows!!

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  45. We don't have a keilim mikvah, unfortunately. Yes, glass is an issue... :-|

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  46. OK, so you can give her the benefit of the doubt, that she goes to the lake :) or somewhere else, or has a private jacuzzi mikve :)

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  47. Eddie,
    OTD is "Off The Derech."

    I am a gyoress and I will admit that some are not so great. I'm just saying, instead of this stupid machine gun firing of questions that are supposed to sum people up, someone should decide as much as they can who they are and what is right for them and realistically attainable. Then go from there and have an open mind.

    When I look on Frumster, I look at any man between my age and ten years older. I look at hashgafahs I'm interested in (my own and one other). Then if the pic doesn't repulse me and I am interested in the profile I contact. However, what I get is machine gun fire of questions from the guys, "why did you convert?" "who do you eat by?" "where do you daven?" "who's your rabbi?"

    I'm not saying these aren't valid questions but, seriously, ask me my beis din and we can meet for coffee/tea. They act like they have to know if they want to marry you or not before you've even gone on a date. I'm sorry but, I think one should decide what they really need to know before going on a date and then go. See if you like me before you need to know my life story.

    I think when people are over 30, and most of the guys I talk to are BTs or divorced, they shouldn't try to date like an 18 year old. Let's be realistic, most gerim are close to 30 or older. If you have a child who's an FFB and not married by then, maybe you all need to get more open-minded and analyze priorities.

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  48. Shqueeze posted:

    OK, so you can give her the benefit of the doubt, that she goes to the lake :) or somewhere else, or has a private jacuzzi mikve :)

    Yes, that was similar to my thoughts when I read it. Maybe she is on some medication where she does not need to go to mikvah anymore. Maybe for some other personal reason she doesn't need to go to mikvah. I just hope nobody's going around telling people that she doesn't observe taharas hamishpocha.

    Hot water on Shabbos? There are people who hold you can turn down your hot water heater below scalding for Shabbos use, if turning on the hot water won't make it turn on, like with a hot water urn for tea (sense).

    To me, none of this stuff is OTD. OTD is acting like a rosh yeshiva while pressuring idealistic conversion candidates to have sex. Shades of gray?

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  49. Shqueeze posted:

    The line about children of divorced parents gravitating towards divorce was obnoxious, too. My parents were divorced.

    I won't apologize for the fact that not everyone thinks like you. Some parents don't let their children go out with the children of divorced parents. Get over it!

    That is how life is. There are always going to be people who value things that you don't have, and there will always be people who think something you have is a liability. Otherwise we would all get married in alphabetical order.

    Did you say that you were a shadchan, or was that someone else?

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  50. "a shiksa may come out of the mikveh Jewish, but her deep genetic character is still goyish..."

    I've been married to a convert for 18 years. Comments like this one are truly offensive, and the fool who posted it should apologize and do teshuva.

    You people have no idea the kinds of stress and misery you cause. I've been encouraging my wife to just ignore all the idiots and bastards out there (some of them rabbis), and to quit coming to web sites like this one. She is Jewish, and no one has any right to question it. Still, she worries. What if "someone" tries to revoke her conversion? What if no one will marry our kids? I'm tired of seeing these discussions out on the web.

    It's not as if marrying someone frum from birth gives you any assurance of getting a better spouse. Frum people go off the derech all the time. Take a frum from birth Jew and give him a chance to cheat where no other Jews can see him. How many will give in to temptation? At least with a ger, you know that they have faced temptation and rejected it.

    There are plenty of bigoted, ignorant frum Jews. They cheat on their taxes and treat others (goyim, converts, blacks) with contempt. My kids are in Hebrew school, where they learn a great deal of Gemara and very little about being good, kind or honest.

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  51. Ger- There are Orthodox Rabbis who tell their adherents to turn the water heater to a below 118 degrees before Shabbat so that they can use the hot water tap on Shabbat.

    There are also Orthodox Rabbis who permit one to set and turn off an alarm clock on Shabbat. See Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Yalkut Yosef Siman 252, 12. Rabbi Yosef permits a manual wind up alarm to be turned off on Shabbat. Rabbi Yosef says in the notes that even the Ashkenazic Jews permitted an alarm clock to be used in this way.

    Rabbis Michael Broyde & Howard Jachter published in 1991 in the Journal of Halacha and Contemporary Society. The crux of the article is that Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (not exactly a lightweight in Torah circles) methodically dismissed all of the claims that allegedly ban electricity on Shabbos, but came to the following conclusion:

    In my opinion there is no prohibition [to use electricity] on Shabbat or Yom Tov... There is no prohibition of ma'keh bepatish or molid... (However, I [Rabbi Auerbach] am afraid that the masses will err and turn on incandescent lights on Shabbat, and thus I do not permit electricity absent great need...) ... This matter requires further analysis... However, the key point in my opinion is that there is no prohibition to use electricity on Shabbat unless the electricity causes a prohibited act like cooking or starting a flame.

    The following is a quote from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:

    Since there are those who permit the lighting of electric lights on Yom Tov, one should not strongly rebuke people who turn on lights on Yom Tov - specifically since many congregations in the Diaspora have this tradition with the approbation of their rabbis. Nonetheless, it is proper to explain to such people in a mild voice that most rabbinic authorities are strict about this matter, and the law follows the majority.

    Maybe the woman you know does not smell the chlorine. Maybe she does not menstruate for a health reason or due to hysterectomy which is very common. Maybe the mikveh was green last time she used it and she assumed it was because it is not chlorinated (algae grows in chlorinated mikvoth too).

    There are as many opinions as there are Rabbis and we have to give the benefit of the doubt.

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  52. Bitterness and hurt feelings are not going to help them being treated the way they were expecting. And it surely doesn't increase the likelihood of their being integrated into the community.


    Was Rosa Parks somehow responsible for the treatment she received for not moving to the back of the bus?

    Were other civil rights activists who on account of their bitterness decided to act to bring the matter to a head, responsible for either their oppression or the severe measures taken against them in attempt to prolong that oppression?

    Bitterness and hurt feelings are totally understandable in those that have been trod upon. If you want those things to go away then the oppression needs to go away. To be indignant over the "other" whether B"T or Ger belies any concern or desire to address the problem.

    You simply cannot fault the victims of abuse for having hurt feelings and bitterness over their abuse.

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  53. DK's concerns should not cause him to keep his sons away from converts.

    The only way someone can have their gerus revoked is if it is determined that the person did not really accept the mitzvot during the time of conversion. Let's say 10 years after conversion a rabbi sees a gioret commit some sin and then decides, well she must not have accepted the mitzvot 10 years ago, so I'm annulling her conversion. That would not be halachically valid, because what does he know about what she accepted 10 years ago? Nothing.

    Let's say the rabbi is saying he's annuled her conversion, and the woman has married children. Would all hell brake loose? Not necessarily. The children are presumably living a halachic lifestyle. Normally when a convert marries a Jew to whom she had been "married" then a period of separation is required before the convert goes to the mikvah to finalize the conversion. But in such a situation, in which the person thought they were Jewish their entire life, reason would require the separation requirement to be waived. So the conversion of the kids and if necessary the grandkids could be done quite quickly and not cause any problems. Again, though, the likelihood of a gioret being "annulled" years later is almost nil.

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  54. DT: "These concerns were already expressed in the gemora and rishonim."

    "These concerns," if by that you mean DK's concerns, have mainly to do with the possibility of a conversion being revoked years afterward. Revoking conversions was unknown before the 20th century -- probably before the last 50 years. So his concerns were not expresed by the Gemora and Rishonim.

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  55. Rav Eidensohn, in the concern #3 you cite above, you say that if one upsets a ger spouse in a normal argument, one would be punished for the sin of upsetting a ger (in addition I assume to the punishment for breaking the prohibition against onas devarim, hurting with words). How do you know the precise mechanics of punishment? Do you have sources to support your interpretation? Could one argue that a separate punishment would only be deserved when one is upsetting the spouse because he/she is a convert (which would rarely be the case in most marriages, one assumes).

    The opposite interpretation is also possible. One could want to marry a ger so that one has extra motivation not to hurt one's spouse with words -- since one could be violating not one but two mitzvot. Since refraining from hurting one another with words is a prime ingredient in shalom bayit (see R' Shalom Arush, Garden of Peace, who emphasizes the importance of men not criticizing their wives in even the slightest and most justified way), one could reason that having such an extra motivation not to sin would be a great benefit to one's character development.

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  56. Lets also make sure to ban intermarriage with Balei Teshuva.

    After all if someone started out not religious they could easily change their mindy and stop being religious 5 or 10 years down the line. We don't want any Rabbi Akiva's in our family.

    Converts don't let me start. Could you imagine having a Yitro as a father in law. He served every idol in the world before he "converted"

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  57. I must say that this blog has a very unusual way of showing love to converts:

    A. "Let them know what they are really in for."

    B. "Show them selected sources from divrei Chazal that are not very endearing towards converts."

    In other words: Be realistic! Show them tough love!

    Somehow, "tough love" seems far from what the Torah says: "Love the stranger, for you were strangers in the Land of Egypt." Tough love? What the Torah demands is kindness, gentle and sensitive behavior, mercy.

    Not giving legitimacy to human cruelty towards the "other," or stressing those specific texts that can cause a ger to feel ill at ease.

    Rather than promote these things, perhaps this blog (through Rav Sternbuch) might consider severely condemning the unfair ways that gerim are sometimes treated, and promote the most basic kind of derekh eretz and chesed in our communities?

    Or would that seem too much like "proselytization"?

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  58. As Rashi says meforash in this week's parsha, you should not offend a ger because 'suro ra.'

    Sifsei Chachim are brought to explain that means either A) that the ger has a bigger yetzer hara than other people or B) that 'suro', HIS leaving, is 'ra,' once the ger goes off the derech it'll be very hard to get him back.

    What's the big deal? If you want to marry one check them out like any other shidduch. Thoroughly.

    I know some gerim that are absolutely iron reliable Yidden. And I know some FFB's whose Yiddishkeit I would not trust as far as I could throw them.

    It just depends on each case...there's no reason for anybody to get offended. Even a ger themself would have to admit that they have to deal with big issues.

    This is EXACTLY WHY that terrible EJF organization is so bad to clal yisrael. Thanks to them you now have to suspect that maybe this ger was just given a super sales job by the evangelical sound-and-light show knockoffs, but really does not come to us from their own beliefs!

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  59. My father lost 7 brothers and sisters in Aushwitz, sorry Christopher/Yankel from Wyoming - you dont stand in my shoes, nor really understand me, you dont share our collective pain and suffering, Jews are a culture, race, tribe, nation and people. So be patient it takes time to really be one of us

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  60. I am a Gioret too. Here are my "issue boys" experiences:

    1) X, a BT from Chabad tells me that he has been divorced for 10 years and that he has an 8-year old daughter. He curses the mother of his daughter because she "trapped" him, i.e. she told him she took contraception but did not really do, and then he had to pay alimony. When I tell him: but you have to be aware that you can have a child when you have sexual relations, he tells me that he never saw "such a lack of ahavat isroel as I displayed"

    2) Y, a FFB from Geula, maker of Tefilin-Boxes by his profession, explains me that "The reived" declared that it is allowed to have a pilegesh. He would like to come and see me to start a "pilegesh relationship". Just after the phone call, he speaks to the friend who set us up and declares "no, I could never marry her. Just imagine: having goyim in your family".

    3) Z, a FFB from Israel also declares that he would love to have a pilegesh, but is not interested in marriage.

    4) Q, an israeli BT who was once married to a non-jew tells me about his adventures with women and why it is legitimate to sleep around with women you are not married to....

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  61. I know a Gioret and heard about a few giorot who gave up on being jewish once it was clear they could not find a jewish spouse.

    The problem becomes all the more difficult since the "frummer" persons tend to be more racist against Gerim, but on the other hand a Ger should not marry a non-frum jew...

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  62. the person who made that post has apologised and done teshuva

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  63. My father lost 7 brothers and sisters in Aushwitz, sorry Christopher/Yankel from Wyoming - you dont stand in my shoes, nor really understand me, you dont share our collective pain and suffering,

    My grandparents were all BORN in the US around 1900. I know of no relatives who were in Europe during WWII. Does that make me less of a Jew?

    Sorry dontundertandme, we are not defined by the holocaust. We are defined by the Torah. Anyone who is mekabel ol malchut shamayim (accepts the yoke of heaven) is "in"

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  64. List. If you are going to relate to people by judging them and telling them they 'should have known' that something could happen, or by criticizing them for trying to put together these ridiculous relationships, then...then!...you're going to have all these problems.

    Why endanger your issues and then complain when they get damaged?

    Relate to people by seeking out good kosher Jews of which there are hundreds of thousands and loving them and sharing life with them. Why hit on the duds?

    The chumash says that a Ger should not make himself into a judge of the people he joined.

    The Talmud Gittin says a Ger should never complain about Am Yisrael, only compliment them.

    I know it seems impossible. But your way it won't help; it'll only hurt.

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  65. "they 'should have known' that something could happen"

    Well, I do not know whether we are on the same wavelength: As far as I understood, being an orthodox jew and having sexual relationships outside marriage is not compatible...

    But if he disregards halacha and has sexual relationships outside marriage, how come he blames the woman for having a child? This is absolutely not legitimate in my view...

    I provided this list to show how many orthodox jews are fakes.

    As for being set up with them: I did not choose to be set up with them. But this is what came out after a bit of discussion.

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  66. In my opinion there is no prohibition [to use electricity] on Shabbat or Yom Tov... There is no prohibition of ma'keh bepatish or molid... (However, I [Rabbi Auerbach] am afraid that the masses will err and turn on incandescent lights on Shabbat, and thus I do not permit electricity absent great need...) ... This matter requires further analysis... However, the key point in my opinion is that there is no prohibition to use electricity on Shabbat unless the electricity causes a prohibited act like cooking or starting a flame.

    I know that you got this from a sepher, so I am not blaming you for its inherent problems, but rather the sepher written by leftist MO with an agenda. This is only a very select piece of Rav Auerbach's teshuva. In the end he agrees with the Chazon Ish, that electricity in and of itself is not a problem. However, as the average person is not enough of an electrical expert to know if a spark is created or a light is lit when using any given electrical device, there is a Gezeira m'd'rabbanan on electricity. Both he(and the Chazon Ish as that is who he is quoting) use this to prohibit telephones on shabbat, because initially when a person used a telephone a light came on in a switching station. Rav Reisman has an MP3 shiur floating around where he deals with this in depth.

    The following is a quote from Rabbi Ovadia Yosef:

    Since there are those who permit the lighting of electric lights on Yom Tov, one should not strongly rebuke people who turn on lights on Yom Tov - specifically since many congregations in the Diaspora have this tradition with the approbation of their rabbis. Nonetheless, it is proper to explain to such people in a mild voice that most rabbinic authorities are strict about this matter, and the law follows the majority.


    While I am hoping that this wasn't written in the same sepher I have a feeling that it was. If they footnote where Rav Ovadiah was supposed to have said this, please provide that. However, this is not Rav Ovadiah's view. In Yabia Omer, Yehave Da'at and in his introduction to Hilchot Shabbat in Halacha Berura, he states quite clearly that he does not hold like the Chazon Ish and Rav Auerbach, but that he considers electricity to actually be a form of fire, and thus under the same prohibitions. He states in Halacha Berura, "If one has any doubt, he need only place his finger in an electrical outlet and the resulting burns will be proof enough."

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    Replies
    1. Halacha Berura is not one of Chacham Ovadia's sefarim - it is one of Rav David Yosef's Sefarim. Further, there is no section on hilchot shabbat in Halacha Berura yet. (It will be, coming soon.) I assume you mean Halichot Olam. Read the Introduction to Halichot Olam, which is reprinted from Yabia Omer (Chelek Daled). We are not choshesh for the shitot of Ashkenazim lechumra. At all. Learn Chacham Ovadia's teshuvas before you criticize "leftist MO." You speak with disdain for others' learning but you make simple mistakes. You should know that ga'avah destroys worlds.

      Delete
    2. Actually I meant Chazon Ovadia. As far as Halacha Berura on Shabbat, check again.

      Read the Introduction to Halichot Olam, which is reprinted from Yabia Omer (Chelek Daled).
      Actually it wasn't. Halichot Olam was a commentary that he wrote relatively recently on the Ben Ish Hai...

      We are not choshesh for the shitot of Ashkenazim lechumra.
      First I didn't say that we were. However, the Ben Ish Hai and the Kaf HaChaim would disagree with you. Now if you are talking from the perspective of Rav Ovadiah than you are correct.
      Learn Chacham Ovadia's teshuvas before you criticize "leftist MO."
      You have quite obviously not understood what I wrote, or why... but that is OK. Free internet(mostly) so feel free to criticize me for the things you think I said.
      You speak with disdain
      First I don't speak, I type, and the difference is of the greatest importance. Any emotion or tone that you read into my words are the ones that you bring to the table, as they are impossible to lift from black on white words unless emotive descriptors are used. Now as far as actual disdain, by definition "the feeling that someone or something is unworthy of one's consideration or respect; contempt". Clearly not the case since I actually responded.

      Delete
    3. Good work on necromancing a post that is over three years old.

      Oh and she was actually quoting Rav Abadi, would you like to know what Rav Ovadia has written in his teshuvot about him?

      Delete
  67. Jews are a culture, race, tribe, nation and people.

    A race? A tribe? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    BTW, your religion is the Holocaust, not Judaism.

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  68. mekubal:

    I don't have the source for R' Ovadiah Yosef's quote at hand, but I know that R' Aharon Rakeffet references that statement many times in his mekorot shiurim (IIRC, he quotes ROY orally from his regular radio addresses, not from any sefer) and recalls that when he was growing up in the Bronx in the '50s, the chassidic rebbe in his area would turn on the lights in the succah for him and his friends, and that the dominant view in chassidic/ sephardi circles at that time was that turning on a light on Yom Tov had a halachic status of aish me'aish.

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  69. He states in Halacha Berura, "If one has any doubt, he need only place his finger in an electrical outlet and the resulting burns will be proof enough."
    =====================
    does that mean that low voltage circuits that you can't feel are permitted?

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  70. does that mean that low voltage circuits that you can't feel are permitted?

    No. It would just be a cooler form of combustion to his view. Not everything combusts at temperatures high enough to painful to humans.

    A good example is certain types of wood burn at rather low temperatures even when reduced to embers or "coals". That is part of the trick of fire walkers. At a steady and mildly brisk pace a man can walk across a thirty to fifty foot long bed of embers made from low heat woods. The fact that he did not get burned does not mean that it is not fire, just that the amplitude was not high enough to burn.

    The same with low voltage circuits, the amplitude is simply not high enough.

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  71. '50s, the chassidic rebbe in his area would turn on the lights in the succah for him and his friends, and that the dominant view in chassidic/ sephardi circles at that time was that turning on a light on Yom Tov had a halachic status of aish me'aish.

    Aish M'Aish would work on Yom Tov according to Rav Ovadiah's opinion. However, not according to that of the Chazon Ish and Rav Auerbach. Also as this started with shabbat usage aish m'aish is an invalid argument for shabbat.

    Also as a general principle Rav Ovadiah notes in many places that the position of the Chida, the Ben Ish Hai, and the Kaf HaHaim was that Sephardim should l'chatchila be Choshesh on reasons of Ashkenazim(most especially the Rema), and should hold by those stringencies in those regards. That is what you are seeing in the above quoted piece. On Yom Tov(and Yom Tov only) b'dieved it would be permitted to turn on a light, on account of aish m'aish, however as we are concerned with opinions of the Chazon Ish and Rav Auerbach that electricity is not fire, and only actual lights or heating elements are, one should refrain.

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  72. I am the author of the guest post.

    Student V:
    Perhaps I should have written "What if the convert decides to stop being observant and returns to his/her prior lifestyle as a non-Jew?"
    For anyone in a marriage where there are children to decide to stop observing the Mitzvot is a problem, whether that person is FFB, BT or convert.

    Efrex:
    Again, perhaps I was not making myself clear. I was not, Chas V'Shalom, questioning the Halachic status of the children. I was attempting to address the issues which arise if the convert who has decided to stop living as a Jew (notwithstanding that s/he continues to be Halachically Jewish) continues to have an influence on the raising of the children.
    I agree with you that anyone who claims the power to retroactively annual a conversion "has no basis in being in a position of authority, and his halachic opinion should no more be heeded than a rabbi who eats pork. Unfortunately, there are people, currently employing in positions of authority in various places in Israel, who have refused to permit converts to marry. I do not remember if Rabbi Eidensohn has posted on this. Failed Messiah certainly has.

    Ger:
    I can only ask for your mechila if I have caused you any anguish.
    In the current climate, point 2 is a bigger problem than point 1. None of us have the gift of prophecy; we do not know how our children, or their prospective spouses, will turn out. However, until the menuvalim (to use the term R. Rakeffet used to refer to Tropper) are neutralized, the descendants of every ger tzedek live with the danger of being damaged by these idiots. I prefer that my grandchildren not run these risks. It sickens me to have these feelings. It sickens me more that the people who supposedly lead the Torah world have so far been unable or unwilling to come to grips with this issue.

    Daniel asked:
    "Can you explain the thought process behind a belief like this?"
    Anecdotal; I have seen gerim decide to stop being observant. In one case, the woman totally stopped living a Jewish life. She was married, fortunately, there were no childrn. In another case, the woman stopped being observant but resumed being shomeret mitzvot a number of years later. In another case, a male convert decided he no longer wanted to live as a Jew. He was married, fortunately with no children.
    I have also seen FFBs and BTs stop observing mitzvot.

    Stu:
    Perhaps the "ordinary Jews" such as us need to arise and tell all the "someones" who want to revoke conversions where to go.

    Yeshaya:
    It appears that some of the annulments of conversions may be due to personal or political agendas of the person doing the revoking.
    Suppose the conversion of a female convert is annulled. What if that convert has a daughter who is married to a Cohen and has had children with that Cohen? Conversion by the daughter won't save her marriage or resolve the halachic problems faced by the children of that marriage.

    Friend of Ger:
    I agree with you about EJF. Rabbi Rakeffet, in his 21 Dec 2009 lecture (http://www.yutorah.org/lectures/lecture.cfm/740330/Rabbi_Aaron_Rakeffet-Rothkoff/2009-12-21_Press_Conference), did a much better job of discussing Tropper than I could.

    Efrex:
    I have also heard the shiur by R. Rakeffet to which you refer. Unfortunately, I cannot remember which one so I cannot provide a link.

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  73. DK: Thank you for the clarification, although I still don't understand the concern. Why should a ger or ba'al teshuva, who presumably has already experienced non-Jewish life and made a conscious choice to live kehalacha, be more at risk of "slipping" than an FFB?

    The quote by R' Rakeffet is one that he's made several times. One instance is here, at about 16 minutes in.

    As for Israeli rabbis who refuse to perform marriages on gerim, I have very little to say, as I am unfortunately not part of that world right now; however, such a rabbi has no business being a governmental figure. Whether or not one thinks that an official rabbanut is a good thing, official rabbis cannot decide on their own to reject gerut performed by the rabbanut. It is almost certainly rejection of halacha, and certainly is dereliction of duty.

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  74. Shqueeze posted:

    "If one has any doubt, he need only place his finger in an electrical outlet and the resulting burns will be proof enough."

    I will probably incur the wrath of many with this post, but I don't understand the analogy.

    Fire is the combustion of those materials that support combustion. A light bulb gives light by having electricity move from one electrode to another in a vacuum. If you use an electric starter in a stove to ignite natural gas, you are starting a fire.

    Electricity does not burn, but electricity can cause burns. Sulphuric acid doesn't burn, but can cause burns. If you throw sodium in water, you get fire. Sodium is not fire. Water is not fire. They are materials that generate fire.

    One can use electricity to start a fire, just as one can use many forms of energy to start a fire. High current through a bad conductor (including skin) creates friction that results in burns (and in some cases, fire). High voltage and low current could stop the heart instead.

    When electricity was "young" and only used for simple tasks (and understood less than it is today), being machmir in all cases was indicated. As we move into an age when electricity is becoming increasingly necessary to survival (such as when living in habitats not normally conducive to humans, biotechnology, and so on), we will need technically qualified frum Jews to investigate and report back to gedolim about what is really going on.

    It might spawn a whole new field of electricity hashgacha. (The OU did something similar when they starting using chemistry to find traces of animal proteins in foods.)

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  75. "You people have no idea the kinds of stress and misery you cause. I've been encouraging my wife to just ignore all the idiots and bastards out there (some of them rabbis), and to quit coming to web sites like this one."

    My husband tells me the same thing, and somehow, it finally got through. I have a limited amount of time to spend on the internet and also a limited amount of time to study Torah. There is nothing here that is bringing me closer to Hashem, increasing my knowledge of Torah, or helping me with ahavas yisrael. All I am doing is feeding my yetzer hara, so I'm getting out of here. I understand that many of you may be getting great benefit from this website, but it is simply not for me.

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  76. "Revoking conversions was unknown before the 20th century -- probably before the last 50 years. So his concerns were not expresed by the Gemora and Rishonim".

    Actually, Rishonim stated that the conversion of the kuttim was not a good conversion and that they had to reconvert.

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  77. Daas Torah said:

    This issue was mentioned by Chazal as a reason to be careful with the way a ger is treated


    Maharal (Shemos 23:9): Don’t upset the ger because his “soro” is evil. This is referring to his evil inclination which causes a person to deviate – is especially evil in a ger. Because of this he is predisposed to revert back to his earlier ways. Consequently one should not upset him.

    Bava Metzia (59b): It has been taught: R’ Eleazar HaGadol said: Why did the Torah warn in 36 places – while others say in 46 places – against wronging a convert? It is because he has a strong inclination to evil -Rashi Horios 13a]


    Rashi (Horios 13a):Because the ger’s “soron rah”. That means that the desire in the ger’s heart is to do evil more than the average. The term “soro” refers to their master as it says in Bava Metzia (49b) where it also is understood as the evil inclination (yetzer harah) which is his master – is evil.

    Sifsei Chachomim (Shemos 23:9): Don’t uspet the ger because his innate inclination is to evil - Some explain this term “sar” refers to the evil inclination and so it means that because his evil inclination is problematic and he is easily influenced to do evil. Others say that “sar” indicates that he will turn from the correct path and will not return despite pleading.

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

    It also says at the end of Succah, Mi shegadol michavero, yitzro gadol mimenu.

    I think that part of the problem is that people throw around things and hide behind chazal and rishonim. If there is the slightest indication of something negative about a ger in chazal, then that can become the excuse for looking down on them and not considering dating them ever under any circumstances.

    Also, is it not likely that these sources are speaking about general tendencies? You can say all you want about concerns, and you can brings 47 rayas from chazal, but when you are willing to marry (or marry off your children) to many people who are ffb in preference to gerim who are clearly more refined people, more solid and learned people, on a higher level in every discernible way, then quite a bit of explanation is still needed.

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  78. After two FFB wives from "excellent" families, both who turned out to have massive psychological problems (#1 borderline, #2 OCD), I am very happily married to a Giyores.

    She has WAY less baggage than the frum women I know and has a love for Hashem that I rarely see among the FFB's out there.

    From my experience with Yidden, both from birth and volunteer Jews, an FFB is significantly less likely to appreciate Yiddishkeit and is more likely to leave when the proper circumstance present themselves.

    Some folks need to get out more.

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  79. The problem is that many converts and BT are mentally unstable and shomer nafsho yirchak mehem. I met a puerto-rican convert who told me he hates puerto ricans and call them in derogatory names. Another convert who told me she cut any contact with her parents and she hates them because they idolatry wordhippers. Those people would not be a good match for anybody.

    Actually the common wisdom is that the girls who converted for the sake of marriage are more likely to create stable Jewish home.

    In order to create healthy home you do not need someone who will say thilim backward or wake up for tikun chazos, you need someone who knows how to solves conflict! How to manage time and how to negotiate issues like children, money, sex etc.

    Those female converts who are already in relationship seem to have it. Many of the converts and the BT do not.

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  80. "Are you saying that if one has a choice of marrying two women that one should give preference to the ger?"

    You seem to have a strange concept of marriage and love.

    I always thought that you married your "bashert", ie the woman, the personality that fits you, that was cut out for you. Therefore it is a bit strange that you should speak about "two equally qualified candidates, one being a Gioret, the other not"... I thought that marriage was not exactely the same as a job interview.

    However, if you reject the Gioret from the start, it might be that you miss your bashert.....

    The other adverse effect of rejecting Giorot just because they are Gioret is that they will feel discriminated against.

    (But this need not bother you, since the mitzwah of not bothering a Ger has been abolished in your view)

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  81. @DK

    "the descendants of every ger tzedek live with the danger of being damaged by these idiots. I prefer that my grandchildren not run these risks."

    So you prefer to hurt Gerim rather than run the risk that your grandchildren should be hurt.

    You are indeed a very provident man. Prevent future harm by doing present harm of the same kind.

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  82. So you prefer to hurt Gerim rather than run the risk that your grandchildren should be hurt.
    =========
    this is a rather strange complaint. There is a general halachic principle that your life takes precedent over that of others.

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  83. "There is a general halachic principle that your life takes precedent over that of others."

    I cannot really see how this principle should apply here.

    1) we are not speaking of pikuach nefesh

    2) it is not about his own life. He is worrying about hypothetic problems his hypothetic grandchildren could face, and for the sake of this he hurts many Gerim who are already alive and here.

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  84. I think, if you generalise this principle the way you are trying to do it here, you could as well abolish any notion of chessed.

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  85. Quoting from the original post:
    "That means that if your husband or wife is a ger and things go well that you get extra reward for loving and not upsetttng them. But if you have on occasion a disagreement then you get punished more."

    The same concern would take effect if one were to simply befriend a ger. But would anyone seriously suggest that, in order to avoid the chance of being over the lav of distressing a ger, one should avoid befriending gerim??

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  86. DT: "But if you have on occasion a disagreement then you get punished more."

    Yes, but every time you refrain from hurting your convert spouse with words, you get twice the reward, right (since you're fulfilling two negative mitzvot)? So wouldn't it even out?

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  87. "Shqueeze posted:

    The line about children of divorced parents gravitating towards divorce was obnoxious, too. My parents were divorced."

    Actually, I think that was my line.

    I think if someone's child is still under 25, it's not so crazy if they want to be pick but, at 22 to 25, they have to loosen up and they have to continue to loosen up after that. The pickin's only get slimmer and slimmer. The options get worse, not better.

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  88. JG
    "There are also Orthodox Rabbis who permit one to set and turn off an alarm clock on Shabbat. See Rabbi Ovadia Yosef Yalkut Yosef Siman 252, 12. Rabbi Yosef permits a manual wind up alarm to be turned off on Shabbat. Rabbi Yosef says in the notes that even the Ashkenazic Jews permitted an alarm clock to be used in this way. "

    Ummm, that turns itself off so I don't know what you're talking about. Besides which, they MAKE Shabbos alarms which only go for a minute. Not to mention, many, but not all, alarm clocks will turn themselves off eventually if you don't touch them. I always thought Shabbos and kosher were great opportunities to teach children the importance of being disciplined. You guys just run for the heterim, don't you?

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  89. Don't understand me:
    So, what about the Jews who were nice and cozy here in the US during the war? I guess you should dismiss them, too. Another thing: many gerim (maybe 30-40%) are children of a Jewish father or grandfather. So some of them may have lost family members in the war, too. I don't know if it's true but my grandmother used to say that her father was in kindergarden with Hitler and that he beat up all the kids, including my great-grandfather. That may not be what your family experienced but, it's more than the Jews who were already here experienced. Besides which, Jews my age are far detached from that war, as seen by their spoiled nature.

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  90. Excuse me, DT, I put through a comment where I quoted you saying that given a choice between a gyoress and an FFB, which would someone choose.

    I pointed out that there is very little likelihood of a sitiuation that you compare FFB and gyoress ceterus paribus. Therefore, it's a bad argument. FURTHERMORE, most gerim are 25 or older, even in their 30's, at which point, the pickin's of FFBs have been seriously slimmed out. Many of the FFB choices are divorcees at that age. So, there might be a comparison of a gyoress-never married no kids to an FFB divorced with one or two in tow.

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  91. Efrex 02/12/2009 5:51pm

    The link to Rabbi Rakeffet did not post. Could you please try again?

    As I said before, I acknowledge that there are risks in any marriage that one parent will fall off the derech.

    However, when a mother is a giyoret, there is the additional risk of someone in some supposed position of authority [may Hashem save all of Klal Yisrael from them] interfering with the status of the marriage and of the children. Hopefully, someone will soon deal with this issue.

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  92. Well, at least when the children go otd and their own parents disown them (as happens quite too often), they will have somewhere to turn to.

    See the bright side in it.

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  93. >>"mekubal said...

    does that mean that low voltage circuits that you can't feel are permitted?

    No. It would just be a cooler form of combustion to his view. Not everything combusts at temperatures high enough to painful to humans."


    Can we please just drop the silliness that electricity is somehow a form of actual combustion? The very suggestion is just inane and absurd to anybody with even a 5th grade understanding of basic science.

    Electricity is not, and does not involve, the oxidation reaction of a fuel material with surrounding oxidizer (like oxygen), and the accompanying release of heat, light and exhaust materials.

    That isn't a comment in any form upon the halachic categorization of electricity by the majority of talmidei chochomim, but to claim that electricity is a real-world subset of fire is to claim that electricity is a form of energetic oxidation -- which it isn't.

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  94. I found this blog from another blog, so please forgive the intrusion. I cannot help but have an emotional reaction to your post. It actually makes my stomach turn.

    They should make everyone considering conversion read your post- let them understand what they are getting into.

    Look's like you're a guest poster, so you should be ashamed of yourself for putting this down in writing and the owner of this blog should be ashamed of himself for posting it.

    May the Holy One forgive you for both making me (who, by the way, is a convert who has been married to an "FFB" for almost a decade now) and other converts feel like second-class citizens when they read this.

    And PLEASE let me know your name so I can write it down and be sure that my beautiful sons never, ever have the chance to get set up with your daughters.

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  95. And by the way: if it was "combustion" that is forbidden, it would also be assur to bring iron into contact with water, since rosting is also a form of combustion, just a slower one.

    And I suppose that there are many combustion processes going on in the body, prompted perhaps by quick running, etc.

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  96. DK:

    I'll try it again. here is the direct link. If that doesn't work, go to the yutorah.org site and look for the 9/5/93 shiur in Mekorot entitled 'Shut"im.'

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  97. As someone whose initials are DK, and who comments here occasionally, I'd like to comment that this "DK" poster is not me.

    I find this post very disturbing, and think that it would do all of us good to consider the true feelings and motivations that we have regarding our children and marriage.

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  98. 1) My husband and I have been trying to convert for almost 10 years. The main holdup is denominational issues. I want an orthodox conversion, because I (foolishly, I know) dream of my children having the opportunity of attending a good yeshiva if they want. My husband can't stand the idea of an orthodox conversion because of comments/ideas like this blogger's. He is angry about the way girls are spat upon in Israel by "men" in black hats. He wants a conserva...dox conversion, followed by the same observant, increasingly frum lifestyle we have had over the past several years. I'm close to agreeing with him.

    (2)To the person who feels the need to say that a shiksa would revert back, the "ש" word is pejorative term up there with the "n" word. It implies moral debasement. It's basically a meaner way of calling somebody a "skank ho." (a) Don't toss that word around loosely. If you dare insist on using that word to describe all gerah, you are intentionally being ignorant and racially prejudiced. (b) If you are not using that word to describe all gerah, then consider this: Assume somebody who is so-morally-debased-the-ש-word-should-apply-to-her somehow decides she wants to go to a beit din, and assume she somehow commits fraud or bribery on the court sufficient to get through her conversion. She's morally corrupt!!! Isn't it kind of a "duh" statement that she runs a high risk of recidivism?!? Why even bother making the point?!?

    (3) BUT, that is not most gerim. Most of us have had to give up former family and friends, completely overhaul our lifestyles, experience discrimination, hatred, bigotry from both sides of the fence. Yet we still manage to convert.

    You who are reading this: Are you an FFB? Please take a moment and imagine sitting your parents down. "Mom, dad, I'm converting to, e.g., Islam." Imagine their reaction. Imagine what lengths they would go to so you would change your mind. We withstand all of that and still manage to convert.

    I know another ger who took 20 years to get through the conversion process. That is 20 years where a VERY religious individual lived without a spiritual home. He lived in a nether-region--no longer a Christian, not yet a Jew. We aren't allowed to have study partners. We can get bounced from the shul we go to at any time, for any reason. We are constantly living in fear that the one thing that means the most to us in the whole wide world will be yanked out from under us. Yet we still manage to convert.

    Why? Because we love our G-d. Because we love his Torah. Because we love his people. We love you even when you are mean to us for no other reason than genetics. We love you even when you are mean to our children. I think that is why you are asked to love us. It is not because we are evil. It is because we loved you first.

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  99. I have learned on my Jewish ancestry, it is my paternal side. I did DNA testing. The paternal line is of ME origin from several thousand years ago. I have found parts of my biological family in Israel, US. If not for the Shoah I could know that much earlier in life. Maybe I would be born Jewish or convert early. It is good conversion is hard. Keep it hard and difficult, discourage the convert before the things are finalized. Then love the convert, for only those really feeling Jewish would do the conversion. Saying 'converts are traitors' means Yisrael cannot properly decide who should be a convert. The problem lies within how the Law is interpreted by those born Jewish (not strict enough maybe?). Also, for converts with Jewish ancestry, how can they become fed up of being Jewish, they may become not observant or self-hating, but they cannot cut off so and so much flesh off and say now they have nothing to do with Yisrael - so I do care, no matter if I am yet to finish the giyur, for it is haShem who decides and what happened to me seems like a miracle, to get to know your biological past means a lot. Among Yisrael there is hardly someone with no goyish blood. Think about it: you also descend from gerim. Even Cohanim have paternal lines originating from different males where the difference arose more than 10 000 years ago. So - who is the real Jew then?

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  100. It was heartbreaking to read some of the negative comments by some people towards gerim on here. I'm not a stranger to the negativity but to see the positive response in return from other Jews is what I really focus on. It's easy to think that we as gerim don't have a place. And sometimes it takes a while for us to find it. But honestly, I have heard FFB Jews run BT Jews into the ground. I've heard BT Jews run secular Jews into the ground. I've heard secular Jews run any relgious Jew down. At the end of the day, to complain and be nasty about Gerim is par for the course for some people, maybe even a sign that we also belong. It's a horrbible sign, but anyone who is going to have negative thoughts towards my kids because of their status, I honestly don't want in my family. I have to share my grandkids with whomever my children marry. I don't want picky narrow minded inlaws. So, thank Gd for the people who make it clear what they think. And it's funny to say Shiksa, but what do we say when it's a man making gerus? And what about the tiny little FFB gerim that are female? Seriously...wow...

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  101. Amen, shkoyach. I am a ger tzedek and I pity the OP. He/she should re-evaluate his/her ayin hatov/ra in viewing other Yidden, which ultimately relate to the humility in his/her relationship with Hashem.

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  102. A strange complaint? Are you kidding me. Ahavas hager is a d'Oraisa mitzvah, 36 times it was written about, ki-ger hayita beeretz Mitzrayim. Essential gratitude to Hashem and empathy. Your logic reveals your belief that 1) it is muttar to be oiver a serious issur, because of your non-halachic, totally speculative cost-benefit analysis of the future; and 2) rabbonim/politics/humans control the running of the universe including your grandchildren's wellbeing.
    The falsehood of 1) needs no explanation. Re 2), G-d runs the world, and He is just. Even if some people have it harder, we say B"H. The fact that Rabi Akiva got skinned to death is no indication of his level of holiness. The fact that your grandchildren has no issue of proof of Judaism is, also, no indication of their level of holiness. Are you aiming for an easy life, or for holiness?
    Look, if you are truly worried about your avodas Hashem and the zchuyos of your children/grandchildren, perhaps you would like to consider the above two issues with your beliefs.

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  103. Wow. I hope you will not make any such generalisations about any class of people, ever again...
    I am a convert, corporate lawyer, young, single, native speaker of 3 languages plus fluent in Hebrew, and I have been shomer for 2 years. Hashem's world is huge, buddy; have an ayin hatov.

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  104. <3 yasher koach for sticking out for us.

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  105. You're so right, chavah. I'm blocking this website.

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  106. please write your own guest post

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