Friday, January 11, 2008

Proselytizing is problematic II - Yevamos 109b

Yevamos (109b): R’ Yitzchok said what is the meaning of Mishlei (11:15): He that is a surety for a stranger will suffer for it? That means evil upon evil comes to those who accept converts... That those who accept converts bring evil upon themselves is learned from R’ Chelbo who said: Converts are as difficult for Israel as a sore on the skin.


[1] יבמות (קט:): דא"ר יצחק, מאי דכתיב: (משלי יא:טו) רע ירוע כי ערב זר? רעה אחר רעה תבא למקבלי גרים, ... מקבלי גרים - כר' חלבו, דאמר ר' חלבו: קשים גרים לישראל כספחת בעור.

Tosfos[1] (Yevamos 109b): Evil upon evil comes to those who accept converts – The Ri explained that that is only when the non‑Jews are proselytized to convert or they are accepted prematurely before they are ready. However if they themselves strongly want to convert we should accept them. The reason that they should be accepted is that we find that Avraham, Yitzchok and Yaakov were punished because they didn’t accept Timna when she came to convert and so instead she went and became Esav’s son Eliphaz ’s concubine (pilegesh). Their offspring was Amalek who embittered the life of Israel as we see in Sanhedrin (99b). Yeshoshua also accepted Rachav the Zona. Naomi accepted Ruth the Moabite. We also see in Shabbos (31a) that Hillel converted someone who came to him and said, “convert on the condition that I serve as high priest” and another one who said, “convert me on the condition that you teach me the entire Torah.” Even though these people were obviously not fully committed to convert nevertheless Hillel know that eventually they would be proper converts as indeed happened.



[1] תוספות (יבמות קט:): רעה אחר רעה תבא למקבלי גרים - אמר ר"י דהיינו היכא שמשיאין אותן להתגייר או שמקבלין אותן מיד אבל אם הן מתאמצין להתגייר יש לנו לקבלם שהרי מצינו שנענשו אברהם יצחק ויעקב שלא קבלו לתמנע שבאתה להתגייר והלכה והיתה פלגש לאליפז בן עשו ונפק מינה עמלק דצערינהו לישראל כדאמרינן בהגדת חלק (סנהדרין צט:) וגם יהושע קבל רחב הזונה ונעמה ורות המואביה ובריש פרק במה מדליקין (שבת לא.) שגייר הלל אותו שאמר גיירני על מנת שתשימני כ"ג ואותו דעל מנת שתלמדני כל התורה כולה ואע"פ שלא היו מתאמצין להתגייר יודע היה הלל בהן שסופם להיות גרים גמורים כמו שעשה לבסוף.


2 comments :

  1. The Monsey TzaddikJanuary 14, 2008 at 2:40 AM

    I think this is the blat rabbi Tropper tells people who want to join his conversion network they have to study.

    I never heard him mentioned your other marei mekomos. I am not sure they are familiar with them. Some one should point him here

    I heard one of the EJF people say that ‘Converts are as difficult for Israel as a sore on the skin.’ Means that they become such a righteous people and they make us feel bad because we are not.

    yeh right

    ReplyDelete
  2. the monsey tzaddik wrote:

    "I heard one of the EJF people say that ‘Converts are as difficult for Israel as a sore on the skin.’ Means that they become such a righteous people and they make us feel bad because we are not."

    yeh right
    --------------
    See my new posting which provides some sources for the above positive understanding - such as Tosfos (Kiddushin 70b). Regarding your other comments, it is highly unlikely that I will cite sources Rabbi Tropper is not familiar with. He is a very solid talmid chachom

    ReplyDelete

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