Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Be gentle with Jews who intermarry?

Are You People For Real? wrote:

"Dear Anonymous,

You would make a horrible preacher.

Please try delivering that message to the millions of intermarried Yidden.

One doesn't have to imagine what their response will be to you.

Please write more when you come back to reality. "


Since you are so certain you have "the" way to deal with this situation I would like to hear your views about some Jewish leaders of the past who commented on this problem. [translation is Soncino]

Ezra[1](9:1-10): 1. And when these things were done, the princes came to me, saying, The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not set themselves apart from the people of the lands, doing according to their abominations, even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. 2. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons; so that the holy seed have mixed themselves with the people of those lands; and the hand of the princes and rulers has been foremost in this trespass. 3. And when I heard this matter, I tore my garment and my mantle, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard, and sat down appalled. 4. Then all who trembled at the words of the God of Israel, because of the transgression of those who had been carried to exile, gathered around me, while I sat appalled until the evening sacrifice. 5. And at the evening sacrifice I rose from my fasting; and having torn my garment and my mantle, I fell upon my knees, and spread out my hands to the Lord my God, 6. And said, O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to you, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our trespasses have mounted up to the heavens. 7. Since the days of our fathers to this day we have been exceedingly guilty; and for our iniquities we, our kings, and our priests, have been delivered into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword, to captivity, and to plunder, and to utter shame, as it is this day. 8. And now for a brief moment grace has been shown from the Lord our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a secure nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our slavery. 9. For we were slaves; yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his loving kindness in the sight of the kings of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house of our God, and to repair its ruins, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. 10. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments,

Ezra (9: 10-14): 10. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? For we have forsaken your commandments,11. Which you commanded by your servants the prophets, saying, The land which you are entering to take possession of it, is a land unclean because of the uncleanness of the people of the lands, who, with their abominations, have filled it from one end to another with their uncleanness.12. And now do not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, nor seek their peace or their welfare for ever; that you may be strong, and eat the good of the land, and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever. 13. And after all that has come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great guilt, seeing that you our God have punished us less than our iniquities deserve, and have given us such deliverance as this; 14. Should we again break your commandments, and intermarry with the people of these abominations? Would you not be angry with us till you would consume us, so that there should be no remnant nor any to escape?

Ezra[1](10:1-14) 1. And while Ezra prayed, and confessed, weeping and casting himself down before the house of God, a very great assembly of men and women and children gathered to him out of Israel; for the people wept bitterly. 2. (K) And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, one of the sons of Elam, answered and said to Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken alien wives from the peoples of the land; yet now there is hope in Israel concerning this matter. 3. And now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all such women, and those born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the Torah. 4. Arise; for it is your task, and we are with you. Be of good courage and do it! 5. Then Ezra arose, and made the chief priests, the Levites, and all Israel, swear that they should do according to this word. And they swore. 6. Then Ezra rose up from before the house of God, and went into the chamber of Johanan the son of Eliashib; and when he came there, he did not eat bread, nor drink water; for he mourned because of the transgression of the exiles. 7. And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles, that they should gather themselves together at Jerusalem; 8. And that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his goods should be forfeited, and he himself set apart from the congregation of the exiles. 9. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and because of the heavy rain. 10. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said to them, You have transgressed, and have taken foreign wives, to increase the guilt of Israel. 11. And now make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do his will; and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the foreign wives. 12. (K) Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you have said, so must we do. 13. But the people are many, and it is the time of heavy rain, and we are not able to stand outside, nor is this a work for one day or two; for we are many who have transgressed in this matter. 14. Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all those who have taken foreign wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and its judges, until the fierce wrath of our God over this matter is turned away from us. 15. Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah stood out against this; and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite supported them. 16. And the returned exiles did so. And Ezra the priest selected certain chiefs of the fathers’ houses, after the house of their fathers, each of them designated by name, and they sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17. And by the first day of the first month, they made an end of the matter of the men who had taken foreign wives.

Nechemiah[1](13:23-27): 23. (K) Also in those days I saw Jews who had married women of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab; 24. And half their children spoke in the language of Ashdod, and could not speak the language of Judah, but according to the language of each people. 25. And I quarrelled with them, and cursed them, and struck some of them, and pulled off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, You shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons, or for yourselves. 26. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Among the many nations there was no king like him, who was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel; nevertheless foreign women made even him sin. 27. Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying foreign wives?


  1. Here is my response to you and those who are against halachic conversion to Judaism....

    [list of missionary sites deleted]

    You are part of the problem.
    Become a part of the solution!

  2. The reality IS that my husband and I HAVE broken up many intermarriages. It's not that hard since most (over 70%) will end in divorce anyway!!

    What we have done to instigate the break up of intermarriages is to show the couple the beauty of a traditional Jewish home. Every Jew in his soul longs to be connected to Hashem, the "pintele yid" if you wish.

    The Gentile in her heart also KNOWS that just as Esau sold his birthright because he could not properly observe the laws she also cannot realistically join the Jewish people because she knows that she cannot observe the mitzvot that Hashem requires of the Jews. (Hashem did offer the Torah to the other nations FIRST but they refused it).

    The Gentile woman who loves her husband will not take his birthright from him when she realizes the richness and beauty of the faith of his forefathers.

    The Jewish man who begins to understand Jewish observance will not force the Gentile woman he professes to love to give up her rightful place in the World To Come for his sake.

    You are still a young man (in your early 40s you said) and could find a Jewish woman to marry who could give you Jewish children.

    Because so many Jewish men unfortunately have intermarried (statistically many more than Jewish women), there are many Jewish women in your age range looking for marriage.

    In another few years you most likely will not still have this option (in your 50s). If you are serious about maintaining your connection to the Jewish people you will "Just Do It" and do it now.

    When we set out to do the right thing, no matter how difficult, Hashem helps.

    I wish you only the best and may you soon merit to build a proper Jewish home in Klal Yisrael.

  3. Are You People For Real? said...

    "Here is my response to you and those who are against halachic conversion to Judaism....[missionary sites deleted]..."
    Why don't you elevate your response beyond constantly repeating - "if you don't proselytise intermarried the missionaries will get them"

    Why don't you understand that halachic conversions are not the result of proselytising. [see my previous posting of the views of the Achiezer and Igros Moshe.] Nobody has anything against halachic conversions. Pressuring non-Jewish spouses to convert is another story.

  4. Who on earth is for proselytizing? I'm surely not.

    Rabbi, you really should put a check on the rabid anti-ger undercurrent flowing through your blog by well-meaning yet idiotic Orthodox Jews who live in a shell.

    I have read here that there is no such thing as a sincere convert, that all female converts are a sham and how it shows in their households for generations.

    Is this your viewpoint as well?


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