Monday, March 23, 2009

Convert on beis din for conversion? - Rabbi Broyde

Rabbi Broyde has a typically excellect summary of the subject on the Hirhurim blog. Subject discussed on this blog I II III

Some Final Observations Now That the Summary is Over

It seems to me [and to preempt any questions, I am speaking just for myself and for no organization that I am involved in: neither Emory University nor its law school, nor its law and religion program, nor the Beth Din of America nor the Young Israel where I am the Founding Rabbi necessarily agree with my thoughts] that given since this dispute is without clear precedent, one can say for certain that as a matter of halachic policy it is a bad idea to allow a convert to serve on a bet din.

The rationale for this seems clear. Given the fact that there are many, many eminent poskim who think such a conversion is invalid even bedieved, it would be a terrible disservice to any convert to intentionally staff their conversion panel with such a rabbi. It makes such a conversion invalid according to many poskim for no good reason. An indisputably valid panel is a wise idea in every case and for every convert lechatchila. (This is even more so true in this matter where a hachra’ah based on logical rules seems so hard.)

The intentional decision to place a rabbi who is a convert on a conversion panel is nearly a form of rabbinic malpractice in my view; since so many competent and qualified rabbis are present in our times, why staff a rabbinical court with one whose qualifications are to be questioned as a matter of halacha?


  1. The issue with suggesting that we be sure that the rabbis on batei din be acceptable according to all shitas is deciding where this requirement ends. Rav Eisenstein has been quoted as saying any rabbi who wears a brown suit or doesn't believe the world is only 6000 years old is passul - should we accept that limitation as well? Where is the line to be drawn?

  2. I think r' Eisenstein referred to colored shirts and not colored suits, I think that if the suit is very dark brown the dayan would not be possul.

    Also, nobody believes that the world is 6000 years old.

    There are some opinions which say that zionism is kefira so according to r' broyde it is rabbinical malpractice to have zionist on the beis din when there are many available non zionist rabbis.


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