Saturday, June 6, 2009

Conversion of intermarried couples/ R' Eliashiv's view?

JPost Jonathan Rosenblum

[...] But conversion is a commitment to mitzvah observance. That little detail rendered the Ne'eman Commission proposals inherently incoherent. How could those trained by teachers who themselves might have no commitment to mitzvah observance be expected to make such a commitment themselves?

THE UNHAPPY TRUTH IS that there is no solution for the current situation, within the ambit of halacha. And that has nothing to do with the recalcitrance of the rabbinic establishment to accept converts. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, widely viewed as the preeminent living posek (halachic decisor), has ruled that the traditional rule that we push away would-be converts does not apply in the case of intermarried couples or children of Jewish fathers. Following Rabbi Elyashiv's directives, Eternal Jewish Family is currently spending millions of dollars in Israel working with intermarried couples.

But not pushing away certain converts does not mean that the ultimate standard for conversion - a full acceptance of the yoke of mitzvot - can be waived. That standard is not a haredi invention, as some have alleged. Rabbi Yosef Ber Soloveitchik, leading decisor of the World Mizrachi movement, described it as axiomatic in his famous article Kol Dodi Dofek. Rabbi Shlomo Daichovsky, one of the most respected dayanim in the national religious world, declared at a Mossad HaRav Kook symposium last year that there is unanimous agreement on the requirement of a full acceptance of mitzvot. Rabbi Yisrael Rozen, former head of the Conversion Authority, recently reiterated that requirement.

Acceptance of mitzvot is not just a pro forma declaration by the would-be convert. The beit din has a duty to ascertain that he or she is sincere in that acceptance. Perhaps 350 years ago, when mitzva observance was the norm, it could be assumed that the prospective convert understood that joining the Jewish people entailed mitzva observance. And given the circumstances of the Jewish people then, it could also be assumed that the convert was not motivated by ulterior motives. But in modern times, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Herzog pointed out, neither assumption obtains, and a beit din must assure itself of the sincerity of the convert.

And therein lies the rub. The overwhelming majority of non-Jewish immigrants from the FSU do not wish to commit to mitzva observance. And the longer they remain in Israel and integrate into Israeli society without becoming Jewish, the less inclined they are to do so. That - not bottlenecks in the process or overly stringent demands by the rabbis - is the reason that there were less than 1,000 conversions, outside the IDF, last year.[...]

1 comment :

  1. Rosenblum like r’ Tropper on the other post tries to make it halachatic issue and not a political issue which is really is.

    Of course everybody wants full acceptance of mitzvoth from the convers but r’ Tropper and Rosenblum want haredy style acceptance of mitzvoth. This is part of the assult Tropper, Rosenblum and others wage on Modern Orthodoxy lifestyle and hashkafa.


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