Sunday, June 14, 2009

EJF - higher standards isn't enough

Racheli wrote:

Roni said...

It is indeed something that is really bothersome. as you write about those who are less committed. Actually R' Tropper's approach attempts to remedy that, by raising the standards of commitment of the convert. This is the reason why many Rabbis (like Rav Reuven Feinstein or Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky support his efforts).In such cases, one can understand that they earn to some degree respect, as (those who) transform their lives with some difficulty.

It happens that the Beis Din which I converted through is a well respected, accepted Beis Din with very high standards (Bli Ayin Hara). However, creating higher standards does not necessarily bear a stronger connection, commitment, and love of Torah within the individual conversion candidate.

Those feelings and commitments are something which exist in the person or do not, can be roused or can’t be – but in my opinion they cannot be forced upon the person or implanted in them. You could say that higher standards weed-out people who are less committed and serious, who are lacking these internal convictions, and perhaps this is true in some cases. However, if someone has an ulterior motive that is strong enough, it also could push them through a rigorous geirus process.

I do not believe (at least from what I have witnessed from the people I have seen go through conversions) that higher standards make for a better Ger. There is a lot of change involved in a conversion. It is not as simple as learning how to keep Shabbos and kashrus…. A Ger needs to completely resocialize themself to a different culture and lifestyle. You don’t learn all the social norms and nuances which make the Jewish people as a community so unique and JEWISH by taking a shiur on Kashrus.

Conversion should be viewed as a holistic change for the person. It is not just a change in halachic status from non-Jew to Jew; from not keeping Shabbos, to keeping Shabbos. In my opinion it takes a high commitment and drive for an individual to properly integrate and join the Jewish people successfully, and holistically.

All I am trying to say is that higher standards, although necessary, should not be viewed as some sort of panacea for preventing poorly integrated, insincere or wayward converts. It’s not a year or two year course in Orthodox Judaism that create well integrated, committed Jews; it’s an internal conviction and drive toward living a life dedicated toward Avodas Hashem which continues to drive that individual long past the geirus process is finished.


  1. I think I happen to agree with most of your writing.

    Yes, feelings cannot be forced upon. LEctures and Shiurim are not enough and are not the main ingredient of a conversion which requires "lehikaness labrt" (to enter the covenant). And yes, themain thing is the "internal conviction and drive toward living a life dedicated toward Avodas Hashem which continues to drive that individual long past the geirus process is finished"!

    I would just reiterate three points:

    1) Changing and transforming lifestyle from not keeping shabbos to keeping it according to Shulchan Aruch and the same with kashrut and the same with Taharat HaMishpacha must show that there is a strong level of "high commitment and drive properly integrate and join the Jewish people...holistically". From his prior lifestyle the change must be looked upon as some kind of a barometer to the heart and mind and the whole being of this individual.

    2) Being that we see Halacha as the ultimate truth and if Halacha allows for a certain person to be called Jewish then it means that to a certain degree that is the ultimate truth of the person's real essence. Ie. if Geut means that a JEwish Soul penetrates the peson and in fact many sources say that the Soul belonged to this individual and was awaiting the process to happen so that it comes into that person, so, TOrah and Halcha tell us that the person has the inner powers of a Jewish Soul as other Yidden and that should not be underestimated.

    3)But most importantly: While what you say is correct regarding the true value of a Ger Tzedek (in sync to what I heard from Rav shechter many times in the nameof Rav Solivetchik as he makes a disnction between "geR" and "Ger tzedek" where the later title is earned by those who really integrate fully and see Yiddishkeyt as their essence and a life of Avodat Hashem); yet and yet, there is a great need for Kedushat Yisrael to be kept in the literal Halachik delineationsof "Havdalah Ben Yisrael Laamim"' between JEws and Non-Jews. In this area and arena it makes a huge difference between a "higher standard" of gerut (which is basically "the minimal standard" according to many/most ) and the "non higher standard" (which for many/most is a non standard)) where the "convert" remains a non jew and a non ger as he was before in Halachik terms.

    It is precisely for this last point that R' Tropper's approach is of the highest importance. That approach minimizes the mixing of non JEws into the Jewishpeople as insincere ie. those who do not fit the Halachik criteria for Kabbalat Mitzvot and that they are therefore not jews. While it might be only a kabblah "forced upon", but since Halacha accepts this as commitment "agav Onssah Gamar Umakneh" (due to pressures he/she commits himself/ herself) then he/she is JEwish and someone marrying him/her is not intemarrying. Whereas the apporch of other Rabbis (like one mentioned earleir) to bring in those who do not commit themselves at all to mitzvot brings into JEwish people goyim gmurim and increases intermarriage amongst klal yisrael. The approach of r' Tropper should be commended for this alone! and should be emulated by others!

  2. As I just posted....

  3. Tropper/Roni does not care about commitment to Judaism he does care about commitment to his kind of frumkeit.

    Look what he have done tp Rav Slifkin, to woman who wore pants where he revoked her conversion, Gideon Busch where Tropper believes is better for him to die haredi than to to live as Modern Orthodox, even a woman who wanted to go to Touro College Nursing a program catered to Orthodox students has threaten by Tropper to have her conversion revoked.

    Good thing the Modern Orthodox now keep away from him and Kaplan.

    The problem with Tropper and his attitude and conversion and the keiruv business that he refuge to accept the concept of elu ve’helu that can be more than path in Judaism.

  4. Tropper is hallucinating or just being naive by saying that his standards are better than other rabbis and therefore his acts are good for the the Jewish people.

    Most of the converts are girls who are married to Jewish males and do so for their spouses/boyfriends. When they get divorced usually the convert does not stay observant.

    So Tropper running after them and trying to convince them to convert does not do any good to klall Israel.

  5. Can somebody explain to me what higher standards of commitment mean? Does this mean that the candidate will be machmir for chalav Yisroel or Rabbeinu Tam time?

    What does this mean?

  6. Bartley wrote:

    "Can somebody explain to me what higher standards of commitment mean? Does this mean that the candidate will be machmir for chalav Yisroel or Rabbeinu Tam time?

    What does this mean?"

    It means very simple (something that people here tend to ignore): That no conversion is done when the propsect is clear to violate shabbat like Driving and cooking. No conversion is done when the prospect will eat non kosher food on the basic level (like eating treif in non kosher restaurants) . No conversion is done when the convert will not keep that laws of Tahrat Hamishpacha (not go to mikvah and abstain when needed etc.). WE have a proliferation of Rabbis .

    m"Orthodox" (like R' Bomzer and man others) who do just the above. I have heard numerous times from conservative Rabbis who say: "Why do we (CR) reject converts, who then turn around and go to you "orthodox" rabbis and you just "convert them"?

    Basically, "higher standards" means keeping the above standards in PRACTICE!

  7. Daas Torah,

    Why again the censoring?

    Just because the facts will show that R' Tropper's converts begin with shmiras shabbos, kashrut and tahrat hamishpacha and others like R' bomzer does not, and that will show Tropper in a positive light you choose to censure the clean post I sent last night?

  8. Roni said...

    Daas Torah,

    Why again the censoring?
    I have the same answer that I gave you previously when accused me of this - I have not censored your post - I have published all of your posts that I have received. You and R' Tropper are simply paranoid.

  9. Roni/Tropper's "high standards" which are code words for his version of frumkeit (torah bli derech eretz) actually cause more intermarriage.

    Some gentile women would be willing to convert and their husband willing to be BT if presented with more balanced approach of Orthodoxy but Tropper/Roni’s obsession with women wearing pants or going to college and not having meah shaearin lifestyle actually pushed them away from Judaism.

    Tropper treats the giur business like his keiruv business. It must be MY version or otherwise you are out.

  10. In one of the families r' Tropper apparently destroyed, he demanded after the conversion that the couple will move from their Modern Orthodox community to South Fallsburg in upstate New York.

    You can ask rabbi Shlomo Zarchi of San Francisco about that case.

  11. "Roni/Tropper's "high standards" which are code words for his version of frumkeit (torah bli derech eretz),
    actually cause more intermarriage".

    Whereas, Monsey Tzadik's/bomzer's approach for his version of converting a goya for 40,000 and not keeping shabbos is "Derech eretz" that brings less intermarriage, and more yiddihskeyt and "derech eretz" and "honesty" and less intermarriage.

    "Some gentile women would be willing to convert ...f presented with more balanced approach of Orthodoxy",

    I though the Tzadik joined Dt and other critics of RT for his attempt to encourage non jewish wives to convert! and surprisingly Dt does not challenge the Tzadik for his support to convet intermarried couple. But it should not surprise, if opposing views combine to a common enemy to badmouth him from both sides of their mouth.

    " but Tropper/Roni’s obsession with women wearing pants or going to college and not having meah shaearin lifestyle actually pushed them away from Judaism".

    Actually, it is his obssession that they do not drive on shabbat, and keep kosher dietary laws that were given at Sinay, and his annoying stance that they keep the archaic laws of Taharat Hamishpacha that pushes away the insincere "drech eretz" dishonest money barons from giving 40,000$ and buildings to allow entrance to their goyishe wives!

  12. To Lily,

    One time you claimed (in the name of R' Zarchi) that the convert of Rt did not observe; now you claim that he makes them move to an area of observance and makes them actually observe!

    What you fail to mention perhaps is that perhaps in the town where that convert lived originally he/she was not able to observe for lack of an observant community!

    What you also fail to mention is that R' Zarchi was involved in arranging one of the fake conversions that are performed by R' B and he was taken to task by people who are affiliated with Rt and therefore uses this venue (As the other Tzadikim) to attack RT with all sides of your mouths (that he makes them Meah Shearim and that he that they do not observe).

    In the meantime RT is part of those people responsible for making conversion a bit more serious and sincere!conversion process

  13. [...] if San Francisco is not Orthodox enough for you even they have over there many Orthodox shuls and even a kollel (albeit with YU avrechim) you could send him/her few miles south to LA where they have a flourishing Orthodox community. Why South Fallsburg ? maybe because you have a former talmid there (YB) who can spy for you and help you control every detail of the convert life.

    I am also surprised to hear about the falling out between you and R’ Zarchi, was not he the guy who provided you with this nice couple on the cover of the famous retreat invitation?

    Could you share with us what happen with that couple? Did they convert with you ? are they still observant ?

    Did R’ Zarchi broke your heart and left you for R’ Bomzer ? do you feel hurt again? did you speak with anybody to find out why they all leave you fir R' Bomzer?

  14. Tzadik,

    you can go around the blogs all you like with your hatred at Rt; in reality though you/bomzer's converts who are sincere, are running to RT's to help them ermake their gerut! (and that is one of the reasons that you twist the truth).

  15. Tropper,

    You obviously share a different reality than the rest of us. It is known that when conversion candidates find out what you have done to Gideon Busch, Rav Slifkin, the woman who wore pants, the woman who wanted to go college and other contrversaries then run away from you to the RCA or Chabbad connected rabbis.

    Even the rabbis you pay “keiruv expenses” to bring you candidates are hesitate to bring you candidates that you will mess up and turn away from yidishkeit.

  16. Daas Torah said...

    Mekubal wrote:

    Once again Roni, you can read things anyway you like, but that is not what this says. This says, "And that there is to take hold of the understanding that it is permitted to teach Torah to a Goy if his mind is to convert." I am convinced that either you do not know Hebrew or that you are intentionally misreading these statements.

    Your rejection of R' Efrati's letter of clarification is ridiculous. He is R' Eliashiv's right hand man. Is he lying? Is he woefully misinformed?

    At the request of R' Eidensohn I asked R' Eisenstein about R' Efrati's clarification. His statement was that he understood R' Eliashiv's position the same way.
    With the confirmation from both Rav Efrati and Rav Eisenstein that Rav Eliashiv's teshuva 3:140 is not talking about proselytizing or inspiring a nonJew to convert - I think it is time to end this thread.

    Roni - any more repetition of your distorted and abusive ad hominem comments will simply be rejected. Whether it is your problematic readings of Rav Eliashiv and other poskim or whether it is your reflex denunciation of R' Bomzer. Enough is enough. However you have served the valuable service of confirming for us the tenuous and problematic nature of R' Tropper's authority to do what he is doing.


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