Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rav Reuven Feinstein: Kiruv and intermarriage

Rav Chaim Ozer Grodinski(Achiezer 3:28): Concerning the common practice of converting women who are married to Jews - according to the straight halacha it is not corrrect to convert them. That is because they are converting for the sake of marriage. Therefore even after marriage she is prohibited to him as is clear from the Rashba (#1205). While previously I had written to be lenient in these cases and I based myself on the Rambam (Pe’er HaDor 132) and Rav Shlomo Kluger also paskened leniently in an actual case. Nevertheless the fact is that there is not genuine acceptance of mitzvos in these cases. It is quite obvious that their hearts are not with the Jewish people since they do not observe Shabbos or niddah and they eat unkosher food as I wrote in the previous letter. This problem has already been noted by by the Beis Yitzchok who concluded that a proper beis din would not be involved in this. And regarding the issue of governing the non‑Jewish children…However the writer is correct that a good beis din should not be involved in this type of conversion. Nevertheless I don’t see that it is proper that the rabbis of the generation should make an open protest against conversion. That is because in the eyes of the masses it would be viewed as a chilul HaShem to prevent the women to convert and in particular their children since according to the straight halacha it is possible to convert them.

Mekubal's translation/analysis of Rav Eliashiv's teshuva (3:140)cited below by Rav Reuven Feinstein


First a translation italics are my own comments in the translation:
From all of this it seems obviously we are missing parts already please provide those Roni that a mixed marriage, by means of this the non-Jewish spouse takes part literally they join themselves to or with in shiurim there is a good probability that it will enter into their hear to convert, and by means of this it causes the Jewish man or woman to be saved to return in repentance, there is to see in this b'diavad circumstance 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. But in a situation that that this reason is not relevant, there is no place for a heter, this is Ossur.

Let us enumerate the conditions of the above heter:
1) Intermarriage 2) The Non-Jew seeks out and joins shiurim 3) It is permitted to allow them to take part b'diavad 4) Since there is a heter to teach torah to a non-Jew who is converting we can extend that to this case.

To be clear, R' Eliashiv makes a chumra(that one should not teach a person in the the process of Geirut Torah), as this opposes what is written in the Sh"A, but that is OK one can be Chumradik.

Then he removes his own Chumra in the case of an intermarried couple. If the non-Jewish spouse seeks out Jewish learning. His reason for this is that they may be convinced to convert, and thus in a round about way cause the Teshuva of their Jewish spouse.

What this leaves out is any mention of encouraging. Nowhere does R' Elishiv say לאמץ להתגייר he simply says that by them deciding to take part in Jewish learning there is a good chance that they will decide to convert, and we should not stop them.

To sum up. You brought an incomplete Teshuva, and presumably only the part that you thought supported your opinion. Examination of the language and grammar shows that this clearly does not support your position of actively seeking out or encouraging conversion. This is a heter to allow non-Jews in intermarriages who wander into shiurim, to sit those shiurim, that's all.
Rav Eliashiv's view on kiruv to intermarried couples as reported by Rav Efrati

Rav Reuven Feinstein


  1. What is the chiddush ? we all know that giur leshem ishus is permitted. I am not sure what Tropper tries to point out.

    The problem with Tropper and Kaplan is their active proselytizng (chet kal according to Tropper) and we did not see that r’ Feinstein permit it. It also problem that a kanai like Tropper tries to force his version of frumkeit on the converts.

    In any case, why the letter does not have a date ? and what is the shayachus of rav mari story to conversion. The gemara there in Bava Batra talks about inheritance not giur leshen ishus. Sounds like one of Tropper’s pilpulim.

    And who know ? maybe we will be zoche to see a clarification to this letter as we saw before...

  2. Here we go with the zilzulim on RAv REuven (DAAT Torah you are not beyond reporach...a rotzer making letzonus of the pssak and it is in YOUR BLOG)!

  3. the previous commenter probably wants us that a majpr portion o fthe criticism was that we are not allowed to be mekarev him to convert! = PROSELYTIZNG in the parlance of DAATTOrah Blogspot. The criticism was: that we do not encourage conversion; we reject it!

    Btw: "leshem ishut" is NOT permitted lechatchila! It is only bediavad for "chet kal" to prevent "chet chamur". Go and learn!

    Your probelm of kannaut is bichlal a boboh taynoh and was not one of the official DT's taanos. It is a non started; it only comes from a bomzer/facory that allows geyur without kabbalat Hamitzvot that Rav Reuven states in the name of all these gedoyley haposskim that it is forbidden and meaningless!

  4. Mt (and DT) You should know that the proof from Rav MAri is from the Ohr Sameach (I knew that Mt you can;t read...but please!!). This is a zilzul not on RT, not even on Raeuven but on the *Ohr Sameach*!

  5. I wrote: "the previous commenter probably wants us that a majpr portion o fthe criticism was that we are not allowed to be mekarev him to convert! = PROSELYTIZNG in the parlance of DAATTOrah Blogspot. The criticism was: that we do not encourage conversion; we reject it!"

    LEt me rewrite: the previous commenter wants us to forget that a major portion of the criticism at EJF and at RT was thatkiruv = "proseltyizing" is forbidden even for intermarried couples. Rav Feinstein states that one is permitted to be mekarev = "proselytizing" (as Dt understands it) is permitted (and in some of the sources it appears that it should be encouraged in some cases). (Btw, Rav Feinstein cites that this was the opinion of his father HaRav Moshe, HaRav Henkin, HaRAv SZ Aurbach, HaRav ELyashiv Shlita. He also proves that is the opinion of Achiezer and other GEdoyley Haposskim).

  6. Recipients and PublicityJune 25, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    ONE: Seven Questions for Rav Reuven Feinstein, shlit"a, regarding his involvement with EJF:

    1) What is the point of Rav Reuven Feinstein chiming in when he is a nogei'ah bedavar? It is well known that not just in the case of Tom Kaplan, but in many other cases, Tropper shares the same donors with Rav Reuven Feinstein. All this is on record with the Charities Bureau in New York State. It is public information and no great secret. Can we get clarification about the same financial sources that Rav Reuven Feinstein and Tropper share, as this is a matter that effects the tzibbur, please?

    2) Since when is Rav Reuven Feinstein regarded as a posek by most Haredi groups, even in New York where he resides? He is regarded as a middle level rosh yeshiva of the MTJ branch on Staten Island. Who besides Tropper deems Rav Reuven Feinstein to be a posek that all of klal Yisroel must follow upon the mere mention of his name? Sure, he can pasken for his yeshiva, but he is not accepted and does not have the shem (name/prestige) in the Torah world as a universally accepted posek.

    3) Why does Rav Dovid Feinstein, the elder brother of Rav Reuven, not get mentioned EVER in connection with EJF? Rav DOVID Feinstein IS one of the biggest poskim in the Torah world, some hold perhaps even the biggest in America, but that does NOT mean that somehow by osmosis his younger brother Rav Reuven gets to be a renowned "posek" as well, even if Rav Dovid wears only a plain jacket and down hat and Rav Reuven wears a kappote and a homberg.

    4) Since when is the fact that someone is the son of a rov or posek automatically mean that they are an infallibale extension of their father? As in the case of Rav Reuven, he is not the automatic "definitive" interpreter and appliar if his father Rav Moshe Feinstein's every last pesak, especially if he (Rav Reuven) is not a universally regarded posek himself.

    5) This letter from Rav Reuven Feinstein is NOT a Haskoma for EJF, when will he write a clear-cut straightforward conventional one please? This letter is just a nice shtikel Toirah, like the session notes from a shiur given at an EJF convention with no real Halachic significance. Even regarding Rav Moshe Feinstein, noone with sechel would say that the DIBROS MOSHE equals or has the same purpose of the IGROS MOSHE. From the latter one can derive pesak if one has the power of a true posek, so the way Rav Reuven is trying to do it in this letter is zeir shein, but he fails to convince the world that it is therefore a "heter" for EJF to do what they please and what they have been doing of publicly going around recruiting potentially limitlesss numbers of gentiles hitched to Jews and trying to remake them into controversial ultra-haredi EJF converts. So the question still remains, when will Rav Reuven give a normative clear-cut haskoma for EJF and Tropper in writing on his letter head (which this letter is conspicuously missing by the way!)?...

  7. Recipients and PublicityJune 25, 2009 at 11:09 AM

    TWO: Seven Questions for Rav Reuven Feinstein...

    6) Since when does a rosh yeshiva get involved in matters relating to highly controversial non-yeshiva affairs usually handled by other rabbinic bodies and authority? There is the AGUDAS YISROEL, there is TORAH UMESORAH there is even the RCA that deal with the ramifications of gerus problems and controversies, so why is Rav Reuven getting involved as a yachid here? What are his reasons for wanting to be on the bandwagon of EJF's mission to recruit limitless numbers of gentiles when he should logically be worrying about the welfare of his yeshiva and its talmidim first and foremost?

    7) Does Rav Reuven feinstein have a written haskoma for himself even such as from his elder brother Rav Dovid Feinstein who sits on the American Moetzes HaTorah or a letter from any member of the Moetzes or better yet from the ENTIRE Moetzes Gedolei HaTorah to be involved in a controversial project like EJF? that even now its spokesman here Tropper/Roni admits is a Jewishly dangerous, false, anti-Halachic, and riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions distortion of 2,000 years of Jewish law and normative Torahdikke history, see below, his own admissions:

    "a) Being thatit is a novel approach. Practically speaking this method was not used especially with such an intensity therefore any respected RESPONSIBLE POSSEK would not necessarily want to to put his paper to endorse an organization if CHas Vesholom it does not uscceeded to recah the hopeful goals.

    b) Maybe others may follow suit and misuse the idea of the organization to take it a step further and perform these covnersions iwtout kabbalat hamitzvot. He does not want to take this ublic step to put his name on paper to that level.

    c) and no RAbbi put's his name to sign on an organization which may in the future stumble on occasion and do soemthing that is not correct and then people migh tmistake that this particular acation had the apporval of the Rabbi as he signed on the organization."

  8. Regarding what Rav Reuven writes - I don't see it addresses the point of contention - issue of proselytizing.

    There are two basic scenarios

    1) An intermarried couple realize that they want to live as full Jews and thus they go to a Rabbi for the husband to learn about Judaism and the non-Jew to convert. Thus the intitiave comes from them - the chidush is that they are not to turned away if the rabbi perceives them to be sincere and willing to fully accept mitzvos. Thus the leniency of takanas hashavim is employed to faciliate their desire and initiative to be fully shomer Torah and mitzvos.

    This is the scenario that Rav Fuerst said Rav Moshe would agree to and Rav Nosson Kaminetsky told me was his father's view also. It is also consistent with every example Rav Reuven cites. This is what R'Tropper claimed originally that that was all the EJF was doing. In fact EJF is following approach 2.

    2)Intermarried couples are solicited by newspaper articles and ads. Articles are circulated on the internet fishing for anyone who has the slightest curiousity about what an Orthodox Jew is. Non-Jews are invited to find out their possible roots in the distant past in the Jewish community and encouraged to convert. Conventions are held that invite anyone who is curious or will be willing to listen to speeches regarding the psycological, sociological benefits of being an observant Jewish couple. Or even finding those will be willing to listen to the speeches just because they will get a full paid vacation. These are people who at most are not strongly opposed to the idea of Judaism. The initiative thus comes from kiruv workers not from the couple. The justification is that they will eventually be persuaded (proselytized) to be fully observing.

    This is the controversial approach of EJF - and is not addressed in the teshuva.

    In essence seeking people out and convincing them - overcoming their objections regarding an observant Orthodox Jewish lifestyle is different than facilitating those who take the initiative to go to the rabbi because they want to know how to be observant Jews.

  9. Daat Torah,

    BEFORE WE MOVE ON THE other issues , Dt, these kindof zilzul and bizayon from a rotzer mechutzaf IS NOT ACCEPTABLE! "criticism" is one thing; zilzul at a talmid chacham and possek is another thing!



    "... Tropper/Roni admits is a Jewishly dangerous, false, anti-Halachic, and riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions distortion of 2,000 years of Jewish law and normative Torahdikke history,...":


    WHAT IS OSSUR AL PI SHULCHAN ORUCH IS WHAT YOU AND YOUR FIRENDS THAT ENABLE GOYI M INTO KLAL YISORLE FOR E$$$NAN ZONAH MONEY IS Jewishly dangerous, false, anti-Halachic, AND tragic for the destiny of klal yisroel plus a corruption of TORAH AND A HUGE CHILLUL HASHEM!

  10. Recipients and PublicityJune 25, 2009 at 9:29 PM

    Note: I leave it up to the owner of this blog to post the first five of the "Seven Questions for Rav Reuven Feinstein Regarding EJF" if and when he sees fit. Thank you.

  11. Recipients and PublicityJune 25, 2009 at 9:53 PM

    Roni/Tropper, instead of yet again distracting everyone with your rude tirades, how about you just answer the questions politely like a mentsch, if you can get past your own hate and anger.

    The letter posted here from Rav Elyashiv is a specific chinuch shayla, of if it is allowed to teach Torah to a child with a Jewish father and gentiles mother obviously already in an educational setting (these things do happen in American Jewish day schools and in Israeli Chinuch Atzmai kiruv-type schools), and he says that it can be of help to teach the child Torah as it may help to bring back the father to Yiddishkeit and inspire the child and the mother to undergo a kosher conversion, but he clearly warns that this scenario is not a blanket heter to teach all such children in this position Torah because it may result in more harm than good, and that foremost, the guidance of a reliable rov/mechanech be sought out for proper guidance as to what to do in each case.

    Now there is absolutely NOTHING in this letter that says that it's ok to do what EJF does, to place ads on the Internet and magazines with lies that half the human race may be of Jewish descent and that they should come and enjoy the benefits of free EJF-sponsored concerts at fancy shmansy hotels and retreats where especially the gentile spouses hitched to Jews will be wined and dined until they agree to become EJF-style haredi converts to Judaism under the ever watchful eye of Tropper's my-way-or-the-highway brand of coercively cruel brand of haredism. This is what Kaplan sponsors (previously with his nephew, what EJF offers and Tropper heads and orchestrates, and RAV ELIASHIV DOES NOT ENDORSE IT, so that to claim that somehow or other when Rav Elyashiv is considering the plight of young kids caught in a parental dillema in an elementary school setting obviously that it's somehow or other a "green light" for EJF to go ahead and recruit and proselytize limitless numbers of gentiles hitched to Jews everywhere, is not just a cruel and absurd joke, but yet another obvious example of how Roni/Tropper twists the truth and is megaleh ponim baTorah shelo kehalacha for which he should be put in cherem.

  12. RAP, you are not a mentch. you re mezalzel in Rav Reuven like a chayo rooh and a rotzoer. you don't deserve respect!

    a) there is an issur to teach torah to non jews! (it includes children), b) Rav Elyashiv holds that one is assur to teach even agoy who is about to megayer (learn the teshuvas), c) He says the one should teach them if it will entice the father to be megayer, d) according to what Dt proposes and HaRav Sternbuch we should not do things to entice the father convert, -some of the reasoinings of Rav Sternbuch regarding non encouraging the father would apply to forbid accepting the child. Yet Rav Elyashiv allows it, e) only if will result in real gerut to the family but not when it brings ease of guillt to the father. What does that have to do with teaching the non jewish if he will remain married to the goya? what pangs will it ease? you wre a krummer remain a krummer and are not able to be mavchin ben ohr lechoshech...

    the rest of your repeat attacks at RT is just substance whatsoever
    ...cherem is upon you who were mvazeh Rav REuven like a chyo rooh and rotzer!
    Now, let us see if you can get past of your hypoerbole and innuencdo: Which seif in Shlcuan Oruch does it say that "proseltyizing" is assur?

    Rav Elyashiv endorses: encouraging and convincing the non jewish partner to convert! it is a a tremednous zcghus for theone who teaches torah if he might succeed to make the father convert. Likewise, EJF's activites to encourage and convince the non jewish partner to convert is a tremdnous zchuss as it protects the jew from a avera chamur!

    now, before you are worried about the non issur of "prosetyzation" get to work with your sending and enabling goyim to be called yidden when ALL POSSKIM including rav sternbuch writes that this i an ISSUR GAMUR AND TREMDNOUS TRAGEDY TO KLAL YISROEL!

  13. [...] bekitzur:

    there is a legitimate concern when such a kid to school with other jews, when they will think that he/she is jewish THAT IS A MUCH STRONGER CONCERN SENDING HIM TO MIX WITH JEWS THAN BY MAKING A CONVEITION WITH only intermarried couples where ECVERYONE THERE KNOWS THAT ONE IS NOT JEWISH!

    but "im eyn daas havdoloh and havchonoh " of what iright and wrong minayin?

  14. Roni - the basic issue is that the teshuva does not legitimitize a significant part of R' Tropper's program. I admire your acrobatics and diyuqim - but that is not respectful of Rav Reuven.

    Rav Reuven as posek for EJF should have been asked for each part of the program. As it stands now R' Tropper is violating the guidelines that were given him. So unless there is another teshuva dealing with proselytization, running EJF without regards to what Rav Reuven says is simply insulting to Rav Reuven.

    Furthermore one would expect that Rav Reuven would have been asked to provide careful guidelines and principles - since as you have pointed out there are a wide varieties of situations that comes up. All Rav Reuven seemed to have been asked is whether the traditional pushing away of non-Jews and intermarried couples can be relaxed for those who are serious interested in conversion. For that the present teshuva is appropriate to show that there are many major poskim who allow that to happen. The teshuva can not be used for more than that.

    If Rav Reuven has already addressed those issues then it would be appreciated to know what he said.

    Since R' Tropper told me that at once time there was a halachic manual for EJF - what happened to it?

  15. DT:"Roni - the basic issue is that the teshuva does not legitimitize a significant part of R' Tropper's program".

    Roni: The basic issue that the teshuva that includes his teshuva and ELyashiv teshuva legitimizes MOST OF WHAT HE DOES! Ajnd as someone who claims that Tropper has no backing should show why he has no backing?

    Your whole premise is a non starter: You begin with a premise that there is an *issur* to encourage conversion. *You* have to bring proof for your contention! For two and half years you haven't brough any rayo besides Rav Sternbuch! and Rav reuven and the Rabbonim that he cites argue with him. You should acknowledg that much of your criticism at R Tropper was wrong becuase he has a heter from Rav ELyashiv and partially from Rav Reuven.

    Rav Reuven has not *assered* any one of them in the guideliness. He actually quoted Rav ELyashiv who permitted these activites! for you to cite that he has no backing is wrong!

    DT" All Rav Reuven seemed to have been asked is whether the traditional pushing away of non-Jews and intermarried couples can be relaxed",

    Roni: AGAIN A DISTORTION, e was asked whenther they could be MEKAREV? it does not mean "relaxed". Listen these are no diyukim; these are pirush hamilos of the teshuva. You want to pick and pick you will go forever.

    DT:" For that the present teshuva is appropriate to show that there are many major poskim who allow that to happen. The teshuva can not be used for more than that."

    Roni: When Rav REuven quotes Rav ELyashiv and interprets that to mean as it is written he has the backing to teach non jews intermaried to jews torah in order that they should be encouraged to convert.

    The rest you could go on and on for evver stating there is "issur" and aserious and tragic danger and on and on... without ANY SOURCE ....and you will say that "both stink" without being honest and truthful to yourself and to others....Have it your way....but you should know that the truth is known by the ONE ABOVE! you have never cared for any serious problem in gerut besides this still never report about any of do not deal with any of these...despite that you see in all these teshva and in the teshuvas of rav Sternbuch.....yehi loch asher loch...but if you think I haven't convinced you YOU SHOULD KNOW THAT YOU HAVEN'T CONVINCED ME OR ANY INDEPEDENT OSERVSER (WHO HAS NO PREVIOUS ISSUES WITH RT) THAT YOU FOUND A SOURCE FOR YOUR STATMENT THAT IT IS "OSSUR" TO PROSETYZE...THAT THEY BOTH STINK....AND IN THE END YOU NEVER EVER ANALYZED THE SIDE OF THE ISSUE THAT RAV TROPPER'S SYSTEM AND PROGRAM DOES MINIMIZE THE REAL FAKE GERUT...THAT HE IS THE FROM THOSE WHO ARE RESPONSIBLE FROMSTEMMING MORE CASES OF 40,000$ FOR A SELLOUT OF JUDAISM...AS IF NOTHING OF THE SORT COUNTS... AND NETIHER HAS ANY OF THE PEOLE YOU ALIGN WITH DONE AFINGER TO STEM THAT PROBLEM....AND YOU HAVEN.T THOUGHT THAT PERHAPS RAV REUVEN WHO IS A MEBER OF THE ORGANIZATION AND PARTAKES WITH THEM SEES THAT AS MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR NON ISSUR ...ERHAPS THE AROUSING COUNCIOUSSNESS FROM HUNDREDS OF RABBONIM ABOUT THE FAKE MEGAYRIM AND FAKE GERIM IS MUCH MORE IMPORTANT THN YOUR "ALARMING" BOBBEH MAYSSEHISSUR FOR IT STEMS AND STOPS real long as you will touch those issues i'm convinced as ever that your probelm is not the "non issur" ...but something ELSE ENTIRELY!!!!

  16. Recipients and PublicityJune 26, 2009 at 7:31 PM

    Thank you for now posting all seven of the "Seven Question for Rav Reuven Feinstein..." above.

    Is there any chance that anyone will come up with reasonable non emotional rational and clear-cut comprehensive responses? instead of the screaming and ranting by Roni/Tropper that befits a lunatic asylum and not a rational, respectable intellectual blog like this.

  17. DT,

    Where is the letter of Rav Efrati printed?

    In any event, Kovets Teshuvot 3 140 it is printed clearly that Rav ELyashiv states that despite that his opinion is that there is a prohibtion to teach torah to a goy who is in the process to convert, nevertheless when there is a strong chance that the fellow might be swayed to want to convert then one should teach so that perhaps he might be encouraged to convert.

    This contraidicts what you attemt to derive from Rav Efrati in the name of Rav Elyashiv that it is prohibited to encourage those who might be tempted to convert to actually convert. what he was probably referring is that absent that those who are interested in attempting to convert are to be dissacociated from us and we should not have any contact with them; however those who might want to convert and they might have known that that they dissacoaited from judaism or that they not know at all that they were jewish, these people should approached to be able to return to judaism.

  18. 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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