Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Our Generation: The Tinok SheNishbah


The Rambam, in a well-known comment regarding the children of the sectarian group the Karaites, elucidates an issue that can be relevant for us in this generation as well:

“However the children and the grandchildren of these errants, whose parents have misled them, those who have been born among the Karaites, who have reared them in their views; each is like a child who has been taken captive among them, who has been reared by them, and is not alacritous in seizing the paths of the commandments; his status is comparable to that of one who has been coerced. Even though he later learns that he is a Jew and becomes acquainted with Jews and [the Jewish] religion, he is nevertheless to be regarded as a person who is coerced, for he was reared in the erroneous ways [of his parents]. Thus it is of the children and grandchildren of the karaites who adhere to the practices of their Karaite parents who have erred. Therefore it is proper to cause them to return in repentance and to draw them near with words of peace until they return to the strength-giving Torah.”2


  1. a) The Karaites never chas vshalom denied the Divinity of the Torah.

    b) Rav Soloveitchik said the gap between us Orthodox and the karaites is less than that between Orhtodox and reform. ALso, he paskened that it is assur to even go to a reform/conservative synagogue on R'hashana to hear the shofar.

    Rambam, and Ramban, in fact were able to bring many of the Karaites in Egypt and lehavdil Eretz Israel back to rabbinic orthodoxy. Karaites would attend Ramban's shiur.

  2. Of course - but when YU proposed a joint BD with conservative/reform to enable halachic conversions - the formula being the non-orthodox clergy would not sit on the BD but sit outside of it as advisors, guess what? The Hareidim went beserk, they attacked Lamm, Modern Orthodoxy, RCA etc.

  3. It was not YU.
    It was a group of rabbis in SoutWest


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