Avodah Mailing List

Volume 25: Number 98

Sun, 16 Mar 2008

< Previous Next >
Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Message: 1
From: "Moshe Y. Gluck" <mgluck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2008 19:57:32 -0500
Re: [Avodah] Why Jewish Women should NOT wear a Burka

R'n CL:
> But, why is this chumra any worse than all the other chumros out there
> in our chumradik society?  Many of the other chumros people indulge in,
> particularly, as I have frequently pointed out on this list, in
> kashrus,
> also severely impact shalom bayis and relations ben adam l'chavero.  In
> fact, I really can't see why these women taking upon themselves a
> personal chumra to wear a burka is any worse than the chumros vis a vis
> tznius imposed by your common garden Beis Ya'akov - at least the women
> are themselves deciding their own level and doing it out of a genuine
> yiras shamayim, and not having chumra imposed upon them.

Can't one argue - based on the media coverage - that this Chumrah has in it
an intrinsic Chillul Hashem aspect?


Go to top.

Message: 2
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 01:48:16 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Not Making Kiddush Between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Before I begin, I'll quote what R' Shalom Simon wrote:
> I understand the source from this is Shabbos 129b.
> In fact, there's a nice little chart in the Artscroll
> Gemara on daf 129b1.  It shows that Ma'dim influences
> on Fridays between 6-7 pm.
I give many many thanks to him for pointing out that daf and that chart. It helped me a great deal to clarify and illustrate the thoughts below.

R' Yitzchok Levine wrote:
> But presumably this reason for avoiding a certain hour
> to make Kiddush predates the institution of the secular
> hour by the Babylonians. For a discussion of this see
> http://tinyurl.com/yugh47  and http://tinyurl.com/9rb7r.
> Thus, if doing this is to make sense, the hour should be
> Shaos Z'manios, not (gentile) hours.

It seems to me that the source of your confusion lies in the words you have
chosen. You keep getting hung up by the word "hour". Let's try rephrasing
the problem without using that term.

It is not that a certain "hour" is inappropriate to say kiddush. Rather, Kiddush is to be avoided while under the influence of Mars.

When it is that we are under the influence of Mars? Well, Chazal knew
(don't ask me how they knew) that seven specific "stars" exert their
influence in a specific rotation. They follow one another in a specific
sequence: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. They each get
the same amount of time, and this sequence is repeated 24 times each week.

Once you have that information, and also know something about the starting
point (or at least about some midpoint), you can figure out... Well, no,
you can't really figure it out yet. It would be like making a menora from a
kikar of gold, without a scale with which to weigh out that kikar of gold.
In other words, we need units of measurement, tools to measure those units,
and enough mathematics to do some calculations.

Enter the Babylonians with their state-of-the-art arithmetic (I think their
geometry and trig was pretty good too, but we don't need that for this) and
behold: If the seven stars go through 24 cycles a week, then each turn
lasts 1/24 of a day! An hour!

There's nothing holy or unholy about the Babylonians' math. It's just plain
convenient. I don't see it as any different than getting my computer to
figure out Sof Zman Shema.

Next: Are these Shaos Zmanios or Shaos Shavos? Well, consider this. We are
not dealing with half of the morning. We are not dealing with the late
afternoon. We are not dealing with anything that has anything to do with
sunrise or sunset. Rather, we are dealing with the larger solar system as a
whole. Each star gets a turn lasting 1/168 of a week.

Why would a star's turn be longer during a summer daytime than a winter
daytime, or than a summer night? The season is irrelevant. Please let me
point out some other halachos which also use Shaos Shavos: Waiting from
meat to milk doesn't change with the seasons. Salting meat doesn't change
with the seasons. Certain things are forbidden in the half-hour prior to a
mitzvah's zman, and that doesn't change with the season.

I hope the above serves to explain what we mean by "hour" in this discussion.

But as I was developing these thoughts, other ideas arose in my mind.

(For the purposes of this post, let's presume that Bavel is located exactly
15 degrees east of Israel, okay? Thanks.) When it is a given time in
Israel, it is an hour later in Bavel. That means that at the moment when
Mars begins to have influence over Israel, it is ceasing to have influence
over Bavel, and the Sun begins its influence of Bavel.

I had started to write that we are not dealing with Standard Time Zones
here, but actually, we very much ARE dealing with time zones. Imagine the
picture: Mars is exerting its influence over a strip of Earth, running from
the north pole to the south, 15 degrees wide. The Sun is exerting its
influence over another strip just to the east. It's *not* the case that
these influences get turned on and off like a light switch. Rather, the
influences stay put, the earth revolves, and each point on earth passes
from one star's zone to the next. 

(Note: To the east of the Sun's zone lies Venus' zone of influence, and
then Mercury's. Keep on going, and soon you'll be asking shailos about the
Date Line. Let's not go there today, okay?)

Anyway, it is clear from all this, as I understand it, that the problem is
not necessarily from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM Standard Time, but rather according
to whatever clocks the stars follow. I see no reason in logic or math which
requires the stars' cycle to be based on the local midday. They could just
as easily start at 7.3 minutes after the hour, or whenever. But it does
seem clear from the Gemara Shabbos 129b that they do indeed happen to
follow our customary calculations. (Perhaps this is similar to what the
Rambam wrote about Shmita: "Divide the year by 7, and if there's no
remainder, it is a shmita year; not because it has to be, but because
that's how it worked out.")

I wanted to write more, but I can't remember the rest. Maybe I'll follow up with another post later. Thanks for reading.

Akiva Miller
Be your own boss today with a Furniture Repair Franchise. Click here.

Go to top.

Message: 3
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 02:06:23 GMT
Re: [Avodah] The influence of Nusach Sefard on Nusach

R' Yitzchok Levine wrote:
> I daven Nusach Ashkenaz and I put on Tefillin on Chol
> Moed, although without a brocha.  This was the almost
> universal custom in Chutz L'Aretz, as far as I know.
> I know that the GRA and his followers did not put on
> Tefillin on Chol Moed. There may be some others. However,
> today, due to the Chassidization of Yiddishkeit, there
> are a number of people who have stopped putting on
> Tefillin during Chol Moed.

You might be correct, but I hope not. It is one thing for non-Chassidim to
Chassidize themselves with minhagim like wearing a kittel at the wedding,
or having an upsheren at age three. But to abandon a possible d'Oraisa like
tefilin? I shudder at the thought.

I would prefer to believe that it was a different route which caused this
change. Namely, the GRA's minhag (as you wrote), which then became the
universal Minhag Eretz Yisrael, and then spread to those who went to learn
there, either for a short time, or a long time, or permanently.

Some evidence for my guess might be gathered by comparing how many men skip
Tefilin on Chol Hamoed, and how many skip Baruch Hashem L'Olam at Maariv. I
would hope that the great majority of Ashkenazim either do both or do
neither. And that if anyone changed, they did it only after consulting with
their rav.

Akiva Miller
Click for free info on marketing degrees and make up to $150K/ year

Go to top.

Message: 4
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 15:01:10 -0400
Re: [Avodah] O attend R wedding = kosher eidim?

On Wed, Mar 12, 2008 at 03:28:23PM +0200, Michael Makovi wrote:
: Therefore, I said that according to Tosafot, an O at an R wedding is
: no problem, because all the Rs in the vicinity will pasul him. And
: according to the other opinion, since the designated eidim are R, the
: Os in the vicinity don't matter.

I think REMT cleared this up, but I already planned on writing the
following which (although less erudite) explains each side's resolution
to the problem of O Jews at an R wedding:

According to rov rishonim, there is no problem as the eidei qiyum were
picked, and presumably they weren't the O guests.

According to the baalei Tosafos, the problem is bigger, but avoidable
-- make sure BD never only ask the O guests to testify without a pisul
le'eidus as well.

Because you thought that Tosafos would have a lesser problem, whereas
I am suggesting their problem is greater, you thought I was switching
their positions.

: My solution to agunot, viz. grill the designated witnesses, would thus
: seem to fit with the non-Tosafot opinion of designated witnesses.

WRT the agunah problem, why not interview two brothers and thereby
invalidate the kat eidim without impossibly difficult grilling?

I feel sure there is something I'm about to kick myself for missing.


Micha Berger             When faced, with a decision, ask yourself,
micha@aishdas.org        "How would I decide if it were Ne'ilah now,
http://www.aishdas.org   at the closing moments of Yom Kippur?"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                            - Rav Yisrael Salanter

Go to top.

Message: 5
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 15:04:30 -0400
Re: [Avodah] R' Angel & Geirus Redux (Re: [Areivim] rabbi

On Thu, Mar 13, 2008 at 12:48:29PM -0600, Daniel Israel wrote:
: The SA (IIRC, I don't have it here in front of me) describes the 
: chinuch associated with geirus in a way that sounds pretty minimal...

: First, a person can't be m'kabel ol mitzvos without a basic 
: understanding of what the mitzvos are.  Second, as a matter of lo 
: siten michshol, we shouldn't be m'gayir a person before he knows 
: enough to be shomer mitzvos.

Someone with an education from a non-O movement doesn't understand ol
mitzvos. It's beyond just ignorance of the details, what are the mitzvos.
It's a different (and wrong) perception of the kelal.


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
micha@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

Go to top.

Message: 6
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 15:08:44 -0400
Re: [Avodah] Hot Cheese for Shabbat Lunch

On Fri, Mar 07, 2008 at 10:58:46AM -0500, Moshe Y. Gluck wrote:
: If I'm interpreting the Gemara correctly, it seems to indicate that for
: health reasons one should eat meat once a week (based on one's particular
: circumstances - Ayin Sham), and that because of Kavod Shabbos one should eat
: that meat on Shabbos. So yes, the Gemara is saying that we should eat meat
: on Shabbos.

OT1H, kevod Shabbos is a concept that lends itself for absolute or
communal definition, as opposed to the individual's preference.

OTOH, it's possible the gemara means that "because of kevod Shabbos, one
choose it eat their treat that they can't afford to have daily" using
meat as the overwhelmingly common example.

Kind of like a statement of Beis Shammai's understanding of daving
the best of each week's food for Shabbos. (Whereas in Chai H' we ask
for a berakhah "keHillel velo keShammai" -- a glorious Shabbos without
needing rationing.)


Micha Berger             Nothing so soothes our vanity as a display of
micha@aishdas.org        greater vanity in others; it makes us vain,
http://www.aishdas.org   in fact, of our modesty.
Fax: (270) 514-1507              -Louis Kronenberger, writer (1904-1980)

Go to top.

Message: 7
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 15:21:29 -0400
Re: [Avodah] schechtworthy

On Fri, Mar 14, 2008 at 12:03:26AM +0000, kennethgmiller@juno.com wrote:
: That's not what I presumed the newsletter to mean. I had thought
: the problem to be that (from their perspective) a shochet who watches
: television is under suspicion of being a non-shomer mitzvos, which would
: make the shechita itself passul, regardless of any paskening he might do.

The way I understand it after RZS's post is that a shoecheit who watches
TV in a community where it's "not done" is a poreitz geder. And a poreitz
geder is deemed likely to cut corners on iffy halachic cases.

I think the newsletter writer himself my believe that anyone who watches
TV is willingly exposing himself to images that are assur deOraisa. I am
not sure there any images are assur deOraisa to watch (sexual, violent
or AZ), and doubly unsure WRT reproduced images. But even if deRabbanan,
why wouldn't someone who makes such choices -- assuming you agree that
the issur be'etzem exists -- be an avaryan and passul? (Again, I don't
think that is the actual sentiment the writer was necessarily recording.
Just a variant of the writer's understanding.)


Micha Berger             "'When Adar enters, we increase our joy'
micha@aishdas.org         'Joy is nothing but Torah.'
http://www.aishdas.org    'And whoever does more, he is praiseworthy.'"
Fax: (270) 514-1507                     - Rav Dovid Lifshitz zt"l

Go to top.

Message: 8
From: Yitzhak Grossman <celejar@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 13:38:26 -0400
Re: [Avodah] [Areivim] Urim Vetumim

On Tue, 4 Mar 2008 17:36:05 -0500 (EST)
"Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:

> On Tue, March 4, 2008 9:56 am, SBA wrote:
> : Rambam, Hilchos Klei Hamikdash 10:12 : ".ve'ein nishalin bohen
> : lehedyot ele oy lamelech oy leBD oy lemi shtzorach hatzibur boy."

Rambam is merely citing a Mishneh (Yoma, end of Perek Ba Lo).

> For Avodah: What does the Rambam say about Eli confusing "keSarah" for
> "shikrah". Was that letzorekh hatzibur? (Even if he discounts the

The Frankel's Sefer Ha'mafteah indicates that the Gra
addresses this question:


[On the phrase 'v'ein nishalin bahen l'hedyot'] Eli's query about Hannah
was through his 'efod bad', not through the Urim V'tumim - Kol Eliyahu
(HaGra) Os 153


> SheTir'u baTov!
> -micha

Bein Din Ledin - bdl.freehostia.com
An advanced discussion of Hoshen Mishpat

Go to top.

Message: 9
From: "Elazar M. Teitz" <remt@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 19:19:33 GMT
Re: [Avodah] Shechting animals upside down

R. Zev Sero writes:

<. . .the Israeli Rabbanut will not allow the import of
meat that is not shechita munachat.>

    Not fully accurate.

    About 25 years ago, a pen was developed in which the animal stood in
    too narrow a space to move its feet, and a metal plate held its head
    fixed against the top of the pen so that the head could not move.  (It
    was known, IIRC, as the Cross pen, named for the Cross Bros.
    shlachthoiz where it was first used.)  The slaughterhouse under the
    hashgacha of my father z"l adopted it after he determined that there
    were no halachic impediments to its use, and the meat was fully
    accepted by the rabbanut and by all others. (The slaughterhouse was
    used, at different times, by the sh'chitos of Breuer's, Lubavitch, and
    Satmar, and once the pen was introduced, shackling and hoisting was
    discontinued, and the pen used, by all of them.)

Click here to save cash and find low rates on auto loans.

Go to top.

Message: 10
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 21:01:30 GMT
Re: [Avodah] R' Angel & Geirus Redux

R' Daniel Eidensohn wrote:

> The Achiezer - who initially supported conversion for the
> sake of marriage - changed his view 22 years later and said
> that a kosher beis din should not be involved in this type
> of conversion. Igros Moshe similarly says that he personally
> has nothing to do with these type of conversion because so
> few are successful. The Syrian community banned converts for
> pragmatic reasons as did the Argentine community. Ezra
> rejected the foreign wives and their children - and made no
> attempt to convert them because of the danger they posed to
> the new Jewish community in Israel.

All these seem to be cases of where a prospective ger is simply flat-out
turned away. But did any of them go so far as to deny the Jewishness of a
ger who had already converted under someone else's auspices?

> Talmidei chachomim are not granted automatic permission
> to go against the majority in critical issues involving the
> nature of the entire Jewish people such as conversion (Rabbi
> Angel) or divorce (Rabbi Rackman). It is naive to assert that
> anyone with semicha can posken what he thinks best and the
> rest of the world has to accept it.

In the case of a tiny minority, or a really singular daas yachid, I agree
with you. But if a substantial number --- oh, let's say, just as a
for-instance, most of the members and leaders of the RCA --- would feel
that a certain approach is valid, that is not quite the same thing.

> And yes the vast majority of poskim would declare posul -
> a convert who is not clearly committed to keep the entire Torah.

Even if at the time of conversion he *was* clearly committed to keep the entire Torah?

Akiva Miller
Free quote and debt consolidation information.  Click Here.

Go to top.

Message: 11
From: Jacob Farkas <jfarkas@compufar.com>
Date: Fri, 14 Mar 2008 18:28:03 -0400
Re: [Avodah] schechtworthy

> R' Saul Newman quoted a newsletter which wrote:
>  > A /shochet/ that watches television is violating Biblical
>  > prohibitions. While this casts aspersions on his
>  > trustworthiness, he should not be removed. He must be first
>  > warned to cease from such behaviour (Shevet Halevi YD 2).
> R' Jacob Farkas questioned the above:
>  > I was curious whether it is fair to apply the standards of
>  > yesteryear to the modern day Shoheit. The role of a Shoheit
>  > today has (in most cases) been drastically reduced, given
>  > that he is usually part of a larger operation that has a
>  > league of Kosher overseers who decide matters of policy,
>  > procedure, and more particularly, decide the Kashrus of any
>  > specific animal in question. ... To compare him to an
>  > old-school Shoheit (e.g. one-man operation), whose ne'emanus
>  > and often whose pesaq about the meat was enough for the
>  > community, is unfair.

R' Akiva Miller:

> RJF seems to be understanding the newsletter as saying that a shochet 
> who watches television has
> questionable trustworthiness, and therefore it is problematic to rely on 
> whatever paskening he might be doing.

Quoting from the newsletter:
"...While this casts aspersions on his trustworthiness, he should not be

> That's not what I presumed the newsletter to mean. I had thought the 
> problem to be that (from their
> perspective) a shochet who watches television is under suspicion of 
> being a non-shomer mitzvos, which
> would make the shechita itself passul, regardless of any paskening he 
> might do.

He isn't pasqening per se, only that based on his testimony (or rather
based on his lack of mentioning that there is a kashrus problem with the
slaughtered beast or fowl) do we assume that the Shehita was performed
properly. It doesn't matter whether he is viewed as an Avaryan and he is
unfit for Shehita OR he is a person the certifying agency will choose to
ignore his testimony based on their arbitrary policies. In any event,
the Shoheit will need to find work elsewhere.

It is easier to explain to the public, that firing these Shohetim, or
refusing to hire people who fit this description is done with the intent
of having a team of Shohetim who are Ehrlikh at the highest levels,
without any suspicions.

--Jacob Farkas

Go to top.

Message: 12
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 09:23:15 -0400
[Avodah] Halakhos that depend on LH?

I was asked in private email:
:                                      There are many _halachos_, some
: even d'Oraisa, that are _contigent_, apparently, on people speaking
: lashon hara. The phrase "mezoros b'lavanah" in Sotah, or "kol d'lo
: posak". I haven't gotten an answer yet. Maybe you could ask your
: friends on Avodah? TIA

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Here is the test to find whether your mission
micha@aishdas.org        on Earth is finished:
http://www.aishdas.org   if you're alive, it isn't.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Richard Bach

Go to top.

Message: 13
From: "SBA" <sba@sba2.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 15:24:43 +1100
[Avodah] Important Rashi last week.

Just in case someone didn't get past Shevii learning the Parsha with Rashi
last week, have a look at (5:17) dh: "Velo yoda ve'osheim venoso avono".
And then tell it to your family as well.


Go to top.

Message: 14
From: Minden <phminden@arcor.de>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 09:01:10 +0100
[Avodah] Marit Ayin in pictures (from Areivim)

RDIC wrote:
> Today, our local daily newspaper ran a front page story on Shabbat
> together with a picture of a local L Rabbi and Rebbetzin in their
> kitchen preparing for Shabbat. While those in the know realize that
> the Rebbetzin was wearing a sheital, there was no way to tell from
> looking at the picture, and it appears as if she has no head covering.
> Is this a marit ayin problem, or does that not apply to pictures?

I'm not sure the recent discussion on Areivim is on topic:

If I'm not mistaken, first of all the main point of marres ho-ayen is not
the danger of destroying the person's reputation, but rather that the very
reputation might lead to it that onlookers think the falsely assumed action
in question is fine and in concurrence with the T?re. (Default example:
When well-known O rabbi Plouni is seen entering a certain Scottish
restaurant that lacks hashgoche - he actually wants to buy a closed bottle
of water - the fear is not mainly that people start whispering rabbi
Plouni's eating tarfes, but that they think the establishment must be
kosher and ch"v start eating there.)

More importantly, the erroneously assumed action must be an eveire, and
while menogem differ, I'm not sure a woman in a roofed house, in her own
home, and with only her husband and an unknown photographer present, who
might even be a close relative or a regular visitor of the family as per
some poskem, is committing an eveire.

Lipman Phillip Minden

Go to top.

Message: 15
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Date: Sun, 16 Mar 2008 17:27:38 +0200
Re: [Avodah] R' Angel & Geirus Redux

> All these seem to be cases of where a prospective ger is simply
> flat-out turned away. But did any of them go so far as to deny the
> Jewishness of a ger who had already converted under someone else's
> auspices?
*Rav Moshe Feinstein(Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:157):* *Question:* Concerning a 
convert who does not accept the obligation of doing mitzvos is he 
considered a convert? *Answer: *It is clear and obvious that he is not a 
convert at all even after the fact. This is also what my father actually 
ruled in Strabin. He said in such a case that the person was not a ger 
in any sense whether for leniencies or strictness. That is because the 
acceptance of mitzvos is an absolutely necessary condition to become a 
convert (Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 268:3). Even if the person asserts he is 
accepting the mitzvos ? if we are aware that he is not actually 
accepting them ? his assertion is meaningless. While it is true that if 
a person is converting for the sake of marriage it is valid after the 
fact ? but that is only if he is fully and truly accepting the mitzvos 
for the sake of marriage. This is clear and obvious. All this was stated 
explicity by my father when he ruled in this case. I really don?t 
understand the reason why some rabbis err in this matter. Even according 
to their mistaken view that the acceptance of mitzvos is not required ? 
what is the benefit that they are providing for the Jewish people in 
accepting as converts those who don?t accept the mitzvos. It is certain 
that G?d does not approve nor is it desirable for the Jewish people that 
such converts become mixed into the Jewish people. It is simply obvious 
that such a person is not considered a convert.**

*Mishna Halachos(7:250): *Concerning Ezra (chapter 9 and 10) where we 
see that he insisted on the sending away of all the non?Jewish wives and 
their non?Jewish children. It seem surprising that we don?t find that 
they converted them ? either the wives or the children? It is 
unreasonable to say this absence of conversion was because not a single 
one of the wives or children wanted to convert. I saw that the Ibn Ezra 
addressed this question. Ibn Ezra (Ezra 10:3) writes, ?We don?t find 
that any of them were brought close. Perhaps they were sent away because 
they weren?t converts like Ruth the Moabite. Our Sages say ?The 
offspring from a prohibited sexual relationship is considered his son in 
every respect except if the child was born by a maidservant or non?Jew? 
- and consequently the mothers and children were sent away. It would 
appear from this that it wasn?t that none of the wives or children 
wanted to convert but rather that Ezra and his beis din did not want to 
accept them as converts because they would not have been genuine 
converts like Ruth the Moabite who converted only for the sake of G?d. 
Even though the population of Jews in Israel was very small ? 40, 000 
men and so they obviously wanted to increase the population as it says 
that half of them worked and the other half did guard duty ? 
nevertheless they did not want to mix non?Jews amongst them that had not 
converted properly. That is because such type of gerim would not only 
not help their security but would make things worse. It is important to 
note that there is a dispute in Yevamos (24b) concerning conversion for 
ulterior motivation. R? Nechmiah says that a man who converts for the 
sake of a woman or a woman for the sake of a man or someone who converts 
for the sake of power? all of these are not considered gerim? However it 
was said in the name of Rav that the halacha is in agreement with the 
one who says all of these with ulterior motivation are in fact 
legitimate gerim. This is also the view of the Rambam (Hilchos Issurei 
Bi?ah 13:14) and the Shulchan Aruch (Y.D. 268:12). The reconciliation of 
this apparent conflict between the views of Ezra and the halacha in 
Shulchan Aruch is that since lechatchila we are not to accept these type 
of gerim ? Ezra and his beis din did not want to accept them - even 
though if he had accepted them bedieved the conversion would have been 
good. An alternative explanation is that we don?t say that a person who 
converts for the sake of marriage is a ger bedieved unless he converts 
prior to marriage. Only if the conversion is before marriage can we say 
that the person is motivated to accept all the mitzvos and the 
conversion itself because he has no choice if he wants to get married. 
However if the conversion takes place after marriage and he is well 
aware that his or her spouse will not desert them and therefore does not 
truly accept the mitzvos and converts only as an expression of love for 
the Jewish spouse. Thus the conversion is just for the sake of 
appearances but is not genuine. In such a case Ezra and his beis din did 
not want to accept these converts at all and in such a case it is not 
valid conversion at all. With either explanation it is clear from these 
verses that Ezra did not want to accept them as gerim. This 
understanding is consistent with the rulings of gedolim who have dealt 
with the case of a Jew who is living with a non?Jewish woman with whom 
he has had a civil marriage and they have children. Now she wants to 
convert with the children ? and the question is should they be accepted 
or not? The Beis Shearim (Y.D. 361) writes?. It is difficult to believe 
the sincerity of the conversion concerning the non?Jewish wife of a 
Jewish man who has halachically lived in sin all these years and has 
ties with his non?Jewish wife according to the secular marriage laws of 
the country and is still persisting in his error and transgression ? 
because even if the beis din doesn?t accept her for conversion he will 
continue to live with her as man and wife. It is simply difficult to 
believe that he would really allow his non?Jewish wife to truly accept 
all the mitzvos even if she did in fact want to sincerely accept them. 
That is simply because he would obviously prefer that she be freely 
available to him and not as a wife who has fully accept all the mitzvos 
? even the finer points of rabbinic laws. If there is not full 
acceptance then there is no conversion at all?. In truth we find in Beis 
Yitzchok (Y.D. #100), Achiezer (3:28), Maharshag (Y.D. #32), Imrei 
Yosher (#176), Even Yekara Telisah (#98), Be?er Chaim Mordechai (#40), 
Arugas HaBosem (Y.D. #224), Ruach Chaim of Rav Palaggi (#16), Igros 
Moshe (E.H. 27) ? that all of them pasken that conversion in such a case 
is assur. Reflect on this. Even where they want to accept conversion but 
there are problem they are not to be accepted and surely and kal 
v?chomer 1000 times in our case.* *

*Rabbi Bleich* has written page 274 In Contemporary halachic Problems:

All authorities agree that an application for conversion may justifiably 
be entertained only if the Bis Din is satisfied that upon conversion the 
condidate will become a Gd fearing Jew and will scrupulously observe the 
commandments of the Torah. It is clear that according to halacha 
certainty of future religious observance is a necessary condition for 
acceptance of a prospective convert:"

> Even if at the time of conversion he *was* clearly committed to keep the entire Torah?
*R' Angel* is not concerned with whether they are committed to keep the 
entire Torah. He stated the following in an interview published in 
Forward November 2007

"Rabbi Uziel argued that not only may rabbis do conversions in less than 
ideal circumstances, but they are obligated to do so ? even when the 
would-be convert is not expected to become fully observant religiously. 
Since so many conversion cases involve intermarriage or potential 
intermarriage, Rabbi Uziel believed we should perform conversions in 
order to maintain whole Jewish families that can raise Jewish children 
within the Jewish community. He viewed himself as being ?strict? in his 
opposition to intermarriage, not as being ?lenient? in matters of 

Daniel Eidensohn


Avodah mailing list

End of Avodah Digest, Vol 25, Issue 98

Send Avodah mailing list submissions to

To subscribe or unsubscribe via the World Wide Web, visit
or, via email, send a message with subject or body 'help' to

You can reach the person managing the list at

When replying, please edit your Subject line so it is more specific
than "Re: Contents of Avodah digest..."

< Previous Next >