[Avodah] Child Conversion

Micha Berger via Avodah avodah at lists.aishdas.org
Thu Sep 10 17:40:49 PDT 2015

On Sun, Aug 23, 2015 at 05:20:01PM +0300, Eli Turkel via Avodah wrote:
:> The recent court to allow conversion of under bar/bat mitzvah children is
:> controversial. The bone of contention is whether it is considred a zechut
:> for children to become Jewish when they grow up in a non-religious setting.

I thought we dissuade geirim (non-qetanim) in part because this is
not true. Alternatively: How do the meiqilim justify this practice,
particularly in venues (Golden Age of Spain, much of the world today)
where there is comparatively little antisemisim?

Rashi (Yevamos 74a, "de'amar) is concerned about the sinning convert's
influence on other Jews. This being R' Chelbo's "qasheh ... kesapachas".
Tosafos understand R' Chelbo as referring to the extra issurim of
mistreating a geir, or that they make us look bad. The Semag (Lav 116,
quoted by the BY YD 268) says we dissuade the ger to make sure he
knows exactly what he is accepting, avoiding a "meqach ta'us" (my term).

On Tue, Aug 25, 2015 at 09:27:59PM -0400, Kaganoff via Avodah wrote:
: The exception (and here I am venturing into Areivim territory) is Religious
: Zionists who would argue for the superiority of the Jewish soul and also
: for the need to allow ger katan conversions in non-religious families for
: reasons of Nationalism.

Or, that being a Jew in Israel is so much better that zakhin le'adam
shelo befanav applies. IOW, not by reasons of nationalism, but by taking
nationalism into account as part of the metzi'us.

Similar to those who rule that we do not dissuade a non-halachic convert,
since they will be living among the Jews and their children will quite likely
marry Jews either way.

And in the latest volume of IM (vol 9, EhE 14), RMF similarly tells
a BD to be proactive in convertain someone who thought until now  they
were Jewish. He even invoked the case of Timna, saying that to not do so
would be to be repeating the avos' mistake.

So we do see that facts on the ground about whether it is beneficial
for the life they will be leading do matter.

The bigger problem I have is qabbalas ol mitzvos. RnCL and I argued at
length about whether the following qualifies as QOM, but whatever you
want to call it.... Upon reaching adulthood, the geir has to affirm
their acceptance of the mitzvos. While people pictures this means coming
to BD on their 12th or 13th birthday, that is impossible -- the affirmation
would have to be tokh kedei dibur of growing shenei sa'aros. Instead,
BD sees if during that span of their lives they were observant, and if
they were, we consider the geirus affirmed.

This din is real enough that the gemara asks about a giyores from when
she was less than 3, who is married of to a kohein as a qetana may be
given terumah. After all, she might annull the geirus, in which case
should would retroactively not have been an eishes kohein! The gemara
answers based on rov (most children do not choose to convert out of
the religion they were raised with), not that the affirmation is optional.

So, what's going to happen to these qetanim when they reach adulthood?
How can they be said to have effectively accepted ol mitzvos?

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger             Man is equipped with such far-reaching vision,
micha at aishdas.org        yet the smallest coin can obstruct his view.
http://www.aishdas.org                         - Rav Yisrael Salanter
Fax: (270) 514-1507

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