Diving back in

Sometimes, I have a lot of sympathy for the Prophet Yonah.

Poor guy.

He really wanted to run away from all his heavy, ‘negative’ nevuot, and to just go sit on an island somewhere and strum his new acoustic guitar to an Ed Sheeran song.

But God didn’t let him.

God, leave me alone!!! I hate all this dark, heavy stuff, and I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, and I don’t want to get involved in all the convoluted politics and ‘uck’ of this world!!!

But that was the job that God gave Yonah, and like it or not, that’s the job he had to do.

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Just now, I was doing some hitbodedut in the garden, pulling out some big weeds and stinging nettles before they get a chance to root too deeply, and become entrenched.

Strange to say, I just love pulling things out by their roots.

I’m weird like that.

So, as I’m sitting and pulling and praying and pulling, God sent me the idea that I really need to start writing about all this fake Jewish history stuff again.

And I immediately started arguing.

God, leave me alone!! It’s so ucky, it’s so heavy, it’s so charged and fraught and difficult…. I really, really don’t want to do it.

In the silence that followed, I got this answer back:

That’s exactly why you are the best person for the job.

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Sigh.

What can I tell you?

Don’t I know, just how hard this is for all of us, you and me both? Don’t I know just how much trauma and anxiety this whole ‘unravelling’ process is causing us all?

Yes, I do.

That’s why I’ve been doing my best to run away from it all the last week and a half, and to do something more productive, like playing the guitar like a rockstar.

But God isn’t let me off the hook.

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So, let’s start here, with a discussion I’ve been having with one of my non-Jewish readers on email, who gave permission for me to share it more widely, while I get my ducks in a row for the rest of the stuff I need to go back to researching and sharing with you.

And is has to do with something she called ‘The Ger Suggya’ – or in other words, what is the role of the ‘righteous gentile’ when Moshiach comes.

Let me spoil the anticipation by telling you straight off the bat that I don’t know.

But I think that the discussion and the idea is very important to at least have up on our radar, and so I’m bringing an abridged version of her comments, below, to get those wheels turning in the meantime.

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UPDATE:

J asked me to delete our email exchange, so in deference to her wishes, I’ve done that.
I’m still considering what to do with the comments, and I’d appreciate feedback from you, dear reader – and particularly Netanel Simcha, who put a tremendous amount of time and effort into his response, about what you’d like me to do with those, going forward.

Please let me know in the comments, if you’d like me to keep the comments up, or delete them too.

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26 replies
  1. alizah
    alizah says:

    bs”d Hi Rivka and J, thinking about the big speech Rav Berland made to a stadium filled with chilonim, saying why don’t we help the people who are suffering in Syria? And he said, “There’s no difference! There’s no difference!”

    And then the police chased the Rav all around the world.

    What do you say about this?
    kind regards,
    alizah

    Reply
  2. Hannah
    Hannah says:

    The soul and the body are two separate entities which are put together in this world to accomplish the tikkun. The eternity and infinite (soul) is put in a limited garment (body). All mankind neshamot originate from the sparks of Adam haRishon. Within mankind neshamot- as opposed to non-mankind neshamot- are those of the head of Adam haRishon – Rosh – Israel) where the other neshamot (non Jewish) come from other parts od Adam haRishon. I do not whether this will help.

    Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      The question remain whole. Who is mankind? I know religious persons who think that mankind is a small portion of humans, and non-jews (sometime even noahides) are not part of it. But powerful thought anyway. Thanks for your input.

      Reply
  3. Ana
    Ana says:

    There is a lot of different information included in this post, seemingly mixed of things from different sources. The question and reality of who is a Jew, ger, ger toshav, etc., is not simple and involves much history, halacha, deeper Jewish wisdom… it might be best to reach out to a rav who has a good handle on these topics and get a more authoritative insight into these issues.

    Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      You’re right. There is a lot of different information included in this post, seemingly mixed of things from different sources… I threw as much ideas and bits of info as possible to her, so that she may find “something” with her usual flair. I never imagined it would be read as a whole. My bad.

      Reply
  4. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    Dear “J”, first of all, I want to commend you for your perseverance in seeking the truth, and spirituality, and most importantly Hashem.

    Regarding this concept that you brought up that a non-jew that officially accepts upon himself the 7 mitzvos of bnei Noach becomes prohibited to do the same Shabbos labours that Jews can’t do, it’s based on a verse in parshas mishpatim, but it’s not so simple. The restrictions on work for a ger toshav are less stringent than for a jew. According to one opinion in the Mechilta, he’s only prohibited from doing things that a jew can’t do on Yom Tov (I.e, what we can’t do on the first and last days of our holidays). According to another opinion, he’s only prohibited from doing things that a jew can’t do on chol ha’mo’ed (I.e, what we can’t do on the middle days of our holidays). Some Rishonim hold that he’s only forbidden to do work for a jew, while others hold even for himself.

    You mentioned that the Lubavitcher rebbe held that a non-jew who officially accepts the 7 mitzvos of bnei Noach becomes like a ger toshav, although it’s very unclear that what he’s saying is true since we’re talking about a) a non-jew living after the Bais Hamikdash era, and b) a non-jew living outside of Israel.

    Also, what complicates matters even more is the fact that the Gemara explicitly says that non-Jews are actually not allowed to keep Shabbos. So how do we reconcile this gemara with the verse in parshas mishpatim? Perhaps the gemara there was only referring to idolaters, but not regular non-Jews. Or, perhaps, it was referring to all non-Jews, not just idolaters, the only non-Jew it wasn’t referring to was a ger toshav. I would think the first option I said that the gemara is only referring to idolaters is unlikely, because many times the gemara uses the term idolater even though it’s really referring to all non-Jews. The term idolater was just used back then for all non-jews because the vast majority of non-Jews were idolaters.

    Also, all this interesting stuff that you’re bringing that geirim allow the gimmel rishonot to shine in the world, and also that other kabbalistic thing you brought in that article about the 7 spices needing to combine with the 4 spices to perfect the world, regarding both these things, who says they’re referring to this middle category of geirim that you’re talking about, maybe they’re just referring to regular geirim, I.e, the ones that actually convert to Judaism and become full-fledged jews? The vast majority of places where the Torah or other holy books mention geirim they’re usually referring to those geirim that actually converted, so most likely in these 2 places you brought they’re also referring to those geirim.

    Also, that article you brought about the 7 spices combining with the 4 spices was written by Rabbi [name deleted]. Now, you have to understand “J”, this Rabbi’s job is to teach people about Godliness and spirituality, and lots of the people he’s reaching out to are not Jewish, so he’s totally biased when he gives over a teaching about what role non-jews have to play in the world. So sometimes he may extremely overexaggerate what Judaism really believes in when it comes to the non-Jewish person’s role in the world.

    For example, one thing he wrote in that article you sent was that the Torah is a one-dimensional universe, devoid of content, truth, creativity, and imagination. As well, the Torah is perceived by people as if it gives off a bad smell. But all this can be changed, he says, with the help of Noahides. With their help, the Torah can truly shine to the world and finally give off a good smell. What kind of garbage and utter nonesense is this guy saying?!!! I’m sorry to break it to him, but the Torah is absolutely perfect, and beautiful, and pleasant all by itself, it doesn’t need any help from Noahides (or even jews, for that matter) to make it good. Don’t believe everything you read on the internet just because the author is good at making himself sound clever. Don’t believe everything you read just because the author has the title “rabbi” before his name. The fact that this guy would write such a thing causes me to seriously question any other thing he says. Although, don’t get me wrong, I’ll still give him some credit for making people somewhat more spiritual and connected to God. (Continued on next page)

    Reply
  5. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    I just want to point out that Yisro, and Rachav, and Ruth, and Onkelos, and Shemaya & Avtalyon were all famous geirim who actually converted. Clearly they didn’t think like you. If they did, then why would they have felt a need to actually convert and become a full-fledged jew? And if you’re gonna tell me that to bring the redemption, we only need to have some non-jews that will remain as non-jews, and spread God’s light that way, but other non-Jews can, indeed, actually convert, that also makes no sense because how is one to know if they’re part of the category that should remain non-jews or part of the category that should actually become Jewish?! Also “J”, why would you not want to get all the additional reward in heaven that you’ll get by doing the 613 mitzvos with all their extremely intricate details, as opposed to only doing 7 mitzvos? Why would you not want to get that closer attachment to God that comes with conforming every single move and step you make in accordance with God’s instructions, as they’re codified in our Shulchan Aruch book?

    If you really have a strong burning desire to be Jewish, then I would advise you to convert and become a full-fledged Jew. Just bear in mind that for the rest of your life from sunset on Friday until nightfall 25 hours later on Saturday you won’t be allowed to turn on lights, use a TV, or a phone, or a computer, or drive a car, as well as lots of other stuff. Also, being Jewish means there will be many foods that you will no longer be allowed to eat. As well, you won’t be allowed to have marital relations with your husband whenever you want, you’ll have to keep all the laws of mikvah, and furthermore, if your husband doesn’t want to become Jewish, then you won’t be allowed to be married to him at all. Also, since there are so many laws you have to abide by as a jew, it’s very very hard to be so careful that you don’t do even a few sins here and there, and therefore it might be more likely as a jew that when you get to the world to come you’ll have to spend more time in hell (to cleanse you off of your sins) before they let you in to your eternal reward in heaven. If you don’t think you’ll be able to abide by all our laws, as they’re codified in Shulchan Aruch, then I would advise you not to become Jewish.

    Non-Jews were also created in the image of God (don’t get confused, it doesn’t mean God has any physical form, it’s just a metaphor for something else), and non-jews can make the world a better place in very significant ways. And they can also merit to live for eternity in heaven. Does that mean a jew is obligated to act towards a non-jew as if he were literally his brother? No. Why should you be obligated to treat someone as if they were your brother if they’re not biologically your brother?! For whatever reason God instructs jews to act towards all other jews as if they’re your brothers, but he never said that in regards to non-jews. Possibly, regarding a ger toshav there’s somewhat more of an obligation to help him out than a regular non-jew, but I still don’t think that means you need to act towards him as if he’s your brother, and anyways it’s very questionable if a non-jew today who officially accepts the 7 mitzvos would even have the status of a ger toshav. I just want to clarify, though, jews are definitely allowed to be friends with non-Jews, and we certainly should be nice to them, no doubt about it, but that still doesn’t mean we’re required to consider them as if they’re our brothers. (Continued on next page)

    Reply
  6. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    Even if every single non-jew in the world would be totally righteous, that would bring a lot of happiness to God, but it wouldn’t necessarily cause Moshiach to come, because if the jews, who are God’s firstborn son are not behaving the way God wants them to, then God will still be very upset. As long as jews have resentment towards other jews, and there’s a lack of unity, then Moshiach won’t come. And obviously other sins, as well, contribute to Moshiach not coming. But don’t freak out because when the due date comes for when Hashem wants Moshiach to come, if the jews are still not behaving themselves well enough to merit a redemption, then Hashem will cause some absolutely crazy things to happen in the world that will force the jews to want to do Teshuva (repentance), which they will then promptly do. That’s what it says in the gemara in Sanhedrin.

    On a separate note, where is the “real” Judaism to convert to? Haha, excellent question! I would say Orthodox Judaism is where you wanna be headed. The conservative and reform jews openly disregard certain big laws in Judaism on principle. Regarding the different sects in Orthodox Judaism, I would say they all at least try to keep all the laws of the religion, the only question is which sect is more serious about Judaism.

    For example, there are so many laws in the religion, and nuances and intricacies in those laws, that if you’re not well versed in Shulchan Aruch, kitzer Shulchan Aruch, mishna berurah, etc….then there will probably be a lot of small little things that unbeknownst to you, you may be violating. Not because you don’t want to do all the laws that God told us to do, but just because you don’t even realize all the stuff you’re supposed to do or supposed to not do. This is one of the biggest indications that you take your Judaism seriously, if you’re determined to be as knowledgeable as possible in knowing the laws of the religion, which can take a while to learn, and especially to bring that knowledge into the permanent memory part of your brain also takes a while.

    Secondly, do you (“you” in general, not “you” as in “J”) view the mitzvos and laws of the religion as just things you need to get over with just so you won’t get on God’s bad side? Do you view them as things you just need to check off that you did before you’re able to get to the things you really want to do in the day? In your free time would you watch a movie, or would you learn Torah, say Tehillim, do kindnesses for others, talk to God, etc….You see where I’m going with this? God didn’t create us so we can play arcade games and watch movies! That wasn’t His purpose in creating us. Rather, in His great love and kindness for us, He created us to be as connected to Him as possible, and thereby earn unfathomable reward in heaven which lasts for eternity; and being connected to Him as much as possible is accomplished through learning Torah, praying to God, and fulfilling all the laws that He wants us to do. So the sect of Orthodox Judaism that takes all these things the most seriously is probably you’re best option to convert to. If you decide to contact me on my email, it’s netanelsimchakaroly@gmail.com

    Reply
  7. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    I just realized I made a mistake in something I wrote in my first comment, but the point I was trying to make is still totally true. What Rabbi [name deleted] actually wrote was when the Torah is IN a one-dimensional universe, devoid of content, truth, creativity and imagination, life force and mysticism, then the Torah is perceived as if it gives off a bad smell, and the Torah will not be respected in the eyes of man.

    My point is still true, though, that the Torah doesn’t need any external things from the outside to make people attracted to it, the Torah is intrinsically perfect, and beautiful, and pleasant. The opposite of what he’s saying is true. The Torah does not need to first be in a world of content and truth, etc…to be accepted and loved by people. To the contrary, the Torah is the very thing that gives the world content, and truth, life force, vitality, etc…. So what this guy is saying is still garbage and nonsense.

    Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      Thanks for your time and consideration. I see that you put a lot of yourself to give me an answer. I appreciate. Whatever some things you said made me blink. Like a certain relentlessness on a person that I did not even mention; I only hinted to one of his posts because of the GRA. I don’t quite understand the need to attack the credibility of the author, a living Jew like you, and one that you don’t know anything about. It’s important to avoid causing pain to people and their name, and I didn’t like that part of your speech very much. I was also troubled by the stereotypes like “non-Jews spend their time watching movies”. I could answer that those movies are usually produced by Jews! These clichés do not help to move forward… But what I wrote was confusing. It is normal that it generates diffuse answers. Thanks for your efforts in trying to understand me. G.od bless you.

      Reply
  8. True Tzadikkim
    True Tzadikkim says:

    Bs”d
    Eliezer, the servant of Avraham Avinu, was a ger toshav. He did not halachic giur, but was circumsized and ate as the household of Avraham.
    All people are obligated to keep 7.Mitzvot of Noah and the fact that Moshe Rabeinu brought the Torah to us, children of Yaacov, Israel.

    All people are obligated to keep 7.Mitzvot of Noah and the fact that Moshe Rabeinu brought the Torah to us, children of Yaacov, Israel.
    Anyone that do not, is somehow quilty of harming themself, the nature (Chinese, Japanese) or us, the children that accepted the Torah.
    To be jalleuse at Jews for being Jewish or to want their Land….
    I did not see BneI Noah, many of my friends to do this.
    They accept these mitzvot upon them in happyness and honour the Jews to be Jewish and to live in Eretz Yisrael, may Hashem bless them.
    I never heard them to speak in a way of nachash to want to mingle between us, take our land, nor to want to damage any of our mitzvot , kdusha, tzniut nor kashrut. Opposite, they were very helpfull to me to have everything for Shabbat and be on time.
    Hashem loves Bnei Noah, all the beautiful nature and His children. I am sure He is doing everything to preserve it and this hester panim, were reshaiym are hurting us will pass without any memory of it!

    Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      Eliezer, the servant of Avraham Avinu, is one of the rare obvious ger toshav. Obvious because he’s not wrongly called a convert like many, but he’s still easy to forget about. Nice find! On the other hand, it was before Sinai. So conversion didn’t exist yet, judaism either. I’m glad to know that you have noahide friends, in our times, so the gift of Torah didn’t change that. Thanks for your input!

      Reply
      • Rivka Levy
        Rivka Levy says:

        The word ‘Toshav’ means a citizen / resident.

        Eliezer was a ger toshav because he lived in Israel.

        Outside of Israel, it seems to be a totally moot point(?)

        Reply
        • J.
          J. says:

          This is a funny thing. As a legal status in Israel, it meant resident alien. Right. But it’s not just a legal status. Proof? According to tradition, General Naaman (from Melachim II, It’s a mind blowing story in itself, even without the Talmud assertion about it) was a ger toshav. Some sources (like the mekhilta) even suggest that he is the best example for converts, better than Ytro. Anyway, point is, he never reside in Israel. Also, linguistically speaking, I think that « toshav » is rooted in the idea of a come back, a teshuva. Like the Tishbi.

          Reply
  9. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    Hi “J”, perhaps you’re right that I was wrong for speaking so harshly while I was talking about what that rabbi said. I just want to clarify, though, that I wasn’t trying to say that I hate that rabbi as a person. Meaning, If I met him in person, I would make sure to speak to him nicely, since, after all, he’s a fellow jew and fellow human being. It might very well be that he’s an awesome person, I have no idea.

    I was just trying to say that regarding that specific thing that he said, it very much goes against what Judaism teaches us. I was trying to speak in a dramatic way against what he said to get my point across that what he said is not something Judaism believes in, but perhaps you’re right that I spoke too harshly.

    And regarding the fact that you only hinted to this Rabbi’s post, that’s true, however, I decided to spend so much time addressing what he said because his post was at least in one aspect a major part of what you were saying because his post was really the only source you brought that this “middle-type” of ger is absolutely necessary to bring the world to its perfection, so much so that it might even be better if this type of ger doesn’t convert to Judaism because what he can accomplish a jew can’t accomplish. Even the Lubavitcher rebbe didn’t go nearly as far as to say that.

    Also you mentioned that I said that “non-jews spend their time watching movies”. I think there was just a big misunderstanding over here because I didn’t say that at all. I wasn’t talking about non-Jews at all in that paragraph, as well as the paragraph before that, I was only talking about jews in both of those paragraphs.

    You had said that you were confused as to which sect of Judaism you should convert to if you were to convert, so I was addressing that point. What I was trying to say was that there are different types of sects in Judaism. Some take their Judaism more seriously, and some take their Judaism less seriously, so all I was saying was that the sects of Judaism that contain a lot of jews that spend their free time doing stuff like watching movies and other stuff like that are the jews that take their Judaism less seriously. The jews that take their Judaism more seriously are the ones that are as determined as possible to know the laws of the religion, as well as using their free time to do stuff like learn Torah, say tehillim, do kindnesses for others, talk to God, etc…. I then went on to say that if you are gonna convert, then you should convert to the sect that takes their Judaism the most seriously. I guess the way I wrote it was confusing because I used the word “you”, but I wasn’t referring to “you” as in “J” or any non-Jews, rather, when I wrote “you” I meant “you” in general, and I was referring only to jews. I apologize for the confusion. God bless you “J”.

    Rivka, I would rather my comments stay up, if that’s alright……

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Yes, I personally think this discussion is very healthy. I know a lot of people are confused about this subject, and why we haven’t pinned it all down – nowhere near! – I think this has moved it forward.

      Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      Dear Netanel,

      I understand your motives about that rabbi’s post. I’m still uncomfortable with the idea of an individual’s name (with doubts expressed about his credibility) in the public domain. He’s not a public figure (who implicitly accepted that we may talk about publicly), like the official rabbi of a community, a politician or the front member of a big corporation. He’s just a rabbi (with a good semikhah, I assure you), living in a connected world. Some of his views can be found on the Internet, but he’s really just an individual as you and me. And he needs his name for his parnassa. Even if we agree that you had good reasons to say what you said (and it’s all my fault), the opinion you expressed in the public domain can still harm that person. He didn’t ask for it, and he has no power over it. He can delete his own posts if he wants, but he can’t do anything about the mention of his name here. Again, I understand your motives and the fact that I am the instigator, but I’m concerned that his name could stay here forever and potentially cause some harm.

      You’re right, I misquoted you about movies. I heard the idea so many times! It’s a common figure of speech to illustrate the case of people lacking spirituality, Jews and non-Jews alike. I underlined the stereotype without the meaning you were trying to express. I was trying to reply quickly and distorted the meaning of your words. Sorry about that.

      The fact is that, as elaborate as your answers were, I didn’t find them so helpful. It’s not like I was contemplating conversion for the first time. When I expressed that I was confused as to which sect of Judaism one should convert to, I was meaning that something is off with conversion. Even if the Orthodox ones are better, something seems fishy about both (Orthodox and Reformed). And it has nothing to do with the mitsvot or the level of commitment to G.od.

      I read Torah for the first time in 2005, and then started watching rav Benchetrit’s hundreds of DVD on teshuva. It took 5 years before I finally found a rabbi to speak with in person. An orthodox rabbi, of course. By the time, I was already eating kosher and observing Shabbat, not knowing that I wasn’t allowed to. I read Torah numerous times (with Rashi’s commentaries, and Elie Munk’s too), as well as many books (13 principles of faith for instance, ethics of speech, usual stuff for converts). I even read the Hok Le Israel, but not the last volume, because I met my rav at the time, and he didn’t give me the heter to finish, since I’m a non-Jew and a woman. According to the logic that I should convert if I want to do more mitsvot, should I change my gender if I want to finish that books series that fueled me with joy -and a burning love for G.od- for almost a year? I decided that I would remain a woman, and a non-Jew as well. She’asani kirtsono… but I decided to follow my rabbi’s opinion at the same time; not finishing the Hok, for example. I learned a lot more stuff after I met him and his community. It was more than 10 years ago. During these years, I founded a noahide association which focused on volunteering for Jewish communities (I closed it since, because of Jewish haters who caused a lot of trouble -a bunch were converts or relatives of converts, in fact-). I learned so much from that particular experience! In short, between now and the first time I opened a chumash, 15 years ago, I relentlessly studied and learned, I met many people -lots of rabbis and fake rabbis too-, and I think I may have encountered all kind of possible situations… So, getting the usual speech (Ytro is a convert, “Why would you not want to get that closer attachment to God?”, and so on) was not exactly what I was looking for. I was seeking something beyond, like hard facts proving that Orthodox conversion IS NOT SO FISHY, or WHY it is (if it is). How to express that shortly, and still making the point that you are very kind and generous to answer me as you did? I have been clumsy.

      Again, thanks for your input.

      Reply
      • Rivka Levy
        Rivka Levy says:

        In this world we live in, the only way to really get certainty about anything is to talk to God, and to listen to what your soul tells you, from the inside. We are all full of questions today that no-one ‘outside’ can answer for us.

        Reply
  10. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    Dear “J”, I just want to express here that I do appreciate that you appreciated my effort in at least trying to answer your questions.

    Also I accept your apology regarding what you said that I had said about movies. No worries.

    As for the fact that you’re still uncomfortable with the fact that I mentioned that rabbi’s name, I can certainly understand where you’re coming from. Since this whole thing worries you so much, I give my permission for my comments where I mentioned that rabbi’s name to be deleted (which are my first comment and fourth comment). Or, if it’s possible, my first and fourth comments can be kept, but just delete where I wrote the rabbi’s first name and last name. I would rather that than the first option I suggested, but I don’t know if it’s possible to do that…..

    Also, what do you mean “J” when you say that orthodox sects of Judaism seem fishy to you? And what things are you saying contribute to making Orthodox conversion fishy or not fishy?

    Reply
    • Rivka Levy
      Rivka Levy says:

      Kol hakavod, Netanel. I will delete the name now, BH.

      UPDATE: Just deleted the name in two places in various comments. Please let me know if it appears anywhere else, where I missed it.

      Reply
    • J.
      J. says:

      B’H! You and Rivka are beautiful souls. Thanks for your understanding regarding the removal of the name.

      Why do I think conversions look fishy… hm. Because:

      a) Empirical evidences. I understand that the lack of anthropological literature makes it hard to address the point… So maybe “gut feeling” would be a better expression to use at this stage… based on an extensive number of observations and experiences anyway!

      Conversion looks like it has been designed (or should I say redesigned) to break candidates’ mind and drive them away from authentic Torah’s values, exactly as globalists do with the World Economic Forum guidelines. I know, I know, it’s too big to look realistic, and it’s easy to find halachic explanations to everything I may say about it. But globalists can also “explain everything” with “science”, and my gut feeling is still there. A good system (science as much as halacha) used to wrong ends can go far without being noticed. I feel it as strongly as I feel that G.od exists, even if it’s hard to explain to people who don’t share the same beliefs.

      My observations lead me to think that the conversion process may have been altered in a destructive way for potential converts and Israel as well. I assume that not a lot of people share my view, so here come the less tendentious reasons for me to say conversions look fishy.

      b) Misleading translations relative to converts in the Chumash and Talmud, and many other study books, made by major players such as Artscroll (I specify their name, because they agreed to publish an erratum or something of the like regarding at least one of the misleading translations, around 2017…don’t know if they did it finally, and in which form it appeared, but I suppose it has been done as agreed).

      In addition to the errors that can be found in translations, there’s a general laxity surrounding knowledge about conversion. As I once read in the correspondence between some rabbis: “It is unfortunate that much of the attitudes of our community concerning this subject was and is acquired only through osmosis of the historical experiences of our community rather than through the actual study of the texts of the oral tradition.”

      c) Arguments to convince people to convert (when Judaism is not supposed to seek conversions). For example, mitsvot presented as a fidelity program. Where does it come from, and since when it became mainstream to talk/think like that? Just before the gift of Torah, Jews are known to have said « we will do and we will hear » not « we’ll do what pays best and we’ll get rewards »! The first sentence is full of honor and dignity, while the second one is… well, it doesn’t look like a suitable spirit to have or to suggest to potential converts (if the goal is to elevate their holy sparks, at least).

      d) Some of the names I know from my ger journey (like Schneerson or Soloveichik, just to name a few) that I see popping again and again in Rivka’s posts about Sabbateans’ lineages. It makes me wonder if the names I’m thinking about are just wrong about ger, or if they are fighters in front line to (re)establish the convert’s dignity. Sometimes, when you have to fight, you get mud on your face. But to explore that possibility of a big “fight for the convert’s dignity”, we first have to check if conversions have really been altered at some point in history. If it’s still 100% like it should be, of course there is no need to fight at all.

      What if there were still “Jews” like Ytro in our days, and that we call them “non-Jews” because we hate them too much to care about giving them a title, as little as “ger toshav”? What if misleading potential converts to a full-fledged conversion was not needed and even harmful on long term? What if THAT was the big birur and teshuva to do in our time? Maybe Israel don’t need direct help from gerim, but maybe gerim are at the center of geula anyway.

      Note : Netanel, you said : “if your husband doesn’t want to become Jewish, then you won’t be allowed to be married to him at all”. Can you (or anyone) find the actual source, please? To get to this ruling, there must be important concepts to master first. I would like to see how the Sages looked at it, who discussed the matter, and everything I can learn about it. Thanks!

      Reply
  11. Netanel Simcha
    Netanel Simcha says:

    Hi “J”, I’d like to respond to more of the points you brought up, but I haven’t had the time yet.

    I haven’t looked up so much about this topic yet, but one thing I will say is that if you convert to Judaism, and your husband doesn’t convert, then you won’t be allowed to be married to him, and that’s because if you convert you’ll obviously be a jew, and a jew is not allowed to live as a married couple with a non-jew.

    The source for this prohibition is in Devarim (Deuteronomy) 7:3 where it says “you shall not intermarry with them”. Rashi on that verse quotes a paragraph that comes from two gemaras, one in yevamos 23a, and one in kiddushin 68b, that both say the same thing, that a Jewish woman shouldn’t marry a non-Jewish man because even though their children will be considered Jewish (because their mother is Jewish, and being a jew depends only on if your mother is Jewish), nevertheless, it’s prohibited because the children’s father, who is not Jewish, will very possibly lead them astray from the path of Torah.

    If you wanna go into more mystical/kabbalistic reasons, I think they also say that a jew can’t be married to a non-jew because somehow their souls are different, and therefore incompatible. I’d like to write more about this subject, but I have to go to sleep now.

    Reply
  12. J.
    J. says:

    Ok, thanks for the info. I look forward to read more when you’ll have time.

    I gave a look to Yevamos 23a and Kiddushin 68b. Clearly, I’m not ready for that! I probably missed a lot of details, but I’m trying to get through.

    As you said, the basis of the prohibition for a Jew to marry a non-Jew is because their children will be lost (either because the non-Jewish father will lead the Jewish kids astray, or because they won’t be Jewish in first place). Also as you said, it’s all derived from a verse in Devarim (regarding people from Canaan).

    If I remember correctly, those people from Canaan should have been put to death… if they are still alive and look like potential candidates to marry, it’s because they accepted the noahides laws… but Torah specifies “no no! they’re not suitable to marry at all.” It’s important, because it clears an important fact: Jews and noahides are not made from the same unit, even when noahides are not like the usual idolaters.

    Next concept involved is, what is a wedding, after all? Reunion between two halves of the same unit.

    From my perspective, taking two halves from the same unit – two halves who made an oath before Israel’s G.od about staying together no matter what –, and drive them to the conclusion that they must change their nature and then split… it’s a problem. It may be legal, but it still not righteous. A bit like David Hamelach and Batsheva, if you see what I mean.

    I understand the “new unit” idea. But I don’t understand the importance of pushing that transformation to happen… and what I read in Yevamos 23a and Kiddushin 68b was rather about the “unit idea” than the “why pushing”. So I’m still scratching my head.

    This piece of information (you must divorce if your second half don’t want to convert) is usually told before the possibility to stick to the noahides laws. Then, it’s repeated regularly, like “you would be a wonderful candidate… don’t you think you’re doing a mistake [by refraining from conversion]? If you want to convert, just say the word! I will arrange something for you. Of course, you’ll have to divorce, but… just say the word.” Then, you hear it from strangers as well, on the street or on the Internet. You hear it like a mantra. Like the most natural thing in the world. Like if it was nothing, or even a good thing to happen. It’s legal. No problem. Hey, marijuana is now legal in Canada. Porn is legal. Transgender operations too.

    To me, truth is: a lot of things are legal, and still harmful. Why would it be different here? Can a legal thing from the halakah’s perspective be harmful to someone? I think so. And I suspect that this “divorce for conversion” thing is one of those cases.

    Where can we learn about the value of noahide’s marriage and oaths?
    Where can we learn about the possible priority of conversion over remaining a noahide?
    Where can we learn about the value of ger’s marriage and oaths?
    Where can we learn about the possible priority of conversion over remaining a ger toshav?

    Reply

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