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Performance of Mitzvos by

Conversion Candidates
When Did Rus Convert?

T he Gemara (Kerisus 9a)


derives the necessary
components of the conversion
process from our collective experience
at Sinai. The requirements of bris
Rabbi Michoel Zylberman
Rosh Chaburah, RIETS
Director of GPS Conversions, RCA
Sgan Menahel, Beth Din of America
milah (for males), immersion in a
mikvah, and bringing a korban (when (Rus 1:16-18), And when [Naomi] converted before marrying Machlon
there is a Beis HaMikdash) mirror the saw that [Rus] was determined to go and Kilyon; only now that Naomi was
steps that the Jewish people took prior with her, she left off speaking to her. returning to Beis Lechem did Rus
to receiving the Torah.1 While we She said We are forbidden to leave the express interest in converting. This is
derive the formal steps of geirus from boundaries on Shabbat, Rus replied, the position of R. Meir (Rus Rabbah
the conversion that we underwent Where you go, I will go. [Naomi said] 2:9) that lo geirum vlo hitbilu osam
at Sinai, we learn about the process We are forbidden to have secluded they did not convert them nor bring
leading up to conversion from the meetings between man and woman. them to a mikvah. Rashi (Rus 1:12)
exchange between Naomi and Rus in [Rus replied] Where you sleep, I will accepts this approach and writes that
Megillas Rus. sleep. [Naomi said] We have been when Machlon and Kilyon married
The Gemara (Yevamos 47b) records: commanded 613 commandments. Rus and Orpah, the latter remained
[Rus responded] Your people shall be non-Jewish.
...
my people.. [Naomi said] We are
. Ibn Ezra (1:4) argues with
forbidden from idolatry. [Rus replied]
Rashi, since, in his opinion, it is
Your God is my God.. [Naomi said]
. inconceivable that Machlon and
Four modes of death were entrusted to
. Kilyon (who, according to Bava Basra
beth din. [Rus said] Where you die, I
. 91a, were righteous people) would
will die. [Naomi said] Two graveyards
. have married non-Jewish women.2
were placed at the disposal of the beth
. He argues that Rus and Orpah must
din. [Rus said] And there will I be
. have converted earlier, and the
buried. Immediately, [Naomi] saw
. . conversation between Rus and Naomi
that [Rus] was determined to go with reflects a reaffirmation on Russ part
Our Rabbis taught: If nowadays, a
her.
man desires to become a convert of that which she had previously
We should not persuade or dissuade The simple reading of the pesukim, accepted (1:16).
him excessively. R. Eleazar said: What amplified by the Gemaras analysis, While Rashi must contend with the
is the Scriptural proof? It is written implies that Rus and Orpah had not

PERSPECTIVES ON CONVERSION
Special Symposium Shavuot 5777

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777
difficulty of assuming that Machlon references proficiency in the siddur), Jews should not be permitted to
and Kilyon married non-Jewish the convert would, upon conversion, perform mitzvos that require kedushah
women, Ibn Ezras position raises violate numerous prohibitions due to vtaharah (sanctity and purity) such
the question of how Naomi could lack of knowledge, and the beis din as tefillin, Sefer Torah, and mezuzah.8
have encouraged her daughters- will have violated the prohibition of Remo (Yoreh Deah 291:2) cites Shut
in-law to return to their idolatrous lifnei iver, causing the new convert to Maharil (Chadashos 123:2), who
ways if they had indeed already sin.6 rules that a non-Jew should not be
converted and were halachically Some have claimed that requiring permitted to display a mezuzah for
Jewish. R. Yoel Sirkus (author of the additional reasons. The Maharil was
conversion candidates to embark
Bayis Chadash the Bach), in his on a rigorous course of study and asked about a local non-Jewish ruler
Meishiv Nefesh on Megillas Rus (1:4), who requested a mezuzah to place
integration is an unnecessarily
attempts to somewhat reconcile the in his fortress. The person asking
onerous addition of the contemporary
opposing positions. He suggests that the question expressed concern that
rabbinate meant to inappropriately
while Rus and Orpah did indeed failure to provide the mezuzah could
discourage conversion candidates.7
convert before their marriages, their After all, they argue, Rus merely made lead to negative repercussions for the
conversions, having been performed local Jewish community
a singular declaration of faith and
for ulterior motivation (i.e. for the commitment and she was immediately Maharil responded that to the extent
sake of marriage), were halachically accepted as a convert. It is clear, that the non-Jew who requested
suboptimal but valid post facto (based however, in context, that whether the mezuzah believed that it would
on Yevamos 24a). When the Medrash Russ statement was a reaffirmation protect him, if at some point he no
says that they did not convert, it
of a previous conversion or whether longer felt protected, he would not
means that they did not convert in it preceded an actual conversion, treat it properly or dispose of it. At
the optimal fashion. Their status was
she had already been significantly the very least, after this rulers passing
similar to the status that the Rambam
exposed to the lifestyle to which she his children would likely throw it out.
(Issurei Biah 13:14-15) ascribes to was committing herself and had been Second, there is a concern that Jews
the wives of Shimson and Shlomo sufficiently trained in its details. In the may be led to think that the individual
HaMelech.3 4 ten years that Machlon and Kilyon displaying the mezuzah is himself
were married to Rus and Orpah, they Jewish, and may be misled into being
The Need for a Conversion presumably had significant exposure hosted by the non-Jew (with the
Process to practical Judaism, and all that implicit fear that he may then kill
was left for Rus to do was make the the Jew).9 This is along the lines of
The above analysis may be helpful commitment to embrace that lifestyle. the Gemara in Menachos (43a) that
in discounting a misconception that prohibits a Jew from selling a garment
some have about the conversion with tzitzis on it to a non-Jew lest the
Tefillin and Mezuzah for
process. It is common practice to buyer pass himself off as a Jew and use
Conversion Candidates
require conversion candidates to his assumed identity to lure and then
undergo significant educational Our practice of having conversion kill Jews.10
training including both the candidates observe mitzvos in advance At first glance, the Radvazs position
theory and practice of Jewish law of the actual conversion is consistent
and integrate into an observant would preclude a conversion
with the ruling of Rambam (Melachim candidate from wearing tefillin or
community, so that they will have the 10:10) that a non-Jew may voluntarily
requisite knowledge and experience affixing a mezuzah to his doorposts.11
perform most mitzvos. However, However, Beer Sheva (Shut 36)
to live an observant lifestyle upon there are some exceptions to this appears to suggest that under certain
conversion.5 Minchas Elazar (Shut
principle that may pose problems for circumstances a non-Jew may be
4:63) reasons that if a beis din were to
the aspiring conversion candidate and entrusted with mezuzos. He cites a
convert someone without previously
require further analysis. Yerushalmi in Peah (1:1) that relates
educating him or her in the proper
observance of mitzvos (he specifically Radvaz (ad loc.) suggests that non- an episode in which Rebbi sent a

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777
mezuzah to Artivan, presumably a Studying Torah and Shabbos
non-Jew, in response to his request Observance
for a gift. Beer Sheva posits that
since Rebbe identified Artivan as Reflecting the special connection
an individual who believed in the between the Jewish People and the
oneness of Hashem, he sent him Torah, the Gemara (Chagiga 13a) The same applies if one studies, not for
a mezuzah to encourage him to prohibits a Jew from teaching Torah the purpose of fulfilling its commands
continue his belief and to convert. to a non-Jew and also (Sanhedrin but because ones heart desires to
Alternatively, Beer Sheva suggests 59a) derives that a non-Jew who know our Torah and Talmud. He is
that Rebbe knew that Artivan was not learns Torah is deserving of severe then worthy of punishment because
an idolater, and that Rebbe believed punishment.14 This is codified in people might think that he is one of
that there was only an issue with Rambam (Melachim 10:9). However, us because they see his knowledge and
providing idolaters with mezuzos. despite the dual prohibitions, might be lured by him. Nevertheless,
Both suggestions of the Beer Sheva common practice is to instruct one who studies the principles of the
would presumably allow a prospective conversion candidates in whatever Seven Noachide Laws, their details
convert to affix mezuzos in his home. Torah knowledge is necessary to and the laws derived from them, even
facilitate their observance of Jewish though that would include most of the
Netziv (Eimek Sheala, Eikev 145:19)
law.15 fundamentals of Torah law, we would
suggests an alternative explanation of
the passage in the Yershulami. Rebbe This practice is consistent with a honor him like the Kohen Gadol. There
sent Artivan a mezuzah that had comment of the Maharsha (Shabbos is no concern that a Jew might be tricked
not been written for the purpose of 31a s.v. amar lei mikra) regarding to follow him because he is studying what
affixing to a door, and thus lacked the the story of the non-Jew who came relates to him. This is certainly true if
kedusha of a regular mezuzah. To send to Hillel and requested to convert his inquiries are for the intent of fully
a regular mezuzah would have been an on condition that he be allowed to understanding the Torah so that if he
inappropriate affront to the sanctity of wear the garments of the Kohen finds the Torah to resonate with him, he
the mezuzah. Shoel Umeishiv (Hagos Gadol. The Maharsha assumes that will convert.18 19 20
Yad Shaul, Yoreh Deah 231:3) similarly Hillel did not, as the Gemara seems The aforementioned Gemara in
suggests that the mezuzah that Rebbe to indicate, convert him on the spot. Sanhedrin also records that a non-
sent was intended only as an amulet. Rather he instructed the interested Jew who observes Shabbos (even
According to this explanation, there party to study the relevant portion of on another day of the week see
would be no distinct dispensation for the Torah so that he would realize on Rambam ibid.) is deserving of severe
a prospective convert.12 his own that a non-Kohen may not punishment. While there may be
wear bigdei kehuna. In suggesting this theoretical arguments to allow for a
Based on the Radvaz, Rav Moshe
answer, the Maharsha writes that there conversion candidate to fully observe
Klein, Mishnas HaGer (1:31), points
is no prohibition for a conversion Shabbos,21 common practice is to
out that a conversion candidate
candidate to study Torah.16 17 instruct a conversion candidate to
should not wear tefillin before the
conversion has been completed. Meiri (Beis HaBechira, Sanhedrin 59a largely keep Shabbos but to perform
Some batei din have the practice of s.v. Ben Noach) explicitly permits a one melacha over the course of
instructing a conversion candidate to non-Jew to study Torah if doing so Shabbos.22 23 If a candidate may in fact
put on tefillin for a few weeks prior to will lead him to convert: be Jewish already but is preparing to
the actual conversion in order to allow undergo a conversion because of some
doubt regarding his or her status,
for sufficient practice.13 The general
practice is that conversion candidates the candidate should fully observe
Shabbos, as the consequence of a
are not instructed to put up mezuzos,
but would not need to remove them Jew violating Shabbos is more severe
than that of a non-Jew who keeps
if they move into a residence that
already has mezuzos set up. Shabbos.24

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777
In his famous letter to Ovadia HaGer, components of geirus are invalid even post in which fully observant families, other than
the Rambam lauds the dedication and facto if not performed in front of a beis din. that of the local rabbi, have sustained and can
Tosafos (Yevamos 45 s.v. Mi) assume that the continue to sustain Orthodox life over the
commitment of the righteous convert presence of beis din is only necessary even long term. Additionally, the candidate will
who leaves behind a comfortable post facto for kabbalas hamitzvos, the formal have been living there for a significant period
lifestyle to embrace Judaism. He acceptance of the binding nature of Torah of time either without intention to move
writes regarding the respect and and mitzvos and commitment to live an or with a commitment to move only to a
admiration that a ger tzedek deserves: observant lifestyle. As long as this declaration similar community, and maintain an ongoing,
was made in the presence of a beis din, even positive relationship with a local rabbi.
You should know that the obligation if the beis din did not observe the milah
6 Minchas Elazar suggests that in earlier times,
that the Torah obligates us vis-a-vis and tevilah, the geirus is still valid. Rambam
proficiency in the siddur was not as critical a
converts is great. Regarding a father (Issurei Biah 13:7), however, assumes that beis
prerequisite for conversion as it is now, and
din is necessary even post facto for tevilah
and a mother we are commanded to (and perhaps milah as well). According to
therefore, the Gemara makes no mention of
honor and fear [them]; regarding the an educational period prior to conversion. In
one opinion in Tosafos, if a woman goes
earlier times we accepted the basic halacha
propehts [we are commended] to listen to the mikva as a niddah subsequent to her
(Sotah 31b) that Shema and davening may
[to them], and regarding the converts we conversion, that is the halachic equivalent of
be recited in any language and the Shaliach
are commanded to to love them intensely having a beis din present. Given that there
Tzibur would have in mind all those in the
was no beis din in Midyan, Machlon and
from the heart ... and HaKadosh Baruch Kilyon assumed like this position in Tosafos
congregation who were incapable of davening
Hu Himself loves the convert ... on their own. In such an environment, not
that beis din was not absolutely necessary and
being able to daven in the original was not
the conversions were therefore valid. Naomi
an impediment to converting. Nowadays
assumed like the other Rishonim that without
We should draw inspiration from the that is no longer the case, and therefore more
a beis din for at least some components of
geirei tzedek in our communities in training is necessary. Minchas Elazar does not
the geirus process the conversion would be
address other areas of Jewish law that would
enhancing our own avodas Hashem, ineffective, and therefore Rus and Orpah
presumably also require practice in observing.
and embrace those who make the remained non-Jewish and Rus needed to
convert in a valid fashion. 7 For an analysis of the appropriate attitude
commitment to join the am hanivchar. toward conversion candidates see this
5 The following is an excerpt from the GPS
authors Dissuasion and Encouragement:
(Geirus Policies and Standards) document
Endnotes that governs the batei din that operate under
Complimentary Themes in the Conversion
Process (Torah to Go, Shavuos 2014).
the auspices of the Rabbinical Council of
1 See Rambam (Issurei Biah 13:1-5). In America and the Beth Din of America: 8 While presumably the Radvaz is referring to
a fascinating line, Meiri (Beis Habechirah, allowing a non-Jew to don tefillin and to affix
Yevamos 46a s.v. Uma sheamru) implicitly i. As far as the halacha is concerned,
a mezuza to his doorpost, the intention of the
wonders why every Jew is not required to conversion involves the creation of a
reference to sefer Torah seems unclear. Rav
undergo immersion, just as every male must transformed, fully reborn, new person.
Hershel Schachter suggested that the intent of
receive a bris milah, as part of a personal Becoming fully part of the Jewish family,
the Radvaz may be to prohibit a non-Jew from
acceptance of the Covenant. one literally acquires a new family, a new life
receiving the honors of hotzaah or hagbaah
and as such one reorients ones entire being.
2 Meishiv Nefesh to Rus 1:4 quotes a Medrash and gelilah.
The candidate will be expected to cultivate
HaNeelam (Zohar HaChadash) that is new friendships, new relationships, new 9 Beer Sheva (Shut 36) cites a Talmudic
consistent with Ibn Ezras analysis. social activities, new Torah commitments. source for not allowing non-Jews to use
3 For further analysis of the status of such Moreover, as with any Jew, the growth and mezuzos. The Gemara (Bava Metzia 102a)
conversions, see this authors The Converts learning process continues throughout ones rules that if a Jew vacates a residence that
of Shushan (Torah To Go, Purim 2016). life. will be occupied by another Jew, he may not
remove the mezuzos from the premises. If the
4 See Tzitz Eliezer 17:42:5, who points ii. As a result, a candidate must come to residence will be occupied by a non-Jew he
out the difficulties inherent in the Bachs reside in a Torah observant community. It may remove the mezuzos. Beer Sheva notes
presentation. Tzitz Eliezer quotes various is not possible to learn and absorb Judaism that the intent of the Gemara must be that the
suggestions that account for how Naomi and Torah living at a distance; it must be departing resident must remove the mezuzos,
could have attempted to dismiss Rus and experienced on a daily basis, especially on and not merely that he may, as there is no
Orpah if they had indeed already converted. Shabbat and holidays. The candidate must chiddush in saying that he may remove the
See commentary of R. Ovadia Yosef to also experience traditional Jewish communal mezuzos (see also Shitah Mekubetzes citing
Megillas Rus (appended to Chazon Ovadia life in order to be familiar with the realities Ri MiLunil).
on Yom Tov), who suggests that Machlon and of living as a Jew, both in faith and in
10 Remo does acknowledge more room
Kilyon, who accepted Rus and Orpah as full peoplehood.
for leniency than the Maharil. According
geirim, and Naomi, who did not, took sides to Remo if there is a concern that failure to
in a dispute between the Rishonim as to what iii. Ordinarily, this community will be one

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777
provide the mezuzah could endanger the is also the position of Minchas Yitzchak contradictory. See R. Eliyahu Bracha, Toldos
Jewish population, then one would be allowed (1:36:1), Tzitz Eliezer (21:25), and Shevet Noach pp. 572-573 for an analysis of two
to give the mezuzah to a non-Jew. HaLevi (7:162). See R. Ovadia Yosef (Yabia versions of the Rambams teshuvah.
Omer, Y.D. 2:17:5), who records that the
11 It is arguable that the two reasons of the 20 There may be other mitigating positions
practice in Egypt that predated his arrival
Maharil which form the basis of the Remos that provide further allowance for teaching
as Chief Rabbi of Cairo was to provide
ruling in Hilchos Mezuzah do not apply to a Torah to conversion candidates. Netziv
conversion candidates with an easy-to-read
conversion candidate. There is less likelihood (Meishiv Davar 2:77) argues based on various
booklet written in the vernacular that outlined
that a conversion candidate would treat a sources that a non-Jew is permitted to study
the basics of Judaism. See also R. Asher Weiss
mezuzah with disrespect or pose a danger Torah SheBichsav and is only proscribed
in Geirus Khilchasa, Section II 9:2.
to other Jews by passing himself off as a Jew. from studying Torah SheBeal Peh. One
R. Moshe Klein (Mishnas HaGer 1:32 and 16 See R. Eliyahu Bracha, Toldos Noach, p. of his primary proofs is the tradition (see
footnotes 75-76) assumes that this is the case 570, and Mishnas HaGer, pp. 318-319 ft. 107, Sotah 35b) that Yehoshua translated the
with tzitzis as well. He further notes that even who discuss whether there would be room to Torah into seventy languages. See, however,
the Radvazs position is not relevant to the permit the non-Jew in this case to study Torah R. Ovadia Yosef (Yabia Omer, Y.D. 2:17)
wearing of tzitzis. As tzitzis are not considered while preserving the prohibition of a Jew who quotes many sources that dispute the
to be objects of inherent kedusha there would teaching him Torah. Netzivs contention. Shiltei HaGibborim (end
be no objection to a prospective convert of the first perek of Avodah Zarah) quotes
17 R. Akiva Eiger (Shut 1:41) was asked
wearing them. from the Riaz that the prohibition only
about the propriety of teaching Torah to a
applies to Chumash and the explanation of
12 Mishnas HaGer (1:31) suggests, based on conversion candidate who resided in a locale
its pesukim and not to Neviim and Kesuvim,
Netziv, that if tefillin are written specifically where conversion to Judaism was illegal and
or at least those portions that deal with the
for the prospective convert there would be no was hoping to eventually relocate to a country
consolation of the Jewish people. See Tzitz
objection to his wearing them. where conversion would be possible. R. Akiva
Eliezer (21:25), who analyzes (and rejects)
Eiger points out that Tosafos (Yevamos 24a
13 Rav Schachter thinks that a conversion the position of some authorities that the
s.v. Lo) understood that Hillel did indeed
candidate should not recite a birchas prohibition only applies to teaching the
convert the individual immediately and that
hamitzvah prior to performing a mitzvah. reasoning behind the laws but not the laws
Tosafos implicitly disputes the Maharshas
Since the conversion candidate is not (yet) themselves. For a general treatment of the
leniency. He concludes that he does have
commanded to perform any given mitzvah, subject of teaching Torah to non-Jews see
the ability to allow teaching Torah to a
even if he is permitted to do so voluntarily, R. J. David Bleich, Contemporary Halakhic
conversion candidate. R. Moshe Feinstein
it would be an untruth to recite the formula Problems Vol. II pp. 311-340 and Toldos Noach
(Igros Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:90) finds R. Akiva
asher kidishanu bmitzvosav vtzivanu Chapter 10. See also Mishnas HaGer Part II
Eigers position difficult and assumes that the
who has sanctified us with his mitzvos and Chapter 15.
reluctance to allow a conversion candidate
commended us. My colleague Rabbi Zvi
to study Torah must have been limited to the 21 The aforementioned Meiri views the
Romm suggested that a conversion candidate
situation at hand, where it was not feasible to prohibition of a non-Jew keeping Shabbos
could avoid this concern and still recite such
convert at that moment. as being based on the same reason as the
brachos by prefacing every birchas hamitzvah
prohibition to study Torah. There is a concern
with the phrase (or a similar phrase): A Jew 18 Regarding the Meiris implication that
that if a non-Jew keeps Shabbos others will
in this situation would say Baruch ata there would be a collective interest in having a
incorrectly think that he is Jewish and be led
This is similar to a suggestion of R. Yitzchok non-Jew study the Torah in order to discover
astray. It is arguable that this concern does
Zilberstein recommends that if one is in the ultimate truth and convert, it is worth
not apply to conversion candidates. Tosafos
doubt as to whether he is in the presence noting an interesting comment of Ibn Ezra
Yeshanim (Yevamos 48a s.v. Zeh) in one
of more than six-hundred thousand people, (Devarim 31:12). Included in the Torahs list
answer suggests that a non-Jew who intends
such that he would have to recite the bracha of attendees at the Hakhel gathering is hager
to convert is permitted to keep Shabbos. R.
of Chacham Harazim, he should recite asher bkirbecha the stranger in your midst.
Akiva Eiger (Kamma, Hashmatos to 121)
the relevant passage from the Rambam or Ibn Ezra writes, ulay yisyaheid perhaps
quotes from R. Pinchas Horowitz (author of
Shulchan Aruch that includes the text of the he will become Jewish. Ibn Ezra clearly
the Haflaah) that the prohibition for a non-
bracha (teshuva referenced at kikar.co.il). understood that the ger referenced here is not
Jew to keep Shabbos applies to the twenty-
a ger zedek, an actual convert, but rather a ger
14 See Tosafos (Chagigah 13a s.v. Ein mosrin) four-hour period beginning Shabbos morning
toshav, a non-Jewish resident of the Land of
who address the need for both prohibitions. and through motzaei Shabbos. According to
Israel, and that there is a collective interest in
Although the Gemara uses the term chayav this approach, which R. Akiva Eiger himself
having such a person convert. See Pardes Yosef
misah is deserving of the death penalty, rejects, it would be permissible for a non-Jew
HaChadash on this passuk for further source
see Kesef Mishneh to Rambam who says that to keep our Shabbos, so long as he performs
material on this matter.
the reference to the death penalty is to misah melacha on motzei Shabbos.
biydei shamayim death in the hands of 19 There is a teshuvah of the Rambam
In a pamphlet entitled Vahavatem Es
Heaven and not by a beis din. (Peer HaDor 50) that may lead to a similar
HaGer (2003), a guide for families that host
conclusion as the Meiri, although the printed
15 In addition to the Minchas Elazar cited conversion candidates published by the Israeli
teshuva has some lines that may appear
earlier and the Igros Moshe cited below, this Conversion Authority (Maarach HaGiyur),

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777
the author recommends instructing
conversion candidates to keep Shabbos fully.
22 The most common suggestion in
contemporary times has been to turn on a
light once over the course of Shabbos. Given
the recent movement away from incandescent
bulbs (which according to many poskim
constitutes a Torah prohibition of kindling
a flame)in favor of fluorescent, halogen, or
LED bulbs (which according to many poskim
would only involve a rabbinic prohibition),
perhaps the violation of a clearer Torah
prohibition would be advisable.
23 The issue of whether a conversion
candidate who has already undergone a bris
milah but not yet gone to the mikva may
(or should) observe Shabbos spurred much
literature in the aftermath of an episode that
took place in Yerushalayim in 1848. See, for
example, Binyan Tzion 126. For a thorough
analysis of this topic, see Rabbi J. David Bleich
in Contemporary Halakhic Problems Vol. IV pp.
145-170.
24 Minchas Chinuch (mitzvah 32 section
entitled Assufi) is bothered by the apparent
Catch-22 situation of a person who is unsure
as to whether he is Jewish. If he observes Azrieli Graduate School
Shabbos he may violate the capital offense of a
non-Jew keeping Shabbos and if he desecrates
Shabbos he may violate the capital offense of
is here for you.
a Jew violating Shabbos. He suggests that a YUs Azrieli Graduate School is a resource for day schools, educators
person is situation violate a melacha through and the entire Jewish education community.
a chatzi-shiur performing the action in If you are a new teacher looking to further your education or an experienced teacher seeking career
a quantity less than that necessary to incur advancement, Azrieli Graduate School of Yeshiva University has learning opportunities to match
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would be liable for stealing even if he stole an
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object worth less than a perutah.
If this individual of questionable status
performs a melacha on Shabbos with only a
chatzi-shiur, if he is really not Jewish he would
be considered to have violated Shabbos. If he Pardes Yosef (Noach 43) quotes in the name of violation of Shabbos.
is Jewish, he would have only performed a the Chasam Sofer that one who is of doubtful
melacha with a chatzi-shiur, which according R. Yitzchak Yosef (Kuntreis HaGiyur, printed
status should wear tzitzis in a reshus harabbim
to some is not Biblically prohibited (even in Kenes HaDayanim 5774, pp. 148-149)
(public domain). If he is Jewish, then he will
though in general chazti-shiur in other areas thinks that the notion of safeik doraisa
have done nothing wrong, as one is permitted
is considered Biblically significant), and lchumra does not apply to non-Jews, and
to wear clothing in a reshus harabbim.
according to others would not be prohibited if therefore if someone is of doubtful status,
However, if he is not Jewish, since he is not
his intention is simply to avoid this Catch-22 there is no consideration of being stringent to
obligated in tzitzis the garment would be
situation. intentionally violate Shabbos, and he should
considered a masa, a burden, and to wear it
fully observe Shabbos.
in reshus harabbim would be considered a

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Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary The Benjamin and Rose Berger CJF Torah To-Go Series Shavuot 5777