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I remember learning that we are forbidden to "remind a convert of his past". The implication, as I remember it, is reminding someone that he used to be an idolater. (Though not all converts were.) As a result, I was taught, we can't ask somebody if he is a convert unless there really is a specific need to know (like investigating a marriage prospect for a kohein, who is forbidden to marry a convert).

If this is correct, what is the source?

If this is not correct and we are in fact allowed to ask someone if he is a convert, are there any specific situations where, per halacha, we shouldn't? I could imagine, for example, that there might be "after the fact" cases where we shouldn't, e.g. doing so could invalidate an existing marriage.

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Check out Mishna Bava Metzia 4:10 – Double AA Apr 12 '13 at 17:19
Prompted by discussion in comments here. – Monica Cellio Apr 14 '13 at 17:18
@DoubleAA, thanks -- that seems like it could form part of an answer (ok, we're not allowed to speak badly to him because of it), though I hope something else will spell it out more completely. – Monica Cellio Apr 14 '13 at 23:37

   The Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b-59b) forbids treating converts as non-Jews (I found this reference from this site). However, this is not any different from what we repeatedly find in the Torah itself. For example, Numbers 15:15-16 says that there will be one law for the proseltye and natural-born Jew. This is the major source for the halacha.

   Asking someone if they are a convert simply to dig into their past is clearly not in the spirit of the law. Asking someone if they are a convert for a legitimate reason, such as forming a minyan or seeking a marriage partner, is OK. But asking these questions at a public Shabbat dinner table is not OK, for obvious reasons.

   I know a little about this because I am an Orthodox convert.

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Hello and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Why does someone being a convert affect forming a minyan? (Obviously somebody who hasn't completed the process yet wouldn't count, as he wouldn't be a Jew, but we wouldn't call such a person a convert yet -- we would say he is converting.) – Monica Cellio Jun 13 '13 at 13:06
I was referring to a hypothetical situation where there are barely enough people for a minyan (e.g. 10-14 people) but there is a doubt as to whether they are all halachically Jewish. – Tim Biegeleisen Jun 13 '13 at 14:34
@Tim ....In that case, I think the question is: "Are you a Jew?" Not "Have you converted?" – Charles Koppelman Jun 13 '13 at 15:02
"Asking someone if they are a convert simply to dig into their past is clearly not in the spirit of the law." Why not? – Tamir Evan Jun 20 '13 at 3:09

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