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It seems to be accepted that a non-Jew who converts owns his property that he owned as a non-Jew, and this is the simple reading of several Mishnayos (See Peah 4:6 for example). However, there is a rule that גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי - a convert is like a newborn child (Yevamos 62a). That being the case, on what basis does he own his property from before he converted?

(If your answer is that כקטן שנולד דמי does not extend so far, I would like that to be sourced explicitly.)

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Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/6429 –  Fred May 1 at 21:39
    
Why don't Ketanim own anything? –  Double AA May 1 at 23:58
    
@DoubleAA For the same reason that I feel a convert shouldn't - they weren't around to make any kinyanim before they were born. After they were born, they could own things that they acquire. –  YeZ May 2 at 1:42
    
if i remember correctly in bobo qammo, a jeir who converts and inherets from his non jewish parents pigs, he is allowed to keep them and doesn't need to sell them all at the same time. i think the rambam there or the jamoro itself says that we dont pressure a jeir to sell them all at once or to not take them at all or something like that, for the jeir wont have any money without these pigs and this is a big financial loss for him. something along those lines. if someone remembers where that is, go ahead and quote it. –  MoriDoweedhYaa3qob May 2 at 2:04
    
@YEZ Zachin leAdam sheLo beFanav. Fetuses can own property that way. Also, what about Yerusha as a fetus? –  Double AA May 2 at 3:24

3 Answers 3

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Rabbi Yecheszkel Pledberger has an extensive pilpul on the concept of גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי here, starting with the biblical source of the concept.

The upshot is that the newness is vis-a-vis Mitzvos - even the 7 that a non-Jew is obligated to. The convert becomes newly born in that all of his Mitzvos obligations are new.

So it would seem to me that ownership of property is not included in that, as he doesn't own it due to a Mitzvah that he is newly obligated in, nor did he own it previously due to something unique about his status as a non-Jew.

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That's fascinating, and +1. Two points: 1) His resolution of R' Yose that כקטן שנולד would expunge him of his sins as a Ben Noach is rather liberal in invoking unspoken intent. 2) Based on what he says here to explain yerusha etc. it should apply to kinyanim also (Jews and non-Jews have different rules) and should for sure apply to things he acquired through kinyanim that only work for non-Jews. –  YeZ May 2 at 16:15
    
@yez, a kinyan is not (to paraphrase the ragatchover) peula nimsheches, so once he takes ownership, the method doesn't matter any longer. –  Yishai May 2 at 19:41
    
Yes, that's a matter of discussion (There is a R' Boruch Ber who makes it not so simple). But upon re-reading, I retract my objection - he is discussing yerusha and eidus in the context of his yesod of kurva, not applying it to anything in which there is a נתחדש דינו - anything that has נתחדש דינו applies the new kurva. So it doesn't really apply to kinyanim anyways. –  YeZ May 4 at 18:45

The Chavos Yair 79 writes that a Ger continues his status that he maintained as a nonJew where the status of Jews and nonJews are identical.

For example, if a person borrows money and then converts, he still must pay back the loan since even as a non-Jew he is required to repay loans. (According to some opinions and circumstances He may even be required to repay interest associated with the original loan.

If he eats ever min hachai (limb from a live animal), he gets malkus after he converts, since he was already commanded on that before conversion.

There is a Tannaitic dispute whether a ger is Divinely punished for sins he committed before conversion but all agree he is culpable in Bais Din (where the offense / action can transfer).

As far as continuing any previous responsibilities and ownership where the laws of a Jew and non-Jew are equivalent there is no change in status. This follows directly from the Chavos Yair's explanation of why a convert gets his loans repaid and receives malkus for ever min hachai.

It seems that גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי is limited to

  1. familial relations in that he is no longer related to his non-Jewish family and
  2. (possibly) being absolved of Divine punishment.

For those interested I attached the teshuva from Chavos Yair.

See also, Encylopedia Talmudit, entry for גר who discusses at length many aspects of this issue.

enter image description here

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It seems the only relevant part of your answer is the "As far as" paragraph, which doesn't seem sourced. And the Tannaic dispute you reference seems to indicate that כקטן שנולד extends beyond just familial relations - the prevailing line of reasoning that they should not be punished for sins they did is because of כקטן שנולד (that was my problem with what @Yishai quoted.) –  YeZ May 4 at 20:42
    
@YEZ I updated answer to clarify it more –  Yoni May 4 at 20:51

Even were it true that when he's כקטן שנולד he loses all his possessions (and Yishai's answer indicates that that's not the case), at worst his possessions would become hefker upon his conversion and he'd reacquire them as soon as he arrives home and locks the door (and reacquire the cash in his bank account as soon as the bank gives it to him, not knowing that it's not his).

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And what about his possessions that someone has borrowed, or the chovos he is owed, or something that someone else happens to pick up before he gets home? This would work out if he planned it ahead of time, but we don't find that a ger has to prepare to protect his property. –  YeZ May 4 at 18:03
    
I'm aware that one could read the mishnayos that way, that all the cases are where he happens to have reacquired his property/possessions - that's why I called it the "simple reading" that he keeps them. But you haven't really defended the simple reading, and the alternative seems to be unfounded. –  YeZ May 4 at 18:05
    
YEZ, I agree with your "And what about..." comment, but see the other answer. :-) –  msh210 May 4 at 19:37

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