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11

Among those Rabbis that I know, if/when they are approached by someone who wasn't raised as a Jew but has a Jewish maternal grandparent, they welcome them with open arms as Jews, albeit Jews who have been estranged from their own religion. I have known this to have occurred on multiple occasions (although I was never personally involved in any). It may be ...


10

Rabbi Berel Wein has suggested that long ago, there were a certain amount of anti-Sephardic animosity related to the fact that when during the Crusades, the Ashkenazic Jews forced to choose between the cross and the sword went to their deaths; whereas during the Spanish Inquisition, many Spanish (i.e. Sephardic) Jews chose to stay alive and outwardly profess ...


10

No, the rabbi wouldn't find it strange. & Yes, he would accepted you at the spot as 100% jewish. And I can tell you from my own personal experience they would be even very happy!


10

According to traditional Judaism, you are Jewish if and only if you yourself have converted to Judaism OR your mother was Jewish (ShA EH 7:17 and 8:5). To determine if your mother was Jewish apply the same rules: either she herself converted to Judaism OR her mother was Jewish. This process recurs indefinitely. NOTE that in order to prove any of these claims ...


9

I am not sure what you mean by a "halachically 'Jewish' Atheist". If you mean that he is Halachically Jewish, the fact that he claims to be an atheist is irrelevant, he is a Jew (as it says in Talmud Bavli Sanhedrin 44a, a Jew remains such regardless of sins committed) and cannot violate Shabbos and others cannot ask him to do so just like any other fully ...


8

Kli Yakar - Shmuel 2 says he was called Hachiti, either because he was a convert from Chais or he lived amongst the Bnei Chais. Either way he was a Jew.


7

Malbim from ספר הכרמל entry for גוי: Goy is a gathering of individual entities, without any higher purpose. It is derived from גוה, a body or unit. It is also used as a reference to a large group, which is what it means when used in reference to the Jewish people. Am is a higher level, which references a unified group with a guided purpose, whether it be ...


6

I was in a similar situation a decade ago. The Rabbi of the orthodox shul looked into my background and accepted me and made me feel welcome. You never know where such things lead and I'm now on the shul's board and am an assistant gabbai. You're halachically Jewish and will be recognised as such. What you do with that is up to you.


5

I can't attest to the truth of this, but I once heard R' Orlofsky say that some Ashkenazi Yeshivos do not accept Sefardim (or limit their acceptance) for the sake of the Sefardim - they feel that the Sefardim should respect their own tradition, and should attend Yeshivos that encourage and support that tradition.


5

The atheist is still a Jew; his (non-)belief does not exempt him from the obligation not to violate Shabbat. This answer elsewhere by DoubleAA discusses benefitting from melacha done by a Jew. It stands to reason that if you can't benefit from the work anyway, there's no benefit to you in asking him to be your "Shabbat goy", so let's look first at the case ...


5

Let's say the average couple has six children in total, when the parents are about 20. Then, after 210 years, the population of 70 will increase to (6/2)^(210/20) * 70 = 7.16 million people. If the children were born when the parents were teenagers, then even five children per couple would lead to millions after 210 years. Thus, there's nothing so ...


5

The Gemara in Kiddushin says that he was Jewish - Kiddush 76b: אמר רב יהודה אמר רב כדי שתהא זכותן וזכות אבותם מסייעתן והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לז) צלק העמוני מאי לאו דאתי מעמון לא דיתיב בעמון והאיכא (שמואל ב כג, לט) אוריה החתי מאי לאו דאתי מחת לא דיתיב בחת (Summary) As a member of Dovid's army, Uriah had impeccable lineage. He was called "Hachiti" ...


4

Rabbi Shimshon Rafael Hirsch on the same usage in Ki Sisa 32:7 says that at this point they did not act or regard themselves as Hashem's nation but as people who had been brought out by Moshe. Many of the meforshim state that the original intent of the calf was not avodas zarah but as a symbol for Moshe. Rashi, among others, states that the Eirev Rav were ...


4

They were a mixture from other nations that decided to join the Jews at the exodus (Oknkelos, Rashi and pretty much everyone I could find, although some identify them specifically as Egyptians). Rabbi Gansfried quotes various opinions as to their size, based on the idea that the 600,000 number represents one fifth of the total that left. Whether that ...


4

Presumably his family told him. In other words, what makes us think it was a secret? The Torah gives us this (paraphrased) timeline: Par'o's daughter finds Moshe, saying "this baby is a Hebrew!" So she knows and is doing nothing close to hiding it. Moshe's sister (who is known to Par'o's daughter) suggests finding a Hebrew nurse for him. The cat remains ...


3

The Shla Hakadosh talks about this in parshas Yisro,I will bring the parable he brings which I believe answers this question. "There was a doctor who had a container which had the Sam hachaim(potion of life). His plan was to give it to his son. He saw that he had servants who might be jealous and want what's in the container.After realizing that the son ...


3

According to Rabbi Munk, Beor, the father of Bil'am, was the son of Lavan. There are meforshim who say that the wall that his leg was squeezed against was the rock that Lavan and Yaakov put up as "Gal Aid" to guarantee that members of either family would not cross to harm the other. According to this, he was of the same nationality as Lavan. Rabbi Sacks ...


3

Four possible ways for Moshe to have known he was Jewish: His mother/family told him. The daughter of Pharaoh told him. He found out by supernatural means. It was just known, generally. (@WAF's answer covers the last possibility, as well as the first in more detail; I mention them here only for completeness, and am answering separately to add the middle ...


3

There are a number of works about Acher, from the historical-fiction to the scholarly and Hebrew. In addition to the books I mentioned in the comments above, various books by Robert Chazan discuss the medieval figures you mention.


2

I heard a different explanation of the prohibition of counting which would seem to imply it would not matter if there were non-Jews involved. I heard in the name of R' Leib Gurwicz that the reason it is forbidden to count Jews is because of what being countable implies. If you had a pile of rocks, you could count the rocks, and if you had a pile of apples ...


2

From the intro to chapter 5 in זרע ישראל by Rav Amsalem, he describes Zera Yisrael as: ויש להם לרוב צד יהדות ברור, שאביהם או סבם או סבתם וכדומה היו יהודים שנשאו נכריות So he does include a Jewish grandparent in his definition. In almost every example after that, the book seems to uses the case of a Jewish father, but it seems that Rav Amsalem views ...


2

Actually, the first paragraph of Aleinu, can be viewed as an explanation or "list" that expounds on the first sentence: "It is our obligation to praise the Master of all..." (Why???): ... "That he did not make us like the nations of the earth..." This is not any insult to the other nations by any means. I am thanking G-d for making me DIFFERENT than other ...


2

The To'afos Re'em (Shu"t O.C. 22) cites a Teshuva of the Rema in which he says one must buy from the Jew even when it is more expensive. He argues, and limits the preference of buying from Jews to where there is no difference in cost. The Chikrei Lev (Shu"t Choshen Mishpat 139) vacillates between limiting it to small expenses or applying the rule to even a ...


2

Note that you would have to obtain absolute proof that your birth mother is Jewish. Only if this is done can you be determined to be Jewish. I know of people who have evidence but no absolute proof of Judaism in the maternal line one or two generations back who have converted "misafek" (from doubt). Since the father was not Jewish, they avoided the problem I ...


2

This calls for a crash course in the evolution of the religion today known as Judaism but even a crash course would more befit a book than this site. Briefly, there were 12 tribes (approx). As a unified group, he tribes accepted the Mosaic code of written laws. After settling in the land and having a couple of kings, the nation broke into 2 parts -- the ...


2

See here from the Lubavitcher Rebbe: לקבלת התורה הוצרכה ההקדמה דאהבת ישראל To receive the Torah requires the preface of Ahavas Yisroel The same idea is found from the Rebbe Rashab (see the end of the link). It seems to be a common theme in Chassidic thought. The basis is the Mechilta brought by Rashi on Shemos 19:2.


2

Rabbi Dovid Green quotes this idea in the name of the Slonimer Rebbe: The prerequisite for accepting the Yoke of Torah is the commitment to unity. See there for more on the topic.


2

Rashi to Shemot 1:7 writes: וישרצו: שהיו יולדות ששה בכרס אחד and swarmed: They bore six children at each birth. ( Chabad text and translation ) שפתי חכמים on that Rashi (citing שמות רבה) explains that this is learned from the fact that there are six different, apparently extraneous wordings that describe the growth of the Jewish people in Egypt. ...


2

See Sanhedrin 5:5 - Each participant is written down in 2 of three sets of scrolls - divrei hamezakin, divrei hamechayavin, and divrei hakol (this last one may only be a das yachid). This documentation is important because in certain cases (mostly capital punishment), one cannot change his opinion from innocence to guilt. When "voting," they start from ...


2

Nice timing, Terri! A couple of weeks ago I was given a pile of books, and in it was one called Finding Our Fathers: A Guidebook to Jewish Genealogy by Dan Rottenberg. It has step by step instructions for finding out information about your Jewish relatives. It also has a list of over 2000 Jewish names in the back, with information about what families are ...



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