3

It seems pretty obvious that a convert keeps his property. It is also Halachicly valid - a convert does not re-acquire his property back after conversion (see Mishnah_Peah.4.6 or Mishnah_Challah.3.6 thanks Heshy).

But why? Here's how I reason: We hold that (Yevomos 48b):

גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי
(a convert is like a newly born child)

A convert "receives" a new, Jewish soul. Therefore he loses his association with his "former life", for example, his affiliation with all his blood relatives1.

While a Gentile, he had property and now he's a new man, so I would assume his property is no longer associated with his former soul and is [a sort of] Hefker.

So how come that he "changes a soul" but keeps all his possessions?


1 except for his biological kids for the Mitzvah of Pru Urvu .

  • 4
    Does he wait 13 years for a bar mitzvah too? He isn't actually a new person. And what does physical property have to do with souls? – Double AA May 7 at 16:07
  • @chortkov2 right you are! Thank you – Al Berko May 17 at 7:18
  • So does this mean that a convert who has a Jewish father has absolutely no connection whatsoever to him? – El Shteiger May 17 at 8:11
  • @ElShteiger The only connection to his father is that the later performed Pru Urvu Mitzvah with his gentile son. There are no other connections (adultery, inheritance, honor). The son is basically allowed to marry his mother. – Al Berko May 17 at 9:15
1

Here's an interesting direction of thought:

Many Gemmoros tie between one's property and Nefesh ("lower" soul), for example (B"M 112a):

ואליו הוא נושא את נפשו כל הכובש שכר שכיר כאילו נוטל נפשו ממנו

one who withholds the wages of a hired laborer, it is as though he takes his soul from him

This motive is very popular in Judaism and is brought by Rambam and Shu"A to explain the severity of monetary misbehavior. Having in mind, that the Jewish soul consists of 5 layers (Nefesh being the lowest - Nefesh, Ruach, Neshamah, etc - נרנח"י) and the lower two are common with all humans,

Maybe, if we, based on that Gemmorah, say that the Mamon is linked to נפש דווקא, AND Gentiles have Nefesh, so when converting a gentile retains that part of the soul including all related Mamon. It's only the [Jewish] Nefesh (higher part of the soul) that's added and regarding that part, he's considered a newborn child.


While I liked this answer a lot I've found two a bit contradicting sources:

  1. Some Gemmoros use the word נשמה instead of נפש (Brochos 119a). This can be explained by the Gemmorah being [very often] inexact, and the נפש version made its way to the Halachah.

  2. The Kabbalic sources (that my Rabbi brings in Beys Gnozay) say, based on the Gemmorah "התיר ממנם לישראל" that gentile Mamon is not connected to their Nefesh part at all (supporting the approach that Gezel Akum is not forbidden Deorayso). If so, it just emphasizes my question - is the fact that a convert retains his Mamon only a Rabbinical decree?

1

The חות יאיר (סי׳ ע״ט) writes that גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי applies only to laws where a Jew and non-Jew are different. In any law where they are the same, he retains the dinim from his gentile days. Accordingly, he will retain his ownership, for property rights are equal to Jew and non-Jew alike.

  • 1
    It has nothing to do with souls. – chortkov2 May 17 at 7:17
0

It is known that in Talmudic learning we cannot infer without discernment from the words of the Gemara, an inference is not an hazardous extrapolation. You cannot ask a question based on an hazardous extrapolation. A kushia needs a strong basis. If there is not a strong basis for the kushia, there is no difficulty to understand the pshat. You cannot infer from the Gemara 48 b regarding other topics.

The Gemara you cited says that regarding Averot we reset the counter. You cannot infer nothing regarding property.

Rashi says that the convert is compared to a newborn because he will not be punished for his past behavior:

אינו נענש על העבר

A good illustration of the fact that to say that the convert is as a newborn is not an undifferentiated truth is the Machloket between Rabbi Yochanan and Resh Lakish in daf 62a.

  1. היו לו בנים בהיותו עובד כוכבים ונתגייר ר' יוחנן אמר קיים פריה ורביה Rabbi Yochanan said that a convert who had children before his conversion, he has already left the Mitsva of piria verivia.

  2. וריש לקיש אמר לא קיים פריה ורביה Resh Lakish said he hasn't.

  3. רבי יוחנן אמר קיים פריה ורביה דהא הוו ליה Rabbi Yochanan says that he has already discharged his obligation because he has children

  4. וריש לקיש אמר לא קיים פריה ורביה גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי Resh Lakish says he hasn't because a convert after his conversion is comparable to a newborn

  5. ואזדו לטעמייהו דאיתמר היו לו בנים בהיותו עובד כוכבים ונתגייר רבי יוחנן אמר אין לו בכור לנחלה דהא הוה ליה ראשית אונו This controversy is based on the same principle as an other controversy between RY and RL. A convert who has sons before the conversion has not Bechor regarding the special status of bechor for inheritance, because the has already first born

  6. וריש לקיש אמר יש לו בכור לנחלה גר שנתגייר כקטן שנולד דמי Resh Lakish says he hasn't because he is comparable to a newborn

  7. וצריכא דאי אשמעינן בההיא קמייתא בההיא קאמר רבי יוחנן משום דמעיקרא נמי בני פריה ורביה נינהו But despite that the two controversies are based on the same principle, there is a need to teach both. Because without the second controversy, we could understand that the reason of RY is that regarding the Mitsva of Piria verivia only he is not as a newborn because this mitsva was already relevant when he was not Jew (Rashi says that about Bene Noach, the Tora writes פרו ורבו, and tosfot explains that the chalenge is that his children are named after him, and in the same sugya in Bechorot 47a, the Gemara says that it is from the mitsvatic point of view, they have the mitsva לשבת יצרה)

  8. אבל לענין נחלה דלאו בני נחלה נינהו אימא מודי ליה לריש לקיש But regarding the rules of inheritance, Bene Noach have not the rules of inheritance, so he is as as a new man regarding the inheritance's rules (Rashi explains that they have rules of inheritance, but different from our, e.g. daughters inherit as sons, and first born son as second son)

  9. ואי איתמר בהא בהא קאמר ריש לקיש אבל בההיא אימא מודה ליה לר' יוחנן צריכא and if the second controversy was taugth without the first, we might think that RL agrees to RY that regarding Piria verivia the convert is not as a new man

  10. איתיביה ר' יוחנן לר"ל (מלכים ב כ, יב) בעת ההיא שלח בראדך בלאדן בן בלאדן מלך בבל וגו' Rabbi Yochanan gives a proof that there is a link of affiliation between father and son for non Jew from a verse

  11. א"ל בהיותן עובדי כוכבים אית להו חייס נתגיירו לית להו חייס RL says that despite that there is a link of affiliation before the conversion, it lapses from the moment when he converts

From this Gemara we learn that from the second controversy in which RL argues that a convert is as a newborn regarding rules of inheritance, we cannot infer what he said in the second controversy regarding mitsvat Piria verivia.

So, there is no source to innovate that he loses his property.

However in Kiddushin 17b, the Gemara infers from the Mishna Demai 6.10 that a convert doesn't inherit his non Jew father Deorayta.

גר את העובד כוכבים אינו מדברי תורה אלא מדברי סופרים

The svara of the comparison to a newborn (it's my understanding) is that a man when he converts is not less attached to himself than before the conversion. When he converts he became detached from the attachment to the non Jew world. He detaches himself, but he remains himself. His body is the same body, the property is an extension of the body. On the contrary, when he converts he is more close to his true ego. The world of falsehood to which he was linked and that was keeping him far from the truth is detached from him. Now he is not an artificial man, but a man more genuine, attached to what a man is. It is similar to Teshuva, David Hamelech asked to G-d לב חדש ברא לי please create for me a new hearth.

Note: an interesting expression in Yevamot 23a:

אדרבה שפחה ועובדת כוכבים הוה ליה לרבות דאי מגיירה לדידיה נמי תפסי בה קדושין לכי מגיירה גופא אחרינא היא

On the contrary, they needs to add a slave and a non Jewish woman, because if she converts, he can marry her by Kiddushin, the Gemara answer: If she convert, she is an other body.

  • "You cannot" is not an answer - You better move your answer to a comment. If he is a new soul, no past connections are valid, and I would assume monetary also - why not? – Al Berko May 7 at 17:30
  • 2
    @AlBerko your question is based on mere assertion. It deserves an answer like this. No one needs a source to tell you you're wrong when there is no reason to think you are right – Double AA May 7 at 17:55
  • @DoubleAA No, it is not a mere assertion, it is a logical conclusion based on our sources and other Halachos. – Al Berko May 7 at 17:58
  • You just bring more support for my claim. – Al Berko May 7 at 17:59
  • You don't read Rashi? @Al – kouty May 7 at 18:35

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