6

Maaser Sheini 5:14 says that a convert can't say viduy maaser because he doesn't inherit a portion of the Land and can't say ואת האדמה אשר נתת לנו. We follow this mishnah.

Bikkurim 1:4 says that a convert can't say mikra bikkurim because he can't say אשר נשבע ה' לאבתינו לתת לנו. We pasken like R' Yehuda, that the Avos are considered ancestors of converts as well, and therefore this is not an issue and a convert can say mikra bikkurim.

Mikra bikkurim also says ויתן לנו את הארץ הזאת. This never enters the discussion, and we seem to assume that it's not a problem.

Why the difference?


(The reverse question, why כאשר נשבעת לאבתינו doesn't disqualify a convert from viduy maaser according to the tanna of the mishnah in Bikkurim, can be answered by just saying that he's already disqualified by ואת האדמה אשר נתת לנו so we don't need to explicitly list another disqualification.)

3

Some answers, from a chaburah I wrote up a few years back. (I didn't write down the precise locations of the sources - will have to look them up when I have some time.)

Radvaz notes that by מקרא ביכורים the expression is אשר נשבעת לאבותינו לתת לנו, which can be understood as נשבעת לאבותינו – to Avraham – and therefore לתת לנו, it pertains to the whole Jewish people, gerim included. Whereas by וידוי מעשר the expression is אשר נתת לנו, and it wasn’t given to the gerim; כאשר נשבעת לאבותינו there refers to זבת חלב ודבש.

Mishneh Lamelech quotes R. Moshe ibn Chaviv, who points out that Yechezkel states that gerim will get a portion in Eretz Yisrael in Moshiach’s times; therefore they can well say לתת לנו in future tense. (A logical reason for this is that gerim who joined the Jewish people after Yetzias Mitzrayim, when we were at the highest heights, may not have been totally sincere; not so with those who became gerim during the years of galus.) Whereas אשר נתת לנו is in past tense.

A couple of mefarshim on Rambam bring an idea from R. Shmuel Primo, that the expression ארץ זבת חלב ודבש is never found in Chumash Bereishis (addressed to the Avos), only in Shemos (addressed to the Jews in Egypt) and afterwards. So if in וידוי מעשר the expression כאשר נשבעת לאבותינו refers to ארץ זבת חלב ודבש, then אבותינו there necessarily means the Jews who were in Egypt – and the ger isn’t descended from them.

Yet another answer, from Mirkeves Hamishneh, is that מקרא ביכורים must be said in lashon hakodesh, and there אבותינו can mean “masters” (as in וישימני לאב לפרעה); whereas וידוי מעשר can be said in any language, and in other languages “av” means only “father.”

  • 2
    These are great sources, but they only address אשר נשבע לאבתינו לתת לנו, not ויתן לנו את הארץ הזאת or אשר נתת לי ה'. – Heshy Sep 16 at 12:06
  • @Heshy For ויתן לנו את הארץ הזאת, there's probably no issue because it's talking collectively about the Jewish people as a whole (with אשר נשבע, the problem isn't so much לתת לנו, but לאבותינו). For אשר נתת לי, maybe it's just that practically speaking, he does own the land right now (hence was given it by Hashem), he just doesn't own it in perpetuity. – Meir Sep 16 at 13:41
  • 1
    But in viduy maaser, ואת האדמה אשר נתת לנו is also plural. And אשר נתת לי excludes women. – Heshy Sep 16 at 13:43
  • 1
    @Heshy True. Will have to think about it some more... – Meir Sep 16 at 13:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .