Who must be a witness to a conversion according to Jewish law?


1 Answer 1


The talmud quotes a baraisa from rabbi chiya bar abba in the name of rabbi yochanan that a convert must stand before three jewish men who form a beis din. (yevamos 46b) this is further recorded by maimonides in mishneh torah. (issurei biah 14:6)

Not all of those men have to be rabbis. the shulchan aruch states that three laymen can form a beis din, provided at least one of the men is knowledgeable in all the halacha. (choshen mishpat 3:1) The shach however maintains that it is a biblical obligation that all three of the men be knowledgeable. (ibid 3:1)

Nowadays it is almost universal that a convert stand before three trained rabbis.

  • 1
    What about the marriages of Shimshon? Dec 21, 2021 at 9:50
  • There's a line of thought that his wives were converted by batei din of laymen, hence it's surprising to see that claim of the Biblical obligation. Dec 21, 2021 at 10:16
  • Thank you, I appreciate your answer Dec 21, 2021 at 15:53
  • @Kazibácsi I guess the shach doesn't hold by that line of thought but do bear in mind he is the minority opinion most authorities hold only one dayan needs to be knowledgeable
    – ezra
    Dec 21, 2021 at 17:03

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