As an explanation for why some gentiles feel connected to Judaism and therefore decide to convert, I have read that some rabbis see them as Jewish souls. That is to say that their souls in a previous life inhabited a Jewish person and that in this life it is now seeking to return to being within a Jewish person. What is the source for this idea?

I am also interested in whether this theory, assuming it is sourced, applies to the descendants of anusim/conversos (individuals whose ancestors were forced to apostatize many generations ago).

  • After you convert, the chief rabbi will tell you: "You know, you were at Sinai with the rest of us!". (To which you will reply: " NOW you tell me!") Mar 18, 2022 at 19:22
  • Why does it need to be rational? No matter whether your family comes from Jews or not, you want to convert and feel a connection to the religion, and I think you should pursue that. Conversion can seem like an intimidating process, but once you start you will be taking another step closer to acheiving your goals.
    – treenuts15
    Mar 18, 2022 at 19:45
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    Mauri, welcome to Mi Yodeya! This post reads very much like a request for personal counseling, which Mi Yodeya does not offer. To discuss your personal feelings and situation, I recommend that you contact a rabbi. It may be possible to recast this post in to an inquiry about whether a particular phenomenon exists according to Jewish tradition rather than an inquiry into your particular feelings; you're welcome to attempt to edit in that direction.
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 18, 2022 at 19:52
  • Welcome to MiYodeya Mauri and thanks for this first question. Since MY is different from other sites you might be used to, see here for a guide which might help understand the site. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Mar 20, 2022 at 3:58
  • Judaism teaches that a person is the combination of a body and a soul. The souls of all Jews are all inter-connected and they sometimes reincarnate. It is possible your soul was that of a Jew and came back into this world to complete its mission. Or not. Connecting with a rabbi, and finding one who understands you, might be the best way to explore your feelings. Converting is not easy but could be the way to "close the loop" for you. Wishing you much success and feel free to stay on the site to learn more with us
    – mbloch
    Mar 20, 2022 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


When the talmud speaks about converting it says a convert that converts. As opposed to a non jew that converts. Rabbi Yehuda Hachasid explains because he was already destined to convert. Rav Yehuda Hachasid explains that depending on the intents of the parents during relations, that controls the type of soul that comes into a body. If non jews think about repentance or other holy thoughts that can cause a jewish soul to enter the body. That soul would have a leaning towards judiasm and want to convert.

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    Hi @Shlomy - could you perhaps add in the exact source?
    – Dov
    Mar 18, 2022 at 17:00
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    @Dov when ill be home.. ill try to find it. I remember the otzar plios hatorah brought down Rav Yehuda Hachasid.
    – Shlomy
    Mar 18, 2022 at 17:01
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    Is it based off this gemara in Shevuos 39a - sefaria.org/…
    – Dov
    Mar 18, 2022 at 17:02

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