Many are accustomed to the fact that in rabbinic Judaism a Jew is one who is born of a Jewish woman.

But were there opposite opinions? Poskim of post-Talmudic time are of also interest.

  • 1
    Not fully, but related: judaism.stackexchange.com/a/26066/27180 and judaism.stackexchange.com/a/69863/27180
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 13:48
  • 2
    Why is this a "provocative question"?
    – Shmuel
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 13:48
  • 5
    Note that AlBerko is rejecting the rabbinic Judaism approach
    – robev
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 18:32
  • 3
    You failed to provide any proof that these were instituted and it was at some specific time. Traditional Judaism always took it for granted that this is the law that Hashem gave Moshe. You're denying the oral Torah. Which rabbis didn't accept matrilineal descent? Name one.
    – robev
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 21:03
  • 2
    1) "not a single case of conversion is mentioned in the scriptures" Literally Rus. 2) Vayikra 24:10 is an explicit reference to exclusively matrilineal descent. The Ben Ish Mitzri was a Jew because of his Jewish mother, despite being a non-Jew patrilineally.
    – Yehuda
    Commented Jul 4, 2022 at 11:06

1 Answer 1


As pointed out by @Chatzkel (see comment) Kiddushin 68b it appears clear through a number of verses that Judaism is determined by the mother. There does not appear an opinion that argues on this point.

I personally don't recall an opinion that stated that "Jewishness" is decided patrilineally.

In regard to the father:

This question is mostly discussed in the third and fourth perek of Kiddushin. There are issues in regard to lineage (mamzer etc...) that do include Patrilineal descent as well in to the equation. These questions affect who the child as a Jew may marry.

Similary what tribe a person belongs to is decided by patrilineal descent. For example a Kohen or Levi is decided through the father.

  • 3
    The Gemara Kiddushin 68B is pretty clear that Jewishness is determined with the mother alone. sefaria.org/Kiddushin.68b?lang=bi
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 17:15
  • Thanks. I will include it in the answer.
    – msj121
    Commented Jul 3, 2022 at 17:45

You must log in to answer this question.

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