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If a Jewess married to a Jew has a child from a non-Jew is that child a mamzer?

Is there agreement amongst the poskim about this?

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2 Answers 2

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I don't know about modern poskim, but the Shulchan Aruch (Even HaEzer 4:19) rules that the child of a gentile and a Jewess independent of her marital status is not a mamzer but is disqualified from marrying a kohein (kohanim in general have stricter strictures restricting marriage). None of the standard commentaries there seem to disagree.

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    I have translated 'pagum' as 'disqualified' although the level of disqualification is not clear. For our purposes I think this suffices. As usual CYLOR if necessary.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 9, 2012 at 18:58
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    @Vram I thought the Halacha is we don't believe a woman to say that she cheated on her husband because we suspect she is simply lying to attain a divorce.
    – Double AA
    Commented Feb 10, 2012 at 6:23
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    I love this: "stricter strictures restricting".
    – Seth J
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 3:15
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    @SethJ judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/15191/…
    – Double AA
    Commented May 25, 2012 at 6:05
  • Don't we say that be'ilas akum is like a be'ilas behaima, therefor the child is not a mamzer?
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:22
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In addition to what @Double AA wrote in their answer, that is absolutely the view of modern poskim as well. Rav Ephraim Oshry has a thorough and moving teshuvah about it Shut Mimaamakim 2:24.

As an aside, the subsequent teshuvah (2:25) deals with whether such a person requires a conversion. I was surprised when I first read it that the question was not 100% black and white and there are opinions that such a person is not automatically Jewish. Rav Oshry concludes the overwhelming majority and correct approach is that such a person does not require conversion but it would be prudent to do one "just in case" and to avoid all doubt. (As far as I am aware, most rabbis today do not even do a "just in case" conversion, and I'm pretty familiar with inyanei gerut and "half Jews." Perhaps this is a result of greater community acceptance and/or emotional sensitivities of the people involved.).

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  • If the mother is Jewish, the child would not nee geirus.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:21
  • @KovyJacob if you read my answer and the teshuvah I cite you will see that there are minority opinions to the contrary. I was as surprised as you are.
    – Avraham
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:40
  • The gemara paskins that the child is 100% Jewish in that case...
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:45
  • There is a machlokes, and the gemara paskins not like the man di'amar who says that the child isn't Jewish.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 20:46
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    Sorry I posted that before that comment from you popped up.
    – Kovy Jacob
    Commented Apr 3, 2023 at 21:14

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