I remember learning that we are forbidden to "remind a convert of his past". The implication, as I remember it, is reminding someone that he used to be an idolater. (Though not all converts were.) As a result, I was taught, we can't ask somebody if he is a convert unless there really is a specific need to know (like investigating a marriage prospect for a kohein, who is forbidden to marry a convert).

If this is correct, what is the source?

If this is not correct and we are in fact allowed to ask someone if he is a convert, are there any specific situations where, per halacha, we shouldn't? I could imagine, for example, that there might be "after the fact" cases where we shouldn't, e.g. doing so could invalidate an existing marriage.

  • Check out Mishna Bava Metzia 4:10
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 12, 2013 at 17:19
  • Prompted by discussion in comments here. Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 17:18
  • @DoubleAA, thanks -- that seems like it could form part of an answer (ok, we're not allowed to speak badly to him because of it), though I hope something else will spell it out more completely. Commented Apr 14, 2013 at 23:37
  • seems like there are some circumstances in which asking could be important for example if a yeshiva is very open to letting lots of people in of varying backgrounds they will want to know if someone or family converted and under what circumstances. Also in regards to finding a shiduch as a cohen cannot marry a convert is most cases
    – Laser123
    Commented Apr 10, 2017 at 3:58

1 Answer 1


   The Talmud (Bava Metzia 58b-59b) forbids treating converts as non-Jews (I found this reference from this site). However, this is not any different from what we repeatedly find in the Torah itself. For example, Numbers 15:15-16 says that there will be one law for the proseltye and natural-born Jew. This is the major source for the halacha.

   Asking someone if they are a convert simply to dig into their past is clearly not in the spirit of the law. Asking someone if they are a convert for a legitimate reason, such as forming a minyan or seeking a marriage partner, is OK. But asking these questions at a public Shabbat dinner table is not OK, for obvious reasons.

   I know a little about this because I am an Orthodox convert.

  • 4
    Hello and welcome to Mi Yodeya. Why does someone being a convert affect forming a minyan? (Obviously somebody who hasn't completed the process yet wouldn't count, as he wouldn't be a Jew, but we wouldn't call such a person a convert yet -- we would say he is converting.) Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 13:06
  • 1
    I was referring to a hypothetical situation where there are barely enough people for a minyan (e.g. 10-14 people) but there is a doubt as to whether they are all halachically Jewish. Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 14:34
  • 6
    @Tim ....In that case, I think the question is: "Are you a Jew?" Not "Have you converted?" Commented Jun 13, 2013 at 15:02
  • 1
    "Asking someone if they are a convert simply to dig into their past is clearly not in the spirit of the law." Why not?
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Jun 20, 2013 at 3:09

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