Rambam, Hilchot Issurei Biah 13:2 (English) tells us that a convert must do 3 things to complete the conversion process:

  1. circumcision
  2. immersion in a mikvah
  3. bringing a burnt offering

The Rambam continues and tells us that nowadays, when there is no Temple, circumcision and immersion are performed, while the burnt offering is only brought when the Temple is rebuilt.

There are several places in the Talmud that tell us that when one learns about a sacrifice or reads the Torah portion that talks about a sacrifice, G-d considers it as if one has offered that sacrifice. See for example Menachos 110A and Taanis 27b.

Why is there no obligation for the convert to read/learn the Torah portion that talks about the Korban he must bring? Even if reading/learning that portion is only partially as effective as actually bringing the sacrifice (as the Beit Yosef (Orach Chaim 1, d"h VeAchar Parshat) says regarding a Sin Offering - see an examination of this here), it still seems to me that it is still better than nothing, at least until the actual sacrifice can be brought.

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    "good stopgap measure" != obligation. Where do you ever see an obligation because of ונשלמה פרים שפתינו?
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 8:23
  • The Beis Yosef must be OC 1 but the article seems to be elaborating on what he says (not that I think anyone thinks reading the parsha is fully equivalent).
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 8:35
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    @DoubleAA: The statements in the Gemaras I linked to seem a little stronger than "VeNishlemah", although I could be wrong. Without the Beit Yosef, I would have said that it accomplished the exact same thing. And even with the Beit Yosef (at least the way it is quoted in the dvar torah I linked to, I don't know where it is to look it up inside), who makes a distinction, says the learning helps until he is able to actually bring a Chatat. However, the Beit Yosef makes that distinction by a Chatat, perhaps he doesn't by an Olah (which is what the ger is bringing).
    – Menachem
    Jul 23, 2013 at 8:37
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    We are not supposed to burden the person with too much details bout mi9woth. Same with this? Since we don't do it. This is a burden upon the person converting, therefore he can learn anytime from his conversion until eternity since no one is doing it. He won't be missing out on anything. Jul 23, 2013 at 12:39

4 Answers 4


Mishna Torah Isurei Biah 13:5 indicates that the Korban a convert brings is a Korban Olah. This is already included in the Korbanos that is said on a daily basis. Perhaps the Rambam felt there was no need for a special repetition when it is said as part of the Tefila. In addition although saying the Korbanos is as if one brought a Korban it is still not the same. (See story of Rabbi Yishmael in Meshectas Shabbos 12b where he was Mechalel Shabbos in error and wrote down that he will bring a Korban when the Bais HaMikdash is rebuilt, indicating that saying the Korbanos is not on the same level as bringing it.)

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    Most of this is already in the question. The new part is: we don't need to say it again because we say it anyway. This is interesting possibility but a source would be nice.
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 19:06
  • @doubleAA: That is one new part. In addition the part showing that Rabbi Yishmael did not rely on saying Korbanos from Shabbos 12b. You are correct that I do not have a source, and this answer is my own conjecture. Jul 23, 2013 at 19:08
  • That diyuk is already in the link he provided.
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 20:24
  • @GershonGold with regards to R' Yishmael. In the d'var torah I linked to in my question, this story is used to prove that learning about a Chatat is not as good as actually bringing it. But the story doesn't prove that learning about a Chatat when one can't bring a Chatat shouldn't be done. It is possible that R' Yishmael did so, and still made a note to bring a Chatat when the Beit HaMikdash was rebuilt. Also, the Tur and Beit Yosef make a distinction between a Chatat and an Oleh with regards to the Yehi Ratzon prayer, so maybe they also make a distinction with regards to the power of reading
    – Menachem
    Jul 24, 2013 at 1:49

Potential non-muchrach answer:

The ger was not Jewish and now he's changing his status. In order to do so he needs to perform actions to purify himself so to speak, to become a servant of God. As such, we require Tevilah, to purify his soul, Milah, to purify his body, and Korban to uproot his idolatrous nature and replace it with complete devotion to god. Hence the Burnt offering which is entirely burned and signifies complete devotion to god, and elevates the bringer. Hence the name Olah.

In order to demonstrate this, reading the verse is not good enough, however. An action is required. Just like actions are required in Milah and Tevilah.

  • But the same logic should apply to sin-offerings as well.
    – Ypnypn
    May 9, 2014 at 1:32
  • @Ypnypn Nope, they're already servants of God. They don't need any action to alter their status.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 1:34
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    But your point is that words can't substitute for actions. This also applies to other types of offerings.
    – Ypnypn
    May 9, 2014 at 1:37
  • @Ypnypn - God says he'll accept words instead of offerings in many cases. He doesn't say that the words become actions. I'm claiming that geirut is different from all other cases because of his prior status as a non-Jew.
    – Yehuda
    May 9, 2014 at 1:41

I'm changing my answer after discussing this with Rabbi Dr. Barry Fruendel. Rabbi Fruendel, the Rav of Kesher Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C., is coordinating the standardization of conversion practices in the U.S. for the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) in cooperation with the Chief Rabbinate of Israel. I posed the question to him exactly as presented. He stated that the question places too much emphasis on the words "as if" when stating that "when one learns about a sacrifice or reads the Torah portion that talks about a sacrifice, G-d considers it as if one has offered that sacrifice." "As if" does not create a requirement and does not mean that learning about the sacrifice is a substitute for the sacrifice itself. He said most poskim hold that the convert's obligations to bring the sacrifice are put off until the arrival of the Messiah, although "a few" poskim have the convert set aside a coin worth about 25 cents exclusively for the purpose of buying an offering after the Temple is reestablished.

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    How is this an answer?
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 18:41
  • Just because it will still be required doesn't mean you shouldn't do what you can for now, especially because the odds are against any individual actually seeing the Mikdash.
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2013 at 19:02
  • @menachem , DoubleAA - please see my completely revised answer. Apr 8, 2014 at 14:48

The Chafetz Chaim was very concerned about Kohanim learning Kadashim, so that they would be able to do the Avoda. It seems the same. Could be that the Ger only needs to donate the sacrifice to the Beis HaMikdash, stand by as it's offered, do smicha... So the laws of exactly HOW don't apply to him.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya! I think the question was assuming that reading the relevant Torah portions would accomplish more than preparing him for the eventual bringing, but the reading itself would be of worth as some measure of substitute for bringing. If you meant something else with your answer, please clarify. Apr 6, 2014 at 2:26

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