"A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4)

The Tzitz Eliezer ruled that a convert may not serve in a lone communal position but he may serve on a communal committee. (Tzitz Eliezer 19:48)

My question is can a convert (ger) become a chabad shliach (emissary)? Shluchim don't seat in a Beis Din; they just try to bring Jews close to Yiddishkait.

Chabad follows the Rambam in most cases and the question is if Shluchim are included in the statement "jewish communal authority" or since they don't have absolute power, they are not included. I know that they are rabbis converts ,like the chief Rabbi of Prague,but I don't know what is the chabad policy concerning "shliach, offical emmissary" I know that there are some converts chabad rabbis , but I don't know of an official shliach

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya. Is there a particular reason you think they can't? If so, adding that information to the question would be helpful. Thanks. Nov 3, 2013 at 1:58
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    @sholy could be that Ger is part of Yisrael. Nov 3, 2013 at 17:54
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    Double AA, I didn't ignore what msh210 wrote, I just said that I am a ger who would love one day to be a chabad shliach
    – sholy
    Nov 3, 2013 at 20:50
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    I can't find it now, but I think I saw a photograph on Chabad news site of a new shliach, perhaps to Connecticut or Massachusetts to teach at a school, who appeared to be African-American. If my memory is correct, then he could have been a ger who became a shliach. Also keep in mind that a pretty large proportion of shluchim are ba'alei teshuvah (a non-BT shliach estimated about a third are BTs). It's likely that some "BTs" are actually gerim but since they were raised Jewish (with a Jewish father or non-Orthodox convert mother) they describe themselves as BTs.
    – Kordovero
    Jun 3, 2014 at 18:01
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    @sholy FYI, this isn't an application to become a shliach; this is an application to get access to the ChabadOne.org website/platform. If you want to become a shliach, I would suggest starting by going to a Chabad yeshiva such as the one in Morristown, getting semicha, and getting married to a Chabad girl. At that point, it may become a possibility. Sorry, I don't know whether gerim can have this job or not, although baalei t'shuva definitely can.
    – SAH
    Dec 15, 2016 at 0:28

3 Answers 3


Great question I would say yes they are allowed to become rabbis

The SA in yd 269; 11 says its asur for a ger to judge a jew unless his mother is from a jew,

The shach says only if it comes from force but if they want to take it upon themselves the verdict then he judge. 1) a chabad rabbi is not usually a dayan 2) even if he is if they take upon themselves the verdict then he can judge

The igeret moshe in yd 4 26 says a ger can become a magid shiur a melamed or a rosh yeshiva

1) lchoira a rosh yeshiva has more power of authority than a rav in the part that he can decide who to accept and who to throw out into his yeshiva

2) we see that shmaya and avtalyon became teachers of am yisrael reb moshe says it could be noone appointed them rather they themselves because of their greatness became av bet din a shofet and nasi

Thank you for the amazing question

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    lchoira a rosh yeshiva has more power of authority than a rav in the part that he can decide who to accept and who to throw out into his yeshiva Consider derjargonfyong. Not everyone has the same degree of background and knows what "lchoira" means. | There are various roles of roshei yeshiva, and various roles of a Rav. I don't see how just because the former includes something the latter doesn't, that the former has more "power" than the latter. | Incidentally, depending on the internal power structure of a yeshiva, a RY doesn't necessarily have the power to throw someone out.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 8, 2017 at 18:46
  • Consider editing in a source for your assumption that the determinant for permissibly of a convert assuming a position is the degree of "power" he has.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 8, 2017 at 18:46
  • Well reb moshe brings that case down that even " though the rosh yeshiva is considered an authority in the sense that he has power to throw or take in someone" its still not considered an as sherara so even in such a case where he has that much power he is still not considered a sherara so for sure a rav who usually doesnt have such an authority can take such a position as a rabbi Jan 8, 2017 at 19:10
  • All relevant info, such as the "who said what" should be mentioned explicitly in the answer itself.
    – mevaqesh
    Jan 8, 2017 at 19:11

While a ger probably could become one, it would be extra-difficult.

Specifically: unless the person converted at an early age, there's a lot of Chabad culture (s)he would be missing out on. This would make it hard to trust that they wouldn't "dilute the brand" (sorry!) in a far-flung locale with minimal supervision.

Also there's the considerable matter of Yiddish; I imagine a shaliach not fluent (verbally and written) would encounter a lot of hurdles. Some of the ways Crown Heights supports shaliachs only happen in Yiddish.

For both these reasons, it's easy to imagine that a ger would only be appointed shaliach to a place where no-one else wanted to go.


"A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority." (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4) I heard an opinion that if the community doesn't mind, or the Nasi is ok with it, it's fine. I saw this in the commentary on the Rambam by Moznaim

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