If I have a non-Jewish girlfriend and she has no interest in running through the hoops of an orthodox conversion, may I buy her as a slave and then free her, rendering her Jewish? Obviously, the transaction would be brokered through proxies in Somalia, which allows slavery.

Question 2 for which an answer was attempted: Alternatively, may she declare allegiance to Hezbollah (on another organization at war with Jews), and then I capture her.

  • There are two different questions here: whether and how the laws of slavery apply today, and whether you can (or ever could) intentionally use slavery as a means to another end. Both of those seem like good questions, but I'm not so sure about this formulation of the combined question. – Monica Cellio Jan 3 '14 at 15:17
  • Why wouldn't any of the laws apply today? If you don't want to say they apply today, could I have done this in ancient times? – Clint Eastwood Jan 3 '14 at 15:32
  • I haven't made a study of the laws of slavery so I don't know if they apply today. But other laws are currently in abeyance because of circumstances beyond our control (certain judicial penalties and proceesses, korbanot), so this might be true with slavery too. Plus dina d'malchuto dinah might bear on it. I'm just saying that that might be a bigger question than you realized quite aside from trying to engineer a rules hack. – Monica Cellio Jan 3 '14 at 15:39
  • Dina dmalchuto doesn't apply because I am doing the sale in a country that permits it. – Clint Eastwood Jan 3 '14 at 15:39
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio I think it's fair to ask a "would this work" question, requesting analysis of any and all issues with a proposed technique, provided that it's not too convoluted and farfetched. We can't make all askers decompose their questions into their Halachic atomic components. However, there are two questions in this post, where there should be one. And I downvoted because I find "running through the hoops of an orthodox conversion" to be flippant and misleading. – Isaac Moses Jan 3 '14 at 15:45

Let's start with the captive.

This only applies when the Kingdom of Israel is going to war. That has to be declared at the national level and has a particular legal status. As an individual I can't do "war", only "self-defense."

What's more, Rambam Laws of Kings and Their Wars Ch. 8 spells out that the Jewish soldier is allowed to be with the captive one time only, during the fog of war; after that, she is brought back and given the option to convert. If, after twelve months, she still refuses to convert, then she is released and expected to keep the same seven laws as any other non-Jewish woman. So if your girlfriend doesn't want to convert, this really doesn't help you.

Similarly with regards to the slave option -- let's not even get into the whole slavery-today mess. Rambam Laws of Prohibitions on Relations Ch. 13: to declare someone a slave requires their immersion in a mikvah with a beit din of three witnessing it; and after they are freed they need another immersion to mark their freedom, again with a beit din witnessing. I doubt you'd find a beit din willing to go along with this scheme, put mildly.

I seem to recall a halacha specifically against a single man having a female slave, to avoid rumors if nothing else; but don't have the source off-hand.

  • The rule doesn't apply just just to the Kingdom of Israel. The mitzva was given before the kingdom was establsihed. It may apply to wars against the Bnei Yisroel. – Clint Eastwood Jan 3 '14 at 15:46
  • 1
    @ClintEastwood, all Mitzvos were given before the kingdom was established. That has no inherent bearing on when they apply. – Yishai Jan 3 '14 at 15:55
  • 1
    @ClintEastwood it was given in the desert for when they entered the land. But regardless -- it is a law pertaining to a national war, which has to be formally declared. – Shalom Jan 3 '14 at 15:56
  • Yes but unless there is a specific tradition that it ONLY applies when there is a kingdom (or some other factor), one would have to assume it applied from when it was given. – Clint Eastwood Jan 3 '14 at 15:56
  • 3
    @Shalom, Regarding the slave, the Rambam Hilchos Avadim 8:12 specifically says that accepting the Mitzvos is up to him, and he can refuse (and have to be sold if there was no condition ahead of time). So it is really another form of conversion, requiring Kabbalos HaMitzvos, so there would be no gain in this "technique" over a regular conversion. – Yishai Jan 3 '14 at 16:34

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