I have heard Rabbi Asher Meza say that if one "adheres to Torah," this makes one a Jew; is this true at all?

  • Rabbi Asher Meza. He said even in ancient time that if one adheres to torah and takes up the ways of Yisrael that one becomes grafted in to the true vine and is nothing less than a jew even though he is not of the progeny of Ya'akov he is become a full jew in the eyes of haShem through Torah adherence.
    – eliyah
    Aug 12 '14 at 5:35
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    Ah. It is in your interest to never speak to that man again. Just sayin'. See answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130813131710AABGDZ2
    – Double AA
    Aug 12 '14 at 5:39
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    @rosenjcb Even a broken watch is right twice a day
    – Double AA
    Aug 13 '14 at 18:45
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    yadlachimwatch.wordpress.com/tag/asher-meza The Yad L'Achim Watch יד לאחים צגexposing actions of an Orthodox Jewish hate group. This is Asher Meza, (seems his name was originally George Meza) he is 33, lives in Colorado is of hispanic background and a convert to Judaism from Christianity. Sep 18 '14 at 12:07
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    it is certainly an interesting idea and story but there is only one problem that it is entirely made up by this person and is not in fact how conversion works. furthermore, having heard some of the other things this particular person has said I can assure you he is not a credible source of Jewish information and for any other questions you have you should seek out a competent orthodox rabbi
    – Dude
    Sep 18 '14 at 21:39

Nonsense if taken literally. That is, if one takes it as meaning that a non-Jew becomes a Jew by "adhering" to the Torah without undergoing a full conversion before a bais din in the proper manner. On the other hand if one takes it as a philosophical non-literal meaning, then it can be understood. In ancient times, before Matan Torah, the situation may have been different. That is, one could consider that the wives of the shvatim "converted" as part of the marriage.

Actually, one could conceivably say that "adhering" to the Torah is what a non-Jew does to convince the bais din that he (or she) is serious about conversion and that they should be accepted. Additionally, one could say that this was what was done in the time of King Shlomo when converts were not accepted in order to convince the bais din to accept one as a convert in any event.

One must be careful to understand the meaning of a statement made for hashkafah because misundertanding can lead to bad results. The phrase "grafting onto the tree" is often used by xian missionaries to fool the ignorant.

  • Do you have any sources for any of this? At this point its just your word against his.
    – mevaqesh
    Jul 28 '16 at 9:30

R' Asher Meza is working off of midrashim and a bit of logic for this argument. He and everyone else agrees that a valid conversion is needed before a gentile can become a Jew; however, he is making a more, over-arching point about the purpose of being a Jew. It's not about who your mother was but rather it's about Torah u'mitzvot hukim u'mishpotim. Now, part of Torah is keeping halacha, and part of halacha is rabbinic in origin and even those halacha that we understand to be d'oreita (from the Torah), we follow only about how Chazal interprets them. So following Torah means following what Chazal said and Chazal said that you can only be a Jew if you convert or if your mother was Jewish. So, if following Torah makes someone a Jew, and Torah means that you have to convert; then, by deduction, to be a Jew, you must convert.

sabbahillel's answer is also pretty good to (especially about the Matan Torah part).

  • So your answer is that he never said or meant to imply that a non-Jew can become Jewish simply by doing Mitzvos and declaring belief without a formal conversion process? Can you point to how you know that is what he means (if I understood you correctly).
    – Yishai
    Aug 13 '14 at 19:02
  • @Yishai He claims that one can potentially convert himself as a ger shenitgayer levin hanacharim, which seems, at least on the surface, that the process doesn't have to be formal. Honestly, I'm just inferring based on how he argues. If you follow his videos, you start to get the rhyme and reason and he has a translucent dichotomy between being a Jew in God's eyes and being a Jew in the Jewish community's eyes. He does this a lot in a few areas. For example, he argued once that there are mitzvot d'oreita that are d'rabanan and then there are mitzvot d'oreita. That is to say that there is a...
    – rosenjcb
    Aug 13 '14 at 19:18
  • Mitzva that God intends you perform, some sort of objective meaning of the halacha from the Torah and that there is the mitzva that the rabbis derived from the Torah.
    – rosenjcb
    Aug 13 '14 at 19:18

You need 3 Jews and he needs to accept to keep the Torah. Gentiles are not allowed to keep certain Mitzvos, like Shabbos. (People going through conversion do one melachah each shabbos)

Source for 3 ppl: tosafos, Shabbos, late samechs, d"h ger shenisgayer...

  • "Gentiles are not allowed to keep certain Mitzvos, like Shabbos." This is not universally held.
    – rosenjcb
    Aug 13 '14 at 18:25
  • @rosenjcb only if you twist his meaning
    – Double AA
    Aug 13 '14 at 18:43
  • @rosenjcb, who argues?
    – Yishai
    Aug 13 '14 at 18:48
  • @DoubleAA That's not true. Okay, since Matan Torah was mentioned in another answer, riddle me this: How can Adam or Noah keep Shabbat?
    – rosenjcb
    Aug 13 '14 at 18:54
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    @rosenjcb Who said they did? Additionally I know of no evidence that the prohibition in question was antediluvian.
    – Double AA
    Aug 13 '14 at 19:03

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