Is there any text in the Torah or Mishnah that sees a convert as some kind of "imitation" Jew or someone who isn't as good as a real-deal matrilineal Jew?

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    A real-deal Jew is likely to have more than one convert in maternal line in 50 generations since the Exodus. What I mean is that no-one can be 100% sure they do not descend from converts, and, in general, it is not a problem. A convert her/himself is subject to certain marriage limitations, but not on the ground of being merely a convert but coming from presumably immoral culture. Talking about a sincere convert, that is.
    – MichaelS
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 14:22
  • Recent research on DNA indicates 40% to 80% of Ashkenazi Jews are descendants of a handful of Roman women who apparently converted to Judaism. (The DNA from the paternal line seems to be of Middle East origin.) The degree of Khazari conversions is still disputed. If conversion to Judaism has negative connotations, it appears that the status of many Jews would be in question. In my experience, however, both Gers and Baalei TShuvah's often are labeled with both positive and negative implications especially related to shiduchim.
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:33
  • Of course (?) the best standard for the issue of acceptance of the convert is the Torah story of Ruth, the convert. The Moabite princess was the grandmother of David and the matriarch of the bloodline of Moshiach Ben David. Ain't too bad for a Moabite convert.
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:41
  • Also, let us not forget the Greek Pagan Onkelos who became one of the most accepted Torah commentators. Talmudic or other respected Jewish source or not, it would be hyper-hypocritical for anyone to criticize converts in light of the huge status of both Ruth and Ankelos, don't you think?
    – JJLL
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:50
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    @MichaelS "A real-deal Jew is likely to have more than one convert in maternal line in 50 generations": if by "in maternal line" you mean the female-only line (which is what you should mean in this context), then no one has more than one convert in maternal line: the latest convert in maternal line is preceded by all gentiles.
    – msh210
    Commented Aug 19, 2014 at 6:39

4 Answers 4


A ger tzedek is a very great thing and there's nothing negative about it. One of the greatest Jewish scholars, Onkelos, was a convert. His translation of the Torah into Aramaic is printed in most chumashim.

It's a very negative thing if someone converts insincerely or for ulterior motives, marriage is a very common reason. As Shalom answered " The Talmud does say that "converts are as troublesome for mainstream Jews as a skin disease." " I recall this gemara, although I'm not so sure if it said skin disease, or something else similar. An example of this is Shlomo Hamelech's wives, who converted insincerely and cause a lot of trouble.



The Talmud does say that "converts are as troublesome for mainstream Jews as a skin disease." The commentaries suggest two interpretations: an insincere convert causes problems if s/he keeps missing the family Christmas party etc.; or a truly sincere convert puts the Jewish mainstream to shame because s/he does such a better job keeping the laws!

Also, the mishna at the end of Horiyot talks about some theoretical orders of precedence for honors, e.g. Kohen before Levite etc., and in that order, born-Jew precedes convert; however, the next line insists that this would only apply if all else were equal (which it never is); a scholar who was conceived in an adulterous mess takes precedence over an ignoramus who happens to be the high priest.


There is a rabbinic text which refers to conversion status as being a blemish, but the very same text indicates that a convert is not any different than anyone else in this regard -

Bava Metzia 59b:

מאי דכתיב: 'וגר לא תונה ולא תלחצנו כי גרים הייתם בארץ מצרים' - רבי נתן אומר: מום שבך אל תאמר לחברך

What is the meaning of that which is written "And a stranger do not mistreat or pressure, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt"? Rebbi Nosson says: The blemish that you yourself have, do not point out in your fellow.

The Talmud refers to being a "גר" as a blemish, but points that we all have this blemish, convert and born-Jew alike. The Talmud is clear we are all on the same plane in that regard.


In pesachim it says that a group eating a pesach offering should not be composed of only converts lest they scrutinize the offering and, in their ignorance, find a blemish and mistakenly disqualify their offering.

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    So? [15 charac]
    – Double AA
    Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 16:15
  • So converts are overzealous in their frumness even though they lack understanding. They may be quick to adopt chumras under the impression that stringent is always better. Commented Aug 17, 2014 at 19:16

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