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As far as I know if a male is unable to have children due to body damage, he cannot become a ger. I have also heard of Beitei Din not allowing deaf people to convert since they cannot do certain mitzvos (e.g. they cannot say kaddish and certain prayers so conversion may be damaging for them, spiritually). But what about the general case - is it common for a Beis Din to reject a convert because of a physical disease (like cerebral palsy) or deformity?

Is there a halakhic prohibition against converting people with certain physical disabilities?

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    Another (similar) question: What about if a person can't do a bris mila? – Shmuel Brin Jan 18 '15 at 4:22
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    Can you bring a source for the claims that a Bais Din would deny a conversion for an impotent/deaf person? I've never heard that before (although that doesn't mean anything), but I find that a bit hard to understand. A Jew who has a disability is exempt from commandments, why wouldn't a Ger also get that exemption? – Salmononius2 Jan 18 '15 at 4:41
  • @ShmuelBrin asked here and here – Yishai Jan 18 '15 at 5:45
  • Well, I am asking for more information myself, but maybe this can be the reason for rejecting a person with crushed testicles: Devarim 23:2 chabad.org/library/bible_cdo/aid/9987#v=2, and here for deafness: failedmessiah.typepad.com/failed_messiahcom/2009/12/… . I am asking for sources myself, but as you can see from the second reference, it apparently does happen. – MichaelS Jan 18 '15 at 6:55
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    @MichaelS RE: Source 1: As per the Sefer Hachinuch 549, that is a prohibition against causing oneself to become impotent. If one is/becomes impotent in a way that isn't his fault, he isn't transgressing a sin. Source 2: I wouldn't trust that source for anything. I've seen it before, and he has a vendetta against anything Jewish. – Salmononius2 Jan 23 '15 at 1:48
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The Halacha clearly defines when a potential Ger - who wants to keep all the Mitzvot - should be turned away. These reasons are codified in Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah סימן רסח - כיצד מגירין הגר והגירת, ודיני קדשת הגר

יב: כְּשֶׁבָּא הַגֵּר לְהִתְגַּיֵּר, בּוֹדְקִים אַחֲרָיו שֶׁמָּא בִּגְלַל מָמוֹן שֶׁיִּטֹּל אוֹ בִּשְׁבִיל (טז) שְׂרָרָה שֶׁיִּזְכֶּה לָהּ אוֹ מִפְּנֵי הַפַּחַד בָּא לִכָּנֵס לַדָּת. וְאִם אִישׁ הוּא, בּוֹדְקִין אַחֲרָיו שֶׁמָּא עֵינָיו נָתַן בְּאִשָּׁה יְהוּדִית. וְאִם אִשָּׁה הִיא, בּוֹדְקִין אַחֲרֶיהָ שֶׁמָּא עֵינֶיהָ נָתְנָה בְּבַחוּרֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאִם לֹא נִמְצֵאת לָהֶם עִלָּה מוֹדִיעִים לָהֶם כֹּבֶד עֹל הַתּוֹרָה וְטֹרַח שֶׁיֵּשׁ בַּעֲשִׂיָּתָהּ עַל עַמֵּי הָאֲרָצוֹת, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּפְרְשׁוּ. אִם קִבְּלוּ וְלֹא פֵּרְשׁוּ, וְרָאוּ אוֹתָם שֶׁחָזְרוּ מֵאַהֲבָה, מְקַבְּלִים אוֹתָם. ‏

The reasons are:

  • The Ger would gain monetarily
  • The Ger would get some honour
  • The Ger is converting to get married to a specific Jew(ess).

If this is not the case, and they agree to keep the Mitzvot, then one may convert them.

The fact that they physically cannot perform a Mitzva is not a reason to not convert them.

The fact that they are ill is not a reason to not convert them, assuming they are compos mentis.

That said, Halachically nobody can be forced to convert somebody. A Bet Din is needed to do a conversion, and nobody can be forced to be part of a Bet Din.

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    It seems a bit interesting to claim this list is exhaustive. It doesn't discuss, for example, if the person cannot do a bris for medical reasons, and it would be a surprising assertion to say it isn't on this list so its fine. – Yishai Jul 1 '15 at 15:21
  • @Yishai. 1. I'm quoting a primary Halachic source. 2. "they physically cannot perform a Mitzva" would include medical reasons, I think. – Danny Schoemann Jul 2 '15 at 9:48
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A Jewish Bet Din generally has no obligation to do conversions. They are allowed to convert a person they believe is sincere, but are under no obligation to do so. The only exception may be an official community Bet Din such as can be found in Israel and England, who may be required to deal with the prospective convert. A regular Bet Din such as is found in most American communities can withdraw from a case of giyur at will.

With that understood, most Batei Din can reject a potential convert for any reason, as well as for no reason at all. The candidate for conversion is free to go to another reputable Bet Din that is willing to hear his case and give him a chance.

Note that only Orthodox conversions from a reputable Bet Din are accepted by all Jews.

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    Is there a halakhic prohibition against converting people with certain physical disabilities? By the way, there is no guarantee any conversion, no matter how strict or reputable Beis Din performed it, will be recognized by all Jews (or rather all Jewish communities), unfortunately. – MichaelS Feb 1 '15 at 9:13
  • Am I understanding it correctly @ln6595. A Bet Din can withdraw from the conversion process even during the last stages of conversion? – JJLL Jul 31 '15 at 20:01
  • @JJLL (The @ has to be at the start of the comment for the user to get notified. I just saw this by chance.) – LN6595 Dec 28 '15 at 18:54
  • @JJLL Yes, a standard Bet Din hears each case voluntarily and is under no legal obligation to continue. It may withdraw from a case at any time. – LN6595 Dec 28 '15 at 18:54

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