A most perplexing question was posed to me today, curious to see others thoughts --

A baby girl is adopted after the first day of birth. The adoptive parents are a frum couple who are told the baby's mother is Jewish by reputable sources. They are full believers in the truth of this information.

They raise their daughter, Beis Yaakov, seminary in Yerushalayim, marries a Cohen, and b"h, eventually two baby boys. Both undergo bris according to Halakah.

The woman's boys too grow up, go to yeshiva, receive simcha, chuppa, kollel, and have children of their own.

As the years pass their mother begins looking for her birth parents, only to find out to her astonishment, after years and years of searching, that her birth mother was indeed, not Jewish.

What is her halakhic standing? That of her sons? What is their standing? That of their Kohan status? Their smichas? Their own children? Must a conversion to be done to all three generations? Must a bris be redone? Do any other problems arise in your minds? Remedies?

Keep in mind that we are discussing frum families (shomrei mitzvos) according to Halakha, answered pertaining to Reform or Conservative laws are not relevant to the question.

  • 1
    Close as duplicate of yodeya.com/q/52891?
    – msh210
    Feb 17, 2015 at 14:17
  • 2
    By the way, re "marries a Cohen": no rabbi should have presided over that wedding. (Not saying that none would. Just that none should. That was the breakdown in the sequence of events, I think.)
    – msh210
    Feb 17, 2015 at 14:21
  • @msh210 I do not think that it is a duplicate as the other question involves someone whose is Jewish attempting to leave and the effect on their descendants. This is a situation in which someone who thought they were Jewish was not. I have read of a case in which a Yeshivah boy found out that a maternal ancestor had undergone an invalid conversion and he had to be megayer. I also know of a case in which a woman had to undergo a kosher giyur when she went to be married in Eretz Yisrael because of a similar situation. Feb 17, 2015 at 15:07
  • @sabbahillel that was just one example in the question. The basic question there is broader, and seems to include much (if not all) of this one. Feb 17, 2015 at 19:14
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    @FlushingHasid Yes it is. You ask: Are these people jewish? That question asks: Is this person jewish? Same quesiton
    – Double AA
    Feb 18, 2015 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


If the grandmother is considered a convert than she shouldn't have married a kohen and her sons are chalalim. If she wasn't a convert than her sons are not Jewish. In either case the sons children are Jewish (as their mothers are Jewish) but the daughters should not marry kohanim (either because they are chalalot or because their father is not Jewish). Their is still an open question of whether the grandsons will be chalalim and whether their daughters can marry kohanim.

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    Welcome to Mi Yodeya, ykay. Please edit your post to include how you know this to be true (sources), as we have no idea who you are and can't just take your word for it. Hope to see you around.
    – Scimonster
    Feb 17, 2015 at 20:35
  • Why would the grandmother be considered a convert?
    – Yishai
    Feb 17, 2015 at 22:50
  • The grandmother was never considered to be a convert. She was thought to be Jewish. Feb 18, 2015 at 5:51
  • I think it would be preferable for the grandmother not to be considered a convert as then her children are not chalalim. The fact that she went to the mikvah and always thought she was Jewish could possible qualify her as a convert but I don't have a source for this. Feb 18, 2015 at 22:52

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