In Devarim Rabbah 2:24, there is a story where the Rabbis pay condolences to a Roman senator who committed suicide to save the Jews. The Rabbis hint that it was a shame that the senator died uncircumcised, whereby his widow shows them his foreskin.

The plain sense of the passage is that it was a shame he died uncircumcised because he died a gentile. But then wouldn't he have needed a beit din to become Jewish anyways?

One could posit that a local beit din did it, but that seems a bit force; I was wondering if anyone has explicitly addressed this question, or if I'm misunderstanding the laws of gerut.


You are missing the point of the story. The point is not to exegise the finer points of the laws of conversion but rather to illustrate the solidarity of this senator.

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    I see no indication in the question that the asker missed that. Can't someone understand the main point of a story and nonetheless ask about its details? – msh210 Jun 17 '15 at 13:03

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