Conversion is always a hot topic, especially here in Israel. Many times conversions take place where the Ger (convert) didn't have the intention to be m'kabel (accept) the mitzvos. People scream and shout, but seemingly the conversion (according to some) would be still be kosher!

The Rambam writes in Hilchos Issurei Bia Perek 13 Halacha 17:

גר שלא בדקו אחריו או שלא הודיעוהו המצות ועונשן ומל וטבל בפני ג' הדיוטות ה"ז גר. אפילו נודע שבשביל דבר הוא מתגייר הואיל ומל וטבל יצא מכלל העכו"ם וחוששין לו עד שיתבאר צדקותו. ואפילו חזר ועבד כו"ם הרי הוא כישראל מומר שקידושיו קידושין. ומצוה להחזיר אבידתו מאחר שטבל נעשה כישראל. ולפיכך קיימו שמשון ושלמה נשותיהן ואע"פ שנגלה סודן

Although this seems b'dieved clearly the Rambam holds that if the person did not know about the mitzvos (thus did not accept them) that they would still be considered a Jew.

The Bach writes in Yoreh Deah Siman 268 that according to the Rambam if the potential Ger didn't accept the mitzvos, "כשר אע"פ שלא היה לשם קבלת מצוות כל עיקר".

Although the Shulchan Aruch doesn't rule like this l'halacha I'd like to know if there are any other Rishonim or earlier poskim that also held like this?

  • "... seemingly the conversion (according to some) would be still be kosher!" but still forbidden to do. That part gets kind of skipped over in this argument, and the first part was tenuous enough. See what the Bach in the same place says about what a horrible disservice is being done to the non-Jew who gets converted without going on to keep the Mitzvos. – Yishai Aug 20 '15 at 14:55
  • @Yishai I'm doing research myself now and finding many that held this way and not with such strong language as forbidden to do or "disservice"... – Yehoshua Aug 20 '15 at 14:56
  • I look forward to your answer, but note that the Rambam is very clear that it is forbidden to do so. – Yishai Aug 20 '15 at 15:04
  • The Rambam is nearly universally understood to require kabbalas hamitzvos bifnei sh'losha even b'di'avad (i.e. it is m'akeiv the conversion). The Bach is the only classical source that understands the Rambam as saying that the conversion is valid even if the convert did not accept the mitzvos in front of a court of three (even the Bach would probably interpret the Rambam as invalidating a convert who apparently intended not to accept the mitzvos at all). And the Bach continues and says this opinion is wrong. So no one both interprets the Rambam that way and says it can be followed. – Fred Aug 20 '15 at 17:24
  • 1
    Aside from the Bach, all classical sources interpret the Rambam according to its plain meaning, i.e. that the conversion is b'di'avad valid even if the court failed to inform the convert of individual commandments and the repercussions of observance or non-observance (according to one reading of the Rambam) or if the court just failed to inform the convert of the repercussions of observance or non-observance (according to the alternative reading of the Rambam that fits with the Shulchan Aruch). Either way the Rambam requires the convert to accept the overall burden of mitzva observance. – Fred Aug 20 '15 at 17:32

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .