If converts become part of Israel and the Jewish people, then why are we required to go by "_______ Ben Avraham"? Wasn't Esau a "Ben Avraham"? Wasn't Ishmael? Does "_____Ben Avraham" mean we are less than fully Children of Israel? Please explain. Thanks!

  • those who aren't converts but don't know their parents names also go by ben Avraham or bas Sarah
    – Laser123
    Apr 4, 2017 at 5:19
  • 1
    I thought there was an idea that the souls of converts were born when Avraham and Sarah were trying to conceive before they had Yitzchak (and/or that they are given birth to every Friday night when Avraham and Sarah have relations on High -- I think I saw this in The Garden of Peace for Women or whatever it's called)
    – SAH
    Jun 26, 2017 at 21:10

3 Answers 3


Abraham was the first convert. He was not born into anything but the idol worshipping traditions of his day. He recognized G-D and served Him. He also brought others to that recognition. He was the first.

Although Issac and Jacob/Israel are very great, they do not have the merit and mission that Abraham had. It is a badge of honor that the righteous convert is called after Abraham, since the convert followed in the same path of service.

It is not possible to measure the great merit of the convert. We can remind ourselves by calling them Ben Avraham.

I hope this helps. :)

  • This answer could be improved with some reference to the idea being discussed. Namely that converts are called Ben avraham.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 4, 2017 at 10:25
  • Indeed, "Ben Avraham Aveinu" is meant (and heard, bu most Jews) as praise of the highest order.
    – Jeffiekins
    Aug 17, 2018 at 16:19
  • While OP is scientifically correct that many nations are descended from Avraham Aveinu, Jews consider only the Jewish people to be his "heirs" and therefore entitled to claim "ben Avraham Aveinu". Indeed, we're the only ones to call him by that name.
    – Jeffiekins
    Aug 17, 2018 at 17:31

When HaShem changed Avram's name to "Avraham" he explained that it stood for "Av hamon goyim," the father of a multitude of nations.

This shows us that every convert is considered the spiritual (not blood) heir of Avraham. Therefore we refer to the convert as "Ben Avraham."

Why not call a convert by the name Ben Yitzchak or Ben Yisroel?

Because Yitzchak and Yisroel did not have the same test as Avraham who needed to break away from his idolatrous family in order to "convert" to Judaism!


"Ben" means child of. The convert is still a child of Avraham by blood, even though he is not a child of Israel by blood.

  • 3
    Why is he a child of avraham by blood?
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 4, 2017 at 10:26
  • 1
    @mevaqesh why is kinda the wrong question when it comes to religion, I think. Apr 4, 2017 at 10:47
  • @mevaqesh: Personal guess: presumably most converts to Judaism would be from those peoples with whom the Jews were most in contact with: the children of Ishmail, or the Christians who are descendants from peoples who were themselves were once Jews.
    – dotancohen
    Apr 4, 2017 at 10:51
  • 3
    You said he is a blood descendant of Abraham. If that was just a guess, say so. The vast vast majority of Christians are descendants of later non Jewish converts; not the original Jewish Christians.
    – mevaqesh
    Apr 4, 2017 at 11:05
  • 1
    Bc Avraham was the father of 70 nations and there are 70 nations?
    – SAH
    Jun 26, 2017 at 21:07

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