As a non-Jew, I have been wondering whether or not it would be better for me to convert to Judaism or to keep the seven mitzvot. This decision is a difficult one for me. On the one hand, I can remain a Noachide, keep the seven commandments, and have a share in the World to Come, or, I can convert, keep the 613 commandments, and have a share in the World to Come. So what's the problem? Why not just remain a Noachide and enjoy an easier life with less responsibilities and still have a share in the World to Come!? The problem is that I want to be closer to HaShem. Both are meaningful, but I think that the second option would be much more meaningful than the first. (However, I don't think G-d would approve my conversion yet since I am still struggling with my yezter hara.) Thankfully I am still young (almost 30 y/o) and have plenty of time and will continue to study Torah every day.

The question I have is a simple one and it's been on my mind for a while now. If the Moshiach comes and I haven't converted yet, would it be too late at that point? And will I forever remain a Noachide?

I look forward to your answers!

up vote 4 down vote accepted

According to the Talmud (Yevamoth 24b), geruth (conversion) will no longer be performed in the messianic era:

ת"ר: אין מקבלין גרים לימות המשיח. כיוצא בו לא קבלו גרים לא בימי דוד ולא בימי שלמה. א"ר אליעזר: מאי קרא: (ישעיהו נד, טו) הן גור יגור אפס מאותי מי גר אתך עליך יפול

The Sages taught: Conversion is not performed in the days of the Messiah. Similarly, they did not perform conversions in the days of King David or in the days of King Solomon. Rabbi Eliezer said: What is the verse that hints at this halakha? “Behold, they may gather together [gor yagur], but without Me; whosoever shall gather together [gar] with you shall fall on yours” (Isaiah 54:15).

Maimonides (Issurei Biah 13:15) seems to interpret this passage as focused on the strict filters in place for discerning ulterior motives:

שהמצוה הנכונה כשיבא הגר או הגיורת להתגייר בודקין אחריו שמא בגלל ממון שיטול או בשביל שררה שיזכה לה או מפני הפחד בא להכנס לדת. ואם איש הוא בודקין אחריו שמא עיניו נתן באשה יהודית. ואם אשה היא בודקין שמא עיניה נתנה בבחור מבחורי ישראל. אם לא נמצא להם עילה, מודיעין אותן כובד עול התורה וטורח שיש בעשייתה על עמי הארצות כדי שיפרושו. אם קבלו ולא פירשו וראו אותן שחזרו מאהבה, מקבלים אותן שנאמר: ותרא כי מתאמצת היא ללכת אתה ותחדל לדבר אליה

לפיכך לא קבלו בית דין גרים כל ימי דוד ושלמה - בימי דוד שמא מן הפחד חזרו, ובימי שלמה שמא בשביל המלכות והטובה והגדולה שהיו בה ישראל חזרו שכל החוזר מן העכו"ם בשביל דבר מהבלי העולם אינו מגירי הצדק. ואעפ"כ היו גרים הרבה מתגיירים בימי דוד ושלמה בפני הדיוטות. והיו ב"ד הגדול חוששין להם - לא דוחין אותן אחר שטבלו מכ"מ ולא מקרבין אותן עד שתראה אחריתם

...the proper way of performing the mitzvah is when a male or a female prospective convert comes, we inspect his motives for conversion. Perhaps he is coming for the sake of financial gain, in order to receive a position of authority, or he desires to enter our faith because of fear. For a man, we check whether he focused his attention on a Jewish woman. For a woman, we check whether she focused her attention on a Jewish youth.

If we find no ulterior motive, we inform them of the heaviness of the yoke of the Torah and the difficulty the common people have in observing it so that they will abandon [their desire]. If they accept [this introduction] and do not abandon their resolve and thus we see that they are motivated by love, we accept them, as [indicated by Ruth 1:18]: "And she saw that she was exerting herself to continue with her and she ceased speaking with her."

...For this reason, the court did not accept converts throughout the reign of David and Solomon. In David's time, [they feared] that they sought to convert because of fear and in Solomon's time, [they feared] that they were motivated by the sovereignty, prosperity, and eminence which Israel enjoyed. [They refrained from accepting such converts, because] a gentile who seeks to convert because of the vanities of this [material] world is not a righteous convert.

Nevertheless, there were many people who converted in the presence of ordinary people during the era of David and Solomon. The Supreme Sanhedrin would view them with skepticism. Since they immersed themselves, they would not reject them, but they would not draw them close until they saw what the outcome would be.

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    perhaps there would be some exceptions? for example after the jews left Egypt and were wealthy and victorious over the Egyptians there was a general limitation on geirus lest people try to join the Jewish people for motives other than wanting to serve Hashem. However, yisro who already had stature and wealth was allowed b/c it was clear he had good intentions and not just trying to jump on the bandwagon – Laser123 Oct 3 '17 at 4:15
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    @la am editing accordingly – Loewian Oct 3 '17 at 4:22
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    Makes one wonder about the actions of Rabbi Shlomo Amar and others over the last several years. It seems there has been a growing effort to limit conversions. – Yaacov Deane Oct 3 '17 at 16:18
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    See also Avodah Zara 3b. sefaria.org/Avodah_Zarah.3b/he/Wikisource_Talmud_Bavli?lang=bi – Yaacov Deane Oct 3 '17 at 16:27
  • @YaacovDeane I’d say that the entire sugya (2a-3b) is relevant, not just that one amud. Particularly the bottom of 3a. But yes, the top of 3b is definitely relevant. – DonielF Oct 3 '17 at 18:38

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