A convert is considered to be the child of Abraham when called up to the Torah - ben Avraham Avinu.

Does this still apply if the convert was born as a non-Jewish paternal descendant of Abraham? For example, if an Edomite or Ishmaelite converts, do their retain a halachic paternal lineage through Edom or Ishmael back to Abraham or are they reborn as direct children of Abraham?

In other words, does the principle of calling a ger as ben Avraham Avinu apply to all gerim universally, or only to gerim that were not already among Abraham's seed?

I do recognize that the majority, if not the vast majority, of converts were not born paternal descendants of Abraham, and that of those that are, very few have proof of their descent. I am asking about how things work in theory, or how they would work if everyone had accurate genealogies.

  • 2
    You're asking whether someone who is biologically ben Avraham should not be called that? I fail to see the logic here.
    – msh210
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 19:07
  • It is tradition for a convert to take the name ben Abraham symbolizing that they have accepted the Covenant as if they too trace their spiritual bloodline to Abraham. Indeed Jewish tradition also holds that many peoples physically descended from Abraham. The name is very popular among Muslims. It would seem that ben Abraham symbolizes the spiritual not physical connection. Thus, even a person of a nationality linked to Abraham would still take on the name ben Abraham once converted
    – JJLL
    Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 0:04
  • 1
    Even if his father was Jewish he would be called Ben Abraham, the halacha on this is that Abraham was the first Jew. Blood lineage is replaced by this spiritual lineage in the case of a giyur. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 1:11
  • @msh210 I'm asking whether someone who is biologically a descendant of Abraham would or could still be called to the Torah, etc. by his biological father's name. Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 3:44
  • L'mai nafka minah?
    – ezra
    Commented Aug 17, 2018 at 18:42

2 Answers 2


According to Nedarim chapter 3 Mishna 11 "Decendents of Abraham" refers only to Jews.

  • 'כי ביצחק יקד . Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 21:40

The short answer to your question is "Yes."

A convert from one of the (many) nations that trace their genealogy to Avraham is referred to exactly the same as any convert.

Depending on their nation of origin, there may be restrictions on their being able to convert, but once they do, they're treated exactly like any other convert (that is, 99% of the time, according to halacha, just like any other Jew).

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