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31

There is a tradition, recorded in various sources, that the prophet Ovadiah was an Edomite convert. This tradition is born of the fact that there is nothing within his short (one chapter) oracle that concerns Judeans or Israelites; the entire thing is an oracle about the Edomites instead. Sources: Sanhedrin 39b; Tanchuma, Tazria 8. See also Rashi and ...


31

According to traditional Judaism, you are Jewish if and only if you yourself have validly converted to Judaism OR your birth mother was Jewish at the time of your birth (Shulchan Arukh Even HaEzer 7:17 and 8:5, Yoreh De'ah 268:6). To determine if your mother was Jewish apply the same rules: either she herself converted to Judaism OR her birth mother was ...


25

Tosefos addresses a similar line of thought in Bava Kamma 85a: שנתנה רשות לרפאות - א"ת והא מרפא לחודיה שמעינן ליה וי"ל דה"א ה"מ מכה בידי אדם אבל חולי הבא בידי שמים כשמרפא נראה כסותר גזירת המלך קמ"ל דשרי (Rough translation) - One may have thought that there is no right to seek healing from a sickness that comes from Heaven, as it seems like ...


24

The fact that conversion exists as part of halachah means that it is within the framework of options that G-d is giving you. If you felt that really you were supposed to be a woman, then the correct response is to say "If G-d had wanted me to be a woman he would have made me one," because sex change operations etc. are not halachik options. We can't know ...


21

I started preparing for conversion in 1999 during my undergraduate years, and finalized it in 2001. The hardest thing for me was to get an understanding of the legitimacy of different threads in Orthodoxy. I had a hard time accepting that Modern Orthodoxy could be legitimate, but eventually embraced what you might call right-wing MO. Finding a rabbi you ...


21

Yes (Yevamos 78a, Bechoros 46a), the child is completely Jewish. However, slightly different Halachos may be applied in some cases. (For example, whether the child can marry a Kohen.) There is also a dispute over whether the fetus is considered a part of its mother or not, and therefore, whether the child was born Jewish, or is considered to have converted ...


19

Rabbi Chaim Clorfene writes in his popular (and heavily annotated) book, The Path of the Righteous Gentile (p. 42), that B'nei Noach should learn parts of the Torah relevant to their service of God, as well as to the Torah's view on God. He adds that this can be broadly applied, as many areas of Torah "can bring one to greater knowledge concerning the ...


18

@H'Gabriel provided a lot of good resources. In this answer I'll try to address the conversion issue specifically. The conversion process is involved and long. You will go through the following steps, possibly more than once: Investigation and exploration: beginning to figure out what is attracting you, what alternatives there are (e.g. does being a ...


18

I am a convert and have learned both opinions. My late Rav, Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer, zt'l, held in accordance with the Rema. I did not sit shiva for my father or say the kaddish for him. However, Rabbi Yitzhok Breitowitz, shlita, told me that because there are "chashuvah" poskim who hold otherwise, e.g. Rav Ovadiah Yosef, the response should be based on ...


18

Yes. See Igros Moshe YD 2:130, and importantly the Rambam Mamrim 5:11 where he writes: הגר אסור לקלל אביו העכו"ם ולהכותו. ולא יבזהו כדי שלא יאמרו באו מקדושה חמורה לקדושה קלה שהרי זה מבזה אביו. אלא נוהג בו מקצת כבוד.‏ A convert is prohibited from cursing his non-Jewish father or hitting him. And he shouldn't disgrace him, so that people shouldn'...


18

The Nitei Gavriel Pesach 2 Chapter 43:9 brings in the name of the Shevet Halevi that since a convert is as if he is newly born there is a question whether he is still considered a Bechor. Therefore the Nitei Gavriel concludes that it is best that he should either make a Siyum or be part of a Seudas Mitzva.


18

With regard to when she converted, both Ibn Ezra and Ralbag seem to believe that she converted before she married Machlon, being that we don't find any mention of her conversion afterwards and Boaz certainly would not have married her otherwise. Akeidas Yitzchak condemns this approach, though, since Naami explicitly tells her to return to her people, and ...


18

A non-Jew certainly may wear tefillin (in other words, there is no law against them doing so), but they will not be fulfilling a mitzvah. From that perspective, they might be viewed in the same way that one views a Jewish woman who lays tefillin: the Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim 38:3) exempts her but allows her to wear them if she wishes. Note, however, that ...


17

As @GershonGold said, an Orthodox rabbi would not approve your husband's conversion while he is still married to you, and he would not re-marry you afterward, because doing either of these would create an inter-marriage that is a violation of halacha. One possibility is Isaac's from the comments; he could look into Noachide options. Another is this: the ...


15

Rema (Even Haezer 4:37, citing Beis Yosef) says of the Karaites "they are all possible mamzerim, and they should not be accepted if they want to return [to Rabbanite Judaism]." (Interestingly, Rambam, Hil. Mamrim 3:3, seems to disagree: he advocates trying to help them do teshuvah.) It seems that there is some dispute about this nowadays, though. This ...


14

There are indeed a lot of opinions on when Ruth underwent conversion. Rashi (to Ruth 1:12) states that she (and Orpah) were still gentiles when they were on the road back to Eretz Yisrael (indeed, we derive from their conversation the halachah that we are to attempt to dissuade a prospective convert (Yevamos 47b)). On the other hand, Zohar Chadash strongly ...


14

Shevet HaLevi 6:245:2 rules that he would have to tovel them with a bracha. He doesn't distinguish if they were toveled already beforehand and I fail to see why that would make a difference. Tzitz Eliezer 22:49 rules that they should be toveled without a bracha, reasoning that perhaps the tevillah of the person works to 'elevate' him along with all his ...


14

Regarding conversion to Judaism in general, the answers to this question (mentioned by DoubleAA in the comments here) provide ample coverage. I recommend that you read them all, but here are some main points: Jewish Law provides a mechanism for people who are not members of the Jewish Nation to become members - conversion. It's not easy, and it's actually ...


14

Your question implies that when a new religion shows up everyone switches to it like it's the latest new technology. That is NOT the case. Some people did convert (a notable example is Yitro AKA Jethro), plus some Egyptians (the erev rav) and Canaanites. But the vast majority of the world did not convert. And on top of that, Judaism does not ask them to. A ...


14

According to R. Yehudah Halevi, a convert cannot be a prophet. The question on R. Yehudah Halevi's view is that Chazal say Ovadiah was a convert. This question, which was raised by the commentators on the Kuzari, is addressed by R. Yitzchak Sheilat who suggests that R. Yehudah Halevi's view depends on a possible dispute in the Gemara about whether Ovadiah ...


13

Does this happen regularly within the community? Depends upon the community. I once helped computerize a Brooklyn Rabbi's conversion records, and over the course of ~15 years he had helped convert between 150-200 people. How readily accepted are Gentiles into the community (are they seen as strange or welcomed openly)? In a word: readily. In my own small ...


13

No, and it would be nearly impossible to determine. Every modern survey and census of Jews in America has been performed with the widest possible definition of Jew, in order to obtain the fullest and least-controversial numbers. This usually translates to counting someone as a Jew if they identify themselves as Jewish. (Source) For example, a recent ...


13

Based on the Shulchan Aruch Even HaEzer 7:21 the daughter of converts (and her daughter etc. until at least one of the parents has traditional Jewish ancestry) should not marry a priest. However, if she does and she was conceived after her parents' conversions, then they do not need to get divorced, implying a non-Biblical restriction on such a marriage, and ...


13

Anyone can convert to Judaism. We find an example in Gittin 57:2 that Nevuzardan killed millions of jews and then converted.


13

A convert can: Judge a case as part of a beis din that has been accepted by the Yisrael Force a judgment on another convert Force a judgment even on a Yisrael if the converts mother or father was born of a Yisrael A pure convert cannot: Force judgment on another Yisrael These laws are based on the double language of שׂוֹם תָּשִׂים עָלֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ, אֲשֶׁר ...


13

To answer your more specific question: no, a Gentile who studies Torah in a forbidden way is still not stoned. The Rambam rules (Milchamot 10:9 and English) ואם עסק בתורה, או שבת, או חידש דבר--מכין אותו ועונשין אותו, ומודיעין אותו שהוא חייב מיתה על זה; אבל אינו נהרג.‏ If a gentile studies the Torah, makes a Sabbath, or creates a religious practice, ...


13

Shemaya and Avtalyon, two great rabbis from the 1st century BCE, are identified in the Talmud (Gittin 57b) as converts. So it seems that converts can become rabbis, and even important ones. I know of no sources that imply the law on this matter was different before that point. See also this question: Can a convert be a prophet?


13

According to the Kahati comment on that Mishnah, it should be read A ger brings but does not read ... If [he is not a ger but only] his mother is Jewish he brings and says ... Kahati explains that this is put in because we might think that a person whose father is not a Jew but whose mother is a Jew would not be able to say the pasuk because the term ...


13

In terms of rabbis being willing to work with you, I don't think that would be a factor. I've talked with a lot of converts and conversion candidates, including one named Christina, and none of them reported any inquiry or hesitation based on factors beyond their control like what their parents named them. You will probably get some odd looks from other ...


13

If you know for a fact that she was Jewish, then you are 100% Jewish. No conversion is needed. Mazal Tov, and Enjoy! :)


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