A New Meaning for the Phrase Forced Converts
Commentary by A.Y.M.
Recently, shocking reports were published, saying the Chief Rabbinate
had capitulated to High Court pressure, bypassed all of the local
rabbis and appointed four national marriage registrars, rabbis who are
known for their Mizrachi world view. Through this act they opened the
way wide for every false convert who elects to enter, to come right
in! It is plain to see that all of the clarifications issued by the
Chief Rabbinate were empty.
Thus our only option is to give voice to the truth, time after time,
to counter the world of deceptiveness. And the clear truth in this
painful battle we learned from the teachings of Rabbenu Hagodol, Maran
the Avi Ezri ztvk"l. He voiced it in his day publicly, with a
bitter heart, saying these exact words: "When it is known that the
prime minister is behind the dayan and the rov, and the
fact that they are applying pressure to him demonstrates that HaKodosh
Boruch Hu is not there, rendering a truthful hearing impossible."
According to his pointed remarks, the concept of "geirei
arayos" has taken on a new meaning now. If during the time of the
Prophets the "converts" were threatened, in our age the rabbinical
figures in charge of conversion are threatened. The rapacious lion has
opened its mouth and roared: the High Court, the Prime Minister, the
Foreign Minister, the Constitutional Committee Chairman — each
has a roar of his own and a litany of threats, both known and unknown
to us. One roars for recognition of Reform "conversion," another for
recognition of rabbis from Tzohar and yet another to legally sever IDF
"conversions" from the authority of the Chief Rabbinate, etc., etc.
(And those which are not known to us are known to them.)
Finally the "conversion" courts are legally binding and have
government backing. The Chief Rabbinate is really hard-pressed. Their
only option is to resign. But of course there's always another way,
you can also follow a convoluted path and contrive a "dispensation" to
endorse 4,500 geirei arayos, i.e. people with a conversion
certificate signed under duress.
Regarding the "dispensation," a fundamental point should be noted: our
rabbonim are of the opinion that the "ruling" is wholly unfounded in
claiming that the IDF "converts" earnestly undertook the yoke of
mitzvas. In truth, when the "ruling" was presented to Moetzes Chachmei
HaTorah, some of them refused to sign, as reported, and rightfully so,
for there is no conversion in this case at all. Eventually they agreed
to sign with the addition of a single sentence: "If he accepted the
yoke of Torah and mitzvas in earnest, then the conversion is genuine,"
i.e. they question the Chief Rabbinate's absolute determination that
these are genuine converts. Thus, the document undermines itself.
Still, the "ruling" was issued loud and clear. IDF "converts" are
permitted. (The above sentence was written in tiny letters that were
too small to read.) Can this be considered a ruling?
How enduring are the remarks by Rabbenu Hagodol cited above, that when
pressure is applied to the dayan and the rov, a
legitimate hearing is infeasible.