Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Cheshvan 5771 - October 14, 2010 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










Produced and housed by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Opinion & Comment
IDF Conversions Further Taint Jewish Lineage

by Yated Ne'eman

The disturbing attempt to sweepingly label the IDF's wholesale "conversion" industry as kosher, marks another worrisome move toward granting this fraudulent apparatus a seal of approval and enabling thousands of non-Jews to be assimilated into the Jewish people under the guise of Jews, after receiving a fictitious "conversion certificate" not worth the paper it's written on.

Gedolei Yisroel past and present, zt"l vylct", have long warned against army conversions, which, in the vast majority of cases, are not carried out in accordance with halacha by upstanding, authorized botei din, but rather at various rabbinical "field courts" set up for this purpose and that fail to uphold the mandatory requirement of accepting the yoke of Torah and mitzvas.

The problem runs deep and is widespread. Various commentators fail to take seriously the halacha passed down to us throughout the generations, which states that accepting mitzvas is a fundamental requirement for conversion. Moreover, as everyone knows, a gentile who wants to convert to gain some sort of benefit, yet intends to lead a nonobservant life, remains a non-Jew in every respect. Even if he undergoes circumcision and submerges himself in a mikveh, the conversion has no validity. Though this fact has always been clearly understood, today it is rapidly eroding, based on an approach of "showing consideration" toward non-Jews seeking to register themselves as Jews.

The Vaad HaRabbonim LeInyonei Giyur founded by HaRav Chaim Kreiswirth zt"l has called upon the Chief Rabbinate to immediately close the conversion program in the Israeli Army. A Vaad spokesman said that there is no halachic justification for a conversion program that functions within a non-religious framework like the Israeli Army, especially since the program is directed by the Machon Lelimudei Yahadus which is co-sponsored by Conservative and Reform. The Vaad has documents which indicate that the conversion candidates are exposed to pluralistic "Judaism" and to heresy in the course of their studies. All serious conversion candidates should be referred to Botei Din kevuim vechashuvim.

In response to the latest attempt to endorse these so-called conversions, Maran HaRav Yosef Sholom Eliashiv, along with other gedolei Torah, signed a letter of protest reading: "A wind of confusion has returned, once again `certifying' gentiles as Jews. We hereby ask all those in a position to have an impact to speak out and prevent a breach in Kerem Beis Yisroel, and to thwart the `certification' of gentiles not in accordance with halacha, lacking acceptance of Torah and mitzvas. We urge rabbis serving as marriage registrars to uphold their obligation to evaluate and look into anyone who presents a conversion certificate, in order to determine whether the conversion was indeed conducted properly. And may Hashem Yisborach send a spirit from Above to restore the religion to its pedestal."

Rabbonim from the Eida Chareidis of Jerusalem wrote a similar notice this week. "With great trembling, it has come to our attention," reads the notice, "that it has been publicly made known that recently certain rabbis have permitted accepting IDF Rabbinate conversion without properly undertaking mitzvas as required by the Torah, and that according to the law of the Holy Torah there can be no conversion without accepting the yoke of Torah and mitzvas — otherwise they remain non-Jews in every respect, immediately and for generations to come.

"We also state our strong objections, for this results in the assimilation of non-Jews within Klal Yisroel, and uproots the Torah as accepted since Mt. Sinai. If, Heaven forbid, this breach takes effect, in the near future there will be no way of knowing who is a Jew and who is a gentile. We also extend a request to all wedding officials to thoroughly verify whether both the bride and the groom are Jewish according to the law of the Holy Torah."

The signatories to the latter notice include HaRav Shmuel Halevi Wosner, who added, "The above remarks are very clear, for conversion without undertaking mitzvas is an act of uprooting halacha, and it is forbidden to perform a conversion without ascertaining that the conversion candidate will uphold the foundations of the Torah. Woe are we that the lineage of our holy people is being undermined. May it be His Will that all botei din are able to place the religion on its proper pedestal, in accordance with the above."

The issue of conversion is dear to us, and the Torah world cannot rest at ease until the scandal of false conversion comes to an end and every conversion is performed according to the halacha passed down to us throughout the generations, including bona fide intentions of Torah observance, and before an established, reputable beis din qualified to deal with such serious matters.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.