web analytics
December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



Q & A: How To Treat A Ger (Part I)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

QUESTION: The Rambam unequivocally states that a Jew by choice should be treated as an equal to any other Jew in all respects. In our synagogue we had a serious rift regarding this issue and many members left the synagogue. What happened was that a proselyte, a ger, ran for the position of president of the congregation. He had served as the secretary of the congregation and he was respected and liked by the members of the congregation. The rabbi of the congregation ruled that since he was not a Jew from birth, he could not run for the position of president of the congregation or occupy a position as an officer of the congregation. I would like to know, from your perspective, what the halacha is on this important issue.
Name withheld by request
(Via E-Mail)
ANSWER: The Rambam’s rule that you cite is found in Hilchot Mechira (14:13-15). Rambam is essentially quoting the Gemara (Bava Metzia 58b) and he states the following in regard to fraud and deception as it applies to sales and purchases and more specifically wrongs that are committed verbally: “How [do we explain ‘aggrieving with words’? If he (the individual with whom you deal) is a ba’al teshuva, one who has repented from his previous, non observant ways, you shall not say to him, ‘Remember your past behavior.’ If he is a child of gerim (converts) you shall not say to him, ‘Remember your father’s ways.’ If he is a ger and he comes to study Torah, you shall not say to him, ‘Does the mouth that ate slaughtered carcasses and non-kosher animals, now come to study the Torah which was given from the mouth of the Holy One?’ If you deal with an ailing person, or one who has buried his children, you shall not speak to him as Job’s friends spoke to him (Job 4:6-7) saying, ‘Behold, is not your fear (of G-d) your foolishness, and your hope the integrity of your ways?’ [Rashi ad loc. explains that he now appears to be lacking in fear of G-d, which is at odds with his previous behavior and statements.] ‘Recall, now, which innocent person ever perished? Where have upright people ever been obliterated?’Rambam continues: “If one comes upon a driver of donkeys who seeks grain [for his animals], he shall not say to him, ‘Go to so-and-so,’ if he knows that particular party never sold grain. If one is asked a question regarding a specific area of knowledge, he shall not in turn ask of one who is not proficient in that topic, ‘What would you answer in this case?’”

Rambam concludes by stating that any and all who mistreat a ger, whether it be or in monetary dealings, verbally violates three negative commandments. First, as it states (Leviticus 25:17), “Velo tonu ish et amito [veyareita meElokecha ki Ani Hashem Elokeichem] - You shall not aggrieve one another [and you shall fear your G-d because I am Hashem your G-d.]” Rashi ad loc. explains that this command refers to ona’at devarim, verbal aggrieving.

Second, one is also in violation of the following prohibition: “[Vechi timkeru mimkar le'amitecha o kanah miyad amitecha] al tonu ish et achiv – [And when you sell goods to your brother or when you buy from the hand of your brother] you may not defraud (or aggrieve) one another” (Leviticus 25:14). Rashi explains that this command refers to monetary fraud, ona’at mammon.

Third, the wrongdoer transgresses the words of Exodus (22:20), “Ve’ger lo toneh [ve'lo tilchatzenu, ki gerim heyitem be'eretz mitzrayim] – You shall not do wrong to a stranger, nor shall you oppress him [for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.]” Rashi ad loc. derives from this statement the prohibitions of both ona’at devarim and ona’at mammon in dealing with a ger.

Thus it is clear that a convert and one who was born a Jew are to be treated equally, except that we find somewhat of a modification to that rule in another statement of Rambam. The second statement is found in Hilchot Isurei Bi’ah (12:17), where Rambam cites the Talmud (Kiddushin 69a and Yevamot 76b-77b) stating, “All gentiles, who convert and accept upon themselves the mitzvot of the Torah, or slaves when they are emancipated, are [considered] Jews in all matters, as the verse states (Numbers 15:15), ‘Hakahal chukah achat lachem [vela'ger hagar, chukat olam le'doroteichem, kachem kager yihyeh lifnei Hashem] - There shall be one law for your congregation [both for you and for the proselyte who dwells (with you), an eternal law throughout your generations, like you shall be the proselyte before G-d].’ They are permitted to enter the congregation of G-d immediately.”

This refers to a convert and an emancipated slave being able to marry a Jewish woman, or a giyoret and an emancipated bondswoman being able to marry a Jewish man, with the exception of converts from four specific nations. Converts from the nations of Ammon, Moab, Egypt and Edom are considered Jews in all matters, but they are not allowed to enter the congregation of Israel in marriage [as Rambam explains in further discussion].

Thus we see that the convert may be subject to restrictions to which the born Jew is not subject. However, even then we must treat the ger as we treat other Jews in social and financial matters, and Rambam did not intend to contradict any halacha found in the Gemara.

(To be continued)

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: How To Treat A Ger (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A clip from"How to Stab a Jew," the latest hit on Arab social media.
‘How to Stab a Jew’ Going Viral on Palestinian Authority Social Media [video]
Latest Judaism Stories
Torah-Hakehillah-121914

Why is the tzitzis reminder on our clothing? How does it remind us that there are 613 mitzvos?

Grunfeld-Raphael-logo

The court cannot solely rely on death certificates issued by non-Jewish institutions without conducting its own investigation into the facts of the case.

Business-Halacha-logo

“I’m still not sure we have a right to damage his property,” said Mrs. Schloss. “Can you ask someone?”

Rabbi Sacks

Jacob’s blessing of Ephraim over Manasseh had nothing to do with age and everything to do with names

Slavery was universal; So, why was Egypt targeted in this object lesson?

Rav Akiva Eiger is assuming that the logic of the halacha that both the son and his mother are obligated to honor his father and therefore he must honor his fathers wishes first, is a mathematical equation.

The first requirement is a king must admit when he is wrong.

Reward And Punishment
‘Masser Rishon For The levi’im’
(Yevamos 86a)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Reb Shlomo Zalman could not endure honorifics applied to him because of his enormous humility

Because we see these events as world changing, as moments in history, they become part of us forever.

They stammer “I’m not Orthodox,” as if that absolves them from the responsibility of calling to G-d

It’s fascinating how sources attain the status “traditional,” or its equivalent level of kashrus.

She was determined that the Law class was Dina’s best chance of finding a husband, and that was the real reason she wanted her to go to college.

But who would have ever guessed that Hashem would unlock the key to the birth on same day as the English anniversary of our wedding.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.

M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.
M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Question: If Abraham was commanded to circumcise his descendants on the eighth day, why do Arabs – who claim to descend from Abraham through Yishmael – wait until their children are 13 to circumcise them? I am aware that this is a matter of little consequence to our people. Nevertheless, this inconsistency is one that piques my curiosity.
M. Goldman
(Via E-mail)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-how-to-treat-a-ger-part-i/2003/09/17/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: