Being Mekarev an Intermarried Jew

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  • #1359291

    Joseph
    Participant

    As a longtime kiruv professional one of the most difficult situations we encounter is the attempt to be mekarev an intermarried Jew. Sometimes their family had already sat shiva for them as a result of them intermarrying. But far more often even if their family had opposed their desire to marry a goy (and that itself isn’t always the case), the family is typically far enough removed from Judaism that they didn’t excommunicate him/her for intermarrying.

    Does anyone have eitzas on different approaches as to how to convince such a Jew to leave the goy they’re “married” to? This point is one of the most difficult ones in bringing such Yidden to Judaism.

    #1359360

    Lightbrite
    Participant

    Is leaving their spouse the only muttar way?

    Why can’t you mekarev the Jew and trust in the process that you cannot control the rest?

    Is it fair to put pressure on this person to leave his or her spouse?

    Again, why not mekarev the person who is Jewish? Wouldn’t that work out the rest in time?

    #1359358

    DovidBT
    Participant

    What about increased observance of mitzvos, including daily Torah/Talmud study? In my admittedly limited experience, observance leads to more observance.

    #1359364

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    You dont try to convince them to leave their spouse, especialy if there are children. You are better off trying to convience the non-jewish partner to convert

    #1359375

    Joseph
    Participant

    “Is leaving their spouse the only muttar way?”

    Yes. It is prohibited to live with a non-Jew. Every day living with him/her is an additional sin.

    “Is it fair to put pressure on this person to leave his or her spouse?”

    Yes. We are required to encourage anyone to stop sinning.

    “You dont try to convince them to leave their spouse”

    We don’t even recognize a “marriage” to a non-Jew as a marriage. We absolutely do encourage them to stop sinning by leaving the prohibited relationship. No less than if a Jew were married to a sibling or if a Cohen was married to a divorcee.

    “You are better off trying to convience the non-jewish partner to convert”

    Judaism strongly opposes encouraging conversion. Especially in such a case where it is clear the non-Jew isn’t interested in leading an observant Jewish life, in which case no conversion would even be valid.

    #1359382

    Avi K
    Participant

    Joseph, it is not necessary to be right. It is necessary to be smart. If the Jewish partner is a cohen there is no other way other than divorce. However, if he is not it might be better in the long run to mekarev them and hope that the non-Jewish partner will undergo a halachic conversion and then they will get married properly.

    #1359397

    yehudayona
    Participant

    Joseph, are you really a kiruv professional?

    #1359400

    Joseph
    Participant

    Yes. I also give lectures for those entering the field, training them.

    #1359405

    groissechuchum
    Participant

    if you’re the professional why you asking the amateurs? I don’t get how this is any of your business…people make they’re own choices…you do you’re best to get another person to see things from a “jewish” perspective but they’re ultimate decisions and choices are theirs…Hashem gave us the slav in the midbar, he didn’t deny us the slav he said if thats what you want I’ll give it because hashem doesn’t make choices for us. we do.

    #1359422

    Avi K
    Participant

    Being “married” to a non-Jew is a lav as is a cohen being married to a gioret. On the other hand, chillul Shabbat is karret. It might thus be better to mekarev the cohen even if he might not leave her.

    #1359423

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am fairly certain if a person is married to a jew already (Not that they are dating or engaged) but actually married for some time and that person wishes to convert we do not discourage them the same way we would discourage just a person with no direct ties to judaism

    #1359424

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Avi K.

    I dont think you are correct about a Cohen marrying a convert. I know such a person . The woman had actually converted Reform and they got married. Later on the woman decided she wanted to become more religious and converted Orthodox. They were not forced to divorce. He is a Passul Cohen and their children are not cohanim. They do not have a Ketubah, but remain married (They are both religous as are their children and grandchildren)

    #1359583

    Neville ChaimBerlin
    Participant

    “They were not forced to divorce. He is a Passul Cohen ”

    And she is a Passul ger. Their marriage is assur so she did not take on the mitzvos. No kabbalos mitzvos, no geirus.

    I cannot imagine their children and grandchildren being fully religious. What religious person would actually marry them?

    #1359591

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Neville, She is very religious and the whole family is also quite religious. If you saw them you wouldnt even know the backround. You would think they were hemish people

    #1359594

    yehudayona
    Participant

    There’s something fishy about ZD’s story, but I’m not sure if the geirus is it. I could be wrong, but I think the issur is on the Kohen, not on the wife who’s not suitable for a Kohen. But for sure it’s assur for a couple to live together without a kesubah.

    #1359643

    Avi K
    Participant

    ZD, how would the bet din force them?

    Yehudayona, so far as Ik now you are correct. However, there might be an issur of lifnei iver in staying with him.

    Neville, what about marrying the children of someone who cheats in business or is a baal lashon hara? So far as the gerut is concerned, what counts is her intent when she went into the mikva. It could be that she was not told about this mitzva. It could be that she intended to leave him but had second thoughts later. We discussed this issue regarding a well-known gioret in a previous thread that was full of LH by “frum” Jews. Interestingly, those who attacked Rav Goren for revoking a conversion (which may not have even taken place) were quick to “revoke” hers.

    #1359874

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I do not know how they live together, I dont ask these questions. Its not my business (They are open about this and its not a secret).

    The Husband is not allowed to get Cohen for an Aliyah and cannot do Bircas Cohanim. The children are not Cohanim

    #1359977

    770Chabad🌷🌹
    Participant

    Don’t separate them that’s the worst thing you can do yes it’s sad they the person married a goy but listen u have to have the right approach . Ask them if they want to put on teffillin / light shabbos candles . Don’t force them. Don’t force them to wear a yarmulke and tzitzis they can if they want to and once you have a connection with the person wether u learn with the person or the person comes to daavening then u can discus it s Jew is never ever far… listen I’m not on shlichis I’m just in HS so I don’t have much experience even though I have a little …….

    #1360030

    770Chabad🌷🌹
    Participant

    Speak to them and encourage them mussur is the worst thing U can give

    #1360050

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Actually from what Ive heard from Kiruv people the biggest problems are people who converted Reform or Conservative. At least with Patrilenal jews you can tell them orthodoxy doesnt hold by that (and its still tough many times) but a reform or conservative convert you cant tell them much

    #1360063

    Joseph
    Participant

    You don’t have to tell Reform and Conservative “converts” that they’re gentiles, even though they are, since there’s no reason any Orthodox Jew would have to recruit them to become Jewish — since Judaism doesn’t proselytize.

    #1360068

    yytz
    Participant

    It would be a big mistake to focus on trying to get the husband to leave her.

    What if she is meant to convert? Kiruv is a slow process. Wait for him to become more observant, and once he does, and she is exposed to it, perhaps she will desire to become frum and convert halachically. If not, their religious differences may well lead to divorce. Let him make the decision on his own. Even if it takes her a decade to convert (or for them to amicably divorce and re-marry appropriate parners), that will show the wait was worth it.

    People have to make decisions on their own time. Lives are at stake. One has to be wise and know what battles to pick, when to push an issue and when not to. Why focus on one mitzvah that would cause the most suffering when there are 612 more?

    Another thing to consider is that many who are mekareved do not stay with Yiddishkeit long, and slide back until their own secular ways (or even convert so some other religion, c”v’s.) Is it a good idea to whisk a starry-eyed BT away from his family, plunging the family into despair, when he may well be no more religious than before within a few months, having destroyed his children’s lives for nothing? Often the slower, more gradual process is more effective.

    #1360083

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    People who run Kiruv events constantly run into people who are not Halachic Jews and while its easy to say to get rid of them, its not so easy in practice.

    #1360082

    Joseph
    Participant

    Another thing to consider is that many who are mekareved do not stay with Yiddishkeit long, and slide back until their own secular ways (or even convert so some other religion, c”v’s.) Is it a good idea to whisk a starry-eyed BT away from his family, plunging the family into despair, when he may well be no more religious than before within a few months, having destroyed his children’s lives for nothing?

    It absolutely is a good idea to whisk a Yid away from a gentile he’s/she’s in a relationship with. This is absolutely true even if he soon after stops being frum and r”l reverts back to irreligious secularism. Because even if he goes back to violating the other 612, at least at that point he isn’t sinning repeatedly every day by being in a relationship with a gentile. That alone is a major accomplishment. Being in an intermarried relationship is one of the worst cardinal sins in Judaism. And it is being violated every day the relationship exists.

    A major kiruv accomplishment would be to get an intermarried Jew to end the relationship even if he never once does a single other mitzvah.

    #1360107

    770Chabad🌷🌹
    Participant

    Ask any shliach he goes thru this multiple times
    There was a story about a year or two ago that a huge family found out they weren’t Jewish

    #1360111

    Joseph
    Participant

    Conversions of gentiles married to a Jew are far more typically insincere by the gentile spouse, who is doing it out of deference to the desires of their Jewish spouse rather than any true kabolos mitzvos or desire to live a true halachic life. This fact has been borne out repeatedly by past such purported conversions.

    #1360145

    JJ2020
    Participant

    The people I’ve seen doing kiruv do it by teaching Torah, inviting people to their homes, being open and loving. Listening and spending time with them. Singing and have Shabbos together. I never heard of a kiruv rabbi directly trying to make someone do or not do something. A kiruv rabbi isn’t a beis din or police man. People need to make changes at their own pace. Lasting change can’t be forced. That leads to resentment. People have to be encouraged and supported. It’s not our job to judge others. Rather to love them and be there for them. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to do aveiros. It just means understanding that we can’t control others. Hashem doesn’t do it and neither should we.

    #1360179

    Avi K
    Participant

    According to Kabbala there is a special inyan to brink back non-Jewish descendants of Jews (zera Yisrael). Hopefully these people will become investigate Judaism, discover that they are not really Jewish and convert. I, in fact, have several friends who are products of marriages between Jewish men and non-Jewish women. They all converted and are now quite frum.

    #1360190

    Joseph
    Participant

    JJ2020: The threat of being put to death for violating Shabbos (and other penalties Jewish courts mete out) isn’t a matter of Hashem enforcing and forcing compliance of His laws?

    #1360217

    yytz
    Participant

    A lot of good responses on this thread.

    I personally don’t believe Joseph is a kiruv rabbi.

    Let’s say a Jewish man wants to become frum but is married to a secular Jewish woman? Should we urge him to immediately leave her? After all, every moment she is refusing to immediately become 100% frum she is causing him to sin in various ways! Of course not. Some misguided kiruv rabbis might do this, but not the reasonable ones. Rav Arush’s Garden of Peace has an important discussion of such issues.

    It’s a similar issue when a goy wants to convert but is already married to a Jew. We don’t urge him to immediately leave the Jew (although that would put an end to some aveiros), because if he plays his cards right she may well become a BT and everyone will be better off. Both these last two are common scenarios.

    #1360346

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Please tell us Joseph of all the success stories how you got Jewish Men R’L married to Shiksa’s to leave their wives and goyish children for a torah life

    #1360523

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    yytz
    “when a goy wants to convert but is already married to a Jew. We don’t urge him to immediately leave the Jew (although that would put an end to some aveiros),”

    I dod not believe that is correct. when the goy converts he has to accept all mitzvos. He cannot remain with an irreligious woman who will not keep halcha. Although your reasoning may be a good one. A Ger has to be mekabel the entire Torah.

    On the other hand, as I quoted from Rabbi Resiman besehm R’ Moshe “Nur ah Ger niz mekabel Zayn kol hatorah bevas Achas” A Baa lTeshuva should keep as many mitzvos as he can if leaving his goyish Wife isnt possible of course he should still keep kosher, wear tefilin etc.
    and As ZD said these conversions are generally done, as Halcha says they are good once done.

    #1360593

    Yanky1998
    Participant

    I’m truly shocked to see so many people say that we should convert the partner of an intermarried Jew. A conversion for the sake of marriage is completely pasul and even though some Batei Din allow it sometimes this does not mean it is ok. It would be the same as the rabbonim going into the house of every freie yid who eats chometz on pesach to replace the chometz with matzos. It is not the beis din’s task to keep people from aveiros that they have already commited. The Syrian community of Brooklyn does not allow the children of these ‘marriages’ into their yeshivos because they know this will be a trigger for their bochrim to consider marrying a goy as a serious option. The truth is that geirus is only for those who truly have no ulterior motives like kavod, money or marriage. With that said I think we should educate yidden all over the world, no matter if they are frum or frei, that intermarriage simply is not an option. People who do, chas v’sholom, choose to intermarry, are out, simple as that. Intermarrying is the worst of all aveiros as it is not only affecting yourself but it equals cutting off all future generations that would have been born had that person had a Jewish family.

    #1360678

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Nobody is advocating converting someone before they marry a jew. The question is AFTER they are married for some time especially if there are children. And some time does not mean they get married and the day after they get married the non-jewish spouse starts conversion. We are talking about enough time (Whatever that might be) where its unlikely the will split (Like if there are children)

    #1360703

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Kicking people out is not going to work as many dont care and besides if its the woman who marries a non-jew the children are still jewish, Are we going to write off those Yiddishe Neshamas?

    #1360731

    Joseph
    Participant

    Yanky is absolutely correct. Even very recently families would cut off all contact with anyone who r”l intermarried. Furthermore, if someone wants to convert in order to marry a Jew, we are supposed to reject the conversion even when it is attempted before the “marriage”. All the more so when a gentile already “married” a Jew we are to reject such conversion requests. All this is longstanding Halacha. It was only not that many decades ago when intermarriage started r”l becoming so common that some liberal “beit dins” started to try to weaken these Halachic principles.

    #1360897

    huju
    Participant

    I am shocked by the opening post: someone pays Joseph to do kiruv. I never would have guessed.

    #1360920

    Yanky1998
    Participant

    Zahavasdad: A ‘marriage’ between a Jew and a goy is not considered to be halachically valid anyway, so converting the non-Jewish spouse is always ‘for the sake of marriage’. It is straight up halacha that we can’t accomodate these cases, one of the reasons is that it is rewarding the intermarried Jew for his/her wrongdoing.

    ”Kicking people out is not going to work”

    It works for the Syrians, intermarriage is virtually nonexistent in their community B”H. We are better off without the people who will still intermarry after all the warnings and education against intermarriage, seeing the harm it has done to Klal Yisroel. Those with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers are Jews and we definitely should be mekareiv them, yet it is statistically proven that they have weaker Jewish identities than those w/ 2 Jewish parents. An example, a friend of mine has a Jewish mother and he didn’t have a bris because his father did not want him to.

    #1360963

    Yanky1998
    Participant

    Joseph: Right, it is truly a shame that many Batei Din are doing these conversions now, as seeing these cases gives the boys in the community the idea that maybe they could marry a non-Jew and convert her later on. The whole chiyuv to find a Jewish spouse is gone in some communities because of this.

    #1361036

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Judaism is not like Catholism in that there is no central authority (Like a Sanhendrin) Its very spread out. The Syrian community is small and very cohesive so they can do things the larger community cannot.

    A group like Satmar can throw out someone from Satmar as they are small and cohesive, but they cant throw out someone who is not a Satmar , or who doesnt want to be a satmar.

    While you might say there are Gedolim, Many jews do not hold by the Gedolim and mockingly call them ” Supreme Charedi Leaders” Their power and influence and holds to those who follow them, And I stand by my statements until there is a Sanhedrin, you cannot throw someone out from Judaism, they will just go to another group of Jews

    #1361060

    Mek5
    Participant

    Any Jew reading this post to whom this is relevant should contact his local orthodox beis din and local orthodox Rav and not trust what unknown people say online.

    החכם עיניו בראשו והכסיל בחושך הולך

    #1361141

    JJ2020
    Participant

    Joseph- since creation people have been doing aveiros. Hashem could stop it but he doesn’t. He lets us choose what to do whether good or bad. All we can do is educate others and the best way is by being a good role model and loving others. When people see someone real they often want to be more like them. That could lead to real lasting change and growth. Its beis din Job to keep law and order not the job of kiruv rabbis.

    #1361152

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “Any Jew reading this post to whom this is relevant should contact his local orthodox beis din and local orthodox Rav and not trust what unknown people say online.”

    Wait hold the Presses
    I SHOULDNT trust Everything I read online?

    but I distinctly recall reading a Lincoln quote that it was safe to beleive everything you read onlione.
    Of course I also saw a quote NOt to believe everything I read online

    #1361162

    Joseph
    Participant

    JJ2020: Correct, Hashem gives everyone bechira to choose to do mitzvos or, r”l, aveiros. But Hashem also demands justice be meted out in this world by Beis Din, including for aveiros of Bein Adom L’Mokom — some of which carry severe penalties such as capital punishment — in addition to schar v’onesh in Beis Din Shel Maala. Beis Din is authorized and is supposed to carry out punishments such as malkos and other corporal punishments for various aveiros even today. The only reason we don’t is because the goyish governments stop us. When that wasn’t the case, as recently as until the emancipation in Europe 150 years ago, our butei dinim indeed meted out such punishments.

    In those times we didn’t need kiruv professionals since Beis Din would give a nice beating to any Jew who violated the laws of the Torah until he started complying with Jewish Law. (When you hear people refer to “the good ‘ole days”, that’s what they’re thinking about.)

    #1361180

    🍫Syag Lchochma
    Participant

    “In those times we didn’t need kiruv professionals since Beis Din would give a nice beating to any Jew who violated the laws of the Torah until he started complying with Jewish Law. (When you hear people refer to “the good ‘ole days”, that’s what they’re thinking about.)”

    Oh my goodness, Joseph. even for you that comment is completely ridiculous.

    #1361186

    ubiquitin
    Participant

    “A conversion for the sake of marriage is completely pasul and even though some Batei Din allow it sometimes this does not mean it is ok. It would be the same as the rabbonim going into the house of every freie yid who eats chometz on pesach to replace the chometz with matzos. ”

    Please easy with the am haaratzos
    firstly such a geiros is NOT passul (though it might be bedieved) see Mechaber 368:12
    http://hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=9147&st=&pgnum=194
    Rav Uziel has a teshuva on this in which he brings a teshuvas Harambam that essentially allows this mipnei takanos Hashavim

    Secondly. Of course Rabbonim should prevent a frei Yid from eating chometz if they can. You comparison is a good one, but strangely it led you to the wrong conclusion

    “We are better off without the people who will still intermarry after all the warnings and education against intermarriage, ”

    Who gave yo upermission t opush away members of Klal yisroel. Yisroel af al pi shechatha Yisroel hu. If we can get him to wear tefilin great! Get rid of his chometz, of course we shoudl (in spite of you strange assertion) get him not to intermarry, again of course we should.
    but if that sint an option of course he shoudl keep other mitzvos and please leave any evaluation of potetial geirus to competent poskim

    #1361201

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In the “Olden Days” A jew could just leave the community as well and convert to R’L christianity as many did, Including some very famous jews

    #1361205

    Joseph
    Participant

    And getting back on track to the original topic of this thread, let us recall that engaging in a relationship with a gentile is so severe a violation, that it is one of the few instances where every Jew today (who isn’t a violator in this area himself) is halachicly authorized (as we learn from Pinchas) to extrajudicially slay a Jew and the gentile partner while they’re engaged in this transgression.

    #1361221

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Pinchos was allowed to engage in his Zealoty, not because Zimri was involved with Cosbi, but because they did it publically. had they done it in private it would not have been allowed

    #1361216

    JJ2020
    Participant

    Joseph – I didn’t notice know 150 yrs ago they were giving malkus in Europe. however today we don’t have that any more. And kiruv rabbis can’t take their place. Sure having a Sanhedrin would be great but we don’t have it.

    I appreciate your dedication to halacha and desire for others to keep the Torah. I think however there is something lacking in your approach. There is a lack of sensitive and sympathy for others. The ways of the Torah are derchei Noam. When you spend time with people who have really worked on themselves and are real Torah Jews you can see this. You may be right about certain halachos. But it’s clear from all the reactions you get that something is off. You are not spreading Shalom your not encouraging people here. There is something lacking. A lack of empathy and trying to understand things from others perspective. A lack of understanding that people are humans and not dogs who can be trained with carrots and sticks.

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