May 10, 2012 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm #603352
Why are gerrim unable to become a Rov?
May 11, 2012 12:55 am at 12:55 am #1151500
As for as i know they are able google Rabbi Asher Wade.
May 11, 2012 1:17 am at 1:17 am #1151501
I assume Unklus [who is a Ger] had Semicha, in light of his wonderful Peirush of “Targum Unklus” which he compiled.
May 11, 2012 1:18 am at 1:18 am #1151502
you can’t have a king who is a ger – there’s a rambam (yad) about this applying to any position of serarah (e.g. parnas hatzibur etc)
May 11, 2012 1:25 am at 1:25 am #1151503
Gerim can get semicha. There is a rule, however, against a ger having a position of communal authority (not sure of the origin though). I’m not sure, but the reason for this law may be that having a ger as a leader may make the community feel uneasy or suspicious, and the ger himself will notice and it will be an unpleasant experience (since gerim are more sensitive). However, I’m not sure how strictly this is applied in practice. For example, I think the Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic is a ger.
May 11, 2012 2:46 am at 2:46 am #1151504
There is absolutely no barrier to a ger becoming a Rov. there are many examples in the time of the gemoro that gerim were very prominent Tanaim (mibnei bonim shel homon horosho lomdu torah bivnei brak, shmaya ,avtalion, Unkelos hager, rabbi akiva desended from gerim)
There is a prohibition on making him KING (not just any communal position) ‘mikerev achechu tossim olechu melech”. Devorim 17-15. from amongst your “brothers” you should make a king. A ger is not considered “from amongst your brothers”.
May 11, 2012 2:52 am at 2:52 am #1151505
Joseph(derszoger), who told you they can’t? Reb Moshe in a teshuva writes that they can.
May 11, 2012 3:00 am at 3:00 am #1151506
Who said they couldn’t?
May 11, 2012 4:06 am at 4:06 am #1151507
“A convert may not hold a position of Jewish communal authority.” (Mishneh Torah, Hilchos Melachim 1:4). The Tzitz Eliezer ruled that a convert may not serve in a lone communal position but he may serve on a communal committee. (Tzitz Eliezer 19:48)
May 11, 2012 6:12 am at 6:12 am #1151508
Practically speaking, the profusion of MO/RZ giyurim requires a level of surveillance over gerim that rules this out.
May 11, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm #1151509
Loyal Jew(Joseph 1 or 2), the profusion of right-wing fanatics requires reigning them in.
May 11, 2012 1:03 pm at 1:03 pm #1151510
Loyal Jew: Why do MO/RZ geirim need a different level of surveillance?
May 11, 2012 1:32 pm at 1:32 pm #1151511
derszoger- the rambam is based upon a sifri and various gemoros. However, in modern times, it has been interpreted as a post that has absolute power- unlike today, when decisions are not made unilaterally- this is why The “Tzitz Elierzer’ allows communal positions. The same question aorse as per women and this is what acharonim “paskened”.
May 11, 2012 2:29 pm at 2:29 pm #1151512
rob: The Tzitz Eliezer is talking about practical positions of today when he prohibits a lone communal position but permits if he is only one of several on a committee making decisions jointly.
May 11, 2012 2:37 pm at 2:37 pm #1151513
derszoger- you are echoing what I wrote.I have not seen the teshuva of the Tzitz Eliezer but I know that this question arose in the early years when it came to the question of women voting and taking certain positions in the political community. The Sefardi Chief rabbi, Rav ben Zion Uziel zt’l, allowed women to vote and occupy communal positions because, in a democratic society, no one has absolute power anymore- in contrast to the kings of yore, who were absolute rulers. The position of women is similar to that of Gerim, as it is derived from the same possuk.
May 11, 2012 2:56 pm at 2:56 pm #1151515
Derzoger(Joseph), and Reb Moshe matirs, as it is not a postion of power, unlike a chief of police, for example.
May 11, 2012 3:12 pm at 3:12 pm #1151516
According to his wikipedia entry Rabbi Sidon is a ger and the current Chief Rabbi of Prague and of the Czech Republic.
If that’s not a position of communal (non-committee) authority, what is? However, I don’t know of any shul rabbis who are converts. Maybe there are some? If a community did want a certain convert as a shul rabbi, maybe they could appoint two rabbis as shul rabbi (the other one not being a convert of course), so in effect it would not be a lone position of authority. I do think that converts are not supposed to sit on batei din for the purpose of finalizing a conversion (which makes sense). But that doesn’t mean a ger can’t be a shul rabbi, because conversions normally go through a well-known beit din (there’s a list now that is approved by the Rabbanut), not just any three rabbis thrown together.
May 11, 2012 4:09 pm at 4:09 pm #1151517
So a woman or a Ger couldn’t become a chief of police?
May 11, 2012 4:28 pm at 4:28 pm #1151518
mermaid- I think that that remark is mdd’s own words. The term of position of authority is not clear. Many acharonim believe that it only refers to positions of “absolute”power, as it was in pre-democratic times (and certainly in the gemoro and the Rambam’s times). Today, when all of someone’s actions can be reviewed ,challenged and overturned (even a President’s!),the original prohibition does not apply.
May 11, 2012 4:29 pm at 4:29 pm #1151519
Mermaid: Not according to the Rambam. Many other Rishonim, however, disagree.
May 11, 2012 4:40 pm at 4:40 pm #1151520
The problem with a Ger (or a Baal Tseuvah) becoming a Rov is that by the time they get started, even in their early adult years (children rarely have the independence to change religiously), every else has a 20 year head start. Ask yourself what chance someone who was illiterate at age 25 would have of becoming a great writer (some had, but not many)?
May 11, 2012 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #1151521
Wow Akuperma. Wow. Tell that to R’ Akiva.
May 11, 2012 6:35 pm at 6:35 pm #1151522
Ask yourself what chance someone who was illiterate at age 25 would have of becoming a great writer (some had, but not many)?
I don’t know about that. rabbi Akiva started at 40.
May 11, 2012 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1151523
Sam, which Rishonim disagree with Rambam and on what do the disagree with him on? Anyways, if the Shulchan Aruch paskens like the Rambbbam how is it relevant if there are other Rishonim?
If the Tzitz Eliezer says its assur to act individually, he’s talking about contemporary times. He answered an actual teshuva presented to him.
May 11, 2012 8:53 pm at 8:53 pm #1151524
Shmoel: Did the SH”A Pasken like the Rambam? I thought he didn’t say anything on this issue. R’ Schachter quoted that R’ Soloveitchik had a list of Rishonim who argues on the Rambam in this. (The irony is that R’ Soloveitchik often Paskened like the Rambam when he was a Da’as Yochid and R’ Moshe disagreed with him on it; in this case the positions are reversed.)
May 11, 2012 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm #1151526
akuperma- Totally not true. It has been done.
And based on that, what would be the difference between a get and a baal teshuva?
May 13, 2012 2:42 am at 2:42 am #1151527
Rabbiofberlin, it is in the Gemora (Kiddushin, perek 4) — that any position of authority is included. A Rabbi is not that, unless he seats on a beis din. Then, I think, it depends on what is being paskened on.
Akuperma, it depends on the fellow’s intelligence and siyatta de’Shmaya. There are big Talmidey Chachomim, who had a late start.
May 17, 2012 4:06 am at 4:06 am #1151529
According to Yevamot 102a (Rava says that midoraita, a convert can judge a case between converts) and Choshen Mishpat 7:1, a ger can serve as a dayan in gerus cases.
Interestingly, a patrilineal Jew who becomes a halakhic Jew through conversion also can serve as a dayan in cases involving a born Jew, according to Choshen Mishpat 7:1. The Aruch haShulchan there says davka that someone with a Jewish father who then converts (zera yisrael) can sit on a bet din involving cases with born Jews, since that is enough to satisfy the requirement of “mi kerev achecha.”
May 17, 2012 6:04 am at 6:04 am #1151530
There are discussions regarding the extent of the definition of “position of communal authority” (sarrara). Some say it only applies to positions which are held for life and passed on to the incumbent’s son (the first is not generally true in our time and the second has never been the rule except among Chassidic rabbis). Some say the degree of honor attached to the position is what counts (interestingly among them there are those who say that a ger may be a gabbai as gabbaim are not honored).
May 17, 2012 2:33 pm at 2:33 pm #1151531
Why is that interesting? Is the general consensus that a ger can’t be a gabbai?
May 17, 2012 6:09 pm at 6:09 pm #1151532
The interesting thing is what it says about the treatment of gabbaim.
May 17, 2012 6:38 pm at 6:38 pm #1151533
A child of a Ger is not necessarily a Ger, so there is no proof from Rebbe Akiva. Shemaya and Avtalyon might have been children of Geirim and not Geirim themselves. B’nei Banav Shel Haman, even if we are talking about the Geirim themselves, were not necessarily in a position of authority. There is nothing wrong with a Ger teaching Torah.
I remeber the reason being that it is uncomfortable for people to be judged by a newcomer. If the people consented then it is OK. That is why if someone was voted in there is no problem. Tosafos says this regarding Devora.
May 17, 2012 7:17 pm at 7:17 pm #1151534
AviK, chas ve’sholom, waht are you saying? A Ger can not be in a position of honor? Chas’vesholom to say it! The only problem is a position of power.
September 2, 2012 2:11 am at 2:11 am #1151535
Some Rabbis without any jewish roots; all of them are converts to judaism (gerrim):
Rabbi Dr. Asher Wade (Chassidut Gur/Ger)
Rabbi Natan Gamedze (African black haredi litvish Rabbi)
Rabbi Yaakov Ephraim Parisi (Chassidut Chabad-Lubavitch)
Rabbi Moshe Hattori (japanese convert to orthodox Judaism)
Rabbi Binyamin Klugger (french convert and Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi)
Rabbi YY Rubinstein
So gerrim CAN become rabbis!
September 2, 2012 3:14 am at 3:14 am #1151536
I am a ger and know more then alot of FFB’s It does not take a lot today to become a “Rabbi” just get farherd in Yoreh De’ah, thats what smicha is. You don’t have to be a big Talmid Chucham to get the title “Rabbi”.
December 18, 2012 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #1151537
I know I’m more than a little late on this, but I’m surprised by the conclusions here. If one would read just a little further on in the Mishneh Torah there would be no discussion: “A king should not be appointed from converts to Judaism…This does not apply to the monarchy alone, but to all positions of authority within Israel. A convert may not serve as an army commander, a leader of fifty, or as a leader of ten. He may not even supervise the allocation of water from a stream to various fields.” Hilchos Melachim uMilchamoseihem 1:4
If a convert can’t even be in charge of an irrigation ditch, all the more so they’re not authorized in giving a psach din, or being leader/rav of a congregation, or having any official titles that bespeak of authority, etc.
But the original question was “WHY are gerim unable to become a Rov?” Short answer is because the halacha (i.e. Mishneh Torah) says so. But a deeper thought told over to me is because Chazal wants a ger’s choice to convert to Judaism to be so far removed of an ulterior motive that there’s 1.) No question of their sincerity, i.e. no possible ‘Trojan Horse scenario’ like what we’re seeing now with Asher Meza et al. and 2.)The reward for converting is even greater.
Just because some gerim are called “rabbis” and therefore “can” be rabbis, it doesn’t mean that they should be.
P.S. I’m a ger myself and hold by the RaMBaM
December 18, 2012 8:47 pm at 8:47 pm #1151538
What we call “semicha” is just a courtesy. Real “semicha” hasn’t existed for almost 2000 years.
Assuming a Ger is already literate in Hebrew when he convert, it should probably take a few years in a Baal Tsuvah yeshiva to get up to the level of the typical FFB 18 years old coming out of a yeshiva high school.
December 18, 2012 9:09 pm at 9:09 pm #1151539
The Chief Rabbi of Prague is a convert.
December 18, 2012 9:31 pm at 9:31 pm #1151540
What is a convert supposed to be sincere about?
December 18, 2012 9:40 pm at 9:40 pm #1151541
The primary reason that a Ger may not hold a position of serara, is because he does not have zechus avos. If the people over whom he has serara are moser din lashomayim on him, he will need zechus avos to protect himself.
The gemara in Brachos 27b mentions this as a reason that R’ Akiva did not get the job of nasi when Rabban Gamliel was deposed.
December 18, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #1151542
Note that the Rambam doesn’t say “Rabbi” in his list of things a Ger cannot be appointed for. Geirim, according to the Rambam’s understanding, can not be given any positions of actual power. But this does prevent the Ger from being in a position of persuasion. A Rabbi, as opposed to a Dayan, has no actual authority, no actual power. He can’t enforce his positions or rulings anymore than the average person.
December 18, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm #1151543
I would like to point out that the same source preventing a Ger from a position of Srara (i.e. the posuk of m’kerev achica), is the source barring women from positions of Srara.
If, as I think is the case, a Ger can be a Rabbi, then a woman can be a Rabbi.
December 18, 2012 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm #1151544
Rabbi Akiva was not a convert.
December 19, 2012 12:44 am at 12:44 am #1151545
That is correct oomis. He was a ben ger, However the zechus avos issue is the same.
December 19, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am #1151546
Midwesterner: Don’t make up reasons for Dinim D’Oraisa. That might be a nice explanation, but the real reason is that Hashem told us Mikerev Achecha Tasim Alecha Melech. R’ Akiva was not because it would have been Assur to do, but because there was a real Sakanas Nefashos (see the end of the Tanur Shel Achnai story).
December 19, 2012 12:59 am at 12:59 am #1151547
Is it the same? For how many generations down? Today, do ben-acher-bens of Rav Akiva also have no zchus avos?
December 19, 2012 3:27 am at 3:27 am #1151548
Sam2: Agreed. I assume what you’re referring to in the Tanur shel achnai is the death of Rabban Gamliel through R’ Eliezer’s tachanun, in BM 59b. His pristine yichus didn’t save him there, did it?
I did not make up that taama d’kra though. I’ll have to track down the source.
December 19, 2012 4:28 am at 4:28 am #1151549
Midwesterner: Correct. The point there is that it would have been even more dangerous for R’ Akiva to take over because he didn’t have the Zchus Avos.
December 20, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am #1151550
Does a ger who was ben Esav lose Zchus Avos when he converts or do only ben Dovid and the Kohanim have this Zchus Avos?
December 21, 2012 10:51 am at 10:51 am #1151551
Or is the fact that a convert’s father fathered his child with a non-jewish woman create a lack of zchus avos for 3-4 generations?
December 21, 2012 2:19 pm at 2:19 pm #1151552
I dont know if Onkelos was a Rabbi or had Semicha….
December 21, 2012 2:50 pm at 2:50 pm #1151553
The Aruch haShulchan (CM 7:1) says that if a ger’s father is Jewish, than he is considered eligible to serve as a dayan in a case involving born Jews.
May 6, 2016 5:42 am at 5:42 am #1151554
May 6, 2016 1:13 pm at 1:13 pm #1151555
May 6, 2016 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #1151556
I believe both the Aruch HaShulchan and the Igros Moshe hold li’maaseh like this Rambam.
May 6, 2016 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm #1151557
“If, as I think is the case, a Ger can be a Rabbi, then a woman can be a Rabbi.”
May 8, 2016 2:22 pm at 2:22 pm #1151558
Pretty big if…
May 8, 2016 3:57 pm at 3:57 pm #1151559
There are other reasons given for a woman not being able to be a rabbi, but I can’t remember whether they’re entirely disconnected from this or based on it…
May 8, 2016 7:49 pm at 7:49 pm #1151560
writersoul: Some are connected to Serarah, some have other bases.
May 10, 2016 12:04 am at 12:04 am #1151561
I don’t think the position of a shul rabbi, a mehanech, etc. counts as serarah.
A ger probably shouldn’t become a dayan, though, as he can’t judge born Jews, and a ger also cannot sit on a beis din for geirus.
May 10, 2016 12:50 am at 12:50 am #1151562
R’ Moshe writes that a woman being a Mashgiach for a kashrus organization is a problem of serarah, unless she only acts as the eyes of the Mashgiach and does not enforce the rules herself (and even then, it’s possible that that would only be good enough in the bedieved case R’ Moshe was dealing with). It’s hard for me to see how being a Rabbi or Rebbi should be any better.
May 11, 2016 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm #1151563
It’s interesting that women are totally in charge of the kashrus of their homes and Taharas HaMishpacha, but are not favored to routinely be mashgichos.
May 11, 2016 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #1151564
mw13: That is an ironic reversal of the point of R’ Moshe’s position.
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