- False Ideas on Conversion
- Moshe Ben-Chaim
- Question: I have read that someone who becomes a Jew through
conversion has a Jewish soul already....and the conversion is just
correcting a mistaken birth. Can you give me some insight on this and
possibly some readings.
- Mesora: I don't understand this,
as God did not create "Jewish" souls and "non
- Our forefather Abraham was not a "Jew" in the true sense
of the word. He was a descendant of Noah, who was the forefather of
all non Jews. Therefore, Abraham was on the same level as a non Jew is
today. Jews, or the Children of Israel only came into existence after
Israel (Jacob) , and after the Torah was given at Mt. Sinai.
- Abraham studied the world, and came to the realization that his
practice of idolatry was false, and that monotheism is true. After
decades of study, he raised his level of perfection to the point where
God spoke to him. This relationship with God is available to anyone
who seeks it, not just Abraham. I don't see where God changed His plan
from how He created souls at the beginning of creation until the
present. Just as with Abraham, one's own acts which perfect him bring
him close to God, so also today.
Conversion does not change a soul. It merely gives a new status to the
person converted, from non Jew to Jew.
- You may want to consult resources on this topic, such as Maimonides,
"Guide for the Perplexed", (Dover Publications), and Saadia
Gaon's "The Book of Beliefs and Opinions" (Yale University
- The idea you mentioned, that the soul was placed mistakenly, is a
foolish idea, as it assumes that God made a mistake. Further, it
smacks of the idea that a Jew is inherently better than a non Jew.
There are non Jews who I am sure, are more perfected than Jews. Being
born to Jewish parents is no panacea for success in personal
perfection. Following the Torah is. This idea also implies that one's
freewill is not all in his hands, and this goes against Judaism. Man
is the cause of all his actions. This is why he is rewarded and
- Conversion is simply an act which creates a "halachik"
(lawfully binding) status on a person who has researched, and found
Judaism to be the perfect life for anyone who so chooses.
Question: Dear Sir,
Reading the article above, I wonder if this article is correct?
I was taught by one of our rabbi's (teaching us Tanya and Netsach
Jisrael), that a convert Has a Jewish / Divine soul (Neshama Elokit),
relating to the Pasuk in Gemara: "Gair Shemitgayer" and NOT
"Goy or Nochri Shemitgayer", explaining this as the presence
of a Devine Soul in the non-Jewish person. And, a Jew has a devine soul
(but as you stated, all souls are divine, but a Jew as an extra working
soul (like all souls: roach, nefesh, neshama and for the Jew a Neshama
But , please explain to me if I err. -Shalom
- Mesora: I believe my article
above is based on sound principle, whereas the portion of Tanya you
quote is baseless - one can believe that, as well as other
preposterous stories like the Besht igniting icicles when candles were
not available. I actually heard that stated as truth from a known
- You must use your mind to determine what makes sense and what is
part of Judaism. Just because a "rabbi" teaches you
something in the name of Torah, does not mean it is Torah, or truth.
- Study the actual Torah, Neveim, and Ksuvim - these authentic books
are absent of such fallacies as you mentioned, and as the Besht story.
Be guided by the approach of the prophets, not today's teachers who
unfortunately parrot false notion just tobecause they are written and