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Leon: why does it take many years to convert?


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Rabbi Shlomo Chein: Welcome. I'll be with you in a moment...what's on your mind?

Leon: why does it take many years to convert?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: it might take that amount of time to gain the knowledge and experience needed to know how to live as a Jew

Leon: but i have read in Talmud that when one dseires to convert it should be done immediately

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: that is immediately after they are ready

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: some times doctors also say surgery needs to be done immediately! But it doesn't happen that second. First they need to prep the patient (with no eating etc), then they have to prepare the OR, and then the right doctor and right equipment have to be at hand - and as soon as all that can be done, they "immediately" operate

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: So once a person knows all that he needs to know, and he knows how to practice all the practices, and it is clear that he is ready for a sincere Jewish commitement, the he should "immediately" convert

Leon: but what if one has already done a circumcision, follows the customs, must it still take this msuch time?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: no - if one is ready to be a practicing Jew, and it is clear to him and the Jewish community that he is sincere and ready, then it can be done right away

Leon: so how then must one convince the community he is ready?

Rabbi Shlomo Chein: that is part of why it takes time - because the community wants to get to know the person and see how sincere he/she is

Ed. note: Also read "Why should I choose an Orthodox conversion?"

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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Usually referring to the Babylonian edition, it is a compilation of Rabbinic law, commentary and analysis compiled over a 600 year period (200 BCE - 427 CE). Talmudic verse serves as the bedrock of all classic and modern-day Torah-Jewish literature.