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Why do rabbis make it difficult to convert to Judaism?

by Rabbi Simcha Bart

  

Library » Jewish Identity » Conversion | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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This concept of discouraging the convert can be found in the book of Ruth, when Naomi discouraged her daughters-in-law, Orpoh and Ruth, from joining her and embracing the Jewish faith.

Some of the reasons:

  1. Judaism doesn't feel the need to proselytize. G-d is happy the way He created you. A non-Jew need not convert to fulfill G-d's wishes. See Need I convert to Judaism if I share its beliefs?
  2. Life as a practicing Jew is very difficult; there are many commandments (positive and negative) that a Jew must adhere to. Why should a rabbi encourage anyone to enter into such a difficult situation?
  3. By making the process difficult, it weeds out those who wish to convert for ulterior motives (e.g. to be able to marry someone who is Jewish). A Ger Tzedek "Righteous Convert" is someone who does so only for the love of G-d and his Law - the Torah. That is why during certain periods in Jewish history, when Jews were very successful, no converts were accepted because there was a suspicion that they might convert with ulterior motives in mind.

Also read about Why should I choose an Orthodox conversion?


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Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Ruth
1. A Moabite woman who accompanied Naomi, the Jewish mother of her deceased husband, back to Israel. She converted, married, and was the ancestor of King David. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, which chronicles the events of Naomi's life.
Ger
A convert to Judaism.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.