by: Schvach Yid
Not to be a bombastic, ego-inflated, boorish know-it-all who presumes dominant superiority – I frequently am/do – but I want to say kudos and a yasha koach to a blog spot I’ve just learned about from this week’s Haveil Havalim posting, #140, by the Life in Israel blogspot, called Jews By Choice (actually, from the comments section of the HH blog).
How thoroughly cool-odox! Yes jadies and jents, I accept the rabbinical interpretation of HaShem’s commandment that a Jew is one born to a Jewish mother, but c’mon, even in Tanach we are presented with ‘Jews by choice’. ‘Oh yeah’, you might say, ‘just name one other than Ruth’. Well, Ruth would be enough, but okay, let’s see, there was Moses’ first wife, Zipporah. She was Midianite, but outdid her most beloved prophet hubby by taking the initiative of circumcising their son, thus staying off a plague. Any doubt that her kids were Jews?
Let’s see, there must have been others, but I’m not that cool-odox (but I am the child of a Jewish mother, and of a Jewish father for that matter). Oh yeah, there’s Rahav in the Book of Judges - maybe she became Jewish. I’m sure there must be others. That’s right, Onkelos, the non-Jew turned rabbi who gave us the now-standard translation of the Chumash from Hebrew into Aramaic. He isn’t Biblical, but he’ll do.
Anyway, I think it’s both flattering and correct that non-Jews who feel a gravitation-like pull toward Judaism accept us to the extent that they decide to become us. There’s nothing like sincerity in choosing a shared life. In a way, this mimics a successful marriage, just as long as the conversion to Judaism is sincere and not a cover for an attempt at some covert infiltration for the purpose of proselytizing Jews away from Judaism.
Chassidus/Kabbalah have a bit to say about conversion to Judaism, in relation to the transmigration – ibbur – of souls. Just consider for a moment what happens to all the souls of slaughtered Jews; surely, they must be available for reincarnation, even if the number of Jews in existence at any one moment is too small to accommodate all the available Jewish souls. Make sense? Besides, it improves the gene pool. Geneticists call it heterosis – genetic vigor resulting from out breeding (not a pc term when applied to human populations).
If you’re interested check out the Jews By Choice blog site at http://jewsbychoice.org/.
And the answer is no – I don’t think we Jews should proselytize. Chabad Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, on the other hand, does.