More Discussions for this daf
1. Warning against minor acts of impropriety 2. Esnan Kelev, Mechir Zonah 3. Format of Kinuy
4. Exclude a convert 5. Anusah l'Kohen Drinking

Meir Eliezer Bergman asked:

The Gemoro (towards bottom of 26a) says that the words "Daber el Bnei Yisroel" would exclude convert from Parshas Sotah, if not for the ribuy "VeOmarta Aleihem".

I find this a strange Hava Amina - if we find any Parsha addressed only to Bnei Yisroel, would we need a Ribuy to include Gerim?

Meir Eliezer Bergman, Manchester UK

The Kollel replies:

(1) I don't see why the Hava Amina is so strange. After all, Gerim are not the children of Yisrael - they came from different nations, and while they are certainly deserving of great praise for leaving their old ways and coming under the wings of the Shechinah, they nevertheless are not originally from the Bnei Yisrael.

(2) There is an interesting Tosfos in Bava Basra 81a DH Lim'uti which cites a dispute whether a Ger can say "Avoseinu" - Our forefathers - for instance in the Shemoneh Esreh. Some say that he cannot but others say he may, because Bereishis 17:5 states that Hash-m said to Avraham Avinu "I have placed you as the father to a multitude of nations". The Halachah follows the latter opinion. However I would like to suggest that Avraham is called the father of all the nations, but Yitzcahk and Yaakov (i.e. Yisrael) are not.

(3) We do find other instances in Halachah where, while Gerim are on a very high level, they are nevertheless (i.e. generally speaking only in the first generation) not quite equivalent to born Jews. See, for instance, Devarim 23:3, "A Mamzer may not marry into the congregation of Hash-m" which Rashi explains to mean that he may not marry a Yisraelis. Kidushin 72b-73a, and the Poskim there, state that he may marry a Giyores, because the congregation of Gerim is not called "Kahal Hash-m."

(4) See the Mishnah below Sotah 41a which relates the incident involving King Agripas. He read in the Torah that the King must not be a "stranger", and started crying. They said to him "Do not worry, Agripas, - you are our brother". Rashi explains that this is because his mother was Jewish. This implies that if both parents would have been Nochrim and he a full Ger, he certainly would not have been called "Our brother". See Tosfos 41b DH Oso who disagrees with Rashi and maintains that the King is only appointed if both parents are Jewish.

(5) In fact there are opinions that one does not give the bitter waters to a Giyores to drink (see Mishnayos Edayus 5:6, according to Akavyah ben Mahalel). Rashi Berachos 19a DH Lo writes that this is because the Torah states "Bnei Yisrael" which excludes the wife of a Ger (i.e. the Hava Amina in our Gemara). However the Halachah does not follow Akavya. (See also Mishnehh le'Melech to the Rambam Hilchos Sotah 2:6 who writes at length on this.)

(6) See Yerushalmi Sotah 2:5 that indeed states that if a Yisrael marries a Giyores one does not give the wife to drink because the Pasuk says "Bnei Yisrael" but not a Giyores. However the Rambam (Sotah 2:6) does not Pasken like the Yerushalmi but instead Paskens that a Giyores or the wife of a Ger have exactly the same Din as other ladies, and must drink the waters.

(7) In summary, one sees from the above that there are opinions that the Parshah of Sotah does not apply to Gerim, and the reason is because they are not born Bnei Yisrael.


Dovid Bloom

Chasidah B.D Fried commented:

While the answer given covers a few sources it omits others. That there is an open Mishna Berurah on "avosainu" was missed. The fact that the halachah is poskined for the general case and that there are three different bechinas of Gerim (this has nothing to do with the statement about "third generation gerim" I would like to see a source for that concept.) I would suggest that anyone having questions on this inyan consult Kisvei Chayim Vital /Ari with a qualified Chavrusah esp: Sha'ar ha Gilgulim. This will answer questions about the distinctions so that these generalizations and stigmatic bubba meisahs cease from ourcollective vocabulary.

Lastly, my understanding of Mamzerim is that the only people who can METAHAIR the yiccus is a Ger & since most Gerim will not marry them the concept of shifcha gets rolled around often (if we could find willing people and a country that admits to enslaving people to draw them from.)

1) I would like to know if anyone has a definitive source for the three generations theory outside of "chidushim" drawn from vague paralleling Avraham an actual medrash/Gemarah.

2) I would also like to know of any source that gives the sources of the neshamahs of mamzerim as other than from the heichal "mamzer" a cause / effect source possibly in a place that I have missed in the kisvei Vital /Arizal.

Advance Thanks

Chasidah B.D Fried, Manheim, PA

The Kollel replies:

(1) First of all I must stress again that my answers are not in any way intended to represent a Halachic ruling, but rather in this forum we are merely trying to show the sources from the Talmud, but any practical questions should be addressed to a competent local Orthodox Rabbi. In addition I have not studied Kabalah and concentrate on the revealed Torah.

(2) Thanks very much for pointing out to me the Mishneh Berurah 53:50, which states that a Ger can say in his prayers "the G-d of our fathers" because Avraham is called the "father of a multitude of nations" since he taught to the entire world belief in Hashem.

(3) In fact, if a Ger marries a Mamzer, the child is a Mamzer (Shulchan Aruch EH 4:22). The idea of the Shifchah being Metaher the Mamzer is mentioned in the Mishnah in Kidushin 69a.

(4) I do not know a source for the three generation theory. I suspect it might originate from Devarim 23:9 which states that third generation Edomites or Mitzriyim may marry into the congregation of Hashem.

(5) Possibly there is a source about the Neshamos of the Mamzerim from Horayos 13a, that a Mamzer Torah scholar takes precedence to a Kohen Gadol. The Gemara learns this from Mishlei 3:15 "The Torah is more precious than pearls (Peninim)". This teaches that the Torah is more precious even than the Kohen Gadol who enters Lifnai v'Lifnim - to the very inner part of the Beis Hamikdash. We see from this that a Mamzer is capable of possessing a Neshamah more valuable than pearls.


Dovid Bloom