WHEN DO WE ACCEPT CONVERTS? (Cont.)
Beraisa - continued) Suggestion: Perhaps "b'Artzechem" teaches that this applies only in Eretz Yisrael!
Rejection: "Itcha" - whenever you are.
Question: If so, why does it say "b'Artzechem"?
Answer: In Eretz Yisrael, the convert must bring proof. In Chutz la'Aretz, he does not need proof;
Chachamim say, in every place he must bring proof.
Question: Why must a verse teach that he is believed when he comes with witnesses?
Answer (Rav Sheshes): The witnesses say 'we heard that he converted in Ploni's Beis Din';
One might have thought that we do not believe them. The verse teaches that we believe them.
Question: How can R. Yehudah expound "Itcha" to include Chutz la'Aretz? He already used it to teach that he must be established to you!
Answer: One of the teachings is learned from "Imach" (Rashi - Vayikra 25:35. Gra - the text should say "Itchem" (Vayikra 19:34), the verse after Itcha".
Question: Chachamim require proof in Eretz Yisrael and outside. What do they learn from "b'Artzechem"?
Answer: It teaches that we accept converts even in Eretz Yisrael.
One might have thought that we do not accept them because they are insincere, and convert only due to the greatness of Eretz Yisrael;
Even now that Eretz Yisrael lost its former greatness, we might have thought that they convert only to receive agricultural gifts to the poor;
The verse teaches that we accept their conversion.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): The Halachah is, both in Eretz Yisrael and Chutz la'Aretz, he must bring a proof.
Question: Obviously the Halachah follows the majority (Chachamim)!
Answer: One might have thought that we follow R. Yehudah because his reasoning is better, i.e. the verse supports him;
Therefore R. Chiya needed to teach that the Halachah follows Chachamim.
WHO IS BELIEVED ABOUT LINEAGE? [line 21]
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "U'Shfatetem... u'Vein Gero" teaches that a Ger's conversion is valid only if was in Beis Din, but not if he converted by himself.
A man told R. Yehudah that he converted by himself.
R. Yehudah: Do you have witnesses?
The man: No.
R. Yehudah: Do you have children?
The man: Yes.
R. Yehudah: You are believed to disqualify yourself, but not to disqualify your children.
Question: R. Yehudah holds that one is believed about his children!
(Beraisa - R. Yehudah): "Yakir" - he will make others know. This shows that a man is believed to say who is his firstborn.
Similarly, a Kohen is believed to say that his son (is a Chalal because he) was born to a divorcee or a Chalutzah;
Chachamim say, he is not believed.
Answer #1 (Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak): R. Yehudah told him 'by your own admission you are a Nochri, so your testimony is invalid.'
Answer #2 (Ravina): R. Yehudah asked if he had children and grandchildren. The man said that he has both;
R. Yehudah said that he is believed to disqualify his children, but not his grandchildren.
Support (Beraisa - R. Yehudah): A man is believed about his young son, but not about his old son.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): This does not refer to age. Rather, a son is called 'old' only if he has children. Otherwise, he is called 'young'.
The Halachah follows Rav Nachman bar Yitzchak.
Question: The Beraisa supports Ravina!
Answer: The Beraisa learns from "Yakir" when a Yisrael is believed, but a Nochri is not believed at all.
DISCOURAGING CONVERSION [line 40]
(Beraisa #1): If one comes to convert nowadays, we ask, 'Why do you want to convert? Don't you know that Yisrael are depressed, pushed around, humbled and afflicted?!'
If he says, 'I know. If only I was worthy to share their affliction!', we accept him immediately, inform him of some light Mitzvos, some severe Mitzvos, the sin of (not giving) agricultural gifts to the poor, and the punishment of Mitzvos;
We tell him 'before converting, you did not get Kares for eating Chelev or stoned for Chilul Shabbos. Now, you are Chayav Kares for eating Chelev and stoned for Chilul Shabbos.'
Just like we inform him of the punishment of Mitzvos, we also tell him of their reward. The world to come is only for Tzadikim; Yisrael at this time cannot receive too much good, nor too much punishments;
We do not frighten him too much, nor are we so exacting with him.
If he still wants to convert, we circumcise him immediately. If strands remain that invalidate the Milah, we circumcise him again.
When he heals, we immerse him immediately. Two Chachamim stand over him and inform him of some light and severe Mitzvos. After immersing, he is a full Yisrael;
For a female convert, women see that she enters the water until her neck. Two Chachamim stand over her and inform her of some light and severe Mitzvos.
The law for a freed slave is the same as for a convert. Wherever a Nidah may immerse, a convert or freed slave may immerse. Any Chatzitzah (interruption) that invalidates Tevilah invalidates it for a convert, freed slave or Nidah.
Question: Why do we mention the difficulties of Yisrael and inform him of some of the Mitzvos?
Answer: Perhaps this will deter him from converting (if he is insincere);
(R. Chelbo): Converts are problematic for Yisrael as Sapachas (a type of Tzara'as) - "V'Nilvah ha'Ger Aleihem v'NiSPeCHu Al Beis Yakov'.
(Beraisa): We inform him of the sin of agricultural gifts to the poor.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): This is because a Ben No'ach (Nochri) is killed for stealing less than a Perutah, and the theft cannot be corrected by returning the object. (We want him to know that the poor are entitled to these gifts. Alternatively, Nochrim are adamant about small amounts or money. Perhaps hearing the punishment for not leaving these gifts will cause him to retract.)
(Beraisa): We do not frighten him too much, nor are we so exacting with him.
(R. Elazar): We learn from "(Naomi) saw that (Rus) insisted on going with her, and ceased speaking with her."
Naomi: On Shabbos we may not leave the Techum (a Mil around the city).
Rus: "Where you go, I will go."
Naomi: We may not be secluded with men.
Rus: "Where you spend the night, I will lodge."
Naomi: We are commanded to keep 613 Mitzvos!
Rus: "Your nation is my nation."
Naomi: Idolatry is forbidden to us.
Rus: "Your G-d is my G-d."
Naomi: Four death penalties are administered by Beis Din.
Rus: "Like you die, I will die."
Naomi: There are two graveyards for those executed by Beis Din (for those who received lighter and harsher deaths).
Rus: "And there I will be buried."
Immediately - "She saw that she was insistent..."
(Beraisa): If he accepts to convert, we circumcise him immediately.
This is because we do not delay a Mitzvah.
(Beraisa): If strands remain that invalidate the circumcision, we circumcise him again.
(Mishnah): Strands of flesh that cover the majority of the crown invalidate circumcision;
If these remained on a Kohen, he may not eat Terumah.
(R. Chiya bar Aba): Flesh that covers most of the height of the crown (invalidates the circumcision).
(Beraisa): When he heals, we immerse him immediately.
We do not immerse him earlier, because water aggravates the wound.
THE BEIS DIN FOR CONVERSION [line 41]
(Beraisa): Two Chachamim stand over him...
Question: R. Yochanan taught that conversion requires three!
Answer: Indeed, R. Yochanan said that the correct text of the Beraisa says three Chachamim.
(Beraisa): After immersing, he is a full Yisrael.
The ramifications of this are that if he retracts his conversion, then is Mekadesh a Bas Yisrael, he is considered a heretic Yisrael, and his Kidushin takes effect.
(Beraisa #1): The law of a freed slave is like the law of a convert.
We are thinking that they are the same regarding accepting the yoke of Mitzvos.
Contradiction (Beraisa #2): This refers to a convert, but a freed slave need not accept the Mitzvos!
Answer #1 (Rav Sheshes): Beraisa #1 is like Chachamim; Beraisa #2 is R. Shimon ben Elazar:
(Beraisa): "(If one sees a Yefas To'ar (a beautiful Nochris) in war and desires her,) she will cry over her father and mother (for a month)" - this is if she did not accept to convert. If she accepted, he immerses her and she is permitted to him immediately;
R. Shimon ben Elazar says, even if she did not accept, he may immerse her to become a slave, and immerse her a second time to free (convert) her.