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A Surprising Communication - A Shidduch Idea

Dear alleyways,

I am seriously considering converting to Judaism. My question is, if and when I convert, should I say the bracha "shelo asani goy" ["who didn't make me a Gentile"] in the morning, because the fact is that originally I WAS made a gentile?

The Pope

Dear Reb Pope

Good question!!

The Rema [56/4] rules that a convert should not make the bracha. However many later authorities [Magen Avraham and others] disagree and say that you should. This is called a "machlokes" - get used to it.

The rationale [of the latter opinion] is that a person who converts was already born with a special soul. That is why the gemara often refers to a covert as a "ger she'nisgayer" - a convert who converted. It should refer to him as a "gentile who converted". Converts don't have to convert as they are already Jewish. The gemara is alluding to the kabbalistic idea that a convert was destined to be one from the outset and hence he may make the bracha "shelo asani goy".

Also, I was thinking of another reason. When a gentile undergoes the conversion process what makes him Jewish? Circumcision? Immersing in a mikve? Accepting the mitzvos? Yes, yes and yes. But that is not enough. Now G-d steps in and changes the persons essence from that of a gentile to that of a Jew. So after conversion it would be proper to bless G-d for not making you a gentile.

I would also suggest that at the next Mass you check out the nuns and find one you are interested in. Then get her to convert to Judaism as well. This way you can marry her. Remember what G-d told Adam? "It is not good for man to be alone." Also she won't have trouble covering her hair as per the way of traditional Jewish women - she is used to it [may I say "in the 'habit' of covering her hair"]. If she can still bear children even better. Judaism is adamantly Pro-Creation.

All the best and looking forward to seeing you in the shteibel.


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About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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