- Torah and Jewish Thought
- Torah Teachings
Some time ago, a friend of mine asked me if I know why in Judaism the religion of a new born goes by the mother. I answered what I’ve heard many times - that we always know who the mother of a baby is, we aren’t always sure about the father. He corrected me and said that in the time of Rabbi Akiva there were many rapings of Jewish girls and there was a question what to do with the babies. Rabbi Akiva ruled that Judaism goes by the mother - hence saving these babies from death. Is this true?
I am not totally familiar with all the Talmud and Midrash, but I've never encountered such a story in all I've learned, not in the Shas, and not in Midrashim. I think it might be a theory of a historian or someone else, that thinks the Torah is dictated by Gedolim, and is not the truth derived from the word of Hashem, passed down written and orally. The answer is groundless since even if the children, according to that strange theory, are not Jews, there is no permit to kill them. Some sources may be added to that. In Vayikra (24) the Torah talks of a son of an Israeli woman, and an Egyptian man. He cursed the holy name and when Moshe Rabeinu asked what was to be done with him Hashem answered that any Jew who curses the name shall be stoned. We see he is regarded as a Jew. In Devarim (Sedra "Vaetchanan") the Torah forbids us to give our daughters to thir sons since "they might move your sons heart from Hashem". We see the Torah calles these children of a gentile and a Jewish girl 'your sons'. Also, the word 'They' is wrtten with a male inclination (in Hebrew), so it's discussing a case where the father is a non-Jew, not vice versa. Another source is from Melachim I (7:13), it tells us that Shlomo brought Hiram to build the Beit Hamikdash. It says he was a son of a widow from the tribe of Naftali, and his father was a Tyrian. If Hiram was not Halachically a Jew, Shlomom wouldn't have had him help with the building of Beit Hamikdash, as it says in Ezra (4:3) that the Shomronim wanted to take part in building the temple, Zerubavel and Yehoshua Cohen Gadol answered: "It is not for you and us to build a house for our G-d" because Goyim shouldn't enter Beit Hamikdash. So of course Hiram was a Jew, that's why the script tells us his mother was Jewish. Otherwise, there is no reason to mention it. It seems that friend of yours is influenced by alien opinions, it is a good idea to pay attention and recheck everything he says in Torah subjects, so that he doesn't lay you an obstacle by accident. Rabbi David Chai Hacohen