Ask the rabbi

  • Halacha
  • General Questions

Childhood Conversion


Rabbi Yoel Lieberman

Tammuz 12, 5770
Hello, I am a Ger Kotton. I was never asked at my bar mitzva if I wanted to continue to be jewish. I was asked at 15, however my father who is Bi Polar was in the room and I was scared to say no. I have been continuing along in the jewish faith, mostly for my parents sake. They are getting older now, and I am beginning to believe that when they die I may not continue with Judaism. It is not that I do not believe that yiddishkite is the truth, it is just I wish I had a choice to be jewish. I may want to choose to keep torah and mitzvot one day. I have been off the derech, ad on and off, in my struggle to do this. I want to know if I have a halachic claim to not be jewish. Thank you.
From your question it is evident that you are well versed in Jewish law. It is also reassuring that you sent your question to a Rabbi. Yes, you are right from the Halachic point of view, you should have been told at the age of 13. However, the Halacha also says that if the ger katan was not told at that age but was told later and there was no defiance on part of the Ger katan than the conversion is binding. Furthermore, if the ger katan converted with one of his parents then the laws of defiance="mecha'ah" don't apply. It therefore can be that there was never an option of disapproval and you unnecessarily carried a feeling of not having a choice. You therefore have a choice now and you should embrace your yiddishkite not because anyone decided for you at one point in time but because as you said yourself it is the truth. My very best wishes are extended to you in making the right choice. כתובות, דף י"א, ע"א. שו"ע יו"ד, סי' רס"ח, סע' ז', שו"ת אגרות משה יורה דעה חלק א סימן קסב, ים של שלמה מסכת כתובות פרק א סימן לה, שו"ת חת"ס, יו"ד, סי' רנ"ג, פת"ש יו"ד, סי' רס"ח, סק"ח. במראה הבזק חלק א סי' פ,)
את המידע הדפסתי באמצעות אתר