Wednesday, June 20, 2007

CONVERT DELAYING - Yevamos 48 - Daf Yomi

The Gemora cites a braisa regarding converts: Rabbi Chanania son of Rabban Gamliel said: Why are converts nowadays afflicted, and suffer constant hardships? It is because they did not observe the seven Noahide laws prior to their conversion.

Rabbi Yosi disagrees because a convert is regarded as a newborn baby; he cannot be punished for sins committed before his conversion. The reason they are afflicted is because they do not observe all the details of each mitzvah like other Jews do.

Abba Chanan said in the name of Rabbi Elozar: It is because they do not fulfill the mitzvos out of love, but rather out of fear.

Others say: It is because they delayed in entering under the wings of the Shechinah.

The commentators ask on this last reason: Is there an obligation for an idolater to convert; he is not commanded to observe all the mitzvos? Furthermore, we even attempt to dissuade him from converting; how can they be punished for tarrying?

Reb Yaakov Emden answers: The Gemora is referring to the time that they delayed after they reached their conclusion that they plan on converting. Once they have decided to enter under the wings of the Shechinah, and nevertheless, they delay, they are punished for this laziness.

Based on this, he answers a question posed by Tosfos. The Gemora derives that a convert is punished for delaying from the blessing that Boaz bestowed on Rus. Rus converted expeditiously, and was therefore rewarded. Tosfos asks that it emerges from the pesukim and through calculations that Rus was extremely old when she converted; how can the Gemora state that she did not delay? Reb Yaakov Emden explains: Perhaps she was old when she converted, but once she decided to convert, she did not waste any time, and converted immediately.

Reb Avi Lebowitz uses this interpretation to explain why the braisa (47b) had stated: If he accepts, we circumcise him immediately. The Gemora explains: This is because we apply the principle that we do not delay the performance of a mitzvah. Perhaps the concern with delaying is not from the perspective of Beis Din, but rather we encourage the convert to act quickly, so that he will not be punished for delaying the process.

3 comments:

ben said...

The commentators ask on this last reason: Is there an obligation for an idolater to convert; he is not commanded to observe all the mitzvos?

Reb Yeruchem writes that the Alter from Kelm would see a goy walking to church and he would say, "nebach! once he's walking there, he might as well walk to shul!"

Nethanel773 said...

I could be wrong, but this is how it appears to me. A person who delays in a mitzvah will delay his reward. If he is not swift to serve HaShem, how can he expect HaQadosh Barukhu to act swiftly in blessing him? Thank you for sharing this Daf.

Nethanel773 said...

I could be wrong, but this is how it appears to me. A person who delays in a mitzvah will delay his reward. If he is not swift to serve HaShem, how can he expect HaQadosh Barukhu to act swiftly in blessing him? Thank you for sharing this Daf.