Thursday, August 09, 2007


A braisa had stated: If there were twin brothers whose conception was not in sanctity, but their birth was in sanctity (their mother converted after conception, but before they were born), they do not perform chalitzah or yibum, but they would be liable to the punishment of kares if they would cohabit with their brother’s wife.

Rava seeks to explain why these brothers are regarded as maternal brothers (and are
liable for the prohibition against cohabiting with a brother’s wife), but they are not regarded as paternal brothers (and that is why they are not subject for yibum and chalitzah). Rava said: The Rabbis said that an Egyptian, who converts has no father. This is so, even if we know with a certainty the father’s identity. This can be proven from the braisa cited above regarding twin brothers, where one drop of semen (from their father) divided into two, and the braisa rules that they are not subject to the laws of yibum and chalitzah. It seems evident from here that the Torah voided their paternity, as it is written [Yechezkel 23:20]: Their flesh (the Egyptians of old) is the flesh of donkeys and their issue is the issue of horses. (A Jewish child that converted is considered halachically fatherless.)

Reb Elchonon Wasserman in Kovetz Heoros (51:3) asks: It is evident from our Gemora that the Torah voided the paternal lineage of an idolater, yet the Gemora above (62a) clearly states that they do have lineage. The Gemora cited a verse [Melachim II 20:12]: At that time, Berodach-baladan son of Baladan, the king of Bavel, sent etc. We see that an idolater is identified as the son of another idolater.

Reb Elchonon answers: The Gemora above is referring to a case where an idolater cohabited with another idolater and had a child. That child is regarded as being the son of that idolater. Our Gemora is discussing a case where an idolater cohabited with a Jewess, or with another idolater and she converted while she was pregnant. In these cases, we do not recognize the paternal relationship. (It would seem to me that this is precisely what Rish Lakish stated in the Gemora 62a. Rish Lakish said: While they are idolaters, they have genealogical connections to their offspring; once they convert, they lose that connection.)

Reb Elchonon concludes that this distinction will not be halachically correct according to the Ramban. The Ramban states that the Torah voided the paternal relationship between a non-Jewish father and their sons even as idolaters. The reason why an idolater son inherits his father is unique to the laws of inheritance.

I found that Rabbi D. Bloom from Kollel Iyun Hadaf discusses the Ramban’s opinion in an insight to Bechoros 46.

(Please click the "read more" link to view the rest of the post.)

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QUESTIONS: The Mishnah states that if a Nochri, who had sons, married a woman who never had children and they later converted while she was pregnant, her firstborn son is considered the Bechor with regard to Pidyon ha'Ben, but not with regard to inheriting the double portion of his father's estate. RASHI (DH Nisgairah) explains that the husband converted together with the wife. The baby is a Bechor and must be given to the Kohen, because he is the first to emerge from the mother's womb ("Peter Rechem") and is a Yisrael. However, he is not a Bechor with regard to inheritance, because he was conceived "she'Lo b'Kedushah," before the conversion. The Torah teaches that a Ger does not have familial ties to his father, as the verse states, "Zirmas Susim Zirmasam" (Yechezkel 23:20).

Rashi's explanation is difficult to understand. (a) First, why does Rashi need to mention the reason that the offspring of a Mitzri has no familial ties? There seems to be a more basic reason why the child does not inherit from his father, and that is because of the principle, "Ger she'Nisgayer k'Katan she'Nolad Dami" -- a Nochri who converts is like a newborn child. Accordingly, the baby, after his conversion together with his mother, has no familial bond to his biological father. Why does Rashi not mention this reason?

(b) The RAMBAN (Chidushim to Yevamos 98a) states that the principle that the offspring of a Nochri is not related to its father ("Afkerei Rachmana l'Zar'ei") applies even when the Nochri does not convert. For this reason, a Nochri is permitted to marry relatives from his father's side, even though he is forbidden to marry those same relatives from his mother's side. The Ramban there adds that when the Gemara in Kidushin (18a) says that a Nochri inherits his father, it means that there is a Gezeirah Shavah that even though he is not considered to be related to his father, he still inherits him.

We see from the words of the Ramban that the principle of "Afkerei Rachmana l'Zar'ei" does *not* prevent the son from inheriting! Why, then, does Rashi write that the reason why the son does not inherit his father is because of "Afkerei Rachmana l'Zar'ei"? (See also TOSFOS DH Nisgairah.)

(a) RAV SHMUEL ROZOVSKY zt'l (in Chidushim to Yevamos 12:4, DH v'Hineh) answers that Rashi in Yevamos (98a, DH Ha d'Amur, and DH Lo Teima) indeed writes that a baby born after the conversion is not considered a "Katan she'Nolad," even though he was conceived before the conversion. Accordingly, Rashi was forced to find a different reason to explain why the child does not inherit his father.

(b) Rav Shmuel Rozovsky (ibid., DH Achen) answers the second question by pointing out that the reason why a Nochri inherits his father even though they are not considered related is because of a Gezeiras ha'Kasuv, as mentioned above. However, it must be that this Gezeiras ha'Kasuv is a special Halachah that applies only to Benei Noach; once a Nochri converts and is no longer a Ben Noach, this special Halachah no longer applies to him. If not for the reason of "Afkerei Rachmana l'Zar'ei," the son would have had a connection to his father and would have inherited him after converting, because -- according to Rashi in Yevamos -- in the case of a mother who converted while pregnant, the law of "Ger she'Nisgayer k'Katan she'Nolad" does not apply to the baby. Therefore, Rashi writes that the child has no connection to his father because of "Afkerei Rachmana," and that is why he does not inherit him after conversion. The law that every Nochri (who did not convert) inherits his father is due to a different Halachah -- a special Gezeiras ha'Kasuv among the Halachos of Benei Noach which does not apply to this baby, who is now a Yisrael.
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Reb Chaim Qoton discusses a similar issue here: rchaimqoton. Rav Papa says (Bechoros 47a) that if the daughter of a Levite (a Bas Levi, or Levia) and non-Jew have a firstborn baby boy together, the child is exempt from the Kohanic redemption of the firstborn because the boy is a Levite. How can the boy be a Levite if Levitical status is reliant on the father’s lineage and the father, as a non-Jew, lacks any lineage (Yevamos 98a)? Rabbi Chaim Brisker (al HaRambam Hilchos Issurei Bi’ah 15:9) explains that a Levi is not exempt from this requirement of redemption because he is part of the tribe of Levi, for tribal affiliation is inherited paternally. Rather the reason the boy is exempt is that he himself is a Levi as determined by his genealogy from his mother, albeit his tribal affiliation is not Levitical. According to this, one can properly be called a descendent of Levi'im by just having a Levia as a mother, but would not be called part of the tribe of Levi unless his father was also a Levite. In the opinion of Rav Papa, the exemption from the redemption of the firstborn comes from just being a descendant of Levi (usually from the father’s side, but if the father lacks lineage because he is not Jewish, then from the mother’s side), so even if the boy is not a Levite, he is exempt from the redemption. Tosafos (Bechoros 47a) assert that even if this boy is considered a non-Jew, he is still considered a Levi according to Rav Papa.



Michael P. said...

A verification and a question:

1) Based on the posting about relationships of non-Jewish fathers and sons, would I then be correct that the child of an Egyptian man and a Jewish woman is NOT considered an Egyptian and is fully permitted to marry anyone as a Jew?

2) If a ger is considered fatherless (and motherless), would the halachas relating to an orphan apply to the ger as well? There are a few places where the Torah mentions a ger, an orphan, and a widow, so I would assume that they are three distinct categories, but since the ger has no parents, wouldn’t the “orphan” case subsume the ger case, making the reference to ger unnecessary?

Avromi said...

In regards to # 1 - Yes. If you remember, we had the sugya on daf 77, that some hold the daughter of such a union will even be eligible to marry a Kohen.

In regards to # 2 - When we are saying that a ger is parentless, we are discussing in terms of lineage and halachos thereof. I don't think it would extend automatically to the issurim that you are referring to.