Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Ger Katan Situation

Igros Moshe E"H IV:26
11 Av 5734 (1974) in the Camp of Mesivta of Staten Island near Ellenville
To my dear, honored Rabbi Moshe Friedman, Rabbi and Av Beis Din of Indianapolis
(part c)

And regarding the matter of the day school which was founded by bnei Torah and yerei Shamayim, and the principal and the teachers are all fearful [of G-d] and shleimim, and they were informed (maybe: it was known) that many of the students are [born] to non-Jewish women who converted by Reform and Conservative [groups] which has no legal standing, and it is impossible to remove them from the school for they [the teachers] would lose their livelihood, it is difficult for me to say definitively when it relates to their livelihood when it is a great test for something that is not discussed by the poskim, and because of that we do not know the intricate laws in this matter. Even though they consider themselves to be Jewish and they attend a school to learn about Judaism because it is the Jewish way, there is no prohibition. It is also possible because the teacher teaches primarily to kosher Jews there is no prohibition when also some non-Jewish children also learn at the same time, and that which Tosfos state in the name of Rabbeinu Elchanan (Chagigah 13a) that there is a prohibition of "lifnei iver" because a non-Jew is prohibited to learn Torah, perhaps on their young children there is no prohibition; also, the prohibition is not for a Gentile who "learns" Torah, but who is "engrossed", perhaps it does not refer to what a teacher teaches young children. Therefore it is very difficult to say that they must leave their livelihoods, even though it if the most fitting thing to do. If they would, the school would close and all of the children, including the Jewish ones, would go to public schools where they will learn kefirah, so it is much better to remain in their positions so the school will continue to operate. Also, if they leave their positions, [and the school does not close down] they will be replaced by minim and kofrim and they will teach the Jewish children kefirah chas veshalom, which is something we cannot allow. But there is a fix: convert the children. They do not need to accept the mitzvos (because they are minors) and convert them according to the decision of the Beis din, and it is a merit to them, because they already learn in a religious school under teachers who fear G-d, it is possible [or even likely; "matzui"] they will grow up keeping the Torah, even though it is a doubt if it is a complete merit. And even if they do not grow up to keep the Torah, it is a merit becuase sinners of Israel do have kedushas Yisrael, and the mitzvos they do are mitzvos, and aveiros they transgress are like shogeg, so it is a merit, rather than they remain non-Jews. And I think the baalei batim will agree to this. Even the children above bar and bat mitzvah age, if they are told they need to convert, they will certainly agree, and this is what you must try to do, and it goes withuot saying to present this issue in a nice, pleasant and respectful way so they will follow this [plan].

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