A Simple Conversion by Eli Gartenberg


In Parashat Mishpatim, we learn about the laws of Geirut, or conversion. We are taught that we must be especially kind to a Geir, who joined Am Yisrael by his own free will and established his life in a Jewish way. We are also forbidden to remind a Geir of any sins he may have done before his conversion, so as not to embarrass him. This is especially important for people who have been observant Jews for their entire lives. For example, lifelong religious Jews may not find it very difficult to resist the temptation of a cheeseburger, yet, for someone who may have enjoyed that food previously, suddenly refraining from eating it is extremely difficult.

 The Chachamim also apply the Halachot of Geirut to dealing with other, lifelong Jews. Geirim may be unfamiliar with some points of Judaism that we may take for granted. Similarly, newcomers in one’s own community need the same introduction to the finer points of life in his community.

Sometimes, we assume that everyone is on our spiritual level. We may not think before we unintentionally cause other people discomfort with our comments about Judaism. We should learn from these Halachot not just to treat Geirim with respect, kindness and brotherly love, but to treat everyone we meet in this manner.

Sweat and Tears by Rabbi Sariel Malitzky

Utilizing the Torah by Eli Lehman