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15 Holy Matrimony – Hieros Gamos

The kabbalah holds the secret of holy marriage – hieros gamos the holy union above paralleling that below. That is the union of hochmah with binah, and yesod with malchut. The Soul mate relationship is what we seek in holy matrimony that is G-d the king striving to find the Shechinah his lost princess. We are the king of old and his high priestess joined with G-d and the Shechinah. There are four parties in holy marriage.

Today the egalitarian movement of Judaism has awakened hieros gamos from the ashes. In their Amidah we see references to the G-d(m) of Abraham ... and the God(f) of Sarah. There is an improvement to be made. It is Elohai Avraham with Eloah Sarah. Eloah the name of G-d with the gematria 42 is the name of G-d Maker of the Universe. When we recite Hieros Gamos that is the Kedushah in the Amidah: ‘Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole land is filled with his Glory’, we are united the heavenly G-d with the feminine Gaia.[1551] Cavodo – glory is His seed and haAretz – the land is her Shechinah. Holiness is the secret of hieros gamos that husband and wife are soulmates in love. The wellbeing of one is the other. The happiness of one is the other. The nachas of one is the other. They are two parts to one soul. This week[1552] the Torah portion is Chaya Sarah – the life of Sarah, priestess of the Shechinah—Abraham’s oracle; and G-d said listen to Sarah that is do what she says. Listen to your soulmate for she is part of You-and-You are part of her. The Kedushah is the prayer par excellence of hiergamos our holiest expression.[1553]

Text 15-1: The Hieros Gamos

Few things are less understood than the hieros gamos – the “sacred marriage”. Considered to be the “Holy Grail” of sexual rituals, is it within reach of comprehension and explanation?

One of the most intriguing, nebulous and controversial topics of history and magic is the “hieros gamos”, “the sacred marriage”. Believed to incorporate both sex and ritual, it should not come as a surprise that throughout history, it has attracted many – and often, those who should truly well stay clear of it. Its fame has meant that the theme was used by Dan Brown in “The Da Vinci Code”, where he described it as how “man could achieve a climactic instant when his mind went totally blank and he could see God”. Brown is not the only one who has linked the experience with tantrism and the withholding of orgasm. He is, of course, also the man who considered Mary Magdalene’s vulva to be the Holy Grail.

The quest to define the hieros gamos foremost is one of answering the question who and when it was performed. Some – including Dan Brown – link it to temple prostitution, while others see it as the king of the country who marries “the land” – in the form of a high priestess – to rejuvenate it. For the Greeks, it was more abstract. They considered it a marriage between the gods and hence apparently outside of the reach of ordinary human beings. It was only in the Jewish and medieval tradition that the hieros gamos became linked with magic and ritual and it is therefore here that we find the current obsession with it. As such, in 1605, Cesare della Riviera wrote that “in Europe, the tracks of these ancient rituals pass through the Gnostic schools, the alchemical and cabalistic currents of the Middle Ages and Renaissance – where numerous alchemical texts can be read on two levels.”

What is the hieros gamos? At its core, the sacred marriage is more of a sacrament than a ritual. It is a marriage between husband and wife, but is of a sacred nature: it is a marriage blessed by the gods, with active participation of those deities, present in the act of lovemaking between the two humans. Focusing on the king having sexual intercourse with the high priestess is thus largely a misnomer, as the king was equally a high priest, and the queen... a high priestess.
In the 20th century, Carl Gustav Jung studied the hieros gamos through the Rosarium Philosophorum, a series of twenty woodcuts, printed in Frankfurt in 1550. The images have a clear sexual and royal nature: a king and queen are depicted with the sun and the moon, sharing a bed, performing sexual acts, as a result of which they become one, and are transformed. And it is with these woodcuts that we come to the core of the hieros gamos: indeed, the primary purpose of the sacred marriage is that two equals, twin souls, a husband and wife, reunite through the hieros gamos. In short: the hieros gamos, or sacred marriage, was not a marriage of just any human beings, but of twin souls.

The concept of twin souls – more popularly known as soulmates – is as old as civilisation itself. Isis and Osiris were both sister and brother and husband and wife: twins. Rather than seeing this as an incestuous relationship, the ancient Egyptians were using this imagery to portray a complex metaphysical framework.
They – like so many other religions – believed that each human being possessed a soul. That soul was half of one unit, which consisted out of one male and one female half. This meant that for every human being alive, there was a perfect twin soul. The quest in this lifetime was to find that twin soul, and be reunited with it. This was the truest of loves; the greatest quest. If not the Great Work of Alchemy. The alchemist Nicolas Flamel stated that he was only able to accomplish the Great Work while in the presence of his wife Perenelle, but it was equally accepted that the majority of marriages here on earth, was not between twin souls.

Once the twin souls had found themselves, apart from understanding the true depths of love and kinship they shared throughout their many lifetimes together, the hieros gamos would be completed at some point. What was it? It was seen as God personally “attending” a sexual activity, in which the human beings – male and female – each get “infused” by the divine essence of the male and female component of God.
The best-known historical example of such a sacred marriage is between King Solomon and Queen Sheba. The story relates how the Queen of Sheba travelled from her homeland to meet Solomon, to perform the hieros gamos with him.
This story is discussed by Kathleen McGowan in her fact-based novel “Book of Love”. She relates that ancient traditions stipulate God had both a male and female aspect: El and Asherah. Tradition relates that they desired “to experience their great and divine love in a physical form and to share such blessedness with the children they would create. Each soul who was formed was perfectly matched, given a twin made from the same essence. [...] Thus the hieros-gamos was created, the sacred marriage of trust and consciousness that unites the beloveds into one flesh.”

Echoes of the sacred marriage can be found in the Song of Songs, directly linked with Solomon and describing lovemaking. The title highlights it was the holiest of all songs, underlining its importance. Margaret Starbird has pointed out that there are strong parallels between the Song of Songs and poems to the Egyptian goddess Isis. Of course, both Solomon and Sheba and Isis and Osiris were twin souls, and hence able to experience the hieros gamos.
The Song of Songs became very important for the Kabbalists, specifically following the Book of the Zohar, which saw the Song of Songs as a prime example of the hieros gamos. It is in the Zoharic Kabbalah that God is represented by a system of ten spheres, each symbolizing a different aspect of God, who is perceived as both male and female. The Shekina was identified with Malchut, which was identified with the woman in the Song of Songs. Her beloved was identified with Yesod, which represents God’s foundation and the phallus or male essence.
Within the Jewish religion, Malchut and Yesod are El, the fatherly creator god, and his consort, Asherah. He was identified with the bull and She with the mother goddess. Indeed, women who have experienced the hieros gamos note that they have experienced this mother goddess energy, some even mentally visiting some of her sanctuaries during the experience. The imagery also reveals how long our ancestors have been familiar with this sacred marriage: the link between the bull and the earth goddess is visible on the walls of Catal Huyuk, built in the 8th millennium BC.

The hieros gamos should therefore be more appropriately labelled the reunion of twin souls, while incarnate in the body, through sexual activity, involving the active participation of the male and female aspect of God: “What God has put together, let no man separate.”
Those who have experienced such union find it largely impossible to describe – “beyond words”. They are, however, capable of breaking down the experience in some components. The man will become one with El, while the female melts with Asherah, the “Queen of Heaven”. During this union, it is entirely possible that Asherah or El is more prominent in one partner than in the other. During these encounters, the sexual activity exceeds – and is different from – a normal orgasm; it is normally more intense, prolonged and multiple, whereby the orgasm itself is more energetic, rather than physical. However, the presence of this divine energy should not be seen as a form of possession; normally, the human sexual energy is equally present, and the sexual experience is a balance and interplay between both energies. To put it crudely: the hieros gamos is a foursome: two human beings, and El and Asherah operating with and through them.

Where does this leave the reputation of the hieros gamos as a form of temple prostitution? Asherah has been linked with the Mesopotamian Ishtar, whose cult did involve sacred prostitutes. However, should we perhaps see in these women initiatrices: women who prepared and taught certain methodologies as to how sacred sexuality should be experienced between partners, so that their union could lead to a sacred marriage?
Interestingly, the world’s oldest poem, “The Epic of Gilgamesh”, relates how when Gilgamesh discovers the wild man Enkidu, he sends him to Shamhat, a priestess of Ishtar. She was instructed to teach Enkidu how to live as a cultural human being, suggesting that our ancestors identified culture specifically with how to make love properly – the hieros gamos way.

These examples, and the example of Solomon and Sheba, make it clear that the quest of the hieros gamos is not open to anyone: it is only the bailiwick of twin souls. It is why Flamel noted that it was only possible to be performed with Perenelle, clearly not only his wife, but also his twin soul. It is also not so much ritual, but total union of body, mind and spirit: the two parts of one soul become united in the body, thus accomplishing in the body what they were at the beginning of time: a unity. The Great Work. And this union was “blessed” by the sacrament of the hieros gamos, in which God themselves, present at the separation of these souls at the beginning of time, reunited and blessed the two lovers.
So even though tantric yoga as such has nothing to do with it, tantrism does know about this state of perfect union and has labelled it Samadhi. It is the state where the respective individualities of each of the participants are completely dissolved in the unity of cosmic consciousness – the two units are reunited. For tantrics, the deities are not El and Asherah, but Shakti and Shiva.

Because it is “restricted” to twin souls, the hieros gamos might not hold the sexual and ritual appeal that many would like to give it. But it is nevertheless the most important sacrament of all, as it was the completion of the quest of the soul in life: to find his twin soul and reunite, and within this love, continue their life, combined.
People who have experienced the hieros gamos agree that this is a unique experience. One person stated that during the hieros gamos, both partners experienced total orgasm, though this was without any physical activity – through a physical connection, the other partner experienced perfectly the sexual stimulation the other person was sending in the mind – in short, the partners were both not only reading the other person’s mind, but interacted within that mind – as one unity of cosmic consciousness. Another person described it as “utter bliss” or what “heaven” must have felt like. The feeling of “heaven on earth” may indeed be what the hieros gamos was all about: the twin souls in heaven, experiencing their divine union on earth. As above, so below?

Become the “inner man with Heart” (tiferet) and she will become “Wisdom” (hochmah).[1554] The princess malchut ascends to hochmah and the prince yesod ascends to tiferet. Tiferet and hochmah is the union of hieros gamos awakening an even higher union of hochmah and binah. To be correct it is really malchut that has awakened hochmah and joined with paternal wisdom who in kind reaches for binah (understanding) and joins with her—opening up knowledge (da’at). Together crowns rest upon their heads and their will ascends to keter and merges with the will of the divine male and female together.[1555]

Text 15-2: Hero and Heroine Journey
But, especially during the early years of this period, there were some differences between the cycle taken by most men and that of women. Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey gives us one example of those differences. In the beginning, when patriarchal influences were stronger, and the laws supported male dominance, a woman’s first step had to involve a separation from the mother, since the tradition for women to stay at home and fill a more passive role was the prevalent situation. For a woman to go out into the world on her own, she had to identify with her father, creating a “mother/daughter split.” She had to adopt the masculine perspective if she was to journey through the “road of trials” and overcome the “myth of feminine inferiority.” In this way, she could attain the “illusory boon of success,” but afterward, invariably encountering what is described as “the father’s betrayal,” and realizes that she has lost an important part of herself along the way. Now it is time for her to “descend to the Goddess and reconnect with the Feminine.” Only in that way can the mother/daughter split be healed, and only after that can she find the Man with Heart. Murdock writes that, “women [will also] require an attitude of change on the part of society, and they need the assistance of men. Flexible roles in the family and business and legislative policy that reflect these will ultimately change the way dependency is viewed and experienced by women. Our heroine will no longer have to give herself away for the growth and development of others. Autonomy, achievement, and nurturance will be acceptable qualities for women.” It has taken two generations, in many cases, for the Women’s Movement to reach this position, with my own generation taking the first steps, and our daughters finally achieving a place where she can find Murdock’s “Man with Heart.”

Mother (binah) and daughter (malchut) are reunited.

15.1 Communication

15.1.1 The great secret of communication

‘Communication consists of 7% words, 36% the tone of your voice, and 57% body language. Hence, 93% of our communication is non-verbal.’[1556] So begins the most significant class I have ever taken.

Text 15-3: 3KeyElements Training
Reading body language is a skill to find answers and solutions.
To begin reading body language I must remove judgment and see movements as indicators.
When I see movements, the next step is to ask good questions.
While you are speaking, the brain prepares and organizes 650 words per minute to say.
At the last moment, our consciousness filters this down to 150 words.
As a person speaks there are an average of 500 words that are held back
These words show up in body language.
The great secret of communication is when the person one is talking to looks down, do not talk, wait until they look up again and say what is on their mind before responding. They are looking into their heart and emotions. By not talking one creates safety and gives a caring impression. Talking at this point is to talk over their thought that is the same as talking over their words.

Table 15-1: Eye movements
Up and Right
Looking to right side of brain
Future, creative
Artistic, imagination, big picture
Up and left
Looking to left side of brain
Past, linear data
Logic, step by step thinking, how to get somewhere
Looking heavenward
Inspiration, seeking higher power
Looking for an answer from God.
Looking at heart
Personal, emotional
Looking into emotions, wait for an answer and listen.
Side to side
Looking at ears
Listening to internal voice or past voices
Other peoples opinions

Other physical gestures can be understood by picturing someone in water. If they are pulling water towards themselves that is to bring others closer while the opposite is vice-versa. Holding ones hands and up brings life towards you while fists and hands down is considered at threat. Pointing with the index finger is a weapon when negative and should be used with objects not people, unless with being positive. Standing on both legs with the chin up, shoulders back gives a strong foundation impression while standing on one leg makes one appear weak.

15.1.2 Arguments

Resolving arguments is based on persistence, but not in dialog; rather non-verbal persistence like a pleasant tone and hug are more effective. Listening is as important as resolving problems, but there is no substitute for a good solution. Babies need to be cared for within reason and health. A baby needs to change position so a vertical seat like a bouncer can serve in place of carrying the baby to avoid back injury. A mother’s health is as important as the baby, so plenty of rest, good meals, exercise, friendship, and companionship are all important. One should not separate oneself from the community in order to preserve a network for helping each other and decision-making. Life cycle events require careful care.

Ironically religion can create communities or barriers. Most change religions because of communities while some because of theology. Nevertheless, one should not cut ones shoots and instead try to establish a community where one is not found. Hashem has prepared the remedy even before the sickness.

15.2 Failure Purpose

The Jewish community must make an extraordinary effort to facilitate the marriages of their youth. Current approaches of separating singles due to concern of improper relationships have disabled matches, often leading to intermarriage due to dating between singles who do meet. Shabbat services have become a weekly roulette game where the chance of singles having a chance to talk at a kiddush, let alone during a service could take months to occur. The men/women separation barrier, the mechitzah, only obscures singles from knowing who might be available, let alone giving them a chance to sit close by so that they might say hello. Finally countries like Israel where 20% of the Jewish population has to leave the country in order to marry will surely have changed by the time you read this.

Text 15-4: Jewish birth rate
“The Jewish birth rate today is so low that studies predict that by the year 2035 the current world Jewish population of fourteen million will be down to fire or six million souls.”[1557]

The low Jewish birth rate has as much to do with the difficulty of Jewish people finding each other for marriage as marrying later has to do with intermarriage. Clearly the way Torah is applied today in the orthodox Jewish community is interfering with people meeting each other, delaying marriage, delaying having children, promoting intermarriage, and not accepting conversion.

The old saying goes, “As difficult is it for Hashem to make a match as to create the world.” So many factors come into play in being able to arrange a successful match that after an Egyptian slave owner asked what has Hashem been doing since the creation of the world, the answer given to her, is making matches. So many have given up on finding a Jewish spouse; yet, a person may wake up one day especially after being intermarried realizing:[1558]

Text 15-5: Rabbi Yehuda Aryeh Leib of Ger
You can be in exile in your own house when you realize that you are not really home.

Being able to preserve identity in marriage prevents resentment, as spouses actualize each other. Religious people actualize each other. Secular people do not impose religion on each other. For each there is a counterpart. Abraham Abulafia sums up the mystical purpose of marriage:[1559]

Text 15-6: Abraham Abulafia on Marriage
The purpose of marriage of man and woman is none other than their union, and the purpose of union is impregnation, and the purpose of impregnation is [bearing] offspring, and the purpose of [offspring] is study [i.e., of Torah by the child born], and the purpose of that is apprehension [of the Divine], whose purpose is the continuing maintaining of the one apprehending with pleasure gained from his apprehension.[1560]

The first marriage that a man has is according to his Mazel in heaven.[1561] The second marriage is determined according to his qualities as it says in Sotah, “Hashem matches up two people according to the goodness of the husband.” A voice goes out from heaven, “who a man’s wife will be, whose house he will have, and where will be his field.” On the day of his marriage, a bridegroom is pardoned for all of his sins.

A husband must strive to be a ‘mench’. To do this he must be willing to suppress his own ego for the sake of his wife. If ones spouse criticizes, one does not counter. As Hashem was willing to permit His Name to be destroyed in the test of adultery for the sake of marriage, so a husband may suppress his ego in such disputes. Yet we are in this world to grow close to G-d so one should marry a person who is on the same path.

‘How to be a mench towards ones wife and also a practicing Jew’ is sometimes a problem?[1562] Even to pray with a minyan (quorum) morning and evening can take time from ones wife especially if the work schedule is demanding. Yet, a husband should focus on his marriage with highest priority especially the first year when both are learning about each other. A wife should encourage her husband to attend synagogue to pray for the family.

A husband should consult his wife before making a decision. This will encourage her personal expression and self-esteem. This will help a husband repair damage done by criticism. A wife wants to be looked upon well in her husband’s eyes. She seeks his approval as he seeks approval in the eyes of G-d. Attention and affection is the role of a husband towards his wife.[1563] When one wishes to leave the house, he should ask permission of his wife. This adds to her sense of importance. It is good to sleep in the same room as one’s wife.[1564] A husband should always place the performance of a mitzvah above selfish indulgence even for the whole family and his wife will come to love him.

It is a mitzvah to marry the daughter of one’s sister. Because children tend to resemble a wife’s brother, there will be natural affection between uncle and niece or between cousins. Hashem answered the prayers of man and permitted this union.[1565] A woman should try to be found, should try to marry her soul mate, and should try to have her first child before the age of 30. We are commanded to guard our health. Bearing a first child earlier in life is important in this regard.[1566] A woman must be open to the possibility that an uncle or even a cousin could be her soul mate.

A Kohen may not marry a divorcee, a profaned woman, or a woman who has slept with non-Jews. Hence, a Kohen may have slept with other Jewish women and can marry a Jewish woman who has slept with other Jewish men. A profaned woman is someone who was molested or raped. In Hebrew, the term zona refers to a woman who has slept with non-Jews, i.e. someone she could not marry. The term qedesha refers to a harlot, which is a different category entirely. While these rules only apply to the Kohenim, one should consider that the Torah is teaching that certain circumstances may make a woman’s reputation a risk to the functions of a priest. From the Oral Law we learn that a convert to Judaism after the age of three was classified as a zona because of the moral standards that the person may have been exposed to.[1567] For example, a convert may have grown up in a house where homosexuality was completely acceptable. Her marriage to a Jewish person may preserve this tolerance affecting her spouse. Yet, a Kohen may marry the daughter of a proselyte, so we know that the children are not affected by these values. A Kohen is prohibited from marrying a convert to avoid such situations, which could become scandalous in the nation of Israel. If a Kohen marries a prohibited woman and has children they are categorized as hallalim, which essentially means disgraced children. They are not however in the category of mamzirim who are children of an adulterous women, i.e. a woman who is married to a different Jewish man.

Does the Oral Law apply these rules well today? I have witnessed the disgraceful treatment of a Cohen who married a convert in a wilderness town where he was the only Cohen. The honor of G-d was reduced by not recognizing his late marriage and happiness when he had so few choices of whom to marry. The synagogue’s honor was reduced and finally the congregation’s size. Perhaps Rav Kook’s pronouncement that outside of Israel, the commandments are only for practice has validity for outside of Israel finding a spouse is much more difficult. In this regard, outside of Israel all marriages are equivalent whether Jewish or intermarriage with the intention of raising ones children as Jews.[1568] Only by the time of immigration as in the story of Ezra were these marriages judged. The Cohen Blessing – Birkat haKohenim outside of Israel is as meaningful whether the priest married a Jewess, a Ger Tzedek,[1569] or intermarried. I have also witnessed the case outside of Israel of a Jewish woman marrying another Jewish man and having a second daughter, whose former Jewish husband married a non-Jewish woman while refusing to grant her a Jewish divorce. Discrimination against the daughter based on the rule of mamzirim is a wonder when so few Jews can find other Jews to marry, outside of Israel – hutz la’aretz, scarring her life seems to disgrace the Jewish religion – hillul Hashem.

Text 15-7: A truer explanation one will never find
A truer explanation you will never find,
I hate the abominations although the people are all fine.
G-d bless the Holy Lord, G-d bless the Holy Lord

One can hate the abomination and not the sinner. This is the truer explanation. Although homosexuality is an abomination, one does not persecute homosexuals and one does not accept abomination. Rabbis are not any less corrupt to prohibit rabbinical certification for even this abomination, provided the applicant does not openly proclaim that his practice is acceptable. Would a corrupt rabbi openly proclaim his corruption as acceptable? The sin should be covered and G-d is the judge. The punishment in Lev. 20:13 quoted in 2.3.12 on p.135 apply to both parties so we know that this is not a case where one party is under duress.

L’havdil, G-d gave us his Holy Name so that we may be a holy people. This means that we separate ourselves from the perversions of society and cling fast unto G-d. The truer explanation is that there is only one G-d without division or multiple personalities or persons; and G-d gave us the Holy Name so that we may attach to Him.[1570] On Aaron’s miter that is his headdress is inscribed the words Holy to the Lord – קדוש ליהוה and here we ask G-d to bless the name Holy Lord – יהוה קדוש so that we can attach to Him. Similarly, the phrase haKodesh Baruch Hu – the Holy One Blessed Be He – הקדוש ברוך הוא sanctifies His Name.

Text 15-8: Midrash Rabbah Genesis 22:2
In the past, Adam was created from the ground, and Eve from Adam; but henceforth it shall be, “In our image, after our likeness” (Gen. I, 26): neither man without woman nor woman without man, nor the two of them without Divine Presence.[1571]

Upon entering marriage, a Jewish husband is required by law to provide shelter, food, clothing, and conjugal rights to his wife. Essentially a husband is required to love his wife. Most Jewish women are not aware that upon marriage they do not have the right to divorce their husband. The reason here is complex, but basically a husband acquires a wife in the sense of property that he is responsible to maintain. Only he can discard his wife. Where one partner appreciates Torah and the other doesn’t, divorce is likely. A converted woman may discard her husband because her culture doesn’t appreciate Jewish frugality or tolerate “tough love” for self-improvement. A profaned woman will make a husband’s life very difficult without him understanding. A divorcee may bear similar psychological baggage that could affect a Kohen. Perhaps, there are foreign women who are very religious, who would not have the values or circumstances of a zona, but are still under this category by being a convert. This was the case of Ruth, the Moabite. From her case we learned that being a convert is not a negative, for Ruth’s quality of pride was not arrogant and was missing from the house of Israel. Ruth was exceptional in her unselfishness towards her mother. This she learned from the grace of growing up a princess, the daughter of the king of the Moabites.

Dearest to God is the Ger Tzedek - true stranger.  Had the Israelites not witnessed the lightning, thunder, quaking mountain, and sounding trumpets, they would not have accepted the Torah.  However, the convert, who did not see or hear any of these things, came and surrendered herself to G-d. The Chofetz Chayim is the author of the Mishnah Berurah – Clear Teaching, which is a commentary on the Shulhan Aruch – The Set Table, the consolidated book of Jewish laws. Before he was able to write the Mishnah Berurah, the Chofetz Chayim took a wife:

Text 15-9: Chofetz Chayim takes a Wife
The Chofetz Chayim’s father died when he was still a boy and his mother remarried. When it came time for the Chofetz Chayim to take a wife, his father-in-law mentioned to his mother that he would like the Chofetz for his daughter. Now this daughter was already 10 years older than the Chofetz Chayim who was only 16 and the mother didn’t know what to do. She knew her son could marry anyone from all the greatest families and this daughter didn’t have the same background. So she mentioned it to her son that “He wants you to marry his daughter.”

The Chofetz Chayim could see the struggle on his mother’s face and no sooner had she mentioned it that he agreed with the match. His brothers all tried to dissuade him from the decision, but he remained firm.

When the Chofetz Chayim married this lady, he was not yet distinguished. Years later he published all of his great books and became known as the great Chofetz Chayim. When asked what did he attribute his success to? He told this story, and said that because he listened carefully to his mother, to her feelings, and chose this match, that everything he achieved was due to this decision.

The Sayings of the Fathers provides guidance on where to live:

Text 15-10: Perkei Avot 6:10
R. Jose B. Kisma said: once I was walking by the way when a man met me, and gave me [the salutation of] 'peace', and I returned him [the salutation of] peace'. Said he to me, Rabbi, from what place art thou?' said I to him, 'from a great city of sages and scribes am I.' Said he to me, 'Rabbi, [should it be] thy pleasure that thou dwell with us in our place, I will give thee a thousand thousand denarii of gold, and precious stones and pearls.' said I to him: 'If thou shouldest give me all the silver and gold, precious stones and pearls that are in the world, I would not dwell [anywhere] excepting in a place of Torah; for in the hour of the departure of a man [from the world], there accompany him neither gold nor silver, nor precious stones nor pearls, but Torah and good deeds alone, as it is said, WHEN THOU WALKEST, IT SHALL LEAD THEE, WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN, IT SHALL WATCH OVER THEE; AND WHEN THOU WAKEST, IT SHALL TALK WITH THEE. WHEN THOU WALKEST, IT SHALL LEAD THEE - in this world,[1572] WHEN THOU LIEST DOWN, IT SHALL WATCH OVER THEE - in the grave,[1573] AND WHEN THOU WAKEST, IT SHALL TALK WITH THEE - in the world to come;[1574] and thus it is written in the book of psalms by David, King of Israel, THE LAW OF THY MOUTH IS BETTER UNTO ME THAN THOUSANDS OF GOLD AND SILVER, and it says [also]: MINE IS THE SILVER, AND MINE THE GOLD, SAITH THE LORD OF HOSTS.

Malachi discusses the consequence of marrying out of the religion while abandoning ones spouse and having spiritual kin:[1575]

Text 15-11: Malachi on Marriage, Abandonment, and Spiritual Kin
11. Judah has dealt treacherously, and an abomination is committed in Israel and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the holiness of the Lord which he loved, and has married the daughter of a foreign god.
12. The Lord will cut off all living offspring from the tents of Jacob, from the man who does this, and from him who brings an offering to the Lord of Hosts.
13. And this again you do: you cover the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with sighing, because he will not regard the offering any more, nor receive it with good will from your hand.
14. And you say, Why is this so? Because the Lord has been witness between you and the wife of your youth, to whom you have been faithless, yet is she your companion, and the wife of your covenant.
15. And did not God make of you one flesh? So that one should have a spiritual kin? And what does that one flesh seek? A godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not be faithless to the wife of your youth.
16. For to send her away is hateful, says the Lord, the God of Israel, and covering one’s garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts; therefore take heed to your spirit, that you do not be faithless.

A better translation of Malachi 2:15 is: “Zera Elohim vNishmartem Bruachhem” – “godly seed and guard their spirits.” Hence, a man should marry his soul mate early in life if she appears not to postpone marriage for a career.

15.3 Arranged Marriage

Arranged marriages can be superior to finding ones own soul mate in many cases. Parents are less likely to be blinded to a potential matches’ (shiduch’s) family background, than one in a relationship. Ironically, even if both people are a match in every other way, family background indicates the likely degree of stability and commitment, the ability to stay together through the rolling waves of bliss and confrontation that accompany every marriage. “For Rav punished any man who betrothed [a woman] in a market place, or by intercourse, or without [previous] shiddukin.”[1576] Rav considered negotiations, preliminary to betrothal essential for marriage. The Shulchan Aruch confirms this oral law in Even ha-Ezer 26:4.[1577]

15.4 Finding ones Soul Mate

This is the prayer to find ones soul mate[1578]נפש תאומה as would be offered according to Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess.[1579]
Text 15-12: Sota 2a
Forty days before a person is conceived into this world, the Daughter’s Voice[1580] goes out and proclaims, the daughter of this man is destined to marry this man, the house in this place - is destined for their home, and this field (livelihood / business / profession) is destined for this person.

ארבעים יום קודם יצירת הולד בת קול יוצאת ואומרת
בת פלוני לפלוני בית פלוני לפלוני שדה פלוני לפלוני

This prayer is efficacious. And why is the house and field mentioned afterwards? This is to teach us that after a man marries, the (root) soul of his wife will determine his wealth. This can work in two ways. A wife can increase a man’s wealth through wise investment or decrease it by being a spendthrift – פזרן or diminishing his investment prowess by argument and distress. The way a husband treats his wife will also influence these matters.

Psalms that are efficacious are discussed in 13.2.2 Marriage Psalms on p.643. Talmud Tractate Kiddushin (Holiness – commandments on marriage) is beneficial for finding a wife while Beitzim (Eggs – commandments on holidays) is beneficial for having children.

Text 15-13: Searching and finding ones soul mate
Like a wave that breaks along the warm sand of the beach and knows why it has traveled thousands of miles.

15.5 Zivugim

Hashem sends each of us the partner (zivug) of the ‘Fundamental Soul’ when we are quite young, age 18-25.[1581] If the match should fail than there are secondary arrangements for those lost souls needing to be paired up. The Ribono Shalom orchestrates these, but there is a catch, Hashem never tells anyone who his or her soul mate is at the time one meets the person! This is always a matter of free choice! There is a good reason that it is never revealed, because we must show a faith to marry the right partner, not unlike our faith in G-d. Sometimes even the yetzer hara – bad inclination, or a satan – an adversary, will tell a person that their soul mate is not such and such to harden their heart so that they must prove their faith further. Years later, one may recognize that one had a soul mate opportunity.

Nevertheless, one should not marry on faith but on facts. The key is that when the facts are good, then one should have faith that Hashem will bless the marriage. Good facts could be different for different people. Overall, when two people can talk and listen, and they are attracted to each other and they value the same goals, and respect each other’s interests, and would be capable of having children together, and they are of the same faith and similar family background that helps. The Talmud says a very tall person should marry a short person, so some opposite qualities are ok too, but an old man should not marry a young lass (40 yrs apart). Yet, I have come to realize that we often cannot recognize a zivug until that person is lost; this is part of the test of faith.

15.6 Alternative Zivugim

I wish to explain why Hashem’s justice does not punish a failed Zivug with indefinite reincarnation until one eventually marries his or her Zivug. The concept of Gigal - transmigration of the soul and Zivugim are not so easily interrelated.  Each person consists of a multiplicity of souls.  The purpose, similar to Klal Israel, is that different souls help each grow in a unique way when they are bound together in one body.
Hence the Zivug potential of an age ~18-25 male and a ~16-23 female would be that of the 'Fundamental Soul'.  If this match should fail, one might even attain a higher Zivug; for example, that of the 'Lofty Soul' or that of the 'Extra Good Soul' and experience an even greater bliss in life if one should marry. Of course, degradation in behavior could lead to the converse.[1582]

All of this depends on ones merits.  If a Zivug of the Fundamental Soul fails, and both marry other souls, but live very Righteous lives—they may not need to be reborn, but instead can merit Olam Habah and even be True Soul mates in a world of resurrection.

15.7 Between nose and lip

A wise woman taught me that when we are in the womb, G-d kisses a place between the nose and lips and we forget everything that we are taught about our coming life, but the talents that G-d has given us are meant to be used even if they help us remember what we have forgotten. This woman learned to ‘break her shell’ and see herself as a free soul completely naked in the world and clean. She could see the motion of the wind.[1583] She taught me that Koach – כוח is 34 in gematria that is Lamed Dalet whose opposite is DaL (dull). Most of all she taught me to daven with a higher goal. Making agreements with Hashem increases the likelihood of fruition. She told me a man must seek his Zivug because he has a mitzvah to fulfill. She said that we must learn to keep our word as truth.[1584] She said that Hava tricked Adam, but that this breakup was necessary for them to come closer together. She said she hears in the kitchen[1585] that with every Zivug there is a breakup that binds them.

The secret of Adam’s sin and the expulsion from the Garden of Eden is actually the reformation of the Zivug of Adam Kadmon and Hashem. As in Shir haShirim, the Shechinah is drawn back to Hashem, the lovers reunite though they were parted. So it is with primordial man of which all of our souls consist, that we are broken up so that we can become a Zivug again. “There is a strawberry floating on a cake and if we only want the strawberry, we cannot have the cake.” The cake is the mitzvot and marriage in this world, but with the cake comes the icing and the strawberry. Kabbalah is the icing, but we only need the cake.

One may meditate on the sefirot by manifesting them, for to live the quality of a sefira is to do mitzvot, a worthy endeavor. 

15.8 Fertility

The chance of natural pregnancy going to fruition can be approximated in the table below. These represent the chances for someone trying to have a child and who has had a child before. The numbers are lower for attempting a first child:

Table 15-2: Yearly Natural Pregnancy Chances for a Live Birth

Pregnancy %
Miscarriage %
Live Birth %

The average age of last birth for a woman attempting natural pregnancy is 40.9 yrs.[1586] With ART, the possible age is about the same.[1587]

Figure 15-1: Over 40 Last Chance Pregnancy successes with ART


Text 15-14: Pregnancy vs. Birth Rate

Women's fertility peaks in their early twenties, and often deteriorates after 30. Of women trying to get pregnant, without using fertility drugs or in vitro fertilization:[1588]

At age 30, 75% will get pregnant within one year, and 91% within four years.
At age 35, 66% will get pregnant within one year, and 84% within four years.
At age 40, 44% will get pregnant within one year, and 64% within four years.[1589]
Those figures are for conception, not for the birth of a healthy baby. According to the March of Dimes, "about 9 percent of recognized pregnancies for women aged 20 to 24 ended in miscarriage. The risk rose to about 20 percent at age 35 to 39, and more than 50 percent by age 42."

For a man who has the commandment to be fruitful and multiply, the woman he marries would have fertile eggs. Yet, there is also the principle of companionship as a basis for marriage. The fertility of eggs can be seen in Figure [1590].1590 The chart assumes an ideal selection of eggs before transferring. In addition, miscarriage rate increases with age although this can also be related to chromosomal damage in the egg preventing its development from going to fruition.

Figure 15-2: Live Births: Fresh Embryos vs. Donor Eggs


Figure 15-3: Miscarriage Rates with ART for Non donor Embryos


The most common reason for infertile eggs is chromosomal damage. Ironically, miscarriages weed most of these problems out except for Down’s syndrome. Nevertheless, it is not illogical to posit that some subtle damage might exist contributing to a genetic illness that is not hereditary, based on these odds:[1591]

Table 15-3: Maternal Age vs. Chromosomal Abnormality Risk

Maternal Age
Risk of Chromosomal

The increase in chromosomal abnormality coincides with phenotypical changes with age. These include the graying of hair, wrinkling of skin, and age related loss of hair in men. Age is a product of chromosomal damage. Antioxidants will slow the rate of this change such as glutathione (GSH) and Vitamin E and Selenium.

Text 15-15: Assisted Reproductive Technology birth rates per year
Per year, birth rates resulting from embryo transfer using women's own eggs are about:
35% for women age 34 and younger.
28% for women age 35 to 37.
20% for women age 38 to 40.
10% for women age 41 to 42.
4% for women 43 and older.
Pregnancy history. A woman who has already had a live birth is more likely to have a successful ART procedure than a woman who hasn't given birth before. This "previous birth advantage" gradually narrows as women age from their early 30s to their 40s.[1592]

The following summary shows the chance of having a successful birth with multiple selected embryos implanted vs. a single embryo implanted:[1593] Yet, the higher incidence of illness in twin situations makes this approach undesirable.

Text 15-16: 2004 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report Chance per Implantation
Age <21, Pregnancy rate 41.7%, Live birth rate 37.5%, Singleton live birth rate 20.8%
Age 21, Pregnancy rate 38.2%, Live birth rate 32.7%, Singleton live birth rate 23.6%
Age 22, Pregnancy rate 35.2%, Live birth rate 32.0%, Singleton live birth rate 18.8%
Age 23, Pregnancy rate 40.7%, Live birth rate 35.7%, Singleton live birth rate 24.1%
Age 24, Pregnancy rate 41.4%, Live birth rate 35.5%, Singleton live birth rate 20.8%
Age 25, Pregnancy rate 44.4%, Live birth rate 39.5%, Singleton live birth rate 23.3%
Age 26, Pregnancy rate 43.6%, Live birth rate 38.5%, Singleton live birth rate 23.7%
Age 27, Pregnancy rate 45.2%, Live birth rate 39.8%, Singleton live birth rate 24.8%
Age 28, Pregnancy rate 44.4%, Live birth rate 39.1%, Singleton live birth rate 24.7%
Age 29, Pregnancy rate 43.1%, Live birth rate 37.9%, Singleton live birth rate 23.1%
Age 30, Pregnancy rate 44.5%, Live birth rate 38.6%, Singleton live birth rate 24.1%
Age 31, Pregnancy rate 43.9%, Live birth rate 38.2%, Singleton live birth rate 25.0%
Age 32, Pregnancy rate 42.2%, Live birth rate 36.6%, Singleton live birth rate 23.6%
Age 33, Pregnancy rate 40.6%, Live birth rate 34.8%, Singleton live birth rate 22.5%
Age 34, Pregnancy rate 40.8%, Live birth rate 34.8%, Singleton live birth rate 22.9%
Age 35, Pregnancy rate 38.2%, Live birth rate 32.2%, Singleton live birth rate 21.5%
Age 36, Pregnancy rate 35.3%, Live birth rate 29.1%, Singleton live birth rate 19.8%
Age 37, Pregnancy rate 32.5%, Live birth rate 26.4%, Singleton live birth rate 18.7%
Age 38, Pregnancy rate 29.9%, Live birth rate 23.2%, Singleton live birth rate 17.0%
Age 39, Pregnancy rate 26.2%, Live birth rate 19.0%, Singleton live birth rate 14.5%
Age 40, Pregnancy rate 23.0%, Live birth rate 16.1%, Singleton live birth rate 12.3%
Age 41, Pregnancy rate 19.2%, Live birth rate 12.5%, Singleton live birth rate 10.2%
Age 42, Pregnancy rate 14.8%, Live birth rate 8.4%, Singleton live birth rate 7.2%
Age 43, Pregnancy rate 10.8%, Live birth rate 5.5%, Singleton live birth rate 5.1%
Age 44, Pregnancy rate 7.4%, Live birth rate 3.3%, Singleton live birth rate 3.0%
Age 45, Pregnancy rate 4.3%, Live birth rate 1.2%, Singleton live birth rate 1.2%
Age 46, Pregnancy rate 2.6%, Live birth rate 0%, Singleton live birth rate 0%
Age 47, Pregnancy rate 3.3%, Live birth rate 0%, Singleton live birth rate 0%
Age 48, Pregnancy rate 2.6%, Live birth rate 0%, Singleton live birth rate 0%
Age >48, Pregnancy rate 5.6%, Live birth rate 2.8%, Singleton live birth rate 0%

The advantageous times for trying to create a pregnancy are as follows:

Table 15-4: Conception Probabilities
Probability of Conception
Ovulation Day

Sperm can survive for five days in the female reproductive track, although two days is more common. An egg is viable for 12 to 24 hours. The probability of conception is cumulative so an 85% chance can be achieved.[1594]

Based on keeping the laws of Taharas Hasmishpacha, the fertility cycle works out as follows:

Table 15-5: Taharas Hasmishpacha Fertility (28 Day Cycle)
Probability of Conception
Period begins
Usually period ends
dry day[1595]
dry day
Biblical week ends: dry day
dry day
Fertile day
13% or 0%
Fertile day
13% or 0%
Rabbinical week of seven clean days ends; mikvah
28% or 13%
Fertile day (Temperature drops immediately before ovulation)
26% or 13%
Ovulation day (BBT and progesterone increases[1596])
5% or 28%
wet day (Warm day)
~0% or 26%
wet day (Warm day)
~0% or 5%
wettest day (Warm day)
wet day
wet day
wet day (BBT can drop right before implantation)
Egg Implantation possible (hCG production[1597])
dry day
dry day
dry day
dry day
Pregnancy test reliable;[1598] dry day
dry day
dry day – end of cycle
New cycle – end of cycle
No period? Maybe you’re pregnant!

Approximate due date 9 months

Table 15-6: Taharas Hasmishpacha Fertility (30 Day Cycle)
Probability of Conception
Period begins
Usually period ends
dry day[1599]
dry day
Biblical week ends: dry day
dry day
Fertile day
13% or 0%
Fertile day
13% or 0%
Rabbinical week of seven clean days ends; mikvah
28% or 13%
Fertile day (Temperature drops immediately before ovulation)
26% or 13%
Ovulation day (BBT and progesterone increases[1600])
5% or 28%
wet day (Warm day)
~0% or 26%
wet day (Warm day)
~0% or 5%
wettest day (Warm day)
wet day
wet day
wet day (BBT can drop right before implantation)
Egg Implantation possible (hCG production[1601])
dry day
dry day
dry day
dry day
Pregnancy test reliable;[1602] dry day
dry day
dry day – end of cycle
New cycle – end of cycle
No period? Maybe you’re pregnant!

Approximate due date 9 months

Pregnancy testing works 6-10 days after ovulation.[1603] Progesterone production continues and is the main contributor to pregnancy symptoms.[1604]
Figure 15-4: Progesterone Levels in Pregnancy vs. Menstruation

The luteal phase of the menstrual cycle follows ovulation. This two-week period is called the luteal phase because of the dominant role played by the corpus luteum, which is nothing other than the collapsed follicle from which the egg issued forth. The corpus luteum pumps out the hormone progesterone which "heats up" the body and womb in preparation for pregnancy. After the ovarian follicle releases its ovum – egg, the surrounding cells in the ovary form the corpus luteum, which can be a few centimeters in size, much larger than the egg. If pregnancy does not occur, the cells of the corpus luteum get reincorporated into the ovary.

15.9 Pregnancy

Beware the zinc levels in prenatal vitamins, which should not exceed 11 mg. O-CAL FA contains 15 mg, which can cause chills, fatigue, and nausea with continued use due to zinc poisoning. Maybe by the third trimester the dosage might be tolerable, but in the first trimester, it is too much. Prenate Essential looks safer.

O-CAL FA Prenate Essential DHA[1605] Pregnant women need
------------------------------ ---------------------------- ---------------------------
Vitamin A (Beta Carotene) 2500 IU 31%
Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) 70 mg 117% 85 mg 142%
Vitamin D (Calciferol) 400 IU 100% 200 IU 50%
Vitamin E (Acetate) 30 IU 100% 10 IU 33%
Thiamin (B1) 1.5 mg 88%
Riboflavin (B2) 1.6 mg 80%
Niacin (as Niacinamide) 17 mg 85%
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine HCl) 12 mg 480% 25 mg 1000%
Folic Acid 1 mg 125% 1 mg 125%
Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocobalamin) 12 mcg 150% 12 mcg 150%
Biotin 250 mcg 83%
Calcium (Carbonate) 200 mg 15% 140 mg 11% 1000 mg
Iron (Ferrous Fumarate) 15 mg 83% 28 mg 156%
Iodine (Potassium Iodide) 150 mcg 100% 150 mcg 100%
Magnesium (Oxide) 100 mg 22% 45 mg 10% 360 mg
Zinc (Oxide) 15 mg 100%
Copper (Cupric Sulfate) 2 mg 100%
DHA 300 mg
EPA 40 mg

O-Cal is insufficient in Calcium, since a pregnant women needs about 1000 mg/day. It is also light on Vitamin C. Neither has Choline, which is good for brain development.

Search for hypnobirthing and prenatal courses.[1606] Avoid any stress to a pregnancy.


%Daily Value
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Vitamin D3
Vitamin E
Vitamin B1
Vitamin B2
Vitamin B3
Vitamin B6
Folic Acid
Vitamin B12
Pantothenic Acid
Zinc L-OptiZinc®
Chromium ChromeMate®
Probiotic Blend
1 Billion cfu
Other Ingredients
Marinol DHA Powder
Ginger Root 10:1

Vitamin C reduces hemorrhoid symptoms. Its safety during pregnancy is discussed in In any case consumption of citrus fruits: oranges, mandarins, and grapefruits will have similar effects. Also see 21.42 Pregnancy on p.1042.

15.10 Baby

15.10.1 Circumcision

For a boy, a traditional mohel who conducts the bris uses the Mogen shield during the circumcision, which does not touch the underside of the penis eliminating the chance for injury to the frenulum artery. Also the procedure is faster to set up and less painful. Standard medical procedure however uses the Gomco clamp, a circular clamp that comes into full contact with the underside of the penis. The circumcision is done on the eighth day unless there is a health risk to the baby. The Brit Milah removes the tip of the foreskin the biblical requirement, which was done by simply pulling the foreskin forward to enable cutting it off. The rabbinical Brit Periah removes the foreskin to behind the ridge.[1608] The Gomco achieves the effect of Brit Periah during placement, while this was traditionally done by fingernail before scalpels. Circumcision of only the tip is biblical and to the ridge is rabbinical. The Mogen clamp is preferred to insure that there is blood released during the circumcision, a risk that the Gomco is designed to prevent while there is still blood released during its placement. Circumcisions are characterized as low or high, loose or tight and in between.[1609] With Mogen shield, the circumcision will be low and loose.

“According to Kabbalah, the foreskin is the symbol of the negative consciousness/energy in our world. Therefore, after the Brit we must bury the foreskin immediately in the ground. Kabbalah tells us, the earth (soil) is the only matter that has the power to eliminate/diffuse all of the foreskin’s negativity. When it is buried, it must be done with the intention of helping to diminish the negative energy in the world. All people present at the Brit benefit from the diminishment of their own negative energy, so therefore it is advisable to invite as many people as possible to participate in the ceremony of the Brit Mila, to share the positive benefits.”

15.11 Marriage formulas

15.11.1 Ceremony

The following formulas may enact a marriage, thus requiring a Get – divorce document, if the man says it with intention and the woman receives an item with understanding. Consequently, the observant orthodox, avoid the custom of giving an engagement ring which may invoke a marriage. In addition, gifts color judgment and when selecting a spouse, one ought to decide based on unbiased reason. Similarly a judge is prohibited from accepting gifts. A wise man will not receive gifts from a woman before marriage and a wise woman will not accept an article gift – מתנה, before marriage. Deeds of loving-kindness such as prepared food do not count and entertainment is not included.

Text 15-17: Marriage Formulas
Harei at m'kudeshet li – Behold, you are sanctified to me (groom gives an item of value to the lady)
Hareni mekudeshet lecha – Behold I am sanctified to you (wife says to groom)
Harei, ani muchana v'mezumenet l'kabel et ha'taba'at zo k'dat Moshe v'Yisrael – Behold, I am prepared and declared to receive this sign according to the law of Moshe and Israel.

15.11.2 Ketubah

The ketubah – writing, is a document that proves the existence of a Jewish marriage. A kinyan must be established which is a witnessed payment with a token by a man to a woman. The written document describes where this took place and what each brings into the marriage. The ketubah is important to ones children to serve as evidence of their lineage and identity. A few of the key versions include Giorta – for a sojourner, Betulah – for virgin, Armalta – for a widow, or Matarakhta – for a divorcee.

Figure 15-5: Betulah Ketubah from Kolomea, Ukraine 1911

Filled in items of this ketubah in italics by line number mean:[1610]
1. In the first day of the week in the 19th of the month of Adar five thousand
2. six hundred and seventy one (echat) years from the creation of the world ...
3. Or Kolomea – (light of Kolomea) at the place 205 Petroho

Here is the structure of the translation:[1611]
On the ______day of the week, the _________day of the month ______ in the year five thousand seven hundred and ______ since the creation of the world, the era according to which we reckon here in the city of _________________ that ________ son of _________ said to this (virgin) _________daughter of _____. "Be my wife according to the practice of Moses and Israel, and I will cherish, honor, support and maintain you in accordance with the custom of Jewish husbands who cherish, honor, support and maintain their wives faithfully. And I here present you with the marriage gift of (virgins), (two hundred) silver zuzim, which belongs to you, according the the law of Moses and Israel; and I will also give you your food, clothing and necessities, and live with you as husband and wife according to universal custom." And Miss_____, this (virgin) consented and became his wife. The trousseau that she brought to him from her (father's) house in silver, gold, valuables, clothing, furniture and bedclothes, all this ________, the said bridegroom accepted in the sum of (one hundred ) silver pieces, and ______ the bridegroom, consented to increase this amount from his own property with the sum of (one hundred) silver pieces, making in all (two hundred) silver pieces. And thus said __________, the bridegroom: "The responsibility of this marriage contract, of this trousseau, and of this additional sum, I take upon myself and my heirs after me, so that they shall be paid from the best part of my property and possession that I have beneath the whole heaven, that which I now possess or may hereafter acquire. All my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of the trousseau, and of the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death, from the present day and forever." _______, the bridegroom, has taken upon himself the responsibility of this marriage contract, of the trousseau and the addition made to it, according to the restrictive usages of all marriage contracts and the additions to them made for the daughters of Israel, according to the institution of our sages of blessed memory. It is not to be regarded as a mere forfeiture without consideration or as a mere formula of a document. We have followed the legal formality of symbolic delivery (kinyan) between ______the son of _______, the bridegroom and _______ the daughter of _______ this (virgin), and we have used a garment legally fit for the purpose, to strengthen all that is stated above, and everything is valid and confirmed.

Attested to________________________ Witness
Attested to________________________ Witness

Text 15-18: Purpose
The Ketubah's purpose:[1612]

At about 2000 years of age, the ketubah is certainly among the first documents conferring legal status and financial rights to women. Some people are surprised to learn that the traditional Ketuba is not a romantic document about the love between man and woman or the establishment of a Jewish home and future family.

What the katubah does include is the date and place of the marriage, the names of the bride and groom (and their father's names) and the bridal price (two hundred silver zuzim). It then enumerates the trousseau brought to the marriage by the woman, which the groom agrees to match as the additional sum. The groom agrees that "all my property, real and personal, even the shirt from my back, shall be mortgaged to secure the payment of this marriage contract, of the trousseau, and the addition made to it, during my lifetime and after my death...". The signatures of two non-related witnesses validate the Jewish marriage contract.

15.12 Conversion

There is no word for “conversion” in Hebrew because the formality is not Jewish. According to the Torah, once a person starts living as a Jew, they are a Ger. In the case of Ruth, Samuel wrote an entire treatise legitimizing this idea. Ruth’s “conversion” to Judaism did not have a formal ceremony, no male witnesses, and no witnessed mikvah immersion.

To manage the process consistently, Jewish courts required witnesses. Changes of legal status required court confirmations. Males were required to have a circumcision to join Israel.

There is Hasidic opinion that will not distinguish a convert from another Jew since the person’s soul always had a Jewish spark so there was no change in his or her status.[1613] On the other hand the Torah distinguishes the twine where a Ger even from the time of babyhood cannot marry a priest – Cohen.[1614]

Text 15-19: Ezekiel 44:22
כא  וְיַיִן לֹא-יִשְׁתּוּ, כָּל-כֹּהֵן, בְּבוֹאָם, אֶל-הֶחָצֵר הַפְּנִימִית.
21 Neither shall any priest drink wine, when they enter into the inner court.
כב  וְאַלְמָנָה, וּגְרוּשָׁה, לֹא-יִקְחוּ לָהֶם, לְנָשִׁים:  כִּי אִם-בְּתוּלֹת, מִזֶּרַע בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְהָאַלְמָנָה אֲשֶׁר תִּהְיֶה אַלְמָנָה, מִכֹּהֵן יִקָּחוּ.
22 Neither shall they take for their wives a widow, nor her that is put away; but they shall take virgins of the seed of the house of Israel, or a widow that is the widow of a priest.

Seems the requirement to marry one of ‘the seed of the house of Israel’ for a Cohen may have been born out of the concern of foreign influence during the time of Ezekiel. Today’s times might question the applicability of these laws.[1615] The concern was that the high priest could be influenced by his spouse in a national matter outside of the interest of Israel.

Interestingly the President of the United States must have been a citizen from birth so there is sometimes a concern for indigenous representation in leadership.

15.12.1 Ger

Torah Judaism says that for the Israelite and the Ger ha-Toshav (resident alien) that is a sojourner living amongst you, you shall have one law. When the Second Temple stood there was a legal process to make this declaration official. Today there is not an official court or legal process; the person’s identity ought to be by how one lives.

The Ger ha-Tzedek is the convert who followed his or her shining star to become a Jew. Of this person it is said that their soul stood at Mt Sinai. The soul of the Ger ha-Gor may not have stood at Mt. Sinai, but is living with a Jew in marriage, such as Uriah the Hittite, who was husband to Bat Sheva, or Ruth who was married to Mahlon. What of the children of the non-Jewish wives of David? Was Tamar any less of an Israelite despite her mother’s origin?

Text 15-20: Types
Torah distinguished between a ger ha-gor (same as ger tzedek) in Num. 9:14, 35:15 and a ger ha-toshav in Ex. 12:45 and Num. 35:15. Torah also distinguishes between Hebrew and non-Hebrew `avad (Ex. 12:44), a shakhir (12:45), and a nokhri (Lev. 22:25; Dt. 14:21) without explaining what each of these statuses are, although we are told that a ger ha-gor (same as ger ha-tzedek) is obligated to all of the Torah like a native-born Israelite in contrast to a ger ha-toshav who is exempt from certain commands (Dt. 14:21), yet the Written Torah does not clarify what the obligations of the latter are, or how to change from one status to another, or whether this is even possible. The explanation to the Written Torah, the Jewish Oral Tradition, explains all of this.

Modern day Jewish law makes conversion contingent on:
  1. Bris for male
  2. Mikvah
  3. Kabbalah haMitzvos – accepting responsibility for the mitzvos. This does not mean practicing perfectly, but the principle.

The reform movement has modified the 3rd principle unnecessarily to a learning of Torah without realizing that an acceptance of halachah is not a particular interpretation or a perfect practice. Instead, it is the acceptance of the principle that being a Jew means accepting a particular way of life. Ironically every convert who spent a year learning all about the Jewish holidays and laws of course understands that they are accepting a way of life when they go into the mikvah.

Moreover, we cannot invalidate every reform or conservative conversion because of the imperfection of the leaders of these movements to follow the standard conversion service. Once again if you ask reform and conservative converts what they accepted in their conversion, they will say unanimously of course we accepted the laws. They are more righteous then the reform rabbis who rewrote their conversion service. Let’s not make them more righteous than the orthodox rabbis who deny their conversion—who have made a strict interpretation of halachah into idolatry and deny leniency to the reform and conservative converts—the most decent of Jewish people!

15.12.2 Seven Nations

Deuteronomy 7:4 refers to the gentile father-in-law who will turn away your Jewish son who married a gentile wife, hence a Jewish man should not marry one of the seven-nations or by a lesser extension any non-Jew who hasn’t converted, because of the authority of her father-in-law.

This is the obvious reading from the Deut. 7:3 which refers to the father-in-law in context. Rashi and Rabina chose a different line, which does not apply today. They pursue the logic that if an Israelite servant has relations with a Canaanite slave woman, the children belong to the master and inherit the slave status. At this time the Israelite also belongs to the master, and his cohabitation is under the ownership of the master. They infer the rule that the child always inherits the lesser status. They try to use Deut. 7:4 to show the exception in the case of a Jewish mother, probably in the case of rape which left Jewish women raising children from unknown fathers.

Instead what we can say today is that the gentile father-in-law does not have nearly the same influence on his son-in-law as might be inferred. Today where families live far from their origins, this is further the case. Also in the case of the conversion of the wife this is obvious. Also we can say that there is no distinction in the text between a Jewish father or a Jewish mother and a gentile spouse. The rabbis interpreted to provide a leniency for raped women that is not d’raissa. Instead we must interpret that if a leniency is to be maintained that a child must have Jewish status from either Jewish mother or father d’rabbanan!

Text 15-21: Deuteronomy 7
א  כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, אֶל-הָאָרֶץ, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ; וְנָשַׁל גּוֹיִם-רַבִּים מִפָּנֶיךָ הַחִתִּי וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי, וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי--שִׁבְעָה גוֹיִם, רַבִּים וַעֲצוּמִים מִמֶּךָּ.
1 When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;
ב  וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְפָנֶיךָ--וְהִכִּיתָם:  הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִים אֹתָם, לֹא-תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם.
2 and when the LORD thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them;
ג  וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן, בָּם:  בִּתְּךָ לֹא-תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ, וּבִתּוֹ לֹא-תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ.
3 neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.
ד  כִּי-יָסִיר אֶת-בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי, וְעָבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים; וְחָרָה אַף-יְהוָה בָּכֶם, וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מַהֵר.
4 For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly.
ה  כִּי-אִם-כֹּה תַעֲשׂוּ, לָהֶם--מִזְבְּחֹתֵיהֶם תִּתֹּצוּ, וּמַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּ; וַאֲשֵׁירֵהֶם, תְּגַדֵּעוּן, וּפְסִילֵיהֶם, תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ.
5 But thus shall ye deal with them: ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and hew down their Asherim, and burn their graven images with fire.
ו  כִּי עַם קָדוֹשׁ אַתָּה, לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ:  בְּךָ בָּחַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה, מִכֹּל הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר עַל-פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה.
6 For thou art a holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be His own treasure, out of all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.
ז  לֹא מֵרֻבְּכֶם מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים, חָשַׁק יְהוָה בָּכֶם--וַיִּבְחַר בָּכֶם:  כִּי-אַתֶּם הַמְעַט, מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים.
7 The LORD did not set His love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people--for ye were the fewest of all peoples--
ח  כִּי מֵאַהֲבַת יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם, וּמִשָּׁמְרוֹ אֶת-הַשְּׁבֻעָה אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵיכֶם, הוֹצִיא יְהוָה אֶתְכֶם, בְּיָד חֲזָקָה; וַיִּפְדְּךָ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים, מִיַּד פַּרְעֹה מֶלֶךְ-מִצְרָיִם.
8 but because the LORD loved you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
ט  וְיָדַעְתָּ, כִּי-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא הָאֱלֹהִים:  הָאֵל, הַנֶּאֱמָן--שֹׁמֵר הַבְּרִית וְהַחֶסֶד לְאֹהֲבָיו וּלְשֹׁמְרֵי מִצְוֹתָו, לְאֶלֶף דּוֹר.
9 Know therefore that the LORD thy God, He is God; the faithful God, who keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love Him and keep His commandments to a thousand generations;
י  וּמְשַׁלֵּם לְשֹׂנְאָיו אֶל-פָּנָיו, לְהַאֲבִידוֹ:  לֹא יְאַחֵר לְשֹׂנְאוֹ, אֶל-פָּנָיו יְשַׁלֶּם-לוֹ.
10 and repayeth them that hate Him to their face, to destroy them; He will not be slack to him that hateth Him, He will repay him to his face.
יא  וְשָׁמַרְתָּ אֶת-הַמִּצְוָה וְאֶת-הַחֻקִּים וְאֶת-הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים, אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם--לַעֲשׂוֹתָם.  {פ}
11 Thou shalt therefore keep the commandment, and the statutes, and the ordinances, which I command thee this day, to do them. {P}
יב  וְהָיָה עֵקֶב תִּשְׁמְעוּן, אֵת הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים הָאֵלֶּה, וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם וַעֲשִׂיתֶם, אֹתָם--וְשָׁמַר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְךָ, אֶת-הַבְּרִית וְאֶת-הַחֶסֶד, אֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּע, לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ.
12 And it shall come to pass, because ye hearken to these ordinances, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep with thee the covenant and the mercy which He swore unto thy fathers,
יג  וַאֲהֵבְךָ, וּבֵרַכְךָ וְהִרְבֶּךָ; וּבֵרַךְ פְּרִי-בִטְנְךָ וּפְרִי-אַדְמָתֶךָ דְּגָנְךָ וְתִירֹשְׁךָ וְיִצְהָרֶךָ, שְׁגַר-אֲלָפֶיךָ וְעַשְׁתְּרֹת צֹאנֶךָ, עַל הָאֲדָמָה, אֲשֶׁר-נִשְׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֶיךָ לָתֶת לָךְ.
13 and He will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee; He will also bless the fruit of thy body and the fruit of thy land, thy corn and thy wine and thine oil, the increase of thy kine and the young of thy flock, in the land which He swore unto thy fathers to give thee.
יד  בָּרוּךְ תִּהְיֶה, מִכָּל-הָעַמִּים:  לֹא-יִהְיֶה בְךָ עָקָר וַעֲקָרָה, וּבִבְהֶמְתֶּךָ.
14 Thou shalt be blessed above all peoples; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
טו  וְהֵסִיר יְהוָה מִמְּךָ, כָּל-חֹלִי; וְכָל-מַדְוֵי מִצְרַיִם הָרָעִים אֲשֶׁר יָדַעְתָּ, לֹא יְשִׂימָם בָּךְ, וּנְתָנָם, בְּכָל-שֹׂנְאֶיךָ.
15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness; and He will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee, but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.
טז  וְאָכַלְתָּ אֶת-כָּל-הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ--לֹא-תָחוֹס עֵינְךָ, עֲלֵיהֶם; וְלֹא תַעֲבֹד אֶת-אֱלֹהֵיהֶם, כִּי-מוֹקֵשׁ הוּא לָךְ.  {ס}
16 And thou shalt consume all the peoples that the LORD thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them; neither shalt thou serve their gods; for that will be a snare unto thee. {S}
יז  כִּי תֹאמַר בִּלְבָבְךָ, רַבִּים הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵלֶּה מִמֶּנִּי; אֵיכָה אוּכַל, לְהוֹרִישָׁם.
17 If thou shalt say in thy heart: 'These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?'
יח  לֹא תִירָא, מֵהֶם:  זָכֹר תִּזְכֹּר, אֵת אֲשֶׁר-עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְפַרְעֹה, וּלְכָל-מִצְרָיִם.
18 thou shalt not be afraid of them; thou shalt well remember what the LORD thy God did unto Pharaoh, and unto all Egypt:
יט  הַמַּסֹּת הַגְּדֹלֹת אֲשֶׁר-רָאוּ עֵינֶיךָ, וְהָאֹתֹת וְהַמֹּפְתִים וְהַיָּד הַחֲזָקָה וְהַזְּרֹעַ הַנְּטוּיָה, אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִאֲךָ, יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ; כֵּן-יַעֲשֶׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְכָל-הָעַמִּים, אֲשֶׁר-אַתָּה יָרֵא, מִפְּנֵיהֶם.
19 the great trials which thine eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the outstretched arm, whereby the LORD thy God brought thee out; so shall the LORD thy God do unto all the peoples of whom thou art afraid.
כ  וְגַם, אֶת-הַצִּרְעָה, יְשַׁלַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, בָּם:  עַד-אֲבֹד, הַנִּשְׁאָרִים וְהַנִּסְתָּרִים--מִפָּנֶיךָ.
20 Moreover the LORD thy God will send the hornet among them, until they that are left, and they that hide themselves, perish from before thee.
כא  לֹא תַעֲרֹץ, מִפְּנֵיהֶם:  כִּי-יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּקִרְבֶּךָ, אֵל גָּדוֹל וְנוֹרָא.
21 Thou shalt not be affrighted at them; for the LORD thy God is in the midst of thee, a God great and awful.
כב  וְנָשַׁל יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם הָאֵל, מִפָּנֶיךָ--מְעַט מְעָט:  לֹא תוּכַל כַּלֹּתָם מַהֵר, פֶּן-תִּרְבֶּה עָלֶיךָ חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה.
22 And the LORD thy God will cast out those nations before thee by little and little; thou mayest not consume them quickly, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.
כג  וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, לְפָנֶיךָ; וְהָמָם מְהוּמָה גְדֹלָה, עַד הִשָּׁמְדָם.
23 But the LORD thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and shall discomfit them with a great discomfiture, until they be destroyed.
כד  וְנָתַן מַלְכֵיהֶם, בְּיָדֶךָ, וְהַאֲבַדְתָּ אֶת-שְׁמָם, מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמָיִם:  לֹא-יִתְיַצֵּב אִישׁ בְּפָנֶיךָ, עַד הִשְׁמִדְךָ אֹתָם.
24 And He shall deliver their kings into thy hand, and thou shalt make their name to perish from under heaven; there shall no man be able to stand against thee, until thou have destroyed them.
כה  פְּסִילֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם, תִּשְׂרְפוּן בָּאֵשׁ; לֹא-תַחְמֹד כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב עֲלֵיהֶם, וְלָקַחְתָּ לָךְ--פֶּן תִּוָּקֵשׁ בּוֹ, כִּי תוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ הוּא.
25 The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire; thou shalt not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein; for it is an abomination to the LORD thy God.
כו  וְלֹא-תָבִיא תוֹעֵבָה אֶל-בֵּיתֶךָ, וְהָיִיתָ חֵרֶם כָּמֹהוּ; שַׁקֵּץ תְּשַׁקְּצֶנּוּ וְתַעֵב תְּתַעֲבֶנּוּ, כִּי-חֵרֶם הוּא.  {פ}
26 And thou shalt not bring an abomination into thy house, and be accursed like unto it; thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a devoted thing. {P}

The Torah prohibited marrying those within the land from the seven nations described below. Today, these nations do not exist nor their idolatrous religions. Ezra prohibited marriage with idolatrous foreign woman. The rabbis extrapolated a general principle against marrying outside the religion with indigenous people in a new land. One should seek to marry from one’s own people or you might find:

You can be in exile in your own house, when you realize that you are not really home.

The source text is Deuteronomy 7:1-4. Nevertheless, Rashi distinguishes the status of the child of an intermarried son vs. daughter from Deut. 7:4. The word turn is in third person male but the pronoun is implied; yet the object is “your son” and not “grandson” as Rashi brings, but the Talmudic source is compelling. The Tanach’s intention is that a woman of one of these seven nations will turn away a man from the Torah. Yet, the non-Jewish man would not have the same effect on a Jewish woman and that is why the same explanation is not offered for verse 7:3.

Text 15-22: Deuteronomy 7:1-26
1. When the Lord your God shall bring you into the land which you are entering to possess, and has cast out many nations before you, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than you;

The commandment applies at this time, based on the idolatry of these nations. Future times might be inferred for similar idolatry.[1616]

2. And when the Lord your God shall deliver them before you; you shall strike them, and completely destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, nor show mercy to them;
3. And you shall not make marriages with them; your daughter you shall not give to his son, and his daughter you shall not take to your son.
4. For (he) will turn away your son from following me, and they will serve other gods; so will the anger of the Lord be kindled against you, and destroy you speedily.

Rashi on Deut 7:4

For he will turn away your son from following Me i.e., the heathen’s son, if he marries your daughter, will turn away your [grand]son whom your daughter will bear to him, from following Me. This teaches us that your daughter’s son, born of a heathen man, is called “your son,” but your son’s son, born of a heathen woman, is not called “your son,” but “her son.” For Scripture [first says, “Do not give your daughter to his son, and do not take his daughter for your son.” Then it follows with “For he will turn away your son....” However], referring to “do not take his daughter,” it does not say, “For she will turn away your son...” [because he is considered her son, not yours (Kid. 68b)].

Kiddushin 68a-68b

AND WHATEVER [WOMAN] WHO CANNOT CONTRACT KIDDUSHIN etc. How do we know [it of] a Canaanitish bondmaid? (Kiddushin is invalid) — Said R. Huna, Scripture saith, Abide ye here with [‘im] the ass (Gen 22:5) — it is a people [‘am] like unto an ass. We have thus found that kiddushin with her is invalid: how do we know that the issue takes her status? — Because Scripture saith, the wife and her children shall be her master's. (1) How do we know [it of a freeborn] Gentile woman? — Scripture saith, neither shalt thou make marriages with them. (2) How do we know that her issue bears her status? — R. Johanan said on the authority of R. Simeon b. Yohai, Because Scripture saith, For he will turn away thy son from following me: (3) thy son by (4) an Israelite woman is called ‘thy son’, but thy son by a heathen [woman] is not called thy son. (5) Rabina said: This proves that thy daughter's son by a heathen is called ‘thy son’. (6) Shall we say that Rabina holds that if a heathen or a [non-Jewish] slave cohabits with a Jewess the issue is mamzer? (7) — [No.] Granted that he is not [regarded as] fit, (8) he is not mamzer either, but merely stigmatized as unfit. (9)

Now, that [verse] refers to the seven nations!(10) whence do we know it of other nations? — Scripture saith, ‘For he will turn away [thy son],’ which includes all who may turn [him] away. That is well according to R. Simeon, who interprets the reason of Scripture.(11) But on the view of the Rabbis(12), what is the reason?(13) — Scripture saith, and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, [etc.], (14) whence it follows that before that kiddushin with her is invalid.

We have thus found that kiddushin with her is not recognized. How do we know that her child is as herself? — Scripture saith, If there be to a man [two wives] . . . and they bare to him [children]:(15) where we read ‘if there be’, (16) we also read: ‘and they bare to him’; (17) but where we do not read: ‘If there be’, we do not read: ‘and they bare to him’. If so, is not a [heathen] bondmaid likewise? — Yes, it is even thus. Then what is the purpose of ‘the wife and her children shall be her master's’? — For what was taught: If he says to his bondmaid, ‘Behold, thou art free, but thy child [yet to be born] shall be a slave,’ the ‘child is as herself: this is the view of R. Jose the Galilean; the Sages maintain: His words are valid, for it is said: ‘the wife and her children shall be her master's’. How does this teach it? — Said Raba: This refers to R. Jose the Galilean's [ruling].

(1) Ex. XXI, 4. This refers to a Gentile bondmaid given as wife to a Hebrew slave. The children remain slaves when their father is freed, showing that they bear their mother's status.
(2) Deut. VII, 3. The verse implies that such marriage is not recognized.
(3) Ibid. 4.
(4) Lit., ‘who comes’.
(5) [Although the text speaks both of the case of a Jewess becoming the wife of a heathen, and of a heathen becoming the wife of a Jew, yet it gives only one reason for the prohibition of intermarriage: viz., lest ‘he turn aside thy son from following after me’, a reason which, as it stands appears applicable only to one prohibition. Hence the verse must be taken not as expressing the fear lest the Jewish partner in a heathen marriage may turn aside from God, since this is evident and is equally applicable to both cases, but states an additional reason for the prohibition with reference to the offspring — the fear that the heathen father ‘will turn aside thy son’ i.e., the son of thy daughter who is legally a Jew ‘from following after me’; whereas in the case where a Jew marries a heathen woman the fear does not arise, since the child follows her status, and is not considered ‘thy son’ Rashi.] Tosaf.: Since Scripture states ‘son’ and not ‘seed’ which would include the son's son, it is evident that the fear is only for thy ‘son’ born of a Jewess, but not his son, born of a Gentile. That must be because his son is a heathen too, like the mother.
(6) [According to Rashi's interpretation (n. 5), whereas R. Johanan's main emphasis is on the heathen status of the offspring of a heathen woman by a Jew, Rabina stresses the other inference — the status of the offspring of a Jewish woman by a heathen. v. Strashun.] Tosaf. i.e., a Jew. This follows because Scripture does not say: for he will turn away thy son and thy daughter. Now, ‘and thy daughter’ would likewise imply, but not thy daughter's son, as in n. 5, whence we would learn that her son by a heathen is also a heathen. Since he is not excluded, it follows that Scripture objects to his being ‘turned away’ too, because he is a Jew (Tosaf.)
(7) For, since he is called ‘thy son’, he is a Jew, not a heathen. Yet he is the issue of a Jewess by one with whom kiddushin is not recognized, and therefore mamzer, in accordance with the Mishnah. — In that case his status is worse, for as a mamzer he can never marry a legitimately born Jewess (Deut. XXIII, 3), whereas as a Gentile he can become a proselyte and marry a Jewess.
(8) V. next note.
(9) Pasul. As such only a priestly marriage is barred to him.
(10) V. Deut. VII, 1, 2.
(11) In the sense that when we know the reason of a precept, we may extend it to all other cases where the same applies, and conversely, exclude those where it does not.[1617]
(12) Who oppose this.
(13) Seeing that for he will turn away too refers to the seven nations.
(14) Deut. XXI, 13. The verse refers to a woman captured in war; since the members of the seven nations were to be utterly exterminated, this must allude to a member of other nations, ‘After that’ means after her period of mourning. etc.
(15) Deut. XXI, 25. (???)
(16) I.e., kiddushin is valid; v. p. 343, n. 4. (???)
(17) The child takes his status.

Deuteronomy 7 (continued)

5. But thus shall you deal with them; you shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their Asherim, and burn their carved idols with fire.

From here, we know the qualities of the Seven Nations. Moreover, the commandment is to destroy their idolatry in addition to not marrying them if they still exist. Because of Deut. 7:2, we know this does not apply outside the Seven Nations for we do not have liberty to kill.

6. For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a special people to Himself, above all peoples that are upon the face of the earth.
7. The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all peoples;
8. But because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath that he had sworn to your fathers, has the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
9. Know therefore that the Lord your God, he is God, the faithful God, which keeps covenant and mercy with those who love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;
10. And repays those who hate him to their face, to destroy them; he will not be slack to him who hates him, he will repay him to his face.
11. You shall therefore keep the commandments, and the statutes, and the judgments, which I command you this day, to do them.
12. Therefore it shall come to pass, if you give heed to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the Lord your God shall keep with you the covenant and the mercy which he swore to your fathers;
13. And he will love you, and bless you, and multiply you; he will also bless the fruit of your womb, and the fruit of your land, your grain, and your wine, and your oil, the produce of your cows, and the flocks of your sheep, in the land which he swore to your fathers to give you.
14. You shall be blessed above all people; there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.
15. And the Lord will take away from you all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which you know, upon you; but will lay them upon all those who hate you.
16. And you shall destroy all the people which the Lord your God shall deliver you; your eye shall have no pity upon them; neither shall you serve their gods; for that will be a snare to you.
17. If you shall say in your heart, These nations are more than I; how can I dispossess them?
18. You shall not be afraid of them; but shall well remember what the Lord your God did to Pharaoh, and to all Egypt;
19. The great trials which your eyes saw, and the signs, and the wonders, and the mighty hand, and the stretched out arm, whereby the Lord your God brought you out; so shall the Lord your God do to all the people of whom you are afraid.
20. Moreover the Lord your God will send the hornet among them, until those who are left, and hide themselves from you, are destroyed.
21. You shall not be frightened by them; for the Lord your God is among you, a mighty God and awesome.
22. And the Lord your God will clear away those nations before you, little by little; you may not destroy them at once, lest the beasts of the field grow numerous upon you.
23. But the Lord your God shall deliver them to you, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they are destroyed.
24. And he shall deliver their kings into your hand, and you shall destroy their name from under heaven; there shall no man be able to stand before you, until you have destroyed them.
25. The engraved images of their gods shall you burn with fire; you shall not desire the silver or gold that is on them, nor take it to you, lest you be snared there; for it is an abomination to the Lord your God.
26. Neither shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you become accursed like it; but you shall utterly detest it, and loathe it; for it is a cursed thing.

Text 15-23: Marriage sources
In the time of the Patriarchs it appears that descent followed the father. However, the period of the Patriarchs was before the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai. It was only with the revelation on Sinai that the Jewish people received their legal system. Therefore it is impossible to bring Halachic, legal proofs from the Patriarchs. Our source for Halakha is the Written and Oral Torah.[1618]

The Mishnah in Tractate Kiddushin 66b states that if a child's mother is not Jewish, then the child is not Jewish.

The Babylonian Talmud, Kiddushin 68b, derives this Halakhah from a verse in Deuteronomy 7:1-5, which also contains the prohibition against intermarriage. “When the L-rd your G-d brings you to the land that you will inherit, many nations will fall away before you; the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Prizites, the Hivites and the Jebusites... And you shall not marry with them; do not give your daughters to his sons and do not take his daughters for your sons. For he will turn your son away from me and they will worship other gods....” The Talmud points out that the verse only seems to be concerned with the son of the Israelite woman being turned away, “for he (the gentile)” will turn your son away. It does not seem to be concerned that “she (the gentile) will turn your son away.” The implication is that the son of the Jewish woman and gentile man is still considered “your (the Jewish grandfather in this case) son,” but in the case of a gentile woman married to a Jewish man, the child is not considered “your son” and therefore there is no concern about his turning away. This follows Rashi and Tosfot Ri Hazaken in their explanation of the Gemara.

Tosfot (ad loc. “Amar krah”) offers a number of different methods of derivation from the verse, but agrees with the conclusion. This law is also found in the Mishna in Yevamot (ch. 2, 21a): “He counts as a brother in every respect unless he was the son of a maidservant or of a gentile woman.”

This Halakha is codified in the Code of Jewish Law, Even HaEzer 8:5, and in Maimonides' Mishneh Torah, Laws of Forbidden Relationships, 15:4. Maimonides states: “This is the general rule: The status of an offspring from a gentile man or from a gentile woman is the same as his mother's; we disregard the father.”

Another source in the Torah is the verse in Leviticus 24:10: “the son of an Israelite woman went out - and he was the son of an Egyptian man.” This person is described as being “in the midst of the community of Israel” - in other words, Jewish.

Probably the most explicit verse against patrilineal descent is in the book of Ezra 10:2-3: Some of the Jews who had returned from the exile declare, “We have trespassed against our G-d and have taken foreign wives of the people of the land. Yet, there is hope in Israel concerning this thing. Therefore, let us make a covenant with our G-d to put away all the wives and such as are born to them, according to the counsel of the L-rd and of those who assemble at the commandment of G-d; let it be done according to the law.”

Sources are also in Midrash Rabbah Numbers 19, and the Jerusalem Talmud Kiddushin 3:12.

Moses when he was in exile married Ziporah, the daughter of a Midian Priest, to be his wife and join his people. He suffered the criticism of Miriam and Aaron to some extent for taking a Cushite wife; but God did not criticize him; and moreover, he remained the greatest prophet until the end of his days with Ziporah. This is to teach us that more important is the spiritual quality and encouragement that a wife offers to preserve the spiritual greatness of a man. While on Mount Sinai, God informed Moses of the sin of the Golden Calf made by His people. He offered to destroy them and build a new nation from Moses’ own children. Moses’ own children although of a mixed race were worthy of replacing the whole house of Israel! Moses replied, ‘remove my name from the Torah rather than remove the House of Israel’ and God was placated. One other story of Ziporah occurs when Moses’ son was born and had not yet been circumcised. Moses became sick for delaying this commandment. When Ziporah saw, she took a flint and circumcised her own son proclaiming to her husband, “You have become a bridegroom of blood to me.” That is to say, ‘You are my covenant husband’ or bound to me, by my observance of the commandments of G-d. Ziporah was a righteous woman who brought Moses further merit. One of his sons he named Gershom for he was a ‘stranger there’ in Midian and the other Eliezer – my G-d helps who redeemed him from his exile.

A similar story involves Joseph who married Potipher’s daughter in Egypt and had two sons whom Jacob effectively adopted and gave to each their own portion in the Land of Israel. The sons of Joseph were Ephraim and Manesseh.

The orthodox promulgate this view:

Text 15-24: Jewish Marriage
‘Jewish marriage is a soul connection, a reunion of two halves of one person. When this soul is born it is divided into two bodies and each develops by itself until it marries. If a man and woman merit, G-d dwells amongst them from Ish and Ishah. “It is obvious that a Jew and a non-Jew who have two different souls cannot be compatible”.’[1619] As long as neither one of them expresses her nature, they may appear compatible. There is a compatibility of their non-Jewishness. As soon as one partner wishes to express his identity, the other person would be left behind. Do not judge things by what things are like now. The soul of a Jew and a non-Jew are not the same. In Hashomer Hatzair, there are non-Jews too that feel Jewish too. If you have non-Jews in your youth group and the non-Jews feel comfortable then the Jewishness is diluted. What is a Jew? A Jew has a Neshama (a Jewish soul) that is why he has different values.

What is the particular characteristic of the Jewish soul? It cannot want to be disconnected to G-d. The connection is there. This is something you cannot change. There is a basic incompatibility with someone who strives to be something and someone who strives to be nothing (Jew). This is why a Jew is not obsessed by luxury, decoration, or materialism, but instead seeks instead to be a messenger of G-d. We choose not to sacrifice our internal identity to satisfy our external identity. Children should never be forced to choose between the God of their father and the God of their mother, because if forced—they will throw both out the window. This is why the children of intermarriage do not have an interest in religion.[1620] Often this is the case even if there is consensus between parents, because children see through insincere capitulation. A non-Jewish spouse, who says he/she will follow her spouse, may not have sincere interest in following and children will see this and become irreligious.

Take into consideration the future children. If the child belongs to one nation that is different from the father, it can be torture for the child. The ping-pong ball that the child goes though can be like hell. Why should a Jewish father impose upon his children an identity that is not theirs? The fundamental reason not to intermarry is that G-d doesn’t want it—the Torah forbids it. Yet, someone who has a Jewish father (m’zerut Israel – from a seed of Israel), one should seek to convert.’[1621]

It is not the identity of the father that is “like hell” for the child but the alienation of a community, has vshalom, that is not accepting the child that would be the “hell”.

The alienation of children seeking Torah is Hillul Hashem. When the orthodox do not provide a reasonable means for conversion and the rigidity of the conversion process greatly exceeds the child’s own Jewish upbringing; then there is another Hillul Hashem. If the orthodox reject the conversion of a mother and then alienate the child from Jewish aliyot or mitzvot in synagogues, has vshalom—they have rejected the Torah. The child of Ruth was called the child of Naomi, because of the stigma attached to Ruth as a non-Jewish Moabite; and yet, King David was her great, great grandson. Similarly, the messiah will necessarily be a descendent of intermarriage—how will we treat him? Will we question his Jewish identity as Doeg the Edomite? Does Ruth fulfill the current criteria of orthodox rabbinical Jewish identity?

For this reason, the Oral Law should not have been written down. Currently, when orthodox rabbis do not make themselves readily available for conversions in remote places, they forfeit their authority on Jewish identity as in the time of Ruth whose descendents would be Jewish through her mother-in-law Naomi. Ultimately, the Ger must take the ‘bull by the horns’ and hold fast to Judaism, a Jewish community, a Jewish spouse, or even a Jewish mother-in-law. Conversion is self-authenticity.

15.12.3 Proselyte

The key principles are found in the portion of Ruth chapter 1:

Text 15-25: Ruth 1:9-18
1. It came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land. And a man of Beth-Lehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab, he, and his wife, and his two sons.
2. And the name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Kilion, Ephrathites of Beth-Lehem in Judah. And they came to the country of Moab, and remained there.
3. And Elimelech, Naomi’s husband, died; and she was left with her two sons.
4. And they took wives of the women of Moab; the name of one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth; and they dwelled there about ten years.
5. And both Mahlon and Kilion died; and the woman was bereft of her two sons and her husband.
6. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, to return from the country of Moab; for she had heard in the country of Moab that the Lord had visited his people and given them bread.
7. So she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her; and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah.
8. (K) And Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, Go, return each of you to her mother’s house; the Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me.
9. The Lord grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept.
10. And they said to her, No, we will return with you to your people.
11. And Naomi said, Turn back, my daughters; why will you go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
12. Turn back, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have a husband. If I should say, I have hope, even if I should have a husband tonight, and should bear sons;
13. Would you wait for them till they were grown? would you, for them, refrain from having husbands? no, my daughters; for it grieves me much for your sakes that the hand of the Lord is gone out against me.
14. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law; but Ruth held fast to her.
15. And she said, Behold, your sister-in-law is gone back to her people, and to her gods; go back you after your sister-in-law.
16. And Ruth said, Do not entreat me to leave you, or to keep from following you; for wherever you go, I will go; and where you lodge, I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God my God – ואלהיך אלהי;
17. Where you die, will I die, and there will I be buried; the Lord do so to me, and more also, if even death parts me from you.
18. When she saw that she was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her.

The Jewish principle of identity is that the religion follows the mother of the child while the family follows the father. Hence, a person’s religion is according to the mother, while a child’s ‘tribe’ i.e. whether one is Cohen, Levi, or Israel, is after the father. When a stranger dwells within the Jewish community, and shows her preference and observes the commandments, s/he is like Ruth the Moabite who followed her mother-in-law and became ancestor of Jewish kings:

Text 15-26: Numbers 15:13-16 and 15:29-30 on Conversion
All who are native born shall do these things after this ordinance, in offering an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord. And if a stranger sojourns with you, or whoever is among you in your generations, and will offer an offering made by fire, of a sweet savor to the Lord; as you do, so he shall do. One ordinance shall be both for you of the congregation, and also for the stranger who sojourns with you, an ordinance forever in your generations; as you are, so shall the stranger be before the Lord. One Torah and one code shall be for you, and for the stranger who sojourns with you.
You shall have one Torah for him who sins through ignorance, both for him who is born among the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them. But the soul who does anything presumptuously, whether he is born in the land or a stranger, that person dishonors the Lord; and that soul shall be cut off from among his people.

The Hebrew word for ‘stranger’ is ‘ger’ which also means ‘convert’. The essence of conversion is to dwell within the Jewish community. For years in Poland and other countries, conversion simply occurred when a non-Jew entered the Jewish community and began living as a Jew. This differs from modern day America, where it is often the Jew, who is the stranger dwelling in the non-Jewish community, assimilating instead to their culture, has vshalom. Nevertheless, rabbinical conversion is often phony and transient, as the vows of the convert, like the vows of any person, are often discarded over time. Real conversion is simply a person living in the Jewish community and like Ruth accepting our people as her people, accepting our commandments as her commandments.

Similarly Isaiah is receptive to sincere conversion.[1628]
Text 15-27: Isaiah 56:6-8
6. Also the sons of the stranger, who join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one who keeps the Sabbath and does not profane it, and all who hold fast to my covenant;
7. Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon my altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
8. The Lord God who gathers the outcasts of Israel says, “Yet will I gather others to him, beside those who are already gathered.”

Nevertheless, Ezra left the final stamp on conversion as it is permitted today when he demanded the divorces of all foreign women.[1629] In all likelihood, this was based on his experience in exile in Babylonia, when he saw that such marriages threatened the survival of the Jewish people.[1630] These marriages had been made in exile under duress and did not represent the House of Israel.

Text 15-28: Ezra 10:7-12
7. And they made proclamation throughout Judah and Jerusalem to all the returned exiles, that they should gather themselves together at Jerusalem;
8. And that whoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his goods should be forfeited, and he himself set apart from the congregation of the exiles.
9. Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and because of the heavy rain.
10. And Ezra the priest stood up, and said to them, You have transgressed, and have taken foreign wives, to increase the guilt of Israel.
11. And now make confession to the Lord God of your fathers, and do his will; and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the foreign wives.
12. Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, As you have said, so must we do.

The Jewish women who were forced into marriages, did they return from exile? Why are their marriages not mentioned even though their children were Jewish by rabbinical law?

Text 15-29: Yevamot 47a-b
Our Rabbis taught: If at the present time a man desires to become a proselyte, he is to be addressed as follows: ‘What reason have you for desiring to become a proselyte; do you not know that Israel at the present time are persecuted and oppressed, despised, harassed and overcome by afflictions’? If he replies, ‘I know and yet am unworthy’, he is accepted forthwith, and is given instruction in some of the minor and some of the major commandments. He is informed of the sin [of the neglect of the commandments of] Gleanings, the Forgotten Sheaf, the Corner and the Poor Man's Tithe. He is also told of the punishment for the transgression of the commandments. Furthermore, he is addressed thus: ‘Be it known to you that before you came to this condition, if you had eaten suet you would not have been punishable with kareth, if you had profaned the Sabbath you would not have been punishable with stoning; but now were you to eat suet you would be punished with kareth; were you to profane the Sabbath you would be punished with stoning’. And as he is informed of the punishment for the transgression of the commandments, so is he informed of the reward granted for their fulfillment. He is told, ‘Be it known to you that the world to come was made only for the righteous, and that Israel at the present time are unable to bear either too much prosperity. or too much suffering’. He is not, however, to be persuaded or dissuaded too much. If he accepted, he is circumcised forthwith. Should any shreds which render the circumcision invalid remain, he is to be circumcised a second time. As soon as he is healed arrangements are made for his immediate ablution, when two learned men must stand by his side and acquaint him with some of the minor commandments and with some of the major ones. When he comes up after his ablution he is deemed to be an Israelite in all respects.

In the case of a woman proselyte, women make her sit in the water up to her neck, while two learned men stand outside and give her instruction in some of the minor commandments and some of the major ones.

The same law applies to a proselyte and to an emancipated slave; and only where a menstruant may perform her ablution may a proselyte and an emancipated slave perform this ablution; and whatever is deemed an interception in ritual bathing is also deemed to be an interception in the ablutions of a proselyte, an emancipated slave and a menstruant.

The Master said, ‘If a man desires to become a proselyte . . . he is to be addressed as follows: "What reason have you for desiring to become a proselyte . . ." and he is made acquainted with some of the minor, and with some of the major commandments’. What is the reason? — In order that if he desire to withdraw let him do so; for R. Helbo said: Proselytes are as hard for Israel [to endure] as a sore, because it is written in Scripture. And the proselyte shall join himself with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

‘He is informed of the sin [of the neglect of the commandment of] Gleanings, the Forgotten Sheaf, the Corner and the Poor Man's Tithe’. What is the reason? — R. Hiyya b. Abba replied in the name of R. Johanan: Because a Noahide would rather be killed than spend so much as a perutah which is not returnable.

‘He is not, however, to be persuaded, or dissuaded too much’. R. Eleazar said: What is the Scriptural proof? — It is written, And when she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking unto her. ‘We are forbidden’, she told her, ‘[to move on the Sabbath beyond the] Sabbath boundaries’! — ‘Whither thou goest’ [the other replied] ‘I will go’.

‘We are forbidden private meeting between man and woman’! — ‘Where thou lodgest. I will lodge’

‘We have been commanded six hundred and thirteen commandments’! — ‘Thy people shall be my people’.

‘We are forbidden idolatry’! — ‘And thy God my God’.

‘Four modes of death were entrusted to Beth din’! — ‘Where thou diest, will I die’.

‘Two graveyards were placed at the disposal of the Beth din’! — ‘And there will I be buried’. Presently she saw that she was steadfastly minded etc.

‘If he accepted, he is circumcised forthwith’. What is the reason? — The performance of a commandment must not in any way be delayed.

15.12.4 Jewish Identity and Israel

Jewish identity is obtained by immersion in the community of Israel.[1631] Here conversion is part of absorption in the culture, which is the biblical basis for True Jewish conversion. As Ruth followed Naomi to dwell with her people she became part of the people. Jethro brought Moses’s wife and two children out to him and in so doing brought them into the nation of Israel. Joseph’s sons were brought into the household of Jacob.

Text 15-30: Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits Former Chief Rabbi of the British Commonwealth
No rabbinical act is of more far-reaching consequence than a conversion to Judaism. It crucially determines for all time the convert’s personal status, marital rights and restrictions as well as religious allegiance, and in the case of a female, affects her offspring for all generations to come.
If a pledge of unqualified loyalty to Judaism is subsequently betrayed, the result is disastrous, not least for the rabbi involved, should he have been guilty of an error of judgment in authorizing a conversion on insufficient evidence of sincerity. In that event, he is bound to feel some personal responsibility and liability for every violation of Jewish law the convert may commit. For only through his act in conferring Jewish status on the former gentile, do actions like working on the Sabbath or consuming non-kosher food become grave breaches of the law. Little wonder that many conscientious rabbis, under the weight of this crushing responsibility, contemplate conversions with extreme, sometimes perhaps excessive, hesitation.
The conditions for admission to Judaism are simple enough in definition. A properly qualified rabbinical court must be satisfied that the candidate is genuinely willing and able to accept the religious discipline of Jewish life without reservation, whereupon the formal act of conversion is carried out by ritual immersion and, in the case of a male, circumcision (which, if previously performed, is religiously validated by drawing a single drop of blood as a “sign of the Covenant”). Conversion under these conditions is open to any person, irrespective of race, color, or previous creed. A person so converted then has all the rights and obligations vested in any other Jew.
Strictly speaking, the actual conversion from any faith (or none) to Judaism is, of course, carried out by the proselyte himself. The rabbinic authority, in effect, merely serves to authenticate the change, like a hallmark confirming the genuineness of a precious metal.
More than a declaration of intent is required to effect a total religious commitment which is to endure for a lifetime, through children, and beyond. This commitment is brought about by radical changes inside the person’s heart, determining all future loyalties, thinking, feelings, and actions. The mold of his very personality, is, in many respects, even more binding and incisive than the commitment involved in the bond of marriage or in the adoption of a child.
A conversion, in the Jewish view, is the most delicate heart operation to which a person could ever submit, and the onus rests on the applicant to prove adequate preparation for such an operation. Some may complete the requisite preparation combining intensive study and environmental experience in a matter of months; others, lacking determination or opportunity, may never be ready, even after years of fruitless effort. How long this process takes is determined by the candidate, not the rabbi.
The ultimate test is certainly not the applicant’s love for a Jewish person he or she seeks to marry. On the contrary, such an ulterior motive will militate against accepting the application. The criterion is the love of Judaism, generated by such thorough familiarity and fascination with the Jewish way of life as to render all sacrifices, obstacles, and delays worthwhile. Only if this love of Judaism, in theory and practice, transcends any other love and loyalty are the conditions for admission truly fulfilled.
But why are these conditions so rigid and demanding? Almost every applicant (and many a Jew) questions their justice with a seemingly plausible argument: why should so much more be expected of a convert than most Jews are prepared to do for their Judaism? Why should converts be more punctilious in their religious observance than the majority of Jews?
To begin with, we have no special interest in swelling our number by conversions. As a “holy people” charged with onerous tasks of spiritual pioneering, numbers are relatively immaterial to the success of our national mission. True “proselytes of righteousness” are welcome, but converts of questionable loyalty attenuate rather than consolidate our strength.
It is not difficult to adduce historical proof for this contention. Throughout the Middle Ages, it is estimated, the total number of Jews hardly exceeded one million. They were exposed to constant oppression, many economic disabilities, and frequent massacres. Yet no Jew then ever worried about Jewish survival. It was left to the twentieth century, when we count thirteen million Jews, most of them living in unprecedented freedom and affluence, to raise the specter of “the vanishing Jew” for the first time in Jewish history. Our survival surely does not depend on numbers, but solely on the intensity of our Jewish commitment!
Moreover, a conversion is a religious naturalization. Even for a civil naturalization - though affecting infinitely less significantly the innermost beliefs, the whole personality, and the daily routine of life of the applicant - certain rigid requirements are universally accepted. For the granting of citizenship, countries usually require a period of at least two years, fluency in the vernacular, and certainly ready submission to all the laws of the land. No one questions these demands. Any alien declaring his readiness to observe all the country’s laws except one would be refused his naturalization. It would not help him to argue that there are many native citizens who also sometimes transgress one regulation or another. In these matters, it is all or nothing.
Yet when would-be converts are told that it may take two years or more to assimilate the requisite knowledge and atmosphere (which even born Jews must cultivate through years of Jewish education, plus living in a Jewish environment from birth), that they are expected to have some familiarity with Hebrew, and that they must undertake to observe all the laws of Judaism, they argue, often amid a chorus of popular Jewish applause, “Why should we have to meet requirements which so many Jews fall short of?”
It would be of little avail to an applicant for British citizenship to resort to a similar argument. The incontestable answer would be that anyone born of British parents - whether good, bad, or indifferent, whether he knows English and abides by the law or not - is British. Even a criminal’s citizenship cannot be disowned. But if a foreigner wants to become British, every effort may and must be made to ensure that he will prove a law-abiding citizen, an asset and not a liability.
Likewise, parents must accept their natural children, healthy or crippled, upright or delinquent. But in adopting a child, they are free to choose, and are entitled to take all reasonable precautions to make sure that the child will be a source of pride and joy to them. Surely the arguments in favor of similar safeguards in admitting persons to the Jewish faith and people are no less compelling or convincing.
Within these general principles, there is of course a degree of variation. Since the assessment of a candidate’s sincerity and the adequacy of his preparation is subject to a human estimation, there is bound to be a subjective factor in any such judgment. One rabbi may be more credulous, another more suspicious, in accepting a declaration of submission to Judaism.
Moreover, the law itself is flexible enough to allow for some variety of interpretation, notably on the extent to which unknown mental reservations at the time of the conversion act may be discounted. Diverse local conditions, too, may have an important bearing on the decision to admit proselytes.
In Israel, for instance, where all converts will - at least in great measure - live in a Jewish environment, learn Hebrew, send their children to Jewish schools, and observe the Jewish calendar, and where there is hardly any opportunity of becoming integrated into non-Jewish society, it is obviously far easier to accept converts (and harder to reject them) than in the Diaspora, where these conditions do not prevail. In the light of these variables, the attitude toward conversion may differ somewhat even among strictly Orthodox rabbinates.
Naturally, the circumstances prompting an application will invariably be taken into account. A woman who wants to become Jewish because she has fallen in love with a Jew, seeking to change her religion almost like one changes a passport on being married, will find far less sympathy than parents who wish to convert an adopted non-Jewish child because they could find no Jewish child.
But these are clearly exceptions. As a rule, it will be found that anyone prepared to change his religion neither had a deep religious allegiance before the change nor will have one after the change. Those who can be, and are, admitted to Judaism indeed turn out to be rather exceptional people. They represent a microcosm of the Jewish people itself, the few among the many, individuals endowed with a profoundly religious soul, with the capacity to swim against the stream and to spurn the line of least resistance, and with the immense hardihood to sustain a stern discipline of life.
True proselytes live up to the qualifications so concisely expressed by the most famous of them all, Ruth the Moabitess, who pledged: “Where you go, I will go; and where you lodge for the night, I will lodge.” - sharing the misfortunes as well as the fortunes of the Jewish people, the experience of darkness in sympathy with Jews who suffer, no less than the bright joys of their triumphs: “Your people will be my people” - identifying with Jewish national aspirations and joining the togetherness of Jews whoever and wherever they are: “And your God will be my God” - serving as witness to Jewry’s religious commitment: “Where you die, I will die, and there shall I be buried” (Ruth 1:16-17) - defending Jewish beliefs and practices even to the grave.
Anyone prepared to follow Ruth’s example of total loyalty will be accepted into the Jewish faith with open arms. But in the absence of such candidates, we should occupy ourselves with the challenge of converting should-be Jews, rather than would-be Jews, to Judaism.

“Your God will be my God” that is an appreciation to God and the ‘jewelry’ He bestows—the Torah, witnesses that a Ger Tzedek – a ‘righteous convert’ places God in her life between herself and her husband. A better translation here is a ‘true proselyte’ that is one who fully turns her heart to the Torah, God, and Israel.[1632]

Reuel was the son of Esau and Ishmael's daughter Basemath; a man of Midian and father-in-law to Moses. Zipporah who was the daughter of Reuel is a righteous spark of Esau, similar to Ruth who was the righteous spark of Lot. Even when there is intermarriage, although the first generations are lost, a later generation may graft back onto the house of Israel in exemplary manner. Other Torah men with the same name include the father of Eliasaph, leader of Gad in the time of Moses and the son of Ibnijah of Benjamin whose offspring returned from exile.

Those who doubt the Jewish identity of Jews are reducing American interest in Israel and Aliyah. There are so many failed cases of aliyah that were caused by the religious’ establishment refusal to accept converted Jews. Hence, Zionism is transplanting Judaism in its acceptance of all supporters.

15.12.5 Halachic conversion

Basically mikvah, 3 witnesses, and an acceptance of all the commandments of the Torah constitute an acceptable conversion.[1633]

The Reform movement should change the wording of their conversion ceremony to an acceptance of the mitzvot and not only the Jewish people, so that they do not implicitly deny the validity of any Torah commandments as explained in this article by a conservative rabbi:

Text 15-31: Reform vs. Conservative conversion In a 1982 responsum on Reform conversions (link – PDF), R. David Novak argued that if the conversion deliberately omitted immersion in a mikvah, it is invalid because it demonstrates a failure to accept the rules of Jewish law. “This does not mean that the convert is expected to observe every aspect of Jewish law — clearly an impossible demand, intellectually, morally and religiously. Rather, it means that conversion must involve an unconditional acceptance of the valid authority of Jewish law and an initial rejection of none of its specifics... I find no cogent basis in halakhah for accepting, even ex post facto, converts who did not undergo specific tevilah for the sake of conversion, unless it can be shown that they are strictly observant Jews, particularly scrupulous in the use of a mikvah.” (pp. 7-8 of PDF) R. Novak recognizes the possibility of retroactively annulling a conversion due to failure to accept the commandments. While he allows for non-observance (and strangely claims that it is unreasonable to expect a convert to be fully observant), he does not accept, even ex post facto, a conversion where the prospective convert implicitly rejects even a single Torah law.

Hence as long as the convert did not implicitly reject a single Torah law at the time of conversion the acceptance criteria was met—this is the point of mikvah. Each convert has within his or her own mind, his intention at conversion based on his education; even Reform conversion classes never state that any particular mitzvah is invalid!

Conversion is to publicly identify with ones personal beliefs (self-authenticity). Hence, questioning a convert to Judaism about his or her Jewish legitimacy is against the Torah. Alienating them is Hillul Hashem – a desecration of the name of G-d. After conversion, a convert does not need to answer questions about denomination or any matter of their conversion. They must be accepted as part of the House of Israel. As for the recognition of the conversion—that is no different than the implicit recognition of any Jew. Ultimately, the Ger must take the ‘bull by the horns’ and pursue/observe the Torah commandments and attach to a Jewish spouse, Jewish in-law, or Jewish community. The former can precede the later, as we know from the stories of Ruth, Ziporah, and Asenath, the wives of Boaz, Moses, and Joseph respectively.[1634] ‘Those who would harass converts shall be harassed,’ ‘Those who would doubt their legitimacy, shall be doubted,’ and ‘Those who would alienate them will be alienated.’ One law does G-d have for His people and the sojourners who live amongst them.[1635]

Text 15-32: Halakha on conversion: Rabbi Y(aakov) S(iegel)
Unfortunately, this has become a festering political issue, with little connection with Halakhah.
As you have already seen in Rambam (Shulhan Aruch is the same), conversion is a very simple process, which should take about an hour. The candidate is told “some easy and some hard mitzvot,” BUT NOT TO MUCH SO AS NOT TO PUSH HIM AWAY IF HE IS SINCERE, warned that he will be responsible for mitzvot that until now he did not have to worry about, and that the Jews are persecuted everywhere. If he accepts "WE ACCEPT HIM IMMEDIATELY"
Now, there is a warning to check that he has no ulterior motive, such as marriage. If it turns out he has, the conversion is still good. In the Rambam's teshuvot (Pe'er HaDor), he opines that if a couple is already married, or about to marry, it is better to convert the non-Jewish partner than allow the intermarriage. Rav Ovadia brings this l'Halakhah.

When I went into rabbanut 40 years ago, the accepted standard for Orthodox rabbis in America was to require a commitment to Shabbat, Kashrut, and taharat HaMishpachah. Some, but not all, would require nothing in order to prevent an intermarriage. This follows the view of Rav Uzziel (Chief Rabbi of Israel), that it is sufficient if the candidate wishes to live "K'stam yehudi b'doro". (Mishpetei Uzziel)

I once asked a prominent Orthodox rabbi (a Vice President of the RCA) in the early 70s as to his standards. He said Shabbat, Kashrut, and T. HaM., but if already converted by a C. or R. rabbi, to reconvert no questions asked. Today, most O. rabbis follow a very strict opinion that any lack of observance would disqualify a convert EVEN AFTER THEY ARE JEWISH! A "beit din" recently declared a converted married woman (with children!) to not be Jewish because she wore pants! This is very weird. OTOH, consider Ivanca Trump's conversion about a year ago, performed by a prominent O. rabbi.

Now, a separate question is conversion by a C. or R. "beit din". If they are non-observant (drive on
shabbat, etc.) then they are clearly not valid as a Beit Din. Rambam would also disqualify a person from serving on a Beit Din if he holds heretical views. Rav Moshe Feinstein opined that ANY rabbi in a C. pulpit is invalid (that would include me!) Many see this as political rather than halachic, in order to keep people away from the Conservative movement.
Another problem is that according to most Rishonim, the Beit Din needs to SEE the Tevilah, not just know that it has occured. Most C. rabbis don't do this. Most not-knowledgeable O. rabbis don't either.

When I was in Israel, I was on the Beit Din of the Shoron for conversions. They had the woman immerse wearing a loose fitting robe which is not a chatzitzah, yet would be modest.

Now, the question remains-a conversion done with NO BEIT DIN at all, mah dino?
There are a number of Gemmarot (in Yevamot) that would indicate that if we KNOW a tevilah has taken place, it is valid; a beit din being needed only l'chatchilah. I was told by one of the rabbis who prepared me for smichah that ANY conversion that included a tevilah was valid b'diavad. When these come my way, I tell them that yes, they are Jewish, but ideally to redo the conversion. Today, the vast majority of O. rabbis would not agree with this, as it lends credibility to C. and R. I consider this, too, to be politics.

Back in the 70s, Chabad rabbis would often do hassle-free conversions. Under pressure from the Israeli Chief Rabbinate, which only recognizes 2 rabbis in America for conversions. Chabad no longer does this.

Bottom line:
Is she Jewish? Almost definitely, but it should ideally be redone l'chumrah. Today, however, this is a topic where rabbis are being intimidated, and generally do not want to get involved.
Hope this helps,

The "Almost definitely" is as follows:
The Gemarra (Yevamot) has numerous views as to what constitutes conversion. There is substantial place for saying that once there is tevillah, it is good. However, there is the view that we need a valid Beit Din. Although many regard this as only l'chatchilah, nevertheless both Rambam and Shulchan Aruch bring this as the Halakhah.
I don't know the rabbis you mentioned in your original post. If they are Conservative, one would need to find out their levels of observance. Most C. rabbis drive on Shabbat, etc. Those who don't, might be invalidated because of heretical views (this is Rambam's stance). There are some who are completely frum, and this would be OK (except according to R. Moshe Feinstein's opinion, that anyone serving in a c. congregation is automatically invalid.)
If, on the other hand, the rabbis in question are Orthodox rabbis, but not on the "approved" list, then this is just dirty politics.
I don't have time now to get into your question about those already married. Very quickly, Rambam says that Biblical figures who married non-Jewish women converted them themselves, and the sages took a wait-and-see attitude to their Jewishness.
Rav Uzziel's approach (championed in Modern times by Rabbi Marc Angel), is that an acceptance of Jewish identity is sufficient for conversion, and this would be preferable to an intermarriage.

15.12.6 Implicit conversion

Ironically, while religious identity is considered matrilineal, genetic studies show that patrilineal patterns dominate:[1636]

Text 15-33: DNA evidence of Jewish identity more closely connected to the male chromosome
DNA evidence has uncovered something perhaps shocking about our Ashkenazic Eastern European ancestors: they married shiksas AND nobody seemed to have a problem with it.

As David Goldstein put it:[1637]

[some] Jewish men . . . travel[ed] long distances to establish small Jewish communities [by themselves]. They would settle in new lands and, if unmarried, take local women for wives.

Simply put, DNA studies on Ashkenazim have consistently shown that males show a strong genetic affinity (similar mutations on the Y chormosome) with other Jewish males, no matter where they live, whereas Ashkenazic females do not show any genetic affinity with other Jewish females.

Hillel Halkin in his article in Commentary Magazine Jews and Their DNA comments on the puzzling disparity in the distribution patterns of Jewish Y-chromosome and mitochondrial (female)DNA:

There is no doubt that statistically (and only statistically: it is important to keep in mind that any randomly chosen Jewish individual may prove an exception to the rule), Jewish males with antecedents in such widely separated places as Yemen, Georgia, and Bukhara in Central Asia are far more likely to share similar Y-chromosome DNA with one another than with Yemenite, Georgian, or Bukharan non-Jews. Jewish females from the same backgrounds, on the other hand, yield opposite results: their mitochondrial DNA has markedly less resemblance to that of Jewish women from elsewhere than it does to that of non-Jewish women in the countries their families hailed from

Halkin therefore concludes:

Presumably, these adventurous bachelors setting out (perhaps on business ventures) for far lands could not persuade Jewish women to come with them, or else they traveled to their destinations with no intention of staying there. In the absence of rabbis to perform conversions, they married local women who, while consenting to live as Jews, were not halakhically Jewish. By halakhic standards, therefore, their descendants were not Jewish, either, even though their Jewishness was not challenged by the rabbinical authorities. Although such communities must, in their first generations, have known the truth about themselves, this does not appear to have bothered them or anyone else very much.

Jewish men courting and marrying non-Jewish women is nothing new. In addition to our ancestors having done that (at least in the first generation(s) Tanach is replete with accounts of kings and commoners taking non-Jewish spouses. Of Jacob's 12 sons, at least 8 married out of their clan. King Solomon was criticized for taking many wives, HOWEVER, this stinging criticism is followed by the explication that his wives were idol-worshippers who perverted his heart against Torah. The same goes for Isaac's exhortation to his son Jacob not to take a wife from among the Canaanites. It is pretty clear that the Patriarchs hated the Cannanites (and the other pagans) BECAUSE they engaged in horrible idol worship (child sacrifice etc.) NOT because they "weren't Jewish".

In addition, it is pretty clear that Jewish ancestry (as well as tribal status) was once determined by the father and not by the mother. The "maternal ancestry rule" was instituted by later Rabbinic authorities for political and religious reasons (the Jewish exilarch Bustenai, for example, had no qualms about taking a Persian wife. It is pretty clear that she did not "officially" convert. The resulting feud among the Rabbis whether the children of that union were Jewish or not is an indication, that even among the Rabbis of that time, the "maternal descent rule" was not a unanimous opinion).

Which brings me to my point:

Many non-Jewish women (and men) in the United States express strong interest in Judaism. This interest often stems from their quest to find the ancestral roots of their own faith. However, very often this interest remains only an interest BECAUSE they are intimidated by the current geirus process. Some might argue that this is a good thing but I disagree. The notion that we need to dissuade geirim from converting is an erroneous one (such was the opinion of many Rabbis, particularly Sephardic Rabbis like Rabbi Benzion Uziel and Rabbi Yisrael Hazan).

I also think (and this is only an opinion) that the ancient Jewish reluctance to accept geirim was more pronounced for male geirim rather than female geirim. One example of this are the ancient Moabites and Ammonites. The Torah clearly prohibits any marriage among them, however the Rabbis have relaxed this stricture and ruled that the prohibition only applied to marrying the males among them and not the females (how else to explain the story of Ruth the Moabite). We also see numerous instances in tanach of Jewish men marrying non-Jewish women, however we see very few examples of Jewish women marrying non-Jewish men and when we do, it is usually referred to in a negative context.

A quick glance through tanach (particularly the story of Ruth) would indicate that the current geirus process is completey superflouous and even anti-Torah.

If a non-Jewish woman is willing to give up her faith in Jesus and accept the Law of Moses, SHE IS JEWISH. No Rabbis need be involved.

The benefits we would get from accepting non-Jewish females into the Jewish people are manifold.

Jon Entine in his Abraham's Children[1638] mentions that Jewish genetic diseases are at an all time low and attributes this fact- to among other things- the rising intermarriage rate among Jews.

I do want to make clear that I am an Orthodox Jew. I am not proposing intermarriage at all. What I am proposing is making the geirus process for non-Jewish females a lot easier. This would eliminate the problem to begin with.

The above author’s suggestion is that the male lineage has more to do with genetic Jewish identity than the female lineage. This might also suggest that there is more similarity between males than females in some genetically linked Jewish quality on the Y chromosome.

15.12.7 Who is a Jew

Who is a Jew? – מי יהודי

First they came for Moshe’s wife
And decried her unfitness[1639]

Then they came for Ruth and King David
And the legitimacy of the messianic line hung on a hair’s breadth[1640]

Then they came for the descendents of Ammonites and Moabites
And questioned their right to become Jews[1641]

Then they came for the wives of Babylonian Jews
And told their husbands to cast off their families[1642]

Then they came for the Falashas
And forced them to go through another circumcision to be considered Jews

Then they came for the Russians
And wouldn’t marry them

Then they came for the Reform
And wouldn’t marry them

Then they came for the Conservative
And wouldn’t marry them

Then they came for the Orthodox
And wouldn’t marry them

Because they delayed children from being born
chillul Hashem – חילול השם [1643] came from their law

The Shulchan Aruch prohibits the question based on delaying children from being born as described below.[1644]

Text 15-34: in reply to Accrux May 26th 2013, 03:37

More on "genetic purity". There is a very interesting article recently in The Atlantic about extreme Jewish racism and ethnocentric behavior.

Getting Married in Israel: Why It So Often Means Hiring a Detective - it goes on to say:

"One drizzly fall night two years ago, the Israeli detective Shimon Har-Shalom stepped off a plane in Moscow clutching a briefcase full of clues. After hurrying through a crowd of fur coats, he ducked into the last car of the downtown express train and removed his cap, revealing a black yarmulke and short, wispy silvery side locks of hair. He slid a file folder from his briefcase and shuffled its contents: a century-old marriage contract, certificates stamped with the hammer-and-sickle of the Soviet Union, and hazy family photographs.

The case Har-Shalom was working that night had bedeviled him for some time. Back in Jerusalem, he'd been hired by a Russian émigrée who was planning for her daughter's eventual wedding and needed Har-Shalom for a crucial ingredient -- proof that her child was Jewish.

Marriage in Israel is controlled by state religious authorities; there are virtually no civil weddings in the country. Jews who want a marriage license must first prove they are Jewish in accordance with Orthodox tradition, which means they need to have been born to an uninterrupted line of Jewish mothers. Such a pedigree can be difficult to prove, especially for the children of Israel's largest immigrant community, the former denizens of the Soviet Union, many of whom spent years obscuring their Jewish roots to avoid discrimination. Enticed by lax immigration policies, these émigrés flooded Israel two decades ago and gave birth to children who now are beginning to seek marriage.

And so they call Har-Shalom, who runs a nonprofit detective agency that specializes in sniffing out long-lost Jewish ancestry. His agency, called Shorashim (Hebrew for "roots"), is funded in part by the Israeli government. Each year he takes on roughly 1200 cases that test his fluency in Yiddish and Russian dialects, his familiarity with czarist and Soviet history, and his patience for combing through old Soviet archives. He then presents his findings to a rabbinic court, which almost always accepts his expert opinion about a citizen's Jewish identity.

Across thousands of years of Jewish history, seldom did a person need to prove to be a member of the tribe. The Shulchan Aruch, the authoritative 16th-century summary of Jewish religious code, states that for purposes of marriage, anyone claiming to be Jewish can be trusted. Things got complicated when the Iron Curtain fell and hundreds of thousands of Soviets bolted to Israel, where they were welcomed under a long-standing law granting citizenship to anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent (non-Jewish spouses and children were also welcomed). The rationale: if having one Jewish grandparent was enough to brand you Jewish under Nazi race laws, it was enough to grant you refuge in the Jewish state.

But many rabbis questioned the newcomers' lineage. According to the Orthodox definition, several hundred thousand of them were not Jewish. If they intermarried with Israeli Jews, the rabbis feared, the very existence of the Jewish people could be in danger.

To set matters straight, Israel's rabbinate created a new procedure, vaguely called "clarification of Judaism." Every immigrant applying for a marriage license would have to prove Jewish lineage going back at least two generations, and sometimes many more. The government rabbis never established clear rules for conducting these checks. They decided, though, that beyond documentation classifying a person as Jewish, he or she should know Jewish language and traditions, and possess a typical Jewish name."

No other society on the planet is more racist. All over the world, people are getting married without having to prove genetic purity. In fact, proof of genetic purity was associated with a certain country that suffered a defeat in the 1940's!!!

History has a tendency of repeating itself.

15.13 Intermarriage

The modern threat to the Jewish continuity is from fanatics that are all too quick to misjudge (inter)marriage.[1645] There are many cases where Jewish identity based on the father would prevail with community acceptance of the children. Thus, the community becomes culpable for the alienation of zerot Israel – the seed of Israel. In fact all marriage is intermarriage, the adherence to Jewish identity and culture must be as properly earned as the loyalty between husband and wife. I have known many mixed marriages who establish a fine Jewish family because of their loyalty.

Delaying marriage because one is looking for a Jewish spouse is exacerbated in outlying areas where there is not a bet din – Jewish court to accommodate orthodox conversion. For example, in the state of Utah, there are only a few thousand Jews. One of the towns in this state is appropriately named Moab. In a similar vein, the story of Ruth illustrates the preservation of Jewish identity in intermarriage.[1646] While her story is quoted as the rabbinical rule, there is no mention of a court of certification. Where are the true judges in the house of Israel?

Lord, do not write off the galut, for out of such wedlock came the messiah,
a descendent of Ruth and Boaz—and the House of David.

Today conversion must be done readily to give children of intermarriages acceptance and a chance to fulfill their Jewish identity. See “Conversion to Judaism: Halakha, Hashkafa, and Historic Challenge.” Do not hinder your child’s identity with external doubts:

“Just tell people that they are Jewish and s/he is a Jew that’s all that matters.”[1647]
Neshomah aliya!

When a couple will raise their children as Jews, there must be an aggressive acceptance of these couples and children in the community. Even if she is a B’nai Noach, she will raise her children as Jewish.

15.14 Interracial

Judaism concerns itself less with race than religion:[1648]

Text 15-35: Jewish race
“The third assumption asserts that Jewish thinking must face the apparent facts that, on one hand, doctrines of Jewish chosenness or election are fundamental to any attempt to make intelligible Jewish identity, but that, on the other hand, all past conceptions of the distinctiveness of the Jewish people have involved, explicitly and/or implicitly, distinct conceptions of race, and all current theories of race are both scientifically false and ethically evil.”

The first issue of the appearance of race in the Torah occurs in Genesis 48:8:

Text 15-36: Genesis 48:3-20

ג וַיֹּאמֶר יַעֲקֹב אֶל-יוֹסֵף, אֵל שַׁדַּי נִרְאָה-אֵלַי בְּלוּז בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וַיְבָרֶךְ, אֹתִי. 3 And Jacob said unto Joseph: 'God Almighty appeared unto me at Luz in the land of Canaan, and blessed me,
ד וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלַי, הִנְנִי מַפְרְךָ וְהִרְבִּיתִךָ, וּנְתַתִּיךָ, לִקְהַל עַמִּים; וְנָתַתִּי אֶת-הָאָרֶץ הַזֹּאת, לְזַרְעֲךָ אַחֲרֶיךָ--אֲחֻזַּת עוֹלָם. 4 and said unto me: Behold, I will make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, and I will make of thee a company of peoples; and will give this land to thy seed after thee for an everlasting possession.
ה וְעַתָּה שְׁנֵי-בָנֶיךָ הַנּוֹלָדִים לְךָ בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם, עַד-בֹּאִי אֵלֶיךָ מִצְרַיְמָה--לִי-הֵם: אֶפְרַיִם, וּמְנַשֶּׁה--כִּרְאוּבֵן וְשִׁמְעוֹן, יִהְיוּ-לִי. 5 And now thy two sons, who were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; Ephraim and Manasseh, even as Reuben and Simeon, shall be mine.
ו וּמוֹלַדְתְּךָ אֲשֶׁר-הוֹלַדְתָּ אַחֲרֵיהֶם, לְךָ יִהְיוּ; עַל שֵׁם אֲחֵיהֶם יִקָּרְאוּ, בְּנַחֲלָתָם. 6 And thy issue, that thou begettest after them, shall be thine; they shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.
ז וַאֲנִי בְּבֹאִי מִפַּדָּן, מֵתָה עָלַי רָחֵל בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּדֶּרֶךְ, בְּעוֹד כִּבְרַת-אֶרֶץ, לָבֹא אֶפְרָתָה; וָאֶקְבְּרֶהָ שָּׁם בְּדֶרֶךְ אֶפְרָת, הִוא בֵּית לָחֶם. 7 And as for me, when I came from Paddan, Rachel died unto me in the land of Canaan in the way, when there was still some way to come unto Ephrath; and I buried her there in the way to Ephrath--the same is Beth-lehem.'
ח וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל, אֶת-בְּנֵי יוֹסֵף; וַיֹּאמֶר, מִי-אֵלֶּה. 8 And Israel beheld Joseph's sons, and said: ‘Who are these?’
ט וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף, אֶל-אָבִיו, בָּנַי הֵם, אֲשֶׁר-נָתַן-לִי אֱלֹהִים בָּזֶה; וַיֹּאמַר, קָחֶם-נָא אֵלַי וַאֲבָרְכֵם. 9 And Joseph said unto his father: 'They are my sons, whom God hath given me here.' And he said: 'Bring them, I pray thee, unto me, and I will bless them.'
י וְעֵינֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּבְדוּ מִזֹּקֶן, לֹא יוּכַל לִרְאוֹת; וַיַּגֵּשׁ אֹתָם אֵלָיו, וַיִּשַּׁק לָהֶם וַיְחַבֵּק לָהֶם. 10 Now the eyes of Israel were dim for age, so that he could not see. And he brought them near unto him; and he kissed them, and embraced them.
יא וַיֹּאמֶר יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶל-יוֹסֵף, רְאֹה פָנֶיךָ לֹא פִלָּלְתִּי; וְהִנֵּה הֶרְאָה אֹתִי אֱלֹהִים, גַּם אֶת-זַרְעֶךָ. 11 And Israel said unto Joseph: 'I had not thought to see thy face; and, lo, God hath let me see thy seed also.'
יב וַיּוֹצֵא יוֹסֵף אֹתָם, מֵעִם בִּרְכָּיו; וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ לְאַפָּיו, אָרְצָה. 12 And Joseph brought them out from between his knees; and he fell down on his face to the earth.
יג וַיִּקַּח יוֹסֵף, אֶת-שְׁנֵיהֶם--אֶת-אֶפְרַיִם בִּימִינוֹ מִשְּׂמֹאל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאֶת-מְנַשֶּׁה בִשְׂמֹאלוֹ מִימִין יִשְׂרָאֵל; וַיַּגֵּשׁ, אֵלָיו. 13 And Joseph took them both, Ephraim in his right hand toward Israel's left hand, and Manasseh in his left hand toward Israel's right hand, and brought them near unto him.
יד וַיִּשְׁלַח יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת-יְמִינוֹ וַיָּשֶׁת עַל-רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם, וְהוּא הַצָּעִיר, וְאֶת-שְׂמֹאלוֹ, עַל-רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה: שִׂכֵּל, אֶת-יָדָיו, כִּי מְנַשֶּׁה, הַבְּכוֹר. 14 And Israel stretched out his right hand, and laid it upon Ephraim's head, who was the younger, and his left hand upon Manasseh's head, guiding his hands wittingly; for Manasseh was the first-born.
טו וַיְבָרֶךְ אֶת-יוֹסֵף, וַיֹּאמַר: הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר הִתְהַלְּכוּ אֲבֹתַי לְפָנָיו, אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק--הָאֱלֹהִים הָרֹעֶה אֹתִי, מֵעוֹדִי עַד-הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה. 15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: 'The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God who hath been my shepherd all my life long unto this day,
טז הַמַּלְאָךְ הַגֹּאֵל אֹתִי מִכָּל-רָע, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת-הַנְּעָרִים, וְיִקָּרֵא בָהֶם שְׁמִי, וְשֵׁם אֲבֹתַי אַבְרָהָם וְיִצְחָק; וְיִדְגּוּ לָרֹב, בְּקֶרֶב הָאָרֶץ. 16 the angel who hath redeemed me from all evil, bless the lads; and let my name be named in them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.'
יז וַיַּרְא יוֹסֵף, כִּי-יָשִׁית אָבִיו יַד-יְמִינוֹ עַל-רֹאשׁ אֶפְרַיִם--וַיֵּרַע בְּעֵינָיו; וַיִּתְמֹךְ יַד-אָבִיו, לְהָסִיר אֹתָהּ מֵעַל רֹאשׁ-אֶפְרַיִם--עַל-רֹאשׁ מְנַשֶּׁה. 17 And when Joseph saw that his father was laying his right hand upon the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he held up his father's hand, to remove it from Ephraim's head unto Manasseh's head.
יח וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹסֵף אֶל-אָבִיו, לֹא-כֵן אָבִי: כִּי-זֶה הַבְּכֹר, שִׂים יְמִינְךָ עַל-רֹאשׁוֹ. 18 And Joseph said unto his father: 'Not so, my father, for this is the first-born; put thy right hand upon his head.'
יט וַיְמָאֵן אָבִיו, וַיֹּאמֶר יָדַעְתִּי בְנִי יָדַעְתִּי--גַּם-הוּא יִהְיֶה-לְּעָם, וְגַם-הוּא יִגְדָּל; וְאוּלָם, אָחִיו הַקָּטֹן יִגְדַּל מִמֶּנּוּ, וְזַרְעוֹ, יִהְיֶה מְלֹא-הַגּוֹיִם. 19 And his father refused, and said: 'I know it, my son, I know it; he also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; howbeit his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his seed shall become a multitude of nations.'
כ וַיְבָרְכֵם בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא, לֵאמוֹר, בְּךָ יְבָרֵךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל לֵאמֹר, יְשִׂמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כְּאֶפְרַיִם וְכִמְנַשֶּׁה; וַיָּשֶׂם אֶת-אֶפְרַיִם, לִפְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה. 20 And he blessed them that day, saying: 'By thee shall Israel bless, saying: God make thee as Ephraim and as Manasseh.' And he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

In Genesis 48:8 Jacob did not recognize Joseph’s sons, because they did not appear like the other children of Israel, since their mother Asnat was an Egyptian. Genesis 48:10 attempts to appease Joseph by suggesting that Jacob really could not see the children clearly. Nevertheless he did see them as he states in Genesis 48:11. The Torah goes out of the way to teach us not to offend anyone based on race or interracial heritage. Another example is the wife of Moshe, where Hashem goes out of his way to defend his servant’s marriage.

Israelis from different countries marry producing distinctly new looking Jews. What would an Asian-European Jewish child look like, naturally a Sabra.[1649]


Korean, Jewish[1650]


The Sabra is one who is native born of the land of Israel. She may very well be a product of immigrants of many countries. Jews, having lived in exile for so many centuries brought with them, the genes of many races and the dietary habits of many cultures. The Korean or Japanese culture has healthier foods with less saturated fat and more anti-angiogenic properties.

15.15 Conjugal rights

"Her food, her raiment, and her conjugal rights shall he not diminish."
(Exodus 21:10)

In marriage a husband is required to provide his wife with food, clothing, and conjugal rights. That is a husband must make himself available to his wife whenever she desires him. Tamar was the daughter in law of Judah. Two of Judah sons had been married to her and had died and Judah did not give her to his third son. One month Tamar prepared a tent at a crossroads and Judah came into her thinking her a prostitute. He left with her his insignia for a safe keep until payment. Later when Tamar became pregnant, Judah learned the story and realized she was more righteous than him. For the commandment of conjugal rights cannot be denied. While, a husband doesn’t have conjugal rights, he should initiate his desires with her when he feels inclined. While there are preferences in love making described in the Talmud, and there are biblical prohibitions, the cultivation of love is so important that G-d permits what is between husband and wife.

There is a prohibition against looking at copulating animals. The reason is that there is a modesty that should be kept even for the sake of animals. Copulation resembles the divine image and one is prohibited from gazing thereon.

15.16 Divorce and litigation

A society that prevents divorce lawyer trials is better than a society that has family law instigations. A society not consumed by overpriced lawyers is also desirable. Jewish religious culture is successful here while the secular culture is consumed here.

Who can live amongst a litigious people? The commentaries on Sodom and Gomorrah discuss how it was the very law of their society that guests had to be shared and charity was prohibited leading to rape and torture to death. Judaism requires a Ketubah, so that the requirements for divorce are set out from the beginning. The problem comes into play when a secular person disregards these principles perusing adultery, defamation, fraud, and litigation to try to harm, G-d forbid kill, and rob from another person. Unfortunately, the American legal system allows this. In Israel where marriage and divorce are still handled by religious courts, there is some mitigation of this process, but discrimination persists under the guise of Jewish courts in Israel not recognizing Jews. “Indeed, as Yale law professor Robert Post noted in his presentation, the real religious division today is between not Christians and Jews but religionists and secularists. And Jews — at least the elite, educated Jews who dominate the legal academy — are overwhelmingly on the side of the secularists.”[1651] In consequence to living in secular societies, a pre-nuptial agreement should be the norm to prevent a litigious person from potentially abusing you.

Police, due to false appearances often mistakenly remove a spouse from their house. For example during a conflict, a spouse can stage a mock domestic violence situation by getting someone to touch the phone they are holding, even though there is no contact with the other person’s body. The far-reaching impact of these removals on the suffering of the children, divorce, and adultery are significant. A prosecuting attorney cannot knowingly withhold evidence that bears witness of the innocence of a defendant. So before losing excess amounts of money to lawyers, consider options with the police department in defense. Police departments conduct investigations of crimes and one does not need a lawyer in this case.

Tricks used by divorce lawyers, “assume and pay a mortgage” means the other party will remain on the mortgage and lose the title of the house with a quit claim deed. Having custody of children dividing holiday time and Jewish holiday time can be misled if the term ‘nights’ is used. Prenuptial agreements should always be signed before marriage. They should not only cover monetary division, but custody division in the case of future children.

Finally the concept mentioned in the Perkei Avot that one should exile himself to a place of Torah has caveats. This means a place of Torah, not necessarily a place with a lot of Jews living there.
  1. Abandoning the homeland of ones parents removes one from the scope of their advice.
  2. One may marry an evil Jewess.
  3. Also it is better to marry a good person regardless of religious background than an evil Jew.
  4. Hence to move to a place where there is a better chance of marrying someone Jewish is a flawed idea.
  5. Divorce with and evil Jewess is a disaster. The victims are the children and does she really care anything for them when she has sent her husband away by lying to secular courts haval.

A very wise rabbi gave his sympathy over hearing of such a situation and then returned himself to a discussion of the differences between the Hebrew words for mohel – forgiver and mochel – a person performing a circumcision. The lesson here was not to dwell on the situation, but to return to dwelling on Torah. Jack AbramoffToward TraditionCapital Athletic FoundationTalmudicCosmos Club - cite_note-41

15.17 Rabbi Nachman Sefer Hamiddot


1) A person who has difficulty finding a marriage partner should recite the Shirat HaYam, the Song of the Red Sea, with great concentration.

2) Reciting the Blessing of the New Moon is particularly propitious for finding one's match. This is hinted at by the Hebrew word for moon - LeVaNaH - which comprises the first letters of the expression, "B'tulah Ni'sait L'yom Har'veee - A virgin marries on the fourth day of the week" (see glossary B).

3) A man gains prosperity and blessing when he chooses a Torah scholar to be his son-in-law.

4) Choosing a Torah scholar as one's son-in-law saves a person from the punishment he deserves for having given bad advice to his friend.

5) When people choose Torah scholars for their daughters to marry, proper judges are appointed.

6) A person who has difficulty finding a marriage partner should recite the Torah section dealing with the Temple sacrifices brought by the heads of the twelve tribes (Numbers, chap. 7).

7) The pairing of potential marriage partners, even if only discussed and never actualized is also from Heaven. Mere talk of such a match has an effect on each of the potential partners.

8) The veil used to cover the bride before the ceremony carries with it a blessing for children.

9) Through prayer a person can exchange the marriage partner designated for him in Heaven.

10) When a husband and wife are careful not to share sleeping quarters, even for one night, with another couple, they merit having kohanim and prestigious [young] men for sons-in-law.

11) When a widower takes another wife, his first wife suffers in her grave.

[1552] 9/1-9/7 2015
[1554] Maureen Murdock’s The Heroine’s Journey 
[1555] Ibid.
[1556] 3 Key Elements,,,,
[1557] Kosher Sex, Shmuley Boteach, p.170
[1558] This could also apply in Jewish marriage when religious values differ from secular to religious. Also, see 2.29 Ruth page 249 to understand when Jewish marriage in the wilderness is implicit regardless of conversion.
[1559] Mafteah ha-Tokahot translated in The Mystical Expereince in Abraham Abulafia, Moshe Idel, p. 188.
[1560] “48 MS Oxford 1605, fol. 7b; cf. Or ha-Sekel, MS. Vatican 233, fol. 128a, ‘and according to the prophet who derives pleasure in attaining the form of prophecy [i.e., a mystical experience].’”—Ibid. p. 213
[1561] Mazel, constellation, is a euphemism for a person’s guardian angels and their guidance.
[1562] A woman who tacitly or overtly discourages her husband from prayer is not Jewish. The converse is not necessarily true.
[1563] These are notes based on conversations with Rabbi Finehandler, author of Beloved Companions. June 12th 1999.
[1564] One should divorce a wife who wakes her husband for snoring so that he has no rest.
[1565] Gemara Yevamos, Rabbi Aryeh Rosenfeld, Yevamos lecture
[1566] See Health chapter on Hormones
[1567] It is not clear that this is still the case today, See Sec. 3: The Oral Teachings p.276
[1568] See Text 15-11 where the daughter of a foreign god alludes that she will pass this on to her children.
[1569] Righteous convert
[1570] Or Her as G-d is beyond gender. See Exodus 28:36
[1571] Midrash Rabbah Genesis 22:2 quoted in The Judaic Tradition, Nahum N. Glatzer, p.206.
[1572] Proverbs 6:22
[1573] “Midrash Tehillim to Ps. I, 3, adds, ‘from the worms,’ and Gen. Rab. XXXV read, ‘in the hour of death’”—Soncino Talmud Mishnah Avot
[1574] “MV: ‘it shall speak for thee,’ i.e., intercede on thy behalf.”—Soncino Talmud Mishnah Avot. The Hebrew uses the word “siah” meaning the Torah will converse with you, like the sounds of grasses blowing in the wind.
[1575] Malachi 2:11-16
[1576] Talmud Kiddushin 12b
[1577] Celebration & Renewal, Edited by Rela M. Geffen, p.96 and p.124 footnote 26
[1578] Hebrew literally means ‘twin soul’
[1580] Bat kol, “a voice from heaven.” The daughter runs from her father to tell the world what she has learned. This is the Bat Kol or partzuf Nukvah from Hochmah.
[1581] See Figure 19-1: The Multiplicity of the Soul in One Individual
[1582] See 19.3 Reincarnation
[1583] Alludes to seeing the shofar and hearing the fire on Mt. Sinai
[1585] From the understanding of orthodox women
[1586] Tietze C. Reproductive span and rate of reproduction among Hutterite women. Fertil Steril 1957;8:89 –97.
[1587] One last chance for pregnancy: a review of 2,705 in vitro fertilization cycles initiated in women age 40 years and above: Sigal Klipstein, M.D., Meredith Regan, Sc.D., David A. Ryley, M.D., Marlene B. Goldman, Sc.D., Michael M. Alper, M.D., and Richard H. Reindollar, M.D.
[1589] Leridon, H. Human Reproduction, June 17, 2004: vol 19, pp 1549-1554. George Attia, MD, director, In Vitro Fertilization program, University of Miami School of Medicine. Tarum Jain, MD, instructor of reproductive endocrinology, Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
[1593] 2004 Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report:
[1596] Basal Body Temperature increases due to progesterone being released after ovulation.
[1597] Increases levels of progesterone, maintaining the uterine wall and preventing menstruation.
[1598] Appetite, fatigue, fever, nausea, and swollen breasts
[1600] Basal Body Temperature increases due to progesterone being released after ovulation.
[1601] Increases levels of progesterone, maintaining the uterine wall and preventing menstruation.
[1602] Appetite, fatigue, fever, nausea, and swollen breasts
[1605] has some interesting comparisons with Trimedisyn and Prenatalgyn
[1613] is one of the Jewish Educational Moment (JEM) videos showing the internal workings of this movement.
[1615] See Text 2-115: Ammonite proselyte p.37
[1616] See Text 2-315: Ezra 9: Intermarriage prohibition
[1617] This can be extended to other nations who practice customs similar to Deut. 7:5 in setting up gardens for the worship of fertility goddesses or the making of idols.
[1619] Rabbi Shem Tov
[1620] There are many cases of children of intermarriage with a huge interest in Judaism. Ironically, the orthodox religious society has alienated their future; often because there is no Bet Din or infrastructure for their official acceptance into their people where they live. Intermarriage as in the case of Mahlon in Moab with Ruth is simply the result of a dearth of choices in remote areas, but in no way diminishes the viability of a Jewish family. It is only the alienation of a community that can achieve this sin.
[1622] Ruth 1:1, Genesis 1:28
[1623] Ruth 1:4
[1624] Ruth 1:7-8
[1625] A private declaration is sufficient as reported in the Book of Ruth.
[1626] Ruth 1:16-17
[1627] Ruth 1:18
[1628] See 2.10.6 Isaiah 56 p.197
[1629] See 2.34 Ezra p.261
[1630] A History of the Jewish Experience, Leo Trepp, pp.33-34
[1631] Mikvah symbolism
[1632] Metsudah Siddur, p.120
[1634] See 15.12 Conversion p.315
[1635] Numbers 15:29
[1637] “Jacob’s Legacy: A Genetic View of Jewish History” from Duke University Scientist David Goldstein
[1638] “Abraham’s Children: Race, Identity, and the DNA of the Chosen People”
[1639] See 15.12.2 Seven Nations p.700
[1640] See Text 11-6: Light of the Messiah p.581
[1641] See Text 2-115: Ammonite proselyte p.136
[1642] See Text 2-316: Ezra 10:3, p.267
[1643] Leviticus 22:32: “And you shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who hallows you” – chillul Hashem means ‘to bring dishonour or shame to God's name’ See See 24.9 Holocaust p.1043
[1644] Search for Economist “Who’s a Jew?” and look at Comment. Religious politics in Israel: Who’s a Jew? L6QjhvJGVk in reply to Accrux May 26th. An interesting article appeared in Arutz Sheva, entitled, “Do not be Overly Righteous” – Stringencies in Judaism, August 6, 2013 by Rabbi Josh Gerstein where the principles of not adding or subtracting from the law are presented.
[1645] See 11.1 David p.315
[1646] See 2.5.4 Ki Teitzei Deuteronomy 23
[1647] Do not create doubts in others. Tenth of Tevet 5771 erev Shabbat from Moshe ben Ovadiah z”l.
[1648] Jewish Faith and Modern Science, Norbert Samuelson, ROWMAN & LITTLEFIELD PUBLISHERS, INC., 2009, p.109.

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