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Monday, April 30, 2007

Conversion Agreement

The RCA and the Rabbanut have come to an agreement in regard to standardizing conversions. The Jerusalem Post reports that not all the details were worked out yet, but excluding the nitty-gritty, the agreement has pretty much been made.

Bamidbar Rabba 10:1 tells us why conversions are important from the second-to-last verse in Parshat Kedoshim:

ר' יודן בשם ר' חמא ב"ר חנינא ור' ברכיה בשם רבי אבהו אמר שהוא מרבה לי רעים כיצד כתיב ואבדיל אתכם מן העמים כזה שהוא בורר את היפה מן הרע בורר וחוזר ובורר שכל מי שבורר את הרע מן היפה שוב אינו חוזר ובורר כך הקב"ה מצפה לאומות העולם שמא יעשו תשובה ויקרבן לתחת כנפיו

(On the verse "Zeh Dodi Vezeh Rei'i" from Shir Hashirim:) Rabbi Yudan in the name of Rabbi Hama the son of Rabbi Hanina, and Rabbi Berechya in the name of Rabbi Avahu say that he (the Jewish people) increase "loyal friends" (Rei'im) for Me. How is this applied? It is written "And I will separate you from the nations". Like this [one] who separates the good from the bad, he separates and continues to separate (looking to see if he can find more to put into the "good pile"), because whoever separates the bad from the good, separates no longer (since he's not looking to find more bad ones for the "bad pile"). Similarly, Hakadosh Baruch Hu is waiting for the nations of the world - perhaps they will repent, and He will bring them close to [go] under His wings.

At this late stage of history, standardizing conversions will hopefully ensure that those who are true Rei'im - and true Rei'im only - to Hakadosh Baruch Hu get to go under His wings.


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