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October 16, 2006

Ethiopian Jews And Orthodox Jewish Racism

I recently exchanged emails with a friend in Jerusalem. He is adamant. Ethiopian Jews are not Jewish. To bolster his point, he cites DNA evidence, evidence that, at most, can indicate that Ethiopian Jews not descended from the southern tribes of Israel, primarily Judah and Levi. He also cites Hebrew University's Steven Kaplan, who believes Ethiopian Jews adopted Judaism in the early Middle Ages as part of a wave of Judaization sweeping Ethiopia. (Kaplan himself fully supports EJ aliya and absorption, and is very clear on those points.) There is also evidence of this noted by another academic who specializes in Ethiopian song.

The point of this post is not to refute this belief, but I will make one simple point regarding it: Nothing these academics believe and nothing in that DNA evidence precludes conversion to Judaism. In other words, at best this evidence proves not that Ethiopian Jews are goyyim, but that Ethiopian Jews may be converts. And, when you factor in what academics of equal stature say in opposition, or what many others say – based on solid evidence – about the lineage of Ashkenazi Jews, for example, or the 'unity' of the Tribes of Israel, one quickly realizes that all of this evidence is a two-edged sword; what cuts the black Jews you so dislike cuts you, deeply, as well.

The point of this post is to ask a hypothetical question: What if Ethiopian Jews are not Jewish? What if they never converted and are not descended from Jews? What if they are simply well-meaning non-Jews who adopted as many Jewish practices as they could and identified as Jews, doing so for hundreds of years, often under great persecution? How should we then properly relate to them?

Let me quote from my friend's emails because they are representative of many other emails and comments I've received over the last twenty-five years:

"[Ethiopian Jews are] just African black guys with feathers and bells singing their ol' folk tunes   but they sure got rhythm … I see dozens of Ethiopians a day and 95% look like deep African tribal blacks and the other 5 % look more refined  but none of them look Jewish to me… SHVARZAH NIC YIDDEN … they ain't Jews except to the non-religious politicians who want cannon fodder  they are employed as security guards and janitors and vote for the liberal parties  the lefties love it   canned votes and someone to sweep the floors … you marry a sevarzah and i will marry a Jewish girl  your kids will have rhythm and mine will get a Noble prize (at least statistically)…"

Is this any way to treat people who have suffered as Jews for hundreds of years?

One would think that even those holding the minimalist position, those who reject all evidence in support of Ethiopian Jews' Jewish descent, would have respect for people who suffered so much because everybody who persecuted them did so to persecute Jews.

Indeed, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein mentions this in his letter, and writes: "One should also know that even if in practical application of the law they are not Jews, nevertheless since they think they are Jews and sacrifice their lives for their Judaism, we are obligated to save them." And, as Rabbi Feinstein, Rabbi Ahron Soleveitchik and others have made clear many times, one may not discriminate against a person, Jewish or not, because of skin color.

But it should not take a pesak halakha to teach Jews that. I would think that if a people had suffered so much and risked so much for Judaism and Israel, we would, at the very least, be civil toward them. We certainly would want to help them out of danger and distress, and do whatever is necessary to help them succeed.

Yet, in the Ashkenazi Orthodox world (especially in the American part of it) the opposite is often the case. Here is a quote from an email sent to me by a leading member of the RCA: "[A leading Orthodox professor with close ties to Chabad]
once said that the poskim who affirmed the certain Jewishness of the Ethiopian Jews were those who did not read a European language." This is a racist slap at the dozens of Sefardic poskim who hold, just like Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, that Ethiopian Jews are 100% Jewish. Needless to say, this Orthodox professor is not known as a friend to Ethiopian Jews in any way, not even following Rabbi Feinstein's minimalist position quoted above – a position, by the way, endorsed by Rabbi J.B. Soleveitchik and dozens of others, as well.

I think this all points to  a larger malaise in Orthodoxy, a malaise that has turned morality into "what can we get away with" rather than "what is the ideal we should strive for."

The mesorah tells us that the
Messiah won't check lineage. Traditionally, questions of lineage have been dealt by rabbis in the most lenient ways possible. Yet, put black skin on people and somehow leniency gets tossed to the wind, and strictness becomes the norm.

This is racism, pure and simple – bigotry based on skin color. Rabbis who allow this, either by commission or by silence, are many. You can find them at your local Chabad House, at your Modern Orthodox shul, on staff at Yeshiva University, and on the streets and study halls of Mea Shearim and Geulah. They work for Aish HaTorah and Ohr Somayach, study in the Mir, stroll 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. They are plentiful.

It seems to me they are killing Judaism.

[Perhaps the only reason I remained a BT after failing (or so I thought) to get a clear response from the Rebbe on Ethiopian Jews was the reaction of Rabbi Moshe Feller, the Rebbe's shaliach to the Upper Midwest, to a letter written by Ethiopian Jewish leaders and smuggled out of Ethiopia. The letter detailed the suffering of the people, including several rapes of young girls. As he read the letter, Rabbi Feller began to softly cry. His is the only positive reaction I can cite in all these years, outside of Rabbi Feinstein's message to me and the endorsement of other rabbis to the public parts of it. In dozens of interactions over many years, I would say well over 98% were wholly negative.]

Comments

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Dear Shmaryah,

your emotions are not allowing you to think rationally on this matter and therefore you confuse different issues. You ascribe the worse to those who differ with you without thinknig through their perspective.

What most of people who differ with you claim (and even Rav Moshe Feinstein of Blessed memory did so in that ruling) that while it may be laudable and special and meriotorous that which these individuals thought to be connected with jewish people etc. (and according to Rav Moshe FEinstein it is enough to make it oblligatory to save them) nevertheless it is not sufficient to establish Jewishness on that basis alone.

Rabbi Feinstein went at pains to rule that it is REQUIRED to udnergo a "Giyur amiti" a TRUE GIYUR. When we are unable to get you and others to accept that it makes it hard for many others (who DO appreciate the fact that many of these fellows have wanted to live by the jewish tradition) to accept your postions as a starting point for future cooperation on these matters.

If you are able to work out a GIYUR AMITI amongst them, i"m SURE you will find so many ears and sympathetic hearts and minds to work with you.

Shana Tova,

Avrohom,

And, as I mentioned previously, Rav Moshe also ruled the following: 1. The giur should not involve rejecting the 'converts' even one time, 2. A drop of blood is sufficient for mila, 3. Every effort should be made to draw them close, 4. If the rabbinute ruls differently, hold by them. In other words, you just have no clue.

This whole makhloket is crap anyway. You cant "hold something" about a fact. Either the sun rises in the east and sets in the west or it doesnt. So too either they are Jewish or they arent. So when a Rav says he "holds" they're Jewish or they arent, its CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP. Paskining is not a method of finding truth.

If 98% of the Rabbis were wholly negative, why do you have so much hate against chabad?

You know very well there is a family (with a black mother and 5 very black looking kids)who recently converted and spend every Shabbos and holiday at the Chabad House. NO ONE in their family is treated any differently than the next guy. They had kosher conversions and are now yidden and that's that. Nothing to discuss.

Sure, there are racist Jews. But for the truly pious ones, they know that halachically when someone "of color" converts, that person is now a yid and should be treated as one.

See what happens when their children get to marriagable age.

Dear Shmarya,

1) I didn't say anything about rejecting them at the giyur if they want to undego a genuine conversion with kabbllat hamitzvot.
2) Drop of blood is not sufficient. Read the Teshuva that YOU posted here "giyur amiti". 3)True, he held that every effort should be made to draw them near, he did NOt LOWER THE STANDARDS OF CONVERSION TOWARDS THEM, HE CLAIMED "GIYUR AMITI", 4)He said that we should not BRING THEM TO ISRAEL BEFORE UNDERGOING CONVERSION! (read the teshvua that YOU POSTED), 5) there is nothing in this teshuva that talks about the pask of the rabbinate.

Shmarya, you seem to have an attack of anger; please take a deep breadth and read the words of reb Moshe and you might understand those who differ with you.

and as others have shown you and i know TOO MANY OF THEM: In chabad (and in other circles) there are MANY covnderts that are black and are NOT discriminated against because of their color. your views are colored by your anger and bitterness.

Shmarya, maybe it would help you to restart the actual practice of yiddishkeyt without preconceived notions and maybe the light of the TOrah and Mitzvot will help you appreciate them and the views of TOrah.

Good luck and shana tova,

Avorohom,

Shmarya you should try to get set up with a black girl. Maybe you'll lighten up a bit if you get your old bitter ass married.

"So too either they are Jewish or they arent"
It would be nice if reality was so simple, but sometimes it isn't. As for the historical basis of the Ethiopian Jewish roots, the recorded records go back to the 1600's.

The Rabinut HaRashit ruling that they should be converted was a lieniency. If we were to agree to consider them "Jews" they would most likely be mamzarim as they have (apparently) never divorced by 'get' and hence children from a second marriage are mamzarim. By ruling that they were non-Jews, albiet from Jewish roots etc. but with no proveable lineage, they can become full Jews with a simple conversion.

As for discrimination: I don't know America, but in Israel everybody discriminates against everyone else ... especially each new wave of immigrants suffers a generation of adjustment and social reorganization. The less sophisticated their original cultural milieu the harder the adjustment. Having said that the National Religious movement has made tremendous efforts to help "absorb" the children in yehivot and ulpanot. You can see Ethiopian officers in the IDF (men and women) as well as religious couple with children in yesha communities. Like every other immigrant group, those who make the effort will succeed.

[Written with thirty years of personal first hand experience with numerous Ethiopian Jews and various initiatives to aide them in their absorption.]

Avroham –

Again, read Rav Moshe's other teshuvot. You just do not understand what you'rr writing.

I have heard the rabbinic principle that once you have a minyan, you do not keep checking throughout the service that you still have one. We are also forbidden to check into a person's background to determine if they are a mamzer, under the assumption that the stain would eventually become clean.

By these principles I infer that it is better to take a people at their word. It is not absurd that they could be Jews as it would be with Jews for Jesus, and after all there are differences between the Ashkenazim and the Sephardim and we are all still Jews.

Anybody who hastens to throw away Jewish unity is behaving in a very un-Jewish fashion and should be ashamed. This also applies in a different way to our secondary unity with Christians and Muslims and all other religions that recognize a natural law.

Citing DNA evidence? LOL! Too bad Judaism is not a race.

It all comes down to high school politics. If there is someone lower than you on the totem pole, the idea is to trash them so that you are left alone.

"As for discrimination: I don't know America, but in Israel everybody discriminates against everyone else ... especially each new wave of immigrants suffers a generation of adjustment and social reorganization."

The history of how the Ashkenazi Zionists treated the Sepharadi/Mizrachi/Temani Jews (a.k.a. "cave dwellers") over the last fifty years proves well the accusation of racism as a standard approach to Israeli immegration. Would the they have spoken such slurs to the face of Rashi, Rambam, etc.?

The problem here, at its root (IMHO) is that Ashkenazim, in their zeal to assimilate and be seen as white Europeans by their gentile neighbors first in Europe and now (especially) in America, have bought into the (now fading) doctrine of white supremacy and wrap themselves in it as a tool of social and economic advancement in white-dominated societies.

You see, if the goyim see that there are Jews who are not white and not European, then it will be a "shande" of sorts to the Ashkenazim, proving the non-Jews' original (pre-Enlightenment) assertion that Jews are not really white people "of the Mosaic persuaion" but a separate people all together from Europeans, which could possibly throw Ashkenazi Jews back into then wretched place they were in in Medieval Europe.

Remember that within the Ashkenazi world, Western European Jews were embarassed by Eastern European Jews, who were "too Jewish" for their tastes and tried to reform and Europeanize them. This was possible because everyone looked the same. Brown skin, however, can't be hidden or "remedied" by education.

The only way for this to end is for Jews to embrace unique Jewishness and abandon the doctrine of whiet supremacy - a doctrine that is on its last legs with the ongoing decline of the West and rise of Asia.

Pretty soon, being white will be very, very costly. How much is it really worth to you? It would be a shame if the Jewish people (who still are not really considered white people by real and actual WASPs) were the last people to give up on the inherently corrupt as well as hopelessly passe doctrine of white supremacy.

It would be pathetic, actually. It could also lead to a major disaster that we really, really don't need.

"See what happens when their children get to marriagable age."

The parents are already a bi-racial couple. And I'm sure you know of at least one or two families in our community who have black in-laws. I believe that there really are some people (including frum Jews) who can look past the color of one's skin.

The part that worries me for my children is the whole gezhe thing. Plus, they are probably going to have to marry Russian BT's anyway.

Everyone has their own tsuris.

Dear Shmaryah,

I looked at other teshuvos as well as the teshuvo you u/l. They are contradictory to each other. Reb Msohe was just as concerned with the threat of assimilation that may result from accepting ethiopians into erets yisroel as he was concerned about saving them. PEriod. You seem to wish to ignore these concerns. but they are here to stay.

Daniel,

Shulchan Oruch has detailed laws about how and when to accept someone who claims he is Jewish and when not accept this claim. These laws are not analgous to the laws of mamzerut.

Everyone accepts that Sephardic Jews from Morocco are Jews. These Sephardic Jews are not "white". So the questioning of the authenticity of Ethiopian Jews (conversion questions would be another matter) are probably not due to psychological racism. My assumption is that the main problem is that the Jewish community which is not Ethiopian had never heard of these guys until very recently--it would be like some guy your family never talked about and didn't know coming up to you and telling you he's your cousin and you go, "who are you? Cousin? I don't know you from Adam." When did the issue of Ethiopian Jews first become a public deal? (Yes, there may be records indicating the validity of the claims that go back--but when did the wider Jewish community first get exposed to the Ethiopian community?) btw, Treifalicious, the "new anti-Semitism" precisely claims that Ashkenazi Jews are NOT a separate Semitic people but offspring of the Kazari--*Asian* Jews. And the topic would be discrimination against non-Asian peoples/races anyways.

Shmarya's correspondent's emails are sufficient to prove that at least some people have racist attitudes toward Ethiopian Jews. At the same time, I am prepared to believe that some people, in good faith and without a tinge of racism, have halakhic objections.

Although I claim no competence to contribute to a discussion of the halakha, I do want to suggest the following:

First, the Ethiopian Jewish community's long identification with Judaism (and consequent suffering on that account) should suffice to qualify them for aliya.

Second, we cannot compel any Jew to accept another Jew as actually being Jewish. Whatever position the Israeli government may take, for example, I know that there are Jews who will not accept the Jewishness of those members of my congregation who converted under Conservative, rather than Orthodox, auspices.

Third, although we cannot compel universal acceptance of Ethiopian Jews' status as Jews, we can demand that civil authorities not discriminate against them.

Fourth, to the extent recognized Rabbinic authorities in Israel refuse to accept the Jewishness of Ethiopian Jews, for example, by not permitting "unconverted" Ethiopian Jews to marry in officially-sanctioned religious ceremonies, that is an additional argument against continuing the Orthodox/Haredi monopoly on official recognition in Israel.

Finally, I want to recommend a marvelous film, "Live and Become," now showing in Boston and opening in other cities over the next months. (I believe Washington, D.C., will be next.) The film is in Hebrew, French, and Amharic, with English subtitles.

David--I had thought that Ethiopian immigrants were undergoing pro forma conversion "just in case" and that this was accepted as sufficient by the Israeli rabbinate bureaucracy and tolerated by the Ethiopians--so there are not "uncoverted" Ethiopian Jews in practice.

"Shmarya you should try to get set up with a black girl."

Finally, some constructive criticism instead of the usual denunciations and name calling.

Here we go again...this is very stupid and bad. If you do not accept ethiopians, then just leave them alone. Mind your own businesses.
"Treifalicious" made a very good approach to all of this rediculousness...Once again another holocoust will remind all of you that Askenazi is not really the "superior white race" and certainly not better than the Chabashim and Temanim. That holocoust will be the coming of Moshiach, who will embrace the true jews and free them from suffering.
If you believe that you are supirior because you are european and civilized, then just stick with that! don't create war with others

Avrohom –

Rav Moshe also told people what to do. And he HIMSELF did. And what I wrote is accurate. The "contradictions" you see come because of changing information, in part, and also because you clearly do not understand how a posek works and how the process of halakha works.

Thanks to those threatening a holocaust to Ashkenaziim: and hooray for your Moshiach who will embrace the "true Jews". They should check their wallets after that embrace.

Many ethiopians are not black, and a minority of the ethiopian population is indeed Jewish. Check this online dictionary:-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habesha_people

Shmarya,

I have no contradictions. Talking of poskim and ways to undrstand how a pssak works: when a Rov writes something and publishes it itcarries much greater than any "hearsay" "i know what he did..." and other such statements.

Bottom line: REb Moshe urged "giyur amiti" (not just in case) and it is consistent with his view that they have a halachik status of "sofek yehudi" (some of the writers here have to familizariza themselves more with Halacha to understand that we do have in halacha these concepts, that we grant the status of "Sopfek yehudi" see mishne machshirim.And again: contrary to some of the posters' Reb Moshe rejects the notion that they should make aliya prior to a true conversion as it is published black on white on the letter that you posted on yuor blog.

Avrohom

I checked the Igros Moshe. There are 9 Responsa dealing with the Falashas. No mention of Giyur Lechumra. He said they require a True Conversion Either post something written by Rav Moshe where he says Giyur Lechumra or have the honesty to admit that you made a mistake.

"You can find them at your local Chabad House, at your Modern Orthodox shul, on staff at Yeshiva University, and on the streets and study halls of Mea Shearim and Geulah. They work for Aish HaTorah and Ohr Somayach, study in the Mir, stroll 13th Avenue in Brooklyn. They are plentiful."

Shmarya is again painting with a wide brush. Do you think HaShem forgives you on Yom kippur so you can repeat the same deliberate mistakes on the next day?

My campus shaliach also uses the word "shvartze" sometimes, I always correct him. He may be a rav, but that doesn't mean I can't correct him.

Not a mistake, MA "rabbi". Why not ask the family or ask any of the rabbanim from the rabbinute who dealt with this in 1985. Giur l'humra is exactly what Rav Moshe required. It is also what HE TOLD ME.

The problem is you do not grasp how actual halakha works or how Rav Moshe paskened. He was ABSOLUTELY CLEAR that the rabbinute was the final decisor. What they said goes. What did they say? Surprise! Giur l'humra.

You might also note that Rav Moshe personally sent tefillin to absorption centers and did much else to help Ethiopian Jews, while your "tzaddik" did NOTHING.

In case the rest of you have forgotten, MA "rabbi" is a Chabadnik.

Avroham,

One thing you may not find in Shulchan Aruch is human reasoning. I was given this gift by G-d, just as you and Shmarya were. Surely you know G-d does not give us gifts for no reason.

The reason is because there are actually three Torahs. There is the Written Torah, the Oral Torah and another Torah, which is a way of thinking. This Torah runs through the Written Torah and the Oral Torah and comes from G-d to each human who cares to look for it. And this Torah enables me, you and Shmarya to look at things and know, this is true and this is false.

What stands behind the ruling of leniency regarding mamzerim and the ruling of not recounting a minyan is chesed: lovingkindness. Now consider this ruling against the tribe of Dan. What stands behind it is not love, but hate, fear, and racism. I can look at that ruling and know that it is false. I don't need to open Shulchan Aruch to know that it is false. Because G-d gave me reasoning so that I would be able to discard something which is wrong, even if it comes bound in a beautiful book with eloquent Hebrew written hundreds of years ago by a sage.

But reasoning is not enough. We must also have the courage to do what we know in our hearts is right, and stand up to know-it-alls and scholars acting in the name of something they do not understand.

It's funny how
1. It took many many years to accept the Temani, but at least they are better than the Ethiopians.
2. Rebbe considers Jews from India and Bene Menashe, and thinks they don't need conversion.--We don't know why but even so..
3. Abydugugagayah! jews of Uganda are "okay", since they acctually wear the taliths (donated by some safari adventurers), and begun practicing judaism since something like 1940ish!
4. Non jewish Russians (FSU) flood everyday to Eretz, but it's okay; They are Jews!.Come on! we all know why we love Russian blondies! of course they don't need conversion.
5. Ha Rebbe wants to "convert" some ethiopians since the Judaism they practiced for centuries just turned out to be a form of Christianity, but the ethiopians didn't realize it at all! but it's good for them! and they are ethiopians who cares?!

Shmarya,

You probably misunderstood Reb Moshe. He would not say something to you opposite to what he wrote in a public responsa. He was man with integrity. You until now did not know that Gerus misfekoh is a bit different than gerus lechumroh. What he probably told you, is that wee need gerus misoffek. And that is exactly what he wrote in the responsa. He was so adamant in the letter that we should not bring them to israel without gerus. lest it leads to ntermarriage that your understanding of his opinion is a real misunderstanding.


DAniel,

With all due respect, you are talking without any substantative knowedlge of yiddishkeyt and halacha. Halacha is not merely mercy etc. Halacha is the Will of G-d. He ruled as He willed. With regards to Mamzerut He reveraled to us (through Oral Law) that if it is not known whehtehr the person is jewish or not that we should not reveal this etc. With regards to the identity of a Jew he clearly set a different set of guideliness.

Of course people who have not learned the Oral Law or who who attempt to put their own philosophy into the Halacha will say what they want to say. But whoever is interested in wehat *Halacha* wants to say knows that that there are clear guideliness and we do not just accept any person who says hew is a Jew to be a Jew. If he or she do not fit the guideliness then he or she are NOT Jewish, period.

Shmarya,

You probably misunderstood Reb Moshe. He would not say something to you opposite to what he wrote in a public responsa. He was man with integrity. You until now did not know that Gerus misfekoh is a bit different than gerus lechumroh. What he probably told you, is that wee need gerus misoffek. And that is exactly what he wrote in the responsa. He was so adamant in the letter that we should not bring them to israel without gerus. lest it leads to ntermarriage that your understanding of his opinion is a real misunderstanding.


DAniel,

With all due respect, you are talking without any substantative knowedlge of yiddishkeyt and halacha. Halacha is not merely mercy etc. Halacha is the Will of G-d. He ruled as He willed. With regards to Mamzerut He reveraled to us (through Oral Law) that if it is not known whehtehr the person is jewish or not that we should not reveal this etc. With regards to the identity of a Jew he clearly set a different set of guideliness.

Of course people who have not learned the Oral Law or who who attempt to put their own philosophy into the Halacha will say what they want to say. But whoever is interested in wehat *Halacha* wants to say knows that that there are clear guideliness and we do not just accept any person who says hew is a Jew to be a Jew. If he or she do not fit the guideliness then he or she are NOT Jewish, period.

There was no sefer Torah in ethiopia

concerned ethiopian wrote:
"It's funny how
1. It took many many years to accept the Temani, but at least they are better than the Ethiopians"
moron! what do you know about that?
I am a Temani decent and I do not consider most of you ethiopians to be Jews

"If he or she do not fit the guideliness then he or she are NOT Jewish, period."

That still doesn't address the double standard.

Avroham,

Your words make me smile. You cannot perceive your own intolerance leaking through them. If everything about justice and lovingkindness has already been written down, why are you alive? Are you hoping for a warm pat on the shoulder from G-d in the olam haba as the only true Jew since Rabbi Yosef Karo? Expecting G-d to reward you handsomely for doing your part to maintain some kind of Jewish pedigree?

There is more to being a Jew than scoffing at your fellow Jews and fellow human beings with Hebrew-spiced words and quotations from dead wise men. I pray you'll discover the Judaism of the heart.

I did not "misunderstand" Rav Moshe. MORON, he gave instructions to his family and to others on how to act in this case. What they did and say mirrors EXACTLY what I wrote. Again, you do not understrand how halakha works.

Shmarya, is it true there are no documented sifrei torah that were found in ehtiopia?

First you said the "Gerus Lechumra" was in Igros Moshe volume 8. I checked and its not. Then you said it was in a journal published by MTJ. Now you claim Rav Moshe told you this on the phone. I find that hard to believe since you dont speak Yiddish and Rav Moshes English was limited. Also, as a former MTJ Talmid, I know how difficult it was to reach Rav Moshe on the phone. So there no polite way to say it, but you are a liar.
By the way, I did receive Semicha, Yoreh Yoreh from Rav Moshe in 1974. So stop with the insults every time you are wrong.

"there no polite way to say it, but you are a liar."
Scotty...YOU GOT SERVED

1. It is in the MTJ, or at least that's what Rabbi Tendler told me two years ago when I asked him for a copy of the teshuva that I just posted.

2. He also told his family and members of the Rabbinute.

3. I didn't say it was in the 8th volume. I said it probably was. I aslo noted that because they are chronological, it couldn't be anywhere else. I meant that as a slap to you.

4. You'll also note Rav Moshe paskined to follow the Rabbanute in this matter. The Rabbinute holds giur l'humra.

5. I'm sure Rav Moshe gave you smicha. I'm also sure he regrets that now, if he has any way of reding your posts – and certainly if he knows your following a dead navi sheker.

You are an embarrassment to your teachers.

And, MA "rabbi", there is no polite way to say this: You are an embarrassment to your teachers. Google this clown's comments. Look as his comments on the Yorah Dayah contest I posted a while back. He could not correctly answer the question, misunderstood the entire halakha, and behaved just like he has here. Worse yet for the "rabbi," the contest question is a standard on the Rabbinute smicha exam. Pathetic.

OK Lets have some Shalom. I am sorry I called you a liar. We can agree or disagree on what Rav Moshe said without name calling.

Shmarya,
"...from the southern tribes of Israel, primarily Judah and Levi.."
Study your history. Correct to: ...from the tribes of Judea, primarily Judah & Benjamin (including the assimilation of Simeon) - as well as the tribe of Levi.

"The mesorah tells us that the Messiah won't check lineage."
Actually, it's Eliyahu (i.e. the prophet that will proceed the messiah) who WILL check tribal lineage - just he will not identify the illegitimate (providing that any knowledge of the illegitimacy has been lost).

"2. A drop of blood is sufficient for mila."
Review your contemporary halacha. A drop of blood must be taken twice, once from below the "atara" and once just upon it, to comply to the two opinions.

"See what happens when their children get to marriagable age."
Rabbi Meir, who descended (paternally) from a convert, ruled that a Jew with a Gentile father is elligible to marry within the legitimate community. One of his students, whose father was a Gentile, said to him: If so, let me marry your daughter. And if you don't refuse your students will not take your ruling seriously. Rabbi Meir responded: Even if you were [a great tzaddik] like Yehoshua bin-Nun I wouldn't allow you to marry her. I.e. Rabbi Meir cared about the pedigree of his son-in-law more that his piety, and this discrimination reflects nothing on his conviction of the accuracy of the permissiveness of his ruling.

Neo-Conservaguy,
"Would the they have spoken such slurs to the face of Rashi..."
Rashi was a Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jew.

1. They were from Yehuda and Levi primarily, along with refugees from the north. Bejaminites were very small in number.

2. Yes, but depends on the posek and the situation. In this case, one drop.

3. Ussur vadai, even if Rabbi Meir did it.

Shmarya,

you angry reactions calling people names speaks more anout your despair than about your ability to hold on to your positions in a logical fashion.

Look, you keep on telling "how halacha works": I must be blunt, you have no clue from a to z what is halacha let alone how "halacha works". NO ONE, I CAN ASSURE YOU, BUT NO ONE serious Rov would believe and give any credibility to a statement "Reb ploni...told me...X Y Z" when they are clearly opposite to what the said Rov wrote

when Reb Moshe writes here clearly that they should NOT go to Israel unless they undergo Gerus; when he writes that they should undergo Gerus Amiti; when he writes that to his udnerstanding they are sofek yehudim; for you to say that he "told you otherwise", leaves us with one of two alternatives:

1) You are a liar. 2) You misunderstood what he said. I was trying to judge you favorably. But if you choose to discard that possibility, you leave yourself no other alternative but the first one. I still will try to be melamed zchus on you and say that the 2 is right alternative.

YOu may know how "halacha works" in other movements that do not adhere to Halacha Lemoshe Misinay; but in Halacha lemoshe misinay system you have NO CLUE, I REPEAT NO CLUE.

Daniel,

It is a waste of time to argue with you. You have no understanding whatsoever of Halacha. To you all of Halacha is what you and other humans perceive to be "merciful and kind". you are far off from Halacha more that i'm off the chinese language. Halacha is trhe Will of Hashem! Halacha is a tradition from Sinay. The host of this blog is doing himself a disseervice for him and his causes when he has people like you and yuor comments be posted. They protray this blog to be a blog that is hateful of the Jewish traditon as it was and is observed by Jews who abide by Halacha and Shulchan Oruch.

Otoh: You make an honest service for others to decide that you and the owner this site write about orthodoxy and people who adhere to this phlosdophy and way of life does not stem (entirely) from your pursuits to "goodness" and "mercy and kindness; it is actually the contempt that you have for the lfifestyle lvied by jews for thousands of hyears that rive you to create mythic and utopic non frealities to besmirch the way of life.

But let me tell all of you: Halacha will pfrevail and Judaism that will have any lasting existence will be that is observed by those who follow the Will of Hashem explained by the code of the jewish law.

1. You spent much of last year calling everyone here names.

2. You are truly a fool. Rav Moshe and the Rabbinute discussed this. He discussed it with his family. He told me. He told others, especially people working with Ethiopians in Israel. He also sent tefillin to absorption cents and did much more personally to help them.

3. Saving them took (and takes) precedence halakhicly over the conversion. That is exactly what Rav Moshe held and what dozens of other poskim hold. It is why they were brought to Israel with the safek – there was no other choice, as I've written before.

4. Go and learn.


What makes the anonymous guy to doubt that there existed sefer torah in ethiopia.
I am sure that they don't teach you this at your yeshivot. But I hope that once in your life, you can think outside the box--beyond this vail of ignorance and hatred, and just take 2 seconds to read some facts about Ethiopian jews, and I meant true facts.
Yes! there has ALWAYS been Torah in Ethiopia, it is called Orit (like the Aramaic word Oraita). And by the way in the Ethiopian language, called Amharic, the name "sefer" only refers to only Holy Books unlike in hebrew.

S-

True, if you define "sefer Torah" as a scroll. They had handwritten books (codex may be the correct scholarly term – I'm not sure). The extant ones are written in Geez, but traditions exist both for codexes written in Hebrew and for at least once scroll. That scroll was taken from the community in the late 1500s after the Portuguese gave guns to the Christians to fight the Jews. Having no guns, the Jews lost badly.

Shmarya,

1) You (and the wirters of this blog) spent YEARS calling people names. Mind you, that those people whom you call names are people with far more erudition and good deeds that you and the writers here, put together will attempt to get to thir heels!

2) I'll blunter than what i wrote before, because you are breaking the rules of engagement (you will not expect me to sit quiet at your outburst of anger and disrespect to me and others here)'

you are ither: 1) a moronic fool, 2) a LIAR, 3) or a hallucinator 4)or a combination of the above.

3) Any person familar with pssak knows that a rov with integrity will not practice the very opposite of what he wrote with PASSION. Espcially a man with the ingtergirty like Reb Moshe. He writes clearly in theltter YOU POSTED that while we must try to save them, we should NOT bring to israel without "gIYUR AMITI" and you will tell other that Reb Moshe did the opposite of what he said. I know people who told of me of Reb Moshe the opposite of what you say about him and it is consistent with what he explicitly wrote!

Reb Moshe felt that briging them to Israel without proper giyur will bring ASSIMILATION.He did not favor that at all.

You could attempt to sell eveyone here the brookyn bridge that you respect halacha by briging Reb Moshe. But the truth is that all you bring him is only to atetmpt sway some people that you really beleive in halacha and Reb moshe agreed with your opinion.

But the truth is simple: you do NOT beleive in Halacha. You mock MOST GREAT RABBIS IN THE PASTR CENTURY you have no standing whatsoever to criticize any Rabbi form the stapdpoint of halcoho. If you want to speak out as a conservative Jew you can go ahead...as areform jew you can go ahead... but as an orthodox jew you have no standing whatsoever...you disrespect the foundation of halacha the beares of halocho the people who study halocho and everything that halocho stand for: The Will of Hashem even if it goes against your accepted "isms" and idols of your thought.

I saw a film called "Live and Become" about ethiopian jews. In the movie, there was a video of a scarry-looking Rabbai who said that since queen Sheba was not Jewish, Ethiopians are not Jewish. Is this really how your Rabbis think? Is this true? Please someone tell me...

"Halacha is a tradition from Sinay"

If it was that simple there would be no argument. If anything, Halacha is democratic inflation of Sinai, educated guesses by brilliant men who often differ and call each other names. If Halacha is bound so tightly that it leaves no room for practical ethics, then how is it any different from atheism? It would be nothing more than arbitrary posturing.

"Reb Moshe felt that briging them to Israel without proper giyur will bring ASSIMILATION.He did not favor that at all."

Plain and simple, you're an idiot. There is a halajkhic principle Rav Moshe is referring to. Know what that is? Of course not, so I'll help you. When it comes to pekuakh nefesh, a sofek Jew has the same din as a 'vadai' Jew – you must do everything to save them. Possible assimilitaion/intermarriage w/'vadai' Jews later does NOT enter into the equation. This is why Rav Moshe supported rescue to Israel. You see, there was no other place to bring Ethiopian Jews.

I suppose asking a haredi yid to understand the halakhic process is a bit much these days, especially when that haredi yid is associated with Chabad.

"Any person familar with pssak knows that a rov with integrity will not practice the very opposite of what he wrote with PASSION."

IDIOT. If you learn any posek's teshuvot you will find evolution and change of halakhic thought. Rabbanim often pasken one way and then years later another. And halakhic literatue is full of discussions about this.

You truly are pathetic.

There is a moral imperative for the secular State of Israel, which is really a "state for Jews" and not a "Jewish state" to rescue those who even claim to be living and persecuted as Jews. That, however, is very different from klal Yisroel having to accept them as Jews for purposes of marriage if there is any safek mamzerus or safek as to their real identity.

Giyur is the only real way for Ethiopians (whoever they really are, and there is much research either way) to cement their place in Klal Yisroel. If Rav Moshe ZTL accepts a partial giyur, that is more than acceptable, but those who want to be more machmir cannot be forced to accept Ethiopians into their moisdos or as marriage partners without full gerus. Rav Moshe ZTL was never the only posek during his generation.

Anyone who doubts an Ethiopian who has undergone gerus is mistaken, but our mosdos have the right to check individual status as per the posek whom they follow.

NoDemonstrations, Avrohom, Shamariyah, Yos :-

Then why do your folks support ethiopian aliyah to Israel?

"Anyone who doubts an Ethiopian who has undergone gerus is mistaken, but our mosdos have the right to check individual status as per the posek whom they follow."

True. And the State of Osrael and the Jewish people have the commensurate right and obligation to cut off those mosdot, rabbis and organizations from the funding stream. and, God willing, that soon will happen.

Scotty boor and asmhooretzx and idiot etc.

You are unable tocomprehent anything relating to halacha and halachikprocess.

I'll just quote the words of theletter by REb Msohe pertinenet to this discussion:

"והנני כהזכרת אין להביאם לא"י אא"F יעברו גרות, כדי שלא להרבות חשש התבוללות":

mr. boor and amhooretz: we should NOT bring them to Israel unless they undergo Gerus, so it should not increase the concern of ASSMILATION". These are the words of Reb Moshe!

Wrt to halachik process: you are a true amhooretz idiot, There is NO responsa by a leading RAbbi in thepast two hundred years that would discard a halacha codified by Reb Yossef KAro or Remo. These works work within the framework of Shulchan Oruch. A [pity that all your knowledge is from books of conservative judaism and reform judaism and you have ON inkling whatsoever from the halcohos from the inside. I repeat, you have NO CLUE WHATSOVER how tghese things work.

Avrohom –

And, as always, you show yoursef for what you really are – a MORON. Funny that the specific instructions given by RAv Moshe to many people are disregarded by a boor, because he neither understands chronology or halakha. Do you realize how foolish you look?

"Rashi was a Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jew."

Technically true, but in the original usage of the word (we might say Yekki today), not the later eastern European usage that is commonly understood. Those early Ashkenazic French/German Jews were quite different and lived quite different lives than the later shtetlism. France had both Ashkenazic and Sephardic cultures. And, he spoke and wrote mostly in Old French, not Yiddish; in fact, his work has been helpful to secular scholars understanding older French writing forms. Finally, he wore a cool cap that qualifies him as Sephardic to me ;-)

scotty,

you are a LIAR and HALLUCINATORboth.

You have the chutzpah to lie and say Ren moshe spoke to you OPPOISTE of what he wrote and YOU IDIOTIC ROSHO that you are continue as if you are the gospel and himself. you are stupid idol; you worship yourself. Look again at the letter that YOU posted: Reb Moshe writes that we should nto bring them to Israel before gerus amiti lest they bring assimilation. And his prophetic cocnerns materialized unfortunately.

He told me. He told the Rabbinute. He told his family. And he SUPPORTED the airlifts. Again, you don't understand the halakhic process, or the din in this case. Go ask a real posek. A *safek* about *future* possible intermarriage does NOT push of pekuakh nefesh. That is what Rav Moshe held.

Ycotty

Again you have no credibility whatsoever about what Reb Moshe said:

1) when he WRITES AND PUBLISHES A LTTER TO THE CONTRARY,

2) You have an agenda!

3) yOU BARELY UNDERSTAND ENGLISH' LET ALONE YIDDISH AND LET ALONE REB MOSHE'S YIDDISH!

3) YOu have no understanding in basic halacha

4) you keep repeating the rabbinate: They are not Reb Moshe and Reb Moshe is not them!

5) Reb Moshe's families tele[hone conversations cannot in any way shape or form convey his opinions when he WROTE THE OPPOSITE,

6) EPSECIALLY WHEN IT WAS A "mILSSOH BETAAMOH"' HE OFFEREND THE REASON!

7) Do not try to sound like a learned man you are not: It is not a "sofek" assimilation! it's a VADAY ASSIMILATION! When men and women come to a country it will CERTAILNY lead to assimilation in ny normal society which is not hermitcally shut from others (as certainly there were are many intermarriages between ethiopians (who did not undergo giyur amiti) and Jews!

You do not understand the halakhic process. A safek Jew has the din of a Jew iwith regard to pekuakh nefesh. This is the halakha. No posek disputes this. That means rescue. Rave Moshe preferred that we bring them to Italy or Cyprus first. This was impossible. I told him that and that we were going ahead with the rescue. Rav Moshe THEN asked to give us brachot for success, that we should save them all.

You see, his concerns about intermarriage did not override the clear halakha that Ethiopian Jews must be saved.

Go ask poskim to explain this to you.

scotty,

you can concoct 100 stories; REB MOSHE! (NOT YOU OR YOUR FIRENDS) WROTE: THAT WE SHOULD NOT BRING THME TO ISRAEL BEFORE GIYUR AMITI!

write 10000-spins and they won't change this basic fact.

Just an addition we will stress again: you do not understand yiddish and certainly reb moshes yiddish!

Now: Sofekk jew has din of a jew for pikuach nefesh; but pikuach nefesh DOES NOT OVERRIDE GILUY ARAYOT!, DOES NOT OVDERRIDE AVODA ZARA! (AND PROBABLY DOES NOT OVERRIDE EVEN *SOFEK GILUY ARAYOT* AND *SOFEK AVODA ZARA* ASND HERE WE HAVE VADAY GILUY ARAYOT AND VADAY AVODA ZARA!)

Shmarya, your arrogance does not allow you to see simple things and you talk about "halachik process"?!?!? These words are heard in the halls of a reform or conservative College; in a Bais Hamedrash and yeshiva we have pssak halocho:

ALl the things i wrote (the halochos and their rationale)_ are included in the klolim of pisskey halachot.

Do everyone a favor and state: that you are person who follows conservative judaism and does not care for Shulchan Oruch and they will better understand all the hate you have for halacha and it's onservance and they will not be confused with your positions and they will be able to be clear about who their enemies are and the positions they take.

I thing i have to commend you: That you posted the letter of Reb Moshe so we can understand why gedoyley yisroel were concerned about bringing them to erets yisroel and unfotunately their concerns matiralized. The only thing you didn't know: the contents of the teshuva (as you do not understand Hebrew etc).

Those of you who are saying that the Ethiopians are not jewish seem to be some of the most racist people i have ever met who are they to judge they are not G_D BECAUSE HE SAID JUDGE NOT LEST YE BE JUDGED BY THY OWN WORDS!

THE BOTTOM LINE IS: Today, we have no real biological evidence (DNA) to prove whether or not the Ethiopian Jews are really descendants of any of the twelve tribes of Israel; furthermore, NONE of the so-called authentic orthodox Jews can prove that they are descendants from any of the twelve tribes of Israel (especially Judah and Levi). THE FACT IS THAT NOBODY HAS DNA FROM ANY OF OUR JEWISH ANCESTORS (12 tribes of Israel) because DNA testing did not exist then!!!! It is flat out racist for any European Jew to use his blood sample as "measuring stick" to determine if other Jews are authentic!!!!!!!

Ethiopians can die to be jewish all they want. What's it matter? Being jewish does NOT mean these askenazis carry the blood of Jacob in their veins. Why not let a Hamite into your synagogue, the Ethiopian is about as Hebrew as a jew.

racist!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ethiopian jews are the real jews!!!
zion is ethiopia!

Torah was there in ethiopia befor israel exist and even christian ethiopians belive in torah

DNA? do not tell you immigrat to israel after checking your DNA lol belive it or not Ethiopians are the real jews and the promised land the Zion is Ethiopia.

Ethiopian Jews are not Jewish. Period. It is very likely they didn't convert according to Halakha and they have no Jewish ancestry. They do not be4long to the Jewish people.

Ethiopian "Jews" are simply ethiopians no more.

"Citing DNA evidence? LOL! Too bad Judaism is not a race."
"DNA? do not tell you immigrat to israel after checking your DNA lol belive it or not Ethiopians are the real jews and the promised land the Zion is Ethiopia."

Judaism isn't just a religion it is an ethnic group. Not only Ethiopian "Jews" are not Jews they have nothing to do with the jewish people at all, the are just Ethiopians.

Genetics has importance throughout the whole Bible:

Not only is genetics relevant for this discussion, it is relevant throughout the Bible. Some good examples are:
1. A bastard can only marry another bastard to legitmize the next generation.
2. Egyptian converts can only marry into the general population, after 3 generations.
3. Moabites can never be accepted as converts, no matter how long after the Exodus.
4. Amalekites are to be exterminated entirely, no matter how many genrations after the incident at Rephidim.
5. G-d's promise to redeem the Jewish people not on our own merit but on His promise to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob.

And of course the land of Israel was promised to the descendants of Abraham which the Ethiopian Jews are not.

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