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October 04, 2006


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Catherine Hodge

It is unfortunate to read the abuse and insult directed to the venerable Rav Moshe Finestein.
I cannot understand what is so controversial about people who want to be identified with Moshe Rabbeinu.
"Remember the Ger because Why?
"You were once Gers!
No, you disagree? Ok answer me this who was the first Jew? Was Noah the first Jew?
Everyone well almost everyone know that the Jewish story started with Avraham Aveinu.

Hmm why is that important, well for one simple reason and it is this, a nation of converts can not refuse or rather refuse converts. If they do, then they make the Torah a lie and cause the glory of Hashem to sit in the darkness of bigotry and prejudice.


1. Moshe Feinstein held that a giur l'humra was required, NOT a full conversion.

2. SOME secular scholars hold like you claim. Others do not, including many who hold EJs are Jewish.

3. Someone who underwent such a conversion while clinging to his holiday of Sigd, did not accept even the written Torah, and presumably his conversion is completely null and void.

No one, perhaps with the exception of Edha Charedis, holds like this.


There has been significant rabbinic controversy as to whether the Beta Yisroel or Falasha community are in fact Jews, and if they are, whether they should be considered mamzerim. Rav Ovadiah Yoseph said that they are Jews and not mamzerim, The rabbonim Rav Moshe Feinstein, Rav Shelomo Zalman Auerbach (zichronam livracha) and yibdeil l'chaim tovim v'aruchim Rav Yoseph Shalom Eliashiv shlita have at best expressed doubt. In their opinion, the Ethiopians must undergo a full conversion procedure which includes accepting the entire Torah as interpreted by Chazal . Someone who underwent such a conversion while clinging to his holiday of Sigd, did not accept even the written Torah, and presumably his conversion is completely null and void. DNA evidence apparently also does not indicate that the Ethiopians are descended from the same people that we are. Y chomosomes are similar to other Ethiopians, not to other Jews, and mitochondrial dna indicates that on the maternal side they share common ancestry with Somalians. Secular scholars write that they are descendants of Christian groups who adopted certain Biblical customs.

moshe kaufman

indeed rav moshe was a tremendous tzadik of the highest order in fact i am named after him


Mike, with all due respect, don't think your comments will go unpunished. You can't reasonably expect to slander a man of Gcd like HaGaon Feinstein, without feeling the horrible effects in this life and the next. Indeed, your name to me suggests you are in fact a Gilgul, I'm trying to figure out of whom. Perhaps Haman or Amalek.

mike gilgal

And let me ask my fellow readers if Moshele feinstein is really so concerned with drawing closer to judiasm jews why didn"t he want to live here in the Beloved Garden of G-d? How did Avrom or Avrohom as he would later be known know in which direction to go when he was told to leave his fatherland? The answer is EVERY Jew has in him or her a magnet to holiness. The only esxception being Moshele Feinstein who sent 23,000 Israeli soldiers to their deaths not to protect the Jewish Ethnic homeland or the Zionist state but so that this erev Rav Murderer could have a grave outside of America which he did not want to contaminate with his useless carcass


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Moshiach Ben David

Moshe Fienstien was always untouchable to me BUT....

In light that he is in love with his EVIL grandson Mordi Tendler it seems he is at best naive or worst stupid. The incredible complements he gave his Evil Rasha grandson nauseate me!

Mike Glgal

The reason Rav Moshele Feinstein was so in favor in bringing possible non jews to the beloved garden of G-d is because he in allprobability was not himself jewish. For instance he never wanted to move here which in itself shows he was missing a jewish instinct. And then there is the fact that he never shook when he prayed which is a sign of non jewishness as per Rav Yonatin Eybshitz. In any event someone that is not a resident of a country has no business of giving any opinion no matter how true concerniong that country's activities. Anyway it is interesting that both Jesus Christ and Arafat found Israel an important place to live yet Rav Moshele Feinstein could only come here when it was time to find a place to dump his carcass. And how can anyone even consider to pollute the holy land of the United states when there is that dumping ground of Israel?

Addis Ababa Baby

I went to Jerusalem once and saw Ethiopian guards standing at the malls and the HaKotel wall for hours without moving. (just like the royal british guards). Not to mention that it was really hurting to hear their stories of the past and their fate in that freaking israel.
Israel is like 1910 in America in the South. I wouldn't be surprized to see if you american jewish race masterminds start buring the David star (as opposed to the cross of the KKK) and walk around the Deizengoff, Mea Shearim, and Beni Brak to boast your white jewish supremacy!


Shamariya and all of you gazilion liars...what do modern scholars know about the Falasha - by the way they are called Baita Yisrael in contrast to the name Ashke-NAZI. Your claims are all false. Many Beita Israelis count/trace several generations of Jewish family lines. Did any of these scholars translate any Amharic scholarly works?

Scott learn your facts before your campaigns

Moshe Feinstein, Elazar Shach, Yosef Shalom Eliashiv, and Shlomo Zalman Auerbach have all ruled that the Falashas of the Beta Israel is seriously suspect.

Wolf Leslau is one scholar, I mentioned 5 scholars who are more respected above.

I find it odd that you listen to modern scholars regaridng everything in Judaism besides the Falashas!


"Is it known how many of the 100,000 Falashas of 1984-98 underwent Halachic geirus? 20% or even less?"

They were discouraged from converting, more by the actions of Orthodox rabbis than anything else. If Rav Moshe and Ovadia Yosef had been listened to, this would not be a problem today. Unfortunately, haredim and Mafdalniks chose racism over halakha.


1. Learn your halakha before you campaign.

2. There are other scholars who disagree, including Wolf Leslau.

Scott learn your facts before your campaigns

Modern scholars of Ethiopian history and Ethiopian Jews, such as James Quirin, Steve Kaplan, Kay Shelemay, and Harold Marcus, consider the Beta Israel to be a native group of Ethiopian Christians, who took on Biblical practices, and came to see themselves as Jews. As Paul B. Henze explains:

These groups came into conflict with the military colonies and Christian missions which were the main instruments of the extension southward of the Ethiopian state. They may have been joined by dissidents or rebelling northern Christians who felt their interpretation of ritual, sacred texts and traditions of art represented a more ancient Israelite connection than Orthodox Monophysite Christianity itself. The Beta Israel can thus be understood as a manifestation of the kind of rebellious archaism that has often come to the surface in Christianity -- e.g. Russian Old Believers and German Old Lutherans. Assertion of Jewish derivation, they felt, provided them with a stronger claim to legitimacy than their Christian enemies. (Paul B. Henze. Layers of Time. Palgrave, 2000. p. 55)

It seems that virtually 100% of the 20,000 2001-2006 Falash Mura undergo Halachic geirus ie mikveh and hatofas dam.

Is it known how many of the 100,000 Falashas of 1984-98 underwent Halachic geirus? 20% or even less?


Hi Shmarya,

Sorry to bother you. Where in Chelek 8?

Otoh, I found from Chacham Ovadya quoting Reb Moshe mentioned here before:

שו"ת יביע אומר חלק ח - אה"ע סימן יא

ד) גם הלום שמעתי שהגאון רבי משה פיינשטיין שליט"א, כתב מכתב להר"מ טנדלר, ביום כ"ז סיון תשמ"ד, שאף שהרדב"ז כתב שאין ספק שהפלשים יהודים משבט דן, לדינא קשה לסמוך על זה, כי לא ברור אם הרדב"ז ידע היטב את המציאות אודותם, וגם לא ברור אם עד זמנינו לא נשתנה מצבם. ע"כ. [וכעת ראיתי שחזר לכתוב כן לנכדו הרב ר' יעקב טנדלר במכתב מיום כ"ח סיון תשמ"ה].

Which seems to be the letter you mentioned. and in both cases Reb Moshe holds that they are "sofek yehudim" and need gerus missofek. Chacham Ovadya objects to his opinion on this very point. It seems clear that Reb Moshe did not holds that there is only a need for "Gerus lechumroh" but a higher level of "gerus": "gerus missofek" as i explained before.

A great Yom tov to you,



Should be in Igros Moshe vol 8


Hi shmarya,

thanks for the footnote. I would appreciate if you can give me a direct reference. I will try to look it up.

PErhaps there can a few ways to refer to gerus: 1) Meikor hadin (which would mean that it is prerequite midoraysso, in a form of "vaday", "certainity"). 2) GIyur Mitoras Safek: Giyur in for of Safek, ie. in a state of a doubt, in which case it could be a giyur mideorayyso since it is a "safek deorayta". 3) Giyur lechumroh: something like a requirement miderabbanan, where it is only a additional stringency.

From the letter you posted it would appear that it is something like #2 and he calls it here "giyur amiti" (for we have a real strong safek on their status as he explained in the begining of this letter: 1) it is uncertain if the Radbaz knew all details, 2)IT is uncertain if the situations hasn't change since then).

Again if you find the reference i would be gfrateful to you.

Shana Tova and gut yom tov,



Rav NMoshe's yeshiva published a piece on this in its journal, I think in 1986. That may be the most complte source, and it may include the teshuva I posted as well.


A –

I realize that. Please see the footnote.


Ma Rabbi –

Last time I checked, any teshuva written after a book is published is not in that book. In other words, since Iggros Moshe is chronological, and since this teshuva dates from late 1984 or 1985, it would seem by default to be in Vol 8. It certainly can't be in 1-6 and proabably not 7 either. Check the dates.


Hi Dear Shmarya, and Pish-Posh

Reb Moshe actually uses the term "GERUS AMITI" a strong term (stronger than "sofek gerus"). SO although reb Moshe felt that they were sofek yidden (as he writes there) he did not want they should go to Erets Yisroel without the "gerus amiti" so that it does not increase "hitbolelut".

Shana Tova and a great Yom Tov to both of you,



Vol 8, should be. And there is no burden of proof on me. This issue has been discussed in halakhic circles for years, circles you uquite obviously do not travel in.

Ma. Rabbi

The burden of proof is on you. If Rav Moshe ever made such a statement, please inform me which volume of Igros Moshe it is in.


Try looking it up. It is NOT in dispute. Your knowledge of your teacher's teshuvot and actions is appallingly weak.

Ma. Rabbi

My reading comp is just fine. You bring no proof whatsoever that Rav Moshe later said this.


MA Rabbi –

As usual, your reading comp skills seem low. The quote: "Rav Moshe would later specify a giur l'humra …"


PishPosh –

Thanks. I did a rough, as did a friend. I ended up editing his.


WOW!!! And a very excellent translation it is. It captures the context perfectly. Not to be flippant, but what a sweet old man Harav Feinstien was. I knew he was "a nice guy" as it were, but I didnt know till reading this letter that his heart was as great as his learning.

Thank You Shmarya.

Ma. Rabbi

Where do you see a Giyur Lechumra? He says clearly that they require a complete conversion.

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