Thursday, November 06, 2014

The Talmud on conversion for love

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Converting for Love (Like Natalie Portman’s Husband)? The Talmud Forbids It. Talmudic Rabbis regulated not just actions but reputations, and left a legacy we debate and refute to this day.
The most common reason why people convert to Judaism today, I would guess, is because they want to marry a Jewish spouse. Such conversions are a sign of the amazing acceptance that Judaism enjoys in America, compared to the stigma it labored under for most of Western history. For a Christian to marry a Jew in medieval Europe meant stigmatization, isolation, perhaps even violence, as it does in many parts of the Muslim world today. For us, it is simply a personal choice, even a laudable demonstration of spousal loyalty. It was surprising to learn in this week’s Daf Yomi reading, then, that according to the Talmud, converting out of love is actually forbidden. ...
I always think of Natalie Portman's husband as Darth Vader, but I suppose that's neither here nor there.

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.