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Questions and Answers on Conversion and the Book of Ruth

Question: The Rav has spoken about the need to convert all the potential righteous converts among the nations. How can we find them?

Answer: By disseminating the teachings of the Torah. The convert has to awaken himself, but what we do by spreading Torah is arousal from above. Now that there is the internet, everyone can find the words of truth. If we do our best, and make the effort to spread the light of Torah, it will be found and will awaken those who need to be awakened. Once they awaken, we have to follow Naomi's lead, that if the non-Jew has some ulterior motive, we should dissuade them, but if we sense that they are sincere (and there is no more sincere convert than Ruth—I will never leave you), then we have to embrace that soul with both hands and bring them to Torah—this is the way of Torah. About this there is no halachic question at all. There are potentially many millions of such converts.

 

Question: What about the non-Jews who are not interested in converting?

Answer: There are two types of converts. Those that accept all the 613 commandments of the Torah. The other type is the one that takes upon himself the 7 commandments of righteous gentiles. Such a person is allowed to dwell in the Land of Israel and we are commanded to support them.

If we said before that 1 out of 2 is a potential righteous convert, the other one is a potential righteous gentile. The Torah says that all mankind have the potential to be either converts or at least a righteous gentile.

 

Question: Was Ruth immodest in lying at Boaz's feet?

Answer: It says that Boaz and Ruth were incarnations of Judah and Tamar. In order to merit to bear children from Judah, Tamar had to seduce Judah, and from that came Peretz who was Boaz's great grandfather. When they came back this time as Boaz and Ruth, Naomi told Ruth to act this way, only to arouse Boaz to want to marry her. This was a better state than the previous incarnation with Tamar. And actually, the incarnation before Judah and Tamar was Lot and his daughter, the forebearers of Moab. There she didn't just seduce a stranger, she forced her father to sleep with her. This is already a completely non-Jewish story. Every time the story gets better, there's progress. That's how the Arizal pictures the whole situation. In our generation, the situation is of course even better and certainly with all modesty.

 

Question: What about the non-Jewish men who marry Jewish women?

Answer: Ruth was a mixed marriage, but had her husband been alive, once she would have converted, she would have certainly made her husband return to God. Very often what we see is that the convert causes the Jewish half of the couple to return to observance. The spouse is like the unconscious of the wife.

There is an opinion in the sages that ultimately all non-Jews will be righteous converts.

 

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