False Ideas on Conversion
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Question: I have read that someone who becomes a Jew through conversion has a Jewish soul already....and the conversion is just correcting a mistaken birth. Can you give me some insight on this and possibly some readings.
Mesora: I don't understand this, as God did not create "Jewish" souls and "non Jewish" souls".
Our forefather Abraham was not a "Jew" in the true sense of the word. He was a descendant of Noah, who was the forefather of all non Jews. Therefore, Abraham was on the same level as a non Jew is today. Jews, or the Children of Israel only came into existence after Israel (Jacob) , and after the Torah was given at Mt. Sinai.
Abraham studied the world, and came to the realization that his practice of idolatry was false, and that monotheism is true. After decades of study, he raised his level of perfection to the point where God spoke to him. This relationship with God is available to anyone who seeks it, not just Abraham. I don't see where God changed His plan from how He created souls at the beginning of creation until the present. Just as with Abraham, one's own acts which perfect him bring him close to God, so also today.
Conversion does not change a soul. It merely gives a new status to the person converted, from non Jew to Jew.
You may want to consult resources on this topic, such as Maimonides, "Guide for the Perplexed", (Dover Publications), and Saadia Gaon's "The Book of Beliefs and Opinions" (Yale University Press)
The idea you mentioned, that the soul was placed mistakenly, is a foolish idea, as it assumes that God made a mistake. Further, it smacks of the idea that a Jew is inherently better than a non Jew. There are non Jews who I am sure, are more perfected than Jews. Being born to Jewish parents is no panacea for success in personal perfection. Following the Torah is. This idea also implies that one's freewill is not all in his hands, and this goes against Judaism. Man is the cause of all his actions. This is why he is rewarded and punished.
Conversion is simply an act which creates a "halachik" (lawfully binding) status on a person who has researched, and found Judaism to be the perfect life for anyone who so chooses.

Dear Sir,

Reading the article above, I wonder if this article is correct?
I was taught by one of our rabbi's (teaching us Tanya and Netsach Jisrael), that a convert Has a Jewish / Divine soul (Neshama Elokit), relating to the Pasuk in Gemara: "Gair Shemitgayer" and NOT "Goy or Nochri Shemitgayer", explaining this as the presence of a Devine Soul in the non-Jewish person. And, a Jew has a devine soul (but as you stated, all souls are divine, but a Jew as an extra working soul (like all souls: roach, nefesh, neshama and for the Jew a Neshama Elokit).

But , please explain to me if I err. -Shalom
Mesora: I believe my article above is based on sound principle, whereas the portion of Tanya you quote is baseless - one can believe that, as well as other preposterous stories like the Besht igniting icicles when candles were not available. I actually heard that stated as truth from a known Torah "scholar".
You must use your mind to determine what makes sense and what is part of Judaism. Just because a "rabbi" teaches you something in the name of Torah, does not mean it is Torah, or truth.
Study the actual Torah, Neveim, and Ksuvim - these authentic books are absent of such fallacies as you mentioned, and as the Besht story. Be guided by the approach of the prophets, not today's teachers who unfortunately parrot false notion just tobecause they are written and accepted.

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