Matrilineal Descent
Avraham B. Shimon

The Torah does not always state every law explicitly.
Our Rabbis had a tradition as to which verse matrilineal descent is derived from. The verse is Deuteronomy 7: 4, "Because he will lead astray your son from before Me" To understand this verse we need to look at the preceding verse. Verse 3 states, "And you shall not intermarry with them, your daughter you shall not give to his son and his daughter you shall not take for your son". Verse 4 now becomes difficult. It should have stated "Because SHE will lead astray your
son". The non-Jewish girl that your son married ('your' meaning Jewish) should be the one that would lead your son astray. Who is the 'HE'? You might answer that 'HE' is referring to the girl's father. However, it is well known that in general, women leave their father's house and live in
their husband's house. They would then not be living with her father. Therefore, it would not make sense for the girl's father to lead your son astray if your son doesn't live with him. The Rabbis conclude that 'HE' is the man that your daughter married and 'your son' mentioned in
verse 4 is your grandchild, meaning Jewish grandchild. Verse 4 is referring back to the middle section of verse 3. It reads like this, "your daughter you shall not give to his son because he will lead astray your son" This shows that the child of a Jewish girl and a non-Jewish boy will be Jewish. It is not uncommon for the Torah to refer to a grandchild as an actual child. For instance, Kings I 15: 11 states, " And Asa did that which was correct in the eyes of God just like David
his father". David was not Asa's father. He was his great-great-grandfather.

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