Jan 11, 2010

flipping the switch.. after conversion

Sometimes unusual and fascinating, while evn heart-wrenching, dilemmas are presented before the Rabbis for resolution.

Here is one that was presented to Rav Yuval Cherlo. A young man writes to Rav Cherlo that his family was not Jewish and his parents divorced a few years ago. His mother moved to Bnei Brak to be near her work. Over time she became closer to Judaism and eventually converted. Now, he says, she has become haredi.... Since her transformation, his life has become very difficult. She tells him because she converted he is not her kid, she cannot hug him and touch him, he cannot touch the dishes lest he defile them, she threatens to throw him out of the house, since he is not her son anyway (because she is a convert).
He asks what he can do, if her claims are true that he cannot give her a kiss, he is not interested in converting, and he is very distressed about this.

Rav Cherlo writes back that while this case sounds extreme, and he has never heard of such things before (and he is not familiar first-hand so he states that it is an estimated response and not definite), it is however common that people who go through serious social changes become more extreme, in an attempt to be accepted in the new group.

Rav Cherlo explains that she is allowed to hug him, as that is a mental issue and not halachic, and she is still his mother. While certain halachic realities are created and there is a distinction in halacha between them, the relationship as mother-child is a mental connection. Also he explains that the boy does not defile the plates by using them, but she would not be able to eat from his cooking...

Rav Cherlo advises the boy to contact the rabbonim she is involved with and converted through to assist in patching the relationship and straightening her out.

Read the original for the full heart-wrenching story, in the words of the young man and Rav Cherlo.

The mother sounds crazy to me... to be able to treat a kid like that? conversion or no conversion, whther some of these issues are real or just her becoming too extreme, there are ways to deal with all the issues pleasantly, and not hysterically. How can a mother just flip a switch like that and treat her son that way? Hey - maybe she is possessed by a dybbuk!


  1. More Religious Than G-dJanuary 11, 2010 2:20 PM

    as the charedi world regresses in their relationship with the rrst of klal yisroel/the world such a story shouldn't surprise you

    perhaps if her son would simply donate to kupat Haír....

  2. Here's a part-time (albeit gross) solution: the son can convert, and then since they wouldn't be related, they could get married. She could then hug and kiss him when she's not a nidda. Problem solved.

  3. yoni - awesome!

    rafi, this happens because we are raising a bunch of ignorant frummies. no one is learning or teaching practical halacha - everything is vos fregt di gemorrah without actual application. as well, the whole system is moving to the right and no one really cares what the emes halacha is.

  4. yoni wins comment of the day, thats for sure. no prize though other than bragging rights

  5. sorry guys...if he would covert it would only be for marriage and Topper is the last guy who permitted that

  6. Congratulations Yoni. That's how songs like "I'm my own Grandpa" get started.

    I wouldn't be so quick to blame haredim or ignorant frummies. BTs and Geirim have to find equilibrium in their new world. That takes time. This woman is incorrect, but she acted out of a desire to keep with halacha. A little knowledge is a dangerous thing and she misapplied some things she heard. So someone has to straighten her out on this as will be required many more times in her life as she adjusts to being a Jew. There's a lot of information flying around and it's hard to separate fact from shtuyot sometimes, even for FFBs. So cut her some slack, she's new at this.

  7. I can very well imagine that the mother's rabbis told her things that made her act like this.

    I do not think that she is plainly crazy. I think that she is executing to her best knowledge what the rabbis tell her to do. I suppose the rabbis are not very familiar with those kinds of situations and give bad advices. If then the Gioret is a bit radical or over-conscious in implementing them, what we heard in this story could well be the result.

    Do not touch a man, halachically you are not related to him, therefore you are not to touch him: yes.

    Do not do anything in my kitchen unless I am present: by all means

    Since I will have to lock the kitchen when you are present it would be more practical if you agreed to move out: of course...

  8. "then since they wouldn't be related, they could get married."

    yeah, but there is a stupid issur miderabanan against this...

  9. the issur drabanan is so that people should not talk and say look, he/she went from a strong prohibition of not being allowed to marry family members, to a lighter prohibition where they seemingly are allowed to marry family members.

  10. I feel like saying such a dybbuk joke every time I come across a wacko. There are just too many of them though.


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