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Section: Halacha   Category: Tshuvos
Rav Moshe Shternbuch: Should You Be MiKarev The Child Of A Jewish Father?
Someone born to a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother is not Jewish.  A person involved in Kiruv was encouraged by some Rabbanim to be Mikarev these non-Jewish children from mixed marriages.  When asked, Rav Moshe Shternbuch said (5:296) not only should it not be done but to be Mikarev them is an Issur Chamur.

Doing this leads to more assimilation because the father will push his Jewish heritage on his child to amend for the guilt of his past, and he will raise him with the notion that he is Jewish.  It is imperative that we give the father the unequivocal message that he has cut himself off from Am Yisroel.  By accepting his child as one of us, we are sending the exact opposite message.

Other possible Issurim involved in being Mikarev this child is the issur of Chukos HaAkum.  By recognizing the child as the son of his father we are following non-Jewish tradition of paternal identity when the Halacha is that we follow the mother. Furthermore by treating him like a Jew you may be oveir on "Lo Sichaneim" do not grant him the privileges of a Jew. 

While some Rabbanim in America encouraged Kiruv on these people who reached out to Judaism because they may convert at the end, Rav Shternbuch says, "Al Yihei Licha Cheilek Imahem", do not throw your lot with them.  "As long as they remain in their father's home you should have nothing to do with them.  Your schar for distancing yourself will be greater than your schar of seeking them out"

Lastly he says that "the plague of intermarriage has already reached Eretz Yisroel, the palace of the King.  May Hashem speed up our Geula and may Eliyahu come and purify our camp and make us worthy to greet Moshiach Tzidkeinu."

Important Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. One should learn the tshuva to verify the accuracy of our interpretation.  Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions.
RELATED ARTICLES:assimilation  halacha  kiruv  Rav Moshe Shternbuch

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Visitor Comments: 2

NL, Yerushalayim, 2009-10-15 17:09:36
At the recent geirus conference of the EJF (Eternal Jewish Family) in Yerushalayim, it was clearly stated that the Gedolai Haposkim in America pasken, including R' Reuven Feinstein shlit"a, that although we don't normally encourage geirus until we're sure of a sincere interest in Yiddishkeit, there's no need to push away the child of a jewish father. If I'm not mistaken, this was also said in the name of R' Elyashiv shlit"a. I also heard this b'shmo from R' Yitzchok Berkovits shlit"a. Bl"n I'll try to get you exact maareh mekomos. Al kol panim, this p'sak from R' Shternbuch shlit"a is by no means muskam by all, and may not even be mainstream.
NL, Yerushalayim, 2009-11-02 12:54:43
Heres the full story as heard from R Berkovits. Upon starting to teach in Aish Hatorah he asked some friends in Ohr Sameach if they had any yedios on this subject from R Elyashiv shlita. He was told R Elyashiv paskened muttar. He then went to R Shlomo Zalman ztl to ask him and received the same psak. Both gave the same three reasons:
1. Someone who thinks hes Jewish will probably want to marry a Jew. Therefore for the sake of Taharas Am Yisroel its a mitzvah to be mekarev him to the point where he understands hes not a Jew and if he wants to be Jewish he must be megayer. However, understandably, he stressed this does not have kedima over actually being mekarev Yidden, if theres limited resources.
2. If hes married to a Jew, in order to be mekarev the Yid its muttar to be mekarev the goy. In this sevara R Yaakov Weinberg ztl pointed out that the chiyuv to be mekarev would only be with a Jewish woman married to a goy, where the children are Jewish, and for their sake its imperative to be mekarev the entire mishpacha. However, a Jewish man who intermarried, where the children are goyim, its a reshus, but since he opted out theres no chiyuv.
3. In Hilchos Geirus, they both said a sevara mechudeshes. Although normally we are reluctant to accept geirim and try to dissuade them, this doesnt apply to the child of a Jewish father, since he is from Zerah Yisroel.

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