Saturday, December 22, 2007

Excerpt from Yeshuat Tsion


In Biblical times while the Temple was standing, Gentiles who desired to joined themselves to the House of Israel could do so in one of two ways. One method was by becoming a proselyte, also called “ger tzedek” in which the alien of righteousness would go through conversion and take on the yoke of the Torah. A man would go through circumcision and a ritual immersion, the mikveh. A woman would go through the mikveh only. In the book of Acts, Nicholas was a proselyte.

Others who wanted to identify with the House of Israel, but who were unwilling to go through conversion were known as "ger toshav". Their choice was to leave idolatry and to take on the customs of Israel’s spiritual life.

Nowhere in Scripture is a convert to Judaism addressed as a Jew. Ruth, for example, is always referred to as “Ruth the Moabitess.” Rahab is known as “Rahab the prostitute,” although she totally left her former way of life. She retains this title because this is the “tag” she had, her identity as a Canaanite.

Chaim Urbach
Yeshuat Tsion
5650 Greenwood Plaza Blvd. Suite 112
Greenwood Village CO. 80111