POINT BY POINT OUTLINE
prepared by Rabbi P. Feldman of Kollel Iyun Hadaf, Yerushalayim
Rosh Kollel: Rabbi Mordecai Kornfeld
1) A SLAVE WHO IMMERSED TO BECOME FREE
(a) (Rav Chama bar Gurya): If one bought a slave from a Nochri and the slave immersed l'Shem Ben Chorin (to become a free convert), he succeeded.
(b) This is because the Nochri did not own the slave himself (just his earnings). The Yisrael cannot acquire more than the Nochri himself owned;
1. Since the slave immersed to become free, this uproots his bondage, like Rava's law:
2. (Rava): The following uproot Shi'abud (a lien, on an object or slave): making it Hekdesh, Shichrur (freeing a slave), and the Isur of Chametz on Pesach.
(c) Question (Rav Chisda - Beraisa): A case occurred in which a woman converted, and her slaves immersed before she did. Chachamim ruled that they are free.
1. Had they immersed after her, they would not be free!
(d) Answer (Rava): No. Since they immersed before her, they are free even if they did not specify their intent. Had they immersed after her, they would be free only if they specified that they immerse l'Shem Ben Chorin.
(e) (Rav Avya): This is only when a Yisrael buys from a Nochri. If one buys a Nochri himself, he acquires him.
1. "...Mehem Tiknu" - you can buy them (to be slaves), but they cannot buy you, nor can they acquire one another.
(f) Question: In what sense can a Nochri not acquire?
1. Suggestion: He cannot acquire (even rights to receive) earnings.
2. Rejection: An Eved Ivri can be sold "... O l'Eker Mishpachas Ger", i.e. to a Nochri!
(g) Answer: Rather, "Mehem Tiknu" discusses acquiring the person himself, and it says that a Yisrael can acquire a Nochri.
(h) Question (Rav Acha): Perhaps he acquires only him through money and immersion (to become a slave), but before this, the Nochri may immerse l'Shem Ben Chorin!
1. This is left difficult.
(i) (Shmuel): One must hold the slave in the water.
1. Rav Ashi wanted to immerse Minyamin to be his slave. He handed him over to Ravina and Rav Acha, and said that they will be held responsible if he immerses to convert.
2. They tied a chain around his neck, loosened it and tightened it.
i. They loosened it, so it should not be a Chatzitzah (blockage which invalidates the immersion).
ii. They tightened it, so he would not be able to say that he immersed l'Shem Ben Chorin.
3. When they lifted his head from the water, they put a Keli of mud on his head and told him to take it to his master.
(j) Question (Rav Papa): People of Papa bar Aba's house pay people's taxes and use them as slaves. Do the slaves need a document of freedom when the servitude ends?
(k) Rava: Had I died before telling you, there would be no one to tell you!
(l) Answer (Rava citing Rav Sheshes): The king says that one who does not pay his own tax is a slave to the one that pays for him (therefore, a document is needed).
(m) R. Chiya bar Aba went to Gavla. He saw Benos Yisrael that became pregnant from Nochrim that were circumcised but did not immerse. He saw Jews drinking wine mixed by Nochrim and eating lupines cooked by Nochrim. He did not say anything; he came to R. Yochanan.
(n) R. Yochanan: Go announce that their children are Mamzerim, their wine is Yayin Nesech (wine offered to idolatry, which is forbidden), and their lupines are Bishul Akum (food cooked by Nochrim, which is forbidden), since they are not Bnei Torah (they are prone to extrapolate and say that other things are similarly permitted).
1. R. Yochanan said that their children are Mamzerim. This is like his opinion that one is not a convert until he is circumcised and immerses, so the fathers were still Nochrim, and that the child of a Nochri or slave from a Bas Yisrael is a Mamzer.
2. Their wine is Yayin Nesech. We tell a Nazir to go far from a vineyard (i.e. distance yourself from possible transgression. Here also we distance them from Aveirah; the Nochrim mixed the wine without touching it.)
(o) Inference: Their lupines are forbidden because they are not Bnei Torah, but Bnei Torah are permitted!
(p) Question: Rav Shmuel bar R. Yitzchak said that Bishul Akum does not apply to anything (normally) eaten raw. Lupines are not eaten raw!
(q) Answer: R. Yochanan (Tosfos - also) holds like the other version of Rav Shmuel's teaching:
1. (Rav Shmuel bar R. Yitzchak): Whatever does not come on the table of kings to be eaten with bread is permitted even if it was cooked by Nochrim.
(r) Therefore, Bnei Torah are permitted.
2) THE ESSENTIAL STEPS OF CONVERSION
(a) (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): If a convert was circumcised but did not immerse he is a (valid) convert, since our forefathers (who left Mitzrayim) converted this way;
(b) R. Yehoshua says, if he immersed but was not circumcised he is a convert, since the women (of that generation) converted this way.
(c) Chachamim say, one is not enough by itself. He is not a convert until he circumcises and immerses.
(d) Question: Why doesn't R. Yehoshua learn from the men, and why doesn't R. Eliezer learn from the women?
1. Suggestion: Perhaps we do not learn what is possible (Milah of men) from what is impossible (Milah of women).
2. Rejection: R. Eliezer does learn thusly!
i. (Beraisa - R. Eliezer): For all generations, Korban Pesach may not be brought from Ma'aser money. We learn this from the Pesach brought in Mitzrayim, which was not brought from Ma'aser.
ii. R. Akiva: Do we learn what is possible from what is impossible? (Ma'aser did not apply yet!)
iii. R. Eliezer: Yes! Even though it was impossible, we learn from it.
(e) Retraction: Rather, all agree that immersion without circumcision is a proper conversion. They argue about circumcision without immersion;
(f) R. Eliezer learns from the men that this suffices. R. Yehoshua disagrees, because the men also immersed.
(g) Question: What is R. Yehoshua's source?
1. Suggestion: He learns from "...v'Kidashtam ha'Yom u'Machar v'Chibsu Simlosam". One must immerse himself even when he need not wash (immerse) his clothes (e.g. a Ba'al Keri), all the more so when he must wash his clothes!
2. Rejection: Perhaps they washed their clothes just for cleanliness!
(h) Answer: "Moshe took the blood and threw it on the people." We have a tradition that every Haza'ah (sprinkling) requires immersion first.
(i) Question: What is R. Yehoshua's source that the mothers immersed?
(j) Answer: It is logical. If not, what did they do to enter under Kanfei ha'Shechinah?!
(k) (R. Chiya bar Avin): One is not a convert until he circumcises and immerses.
(l) Objection: This is obvious. The Halachah follows the majority (Chachamim)!
(m) Answer: Elsewhere, Chachamim's opinion is attributed to an individual, R. Yosi.
1. (Beraisa - R. Yehudah): If a man says that he circumcised but did not immerse, we immerse him. We are not concerned for whether or not his circumcision was for the sake of conversion;
2. R. Yosi says, we do not immerse him (without Hatafas Dam Bris, lest his Milah was not l'Shem Geirus).
3. Therefore, R. Yehudah permits immersing a convert on Shabbos, and R. Yosi forbids.
(n) Question: R. Yehudah holds that one act is enough. Obviously, since he is circumcised he may immerse on Shabbos! (since Tevilah is unnecessary, it is not Tikun (fixing him).) What do we learn from 'therefore'?
(o) Answer: One might have thought that immersion is primary, so it is Tikun. The Seifa teaches that circumcision helps by itself, therefore he may immerse.
(p) Question: Why must it teach that R. Yosi forbids immersing a convert on Shabbos? Since he requires both, obviously Tevilah on Shabbos is Tikun and it is forbidden!
(q) Answer: One might have thought that he holds that circumcision is primary, and he forbids Tevilas Ger on Shabbos only if circumcision was not done in front of us, but not if we saw it. The Seifa teaches, he requires both and always forbids Tevilah on Shabbos..
3) CONDITIONS OF CONVERSION
(a) (Rabah): A case occurred in which a convert circumcised but did not immerse. R. Chiya bar Rebbi, R. Oshaya b'Ribi and R. Oshaya bar R. Chiya told him 'wait, and we will immerse you tomorrow.'
(b) We learn three laws from this.
1. Conversion requires three judges;
2. One is not a convert until he circumcises and immerses;
3. We do not immerse converts at night.
(c) Question: Why don't we also learn that expert judges are required?
(d) Answer: Perhaps it just happened that expert judges were there.
(e) (R. Chiya bar Aba): Three judges are needed for conversion, since it is called 'Mishpat' (judgment; "U'Mishpat Echad Yihyeh Lachem vela'Ger" - Bamidbar 15:16).