Part I was here; this is Part II-
Section 3: ביטול גיור כשבית הדין המגייר עובר על איסור דאורייתא של לפני עור
R’ Attiyeh also brought the view of the Migdal Tzofim that judges who accept ineligible converts violate לפני עור, the prohibition against putting a stumbling block before the blind. Therefore, they are disqualified as judges.
R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach (Minchat Shlomo 35:3) wrote that judges who accept converts who clearly have no intention of keeping mitzvot are violating לפני עור even if the conversion is valid, for now this convert will be liable for his sins.
R’ Shirman then notes that he found the same idea in Rav Kook (Daat Kohen Hilchot Milah v’Gerut 154), that accepting such converts is a violation of לפני עור, either because the conversion is invalid and so people will think erroneously that they are Jewish, or because the conversion is valid and now they are liable for their sins.
R’ Shirman also cites the Sridei Eish (2:96) regarding conversion of a minor in a non-mitzvah-observant household, where the child also will not observe mitzvot. He wrote that the conversion is invalid, and causes a stumbling block for people.
R’ Shirman then digresses into an interesting discussion of the nature of לפני עור, and the question of whether the prohibition applies only to aiding in the transgression, or even in making the transgression possible by creating the stumbling block. (I recall an interesting article on this in HaDarom a few years back, regarding a travel agent selling a Jew a ticket for a Shabbat plane flight. - TRH) The application here is that in labelling this person a Jew one is not actually forcing anyone to marry him/her. He compared the case to a discussion of the Netziv regarding marrying off a couple who will not observe niddah.
R’ Shirman concludes that he does not believe a biblical violation of לפני עור has occurred, because the judges do not aid in the actual aveirah. However, he notes that he presented this argument to R’ Shlomo Zalman Auerbach and did not succeed in swaying him. R’ Shirman then writes that he reconsidered his own position and realized that in the conversion case the link between the conversion and the aveirah is very close, closer even than in the marriage of two people who will not observe the laws of niddah, and therefore the title of לפני עור is more appropriate there.
He then cites the Beit Ploni for further support that converting such people is a problem of causing others to stumble. The Beit Ploni did not use the term “לפני עור,” though.
Along the way R’ Shirman discusses whether it is beneficial for a child to be converted to Judaism without mitzvah observance.
R’ Shirman then concludes that this issue of לפני עור is sufficient to disqualify the judges entirely - not only as a violation of Torah law, but as an aveirah which runs counter to the essence of a converting court’s nature.
Section 4: מעשה בית הדין המגייר כמצוה מגדיר מהות הגדר
R’ Shirman now cites Yevamot 47b which states that conversion of a candidate is a mitzvah.
The Tashbetz asks where this fits into the 613.
The issue comes up, as well, in the discussion of reciting the berachah on a convert’s immersion before the conversion itself, and the text of אשר קדשנו במצוותיו וצונו, that Gd has instructed this mitzvah. The Raavad discusses this regarding a minor’s conversion, and labels it a mitzvah.
R’ Shirman then cites R’ Albertsaloni who lists this as part of the mitzvah of loving the convert. This is difficult, though, given that such a mitzvah applies only post-conversion.
R’ Shirman analyzes this based on two approaches to the mitzvah of loving the convert: The Rambam’s view (Aseh 207 and further cited locations) that this mitzvah is because of the convert’s special spiritual level, vs. the Chinuch’s view (Mitzvah 431) that this mitzvah is because of the convert’s special social status.
R’ Shirman argues that based on the Rambam’s view, we can understand R’ Albersaloni’s view that helping the ger convert is part of expressing that love.
R’ Shirman then offers another approach to the Tashbetz’s question from the Raavad’s words regarding the berachah; he sees here the idea that helping the ger to convert is a fulfillment of אהבת ה', loving Gd.
R’ Shirman adds that if this is the mitzvah, then the merit for a minor in converting is dependent upon him becoming connected to HaShem, the Torah and its mitzvot.
R’ Shirman then embarks on a tangent regarding inappropriate conversion of minors, such as in adoption cases, before returning to his central point: That since conversion of candidates is a mitzvah, and since the mitzvah is dependent upon increasing their connection to HaShem, therefore conversion of candidates who will not follow the mitzvot is not the mitzvah of conversion at all.
More to come, in Part III, Gd-willing...