Monday, February 13, 2017

A Question

This was received by email, and I do not know the answer.  Please comment.

Hi I wonder if you can help me. Every Friday night our family gets together for Shabbat, even though we are not ultra orthodox we keep a traditional Friday night dinner.  For the past few weeks my divorced niece has started dating a nonJew and she brings him to the dinner. She has two children from her previous husband and I think she is setting a very bad example to them.  The family is not so thrilled about this turn of events but we can't rock the boat, so to speak, and she has spent the past ten years dating Jewish men to no avail and now she has found a very nice nonJew and she does not want to be alone.  What is the ruling with something like this?  Do we tell her she can't bring him to dinner? That will mean she won't come and her kids will not be able to have Shabbat dinner. It is a very difficult situation.  Is there something that says nonJews cannot spend Friday nights with a Jewish Shabbat? Would really appreciate advice as I have no-one else to ask.


Anonymous said...

Post this question on

Jeffrey Smith said...

I am definitely not a rabbi, so to speak, but going by the practice in the Chabad shul I attend, Gentiles can attend Shabbat meals with no problem. We've had Gentile fathers of Jewish children, converts whose conversion is not acceptable to our rabbi, children of Jewish men whose mothers were not converted acceptably, etc. We have even had a Gentile man sponsor a kiddush on the occasion of the bar mitzvah if his son by a Jewish woman (an occasion attended by several Gentile relatives of the honoree).
The Passover seder is different, but there a direct command of the Torah forbidding uncircumcised men from sharing in the Pesach is involved.

In the long term, I hope the aunt and uncle share their distress with the neice, and at least raise the matter of conversion, but in as gentle and tactful a way as they can.

Devorah said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

In terms of Halachah, there is also the consideration of performing Melachah for a non-Jew. On Shabbos, when Melachah is forbidden for Jews as well, this is not a concern. On Yom Tov, when one may perform some Melachah (related to cooking), one is only allowed to do so for Jews. If one must invite non-Jews for a Yom Tov meal, one should be careful to not do any actual cooking on Yom Tov. There may be some leeway if the cooking is done for the Jews who are present, but also benefits the non-Jew. I do not remember this detail.

The above was the Psak given to my parents by my father's Rav, with respect to inviting my cousin, who is married to a non-Jew, and her family.

Anonymous said...

The problem I see here is that by you allowing her to come with her non Jewish boyfriend that is in a way a seal of approval that it's OK to be dating a non Jew. Of course you don't believe it is OK but in a way that is what you are saying by allowing him to come. The cases above in the comments are all after the fact. They were already married to non Jews that is a very different situation. She is now learning "hey I can have the best of both worlds. I can have beautiful Shabbos dinner and have my non Jewish boyfriend too"

I personally do not think it is a good idea even though sadly, her children will lose out. I believe it's important to do what is possible to make sure they do not get married. Again, this is why this case is different than all the others mentioned above - they are not married and hopefully never will be.


Anonymous said...

Aside from the comments above, regarding their being no specific issur of a gentile being at a shabbat meal, she should speak to a qualified rabbi regarding the family/chinuch situation. This is not an appropriate question for internet laymen.

Anonymous said...

Some people want it both ways!

Anonymous said...

Obviously this "nice" non Jew is willing to join with your family for Shabbat dinner. Therefore, he might be willing to convert? In addition, your niece is showing him that the Shabbat dinner is important to her. Take him aside, privately and ask him if he is interested in converting. You will see immediately by his response what his motives are. The only option is for him to convert. Ivanka trump converted! It is a long shot but it it a possibility.

Anonymous said...

I definitely think a rabbi should be asked this. However in my opinion, I think it is really important that the confused woman is shown love and warmth and how beautiful Shabbas is and she will understand from this that she needs to make a choice - which way she wants to live. I learned that as much as a Jew keeps Shabbas, Shabbas keeps the Jew!
If you do not act with kindness and love towards her she will feel more alone than ever - as she seems to connect with her Jewish roots at your Shabbas table. If you stop this it will be pushing her away and into the arms of this Gentile. There is no problem with Gentiles being at a Shabbas table - my orthodox family do this and ensure that whoever comes to the table is made to feel welcome. I wish her much hatzlacha! rinah

Unknown said...

i am a noahide. so i cant really write on the halacha of all this.
based on my 24 years of studies with orth rabbis and how i feel about jews marrying non jews and forgetting their holy heritage, i feel, (this is just my humble opinion) coming for a shabbat meal is fine, but bringing him as a 'would be', thats a whole different picture.

there are some very good matrimonial sites. get her on it. basic jewish faith, never give up . keep trying, i have orth friends whose daughters too are praying to get married, some in the mid 30's.

and still waiting. get her to some orth rabbis . then there are sites where they say psalms for each other, for any reason, for marriage, illness etc.. there is so much of help nowadays.

i find it so mind boggling that there are jews who want to live their holy heritage. as long as there is a problem, there is also a solution. its looking for it in the right places. or place.

ofcourse he can convert. but he must be sincere and not for marriage.
it must be because he is drawn spiritually and physically to the jewish people and their laws.

under terrible conditions, the jewish forefathers and mothers kept their faith as an example to their posterity. today, jews dont have that kind of problems, where thier forefathers lives were alway s at stake. today, there is so much of help everywhere, one just has to reach out.

Devorah said...

Thanks everyone.

LondonMale said...

A Rabbi must be consulted.

But I have some thoughts.

As others have said, a non-Jew may attend a Shabbat dinner.

Being harsh with the niece will likely serve to push her away from Judaism, so is not wise.

Conversion is something that is not allowed for reasons of love, only for those who express an interest in the faith.

But...perhaps, on a deep level, his soul is one that wants to convert, and he is coming to these Shabbat dinners out of a desire to do that...and he was drawn to your niece precisely because she is Jewish?

A Rabbi must answer, but I would discreetly and respectfully raise the issue of conversion with your niece and her boyfriend.