Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Non-Halachic "Pegam"

The Kvetcher picks up on a topic being discussed on several blogs, the chareidi principal who purportedly disallowed Sefardi kids in his school, as being "damaged goods," in this particular case a kid who was 1/4 Sefardi. (This might not be genealogical issue, but rather a hashkafic issue for him.) He links it to the issue of Ben Niddah-ism, which is problematic for allowing baalei teshuva to marry.

It strikes me that non-halachic "pegam" has a long history in that we can even read it into the story of Ruth the Moabitess. As the pasuk states in Ruth 4:

ה וַיֹּאמֶר בֹּעַז, בְּיוֹם-קְנוֹתְךָ הַשָּׂדֶה מִיַּד נָעֳמִי; וּמֵאֵת רוּת הַמּוֹאֲבִיָּה אֵשֶׁת-הַמֵּת, קניתי (קָנִיתָ)--לְהָקִים שֵׁם-הַמֵּת, עַל-נַחֲלָתוֹ. 5 Then said Boaz: 'What day thou buyest the field of the hand of Naomi--hast thou also bought of Ruth the Moabitess, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead upon his inheritance?'
ו וַיֹּאמֶר הַגֹּאֵל, לֹא אוּכַל לגאול- (לִגְאָל-) לִי--פֶּן-אַשְׁחִית, אֶת-נַחֲלָתִי; גְּאַל-לְךָ אַתָּה אֶת-גְּאֻלָּתִי, כִּי לֹא-אוּכַל לִגְאֹל. 6 And the near kinsman said: 'I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar mine own inheritance; take thou my right of redemption on thee; for I cannot redeem it.'--
What is this marring of inheritance, or marring of heritage? Rashi explains:
lest I mar my heritage my offspring, like (Ps. 127:3): “Behold the heritage of the Lord is sons,” to give my offspring a stigma, as it is said (Deut. 23: 4): “An Ammonite or a Moabite shall not enter the congregation of the Lord,” but he erred by [not interpreting it as] “an Ammonite but not an Ammonitess.”
Rashi thus interprets this as a assuming that this is an halachic error. We may further interpret this as knowledge of this halachic conclusion but adopting the stringent non-halachic position anyway because, when it comes to pegam, people do that.

Update: Just to clarify, I know many people who have absolutely no problem dating and marrying baalei teshuva because of a problem of "ben-nidda-ism." But just as surely, I have heard of/encountered people who will not.

1 comment:

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

it might also be significant to look at what experiences Beney Yisra’eil had with Mo’av and especially Moabite women already in Israelite history... they didn't have such a good reputation, it seems (which would explain the common stress on Rut's tzeni‘us)


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