Some further thoughts and an apology about ger katan (child conversion)- by Rabbi Hyim Shafner

I want to clarify that my aside regarding giving an aliyha to a goy after he had been called up accidentally as a question of kavod habriot verses an issur d’rabanan was probably wrong.  Though generally kavod habriot is docheh an issur dirababanan (Gemara Berachot 19b), this instance is a case of being motzie others in their chiuv and just as we would not allow a goy to make kiddush and be motzie us, so too with regard to an aliyah.

One other thing (my thanks to a respected Rabbi in our field for pointing it out)-Though I said that batey din (Jewish courts) do not rely on Rav Moshe’s leniency regarding to ger katan (converting a child) out of fear, this is perhaps incorrect, their motivation may be (and judging others favorably would demand I assume it so), a halachic one, not wanting for halachic reasons to rely on such a leniency.   Though knowing the individuals on the ground and our sociological reality today, in my opinion we should rely on it, nevertheless, I apologize for my tone and assumption of wrong intent.

2 Responses to Some further thoughts and an apology about ger katan (child conversion)- by Rabbi Hyim Shafner

  1. C. Mucius says:

    Could you solve the aliya problem by permitting the person to have the aliya if mistakenly called and then (without fanfare) calling another for the same aliya (read a second time), to be motzie for the congregation?

    • Asher Lopatin says:

      You could leon the aliya again, but there is no need: as long as the Torah reader is Jewish, anyone who needs to fulfill the obligation of hearing Torah b’tzibur (in a communal setting) has fulfilled their obligation. And, as I mentioned, you can add an extra aliya (acharon, hosafa, etc.) so that you will have seven Jewish aliyot. However, many poskim, and the general way the world is noheg, holds that reading the parsha is an obligation on the community, not on any individual. So whether you go out for a minute to get a glass of water, or say hello to someone or even to sneeze or if you cannot hear a word or to, there is no problem – the community has read the whole parsha and that’s what’s important. Not like Megilla where each individual needs to hear each word.


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