הרוצה להתגייר אין מקבלין אותו מיד אומרים לו מה לך להתגייר והלא אתה רואה את האומה הזאת נמוכה וכפופה ושפילה מכל האומות וחולאים ויסורים באים עליהן וקוברין בנים ובני בנים ונהרגין על המילה ועל הטבילה ועל שאר כל המצות ואינם נוהגים בפרהסיא כשאר כל האומות: If a man wishes to become a proselyte he is not accepted at once but they1The Rabbis who consider his application. say to him, ‘Why do you want to become a proselyte? Do you not see that this people are debased, oppressed and degraded2‘Debased’ in themselves, ‘oppressed’ by others, and ‘degraded’ in consequence. MS.K. and H read ‘lowly and persecuted’. more than all other peoples, that diseases and chastisements come upon them and they bury their children and children’s children, that they are slaughtered for [observing] circumcision, immersion3To purify themselves after ritual defilement. and the other precepts [of the Torah] and cannot hold up their heads4lit. ‘behave in public’. like other peoples?’
אם אמר איני כדאי פוטרין אותו והולך לו: If he says, ‘I am not worthy’, they dismiss him and he goes his way.5MS.K. and H read: ‘If he says, “I am not worthy to place my neck under the yoke of Him Who spoke and the world came into being, blessed be He”, they receive him forthwith, and if not he is dismissed and goes his way’. In Yeb. 47a. (Sonc. ed., p. 311), the reading is ‘I know and yet am unworthy’ of the privilege of membership of Israel.
קבל עליו הורידהו לבית הטבילה וכיסהו במים עד מקום הערוה. ואומרים לו מקצת דקדוקי מצות על מנת שהוא נותן בשכחה ובלקט ובפיאה ובמעשר: If, however, he undertakes [to become a proselyte], they take him down to the place of immersion, cover him in water up to his middle,6The place of nakedness. and tell him some of the details of the precepts. [He is informed that he is accepted only] on condition that he will give gleanings, forgotten sheaves, the corner of the field and tithes.7Cf. Lev. 19, 9; Deut. 24, 19; Num. 18, 26ff.; Deut. 14, 22ff.; XXVI, 12ff.
כשם שאומרים לאיש כך אומרים לאשה ע"מ שתהא זהירה בנדה ובהדלקת הנר: As they say this to a man, so they say to a woman that [she is accepted] on condition that she will be particular in regard to niddah, ḥallah8Added by MS.K. and H. and the kindling of the Sabbath lamp.
טבל ועלה אומרים לו דברים טובים ונכונים במי נדבקת אשריך במי שאמר והיה העולם שלא נברא העולם אלא בשביל ישראל ולא נקראו בנים למקום אלא ישראל ואין חביבין לפני המקום אלא ישראל כל אותם דברים שדברנו לך לא אמרנו לך אלא להרבות שכרך: When he has bathed and come up [out of the water], they speak to him words of kindness and comfort9So MS.K. and H, V ‘appropriate words’. [saying], ‘To Whom are you cleaving? Happy are you! [You are cleaving] to Him Who spoke and the world came into being, blessed be He; for the world was created only for the sake of Israel;10[Cf. Midrash Rabbah, Leviticus, XXXVI, 4 (Sonc. ed., p. 461): ‘The heaven and earth were only created for the sake of Israel’, because God foresaw that they alone would accept the Torah, without which the universe could not endure.] only Israel are called “sons of God”,11[Cf. Deut. 14, 1.] and only Israel are [described as] “beloved of God”.12[To be understood in the light of the dictum, ‘Beloved are Israel, for unto them was given the desirable instrument’, i.e. the Torah (Aboth III, 18, Sonc. ed., III, 14, p. 37).] MS.K. omits the clause. All the things we have said to you13viz. at the beginning, ‘Why do you want to become a proselyte?’ we have said only to increase your reward’.
גר שמל ולא טבל טבל ולא מל הכל הולך אחר המילה דברי ר"א רע"א אין טבילה מעכבת: If a proselyte has been circumcised but has not yet bathed [he is a proselyte]; if he has bathed but not yet been circumcised [he is not yet a proselyte]; everything depends on the circumcision. This is the view of R. Eliezer, but R. ‘Aḳiba said: Also14Reading ’af with MS.K. and H instead of ’en (not) in V. [Cf. the discussion on the subject in Yeb. 46a, b (Sonc. ed., pp. 302ff.).] [the lack of] bathing is a bar.
כל המתגייר משום אשה משום אהבה משום יראה אין זה גר וכן היו ר׳ יהודה ור׳ נחמיה אומרים כל אותם שנתגיירו בימי מרדכי ואסתר אינם גרים שנא׳ ורבים מעמי הארץ מתיהדים כי נפל פחד היהודים עליהם וכל שאינו מתגייר לשם שמים אינו גר: Anyone who becomes a proselyte for the sake of [marrying a Jewish] woman, or out of fear, or love15[Of the Jews, perhaps deriving material advantage from his conversion.] is not a proselyte. Similarly R. Judah and R. Nehemiah said: All [the Gentiles] who were converted in the days of Mordecai and Esther were not genuine proselytes, as it is stated, And many from among the peoples of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews was fallen upon them.16Esth. 8, 17. Anyone who is not converted from purely religious motives17lit. ‘to the name of Heaven’. is not a proselyte. [60b]
האיש מטביל לאיש והאשה מטבלת לאשה אבל לא את האיש: A man gives immersion to a man, and a woman to a woman but not to a man.
גר שנתגייר והיו לו יינות ואמר בריא לי שלא נתנסך מהם מותר לו ואסורים לאחרים רע"א מה אם לאחרים אסורים אוסר לעצמו אם אמר אף גבי כל חבר נעשו בטהרה הרי זה נאמן: If a man became a proselyte who had vessels of wine18[Wine in the possession of a Gentile is termed yayin nesek, ‘wine of libation’, and is forbidden to Jews on the suspicion that it may have been used in idolatrous rites.] in his possession and he says, ‘I am positive that none of it has been poured out as a libation’, the wine is permitted to him and forbidden to others. R. ‘Aḳiba said: 19A comparison with Tosiftha Ṭohoroth sec. 9 shows that there is a lacuna in the text and that R. ‘Aḳiba is speaking of the case where the wine had not been made by the proselyte himself but by another Gentile.If it is forbidden to others, surely it is forbidden to himself! If he says, ‘[The wine has been made] in a state of purity in the presence of So-and-so who is a ḥaber, he is believed’.
Similarly should an ‘am ha-’areẓ take upon himself to become a ḥaber, and he had food which should be in a state of ritual purity and said, ‘I am positive that it has been prepared in ritual cleanliness’, it is permitted to him and forbidden to others. R. ‘Aḳiba said: If it is forbidden to others, all the more it is forbidden to himself! But if he said, ‘It was prepared in ritual cleanliness in the presence of So-and-so who is a ḥaber’, he is believed.20This paragraph is omitted in V and inserted in MS.K. and H.
ישראל שהלוה לעובד כוכבים ועובד כוכבים שהלוה לישראל ואח"כ נתגייר גובה את הקרן ואינו גובה את הרבית ר' יהודה אומר אם מתחלה זקפן עליו במלוה גובה את הכל: If an Israelite lends money to a Gentile or a Gentile lends money to an Israelite and he became a proselyte, he collects the principal but not the interest.21MS.K. reads: ‘One (i.e. the proselyte) takes the capital only (because being now a Jew he may not take interest from a Jew [cf. Lev. 25, 36f.], and the other (the Jew) takes the interest as well’. The reason is that if this were not done, it might be suspected that the Gentile became a convert to escape paying the interest. R. Judah said: If before conversion he turned the whole into a loan,22i.e. added the interest to the principal and wrote a fresh contract for the whole sum as a loan. he collects the whole.
הא כיצד נולד לבן אדם בן בכור עד שלא נתגייר פטור משנתגייר חייב ואם ספק פטור. היו לו עיסה לעשות ושדה לקצור עד שלא נתגייר פטור משנתגייר חייב ואם ספק פטור: How [is the law]? If a first-born son was born to him before he was converted, he is exempt;23From his redemption (cf. Ex. 34, 20). MS.K. and H read: ‘If a son were born to him or his cow calved or his cow were slaughtered before he was converted, he is exempt’ from the priestly dues. but if after he was converted he is liable; in case of doubt he is exempt. If he had dough ready for baking and a field ready for reaping, until he is converted he is exempt24From ḥallah and the tithe. but from the time he is converted he is liable. If there is doubt he is exempt.