Thursday, November 06, 2014


What a Wonderful Mistake!

     By Reb Gutman Locks     

       What a Wonderful Mistake!  


         He is from London. When I asked him if his mother is Jewish, he replied that both his mother and his father are Jewish. Still, I had to convince him to put on tefillin. We spoke, and he told me that he is getting married next week. I braced myself for his response, as I asked my normal question, "Is the girl Jewish?"

     "No, she's not," was his reply.

     "Oh, no! You can't do that! You have to marry a Jewish girl so your kids will be Jewish."

     Although there is almost zero chance of getting a guy to throw away his soon to be bride because I tell him that it's wrong, still, I have to try. I can't let a Jew walk away thinking that everything is alright when he is about to make the biggest mistake in his life. I tried, and I tried. I explained that Jewish people come from the mother, and that his family is Jewish, 4,000 years of Jewish history, on and on, but I could see, as I expected, I wasn't getting anywhere.

    Then he said, "Actually, her father's not Jewish. Her mother's Jewish"

    "What! Her mother is Jewish?"

    He said that she was.

    "Then she's Jewish, and your kids will be Jewish. Thank G-d! Marry her and make a huge family."

     Boy, did that make me happy! What a wonderful mistake to make!


  1. Lovely story! I am puzzled though why Jewish status is decided by the matrilineal line, and has done for countless centuries now, but was via the patriarchal line in biblical and for some time post-biblical - when did it change, by whose jurisdiction and why?

  2. Anon-Jewish lineage has gone by the mother all the way back to the beginning of the Jewish people and has never changed. Abraham and his wife Sarah had a son named Isaac. Abraham and Sarah's maid servant Hagar had a son named Ishmael. Isaac was a Jew (Hebrew) because Sarah was a Jew (Hebrew). Ishmael was an arab because his mother Hagar was an arab. The tribes go by the father but the people go by the mother.


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