Adoption-The Mitzvah and Halachic ramifications-Part 1

* This article is an excerpt from the above Sefer

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Adoption-The Mitzvah and Halachic ramifications:[1]

The greatness and Mitzvah: One who raises and educates a child is considered as if he gave birth to them[2], even if one is not their biological parent. This is learned from the Torah itself, from where we see that the holy foremothers gave their husbands other wives in marriage in order to raise the children that they will bear. Certainly, it is a great mitzvah to raise an orphan and one who does so is eligible to receive special reward.[3] Accordingly, a couple who cannot have children may adopt another’s child and be considered as if they gave birth to him.[4] However, prior to doing so, one must be aware of all the laws involved with an adopted child, including:[5]

Adopting a Jewish child, versus a gentile child, versus a Jewish child born to nonobservant parents:[6] In a number of letters, the Rebbe recommended couples who are looking for adoption to adopt a child who was born through Torah observant parents who kept the laws of family purity, and mentioned that doing so is a Segula for having future children.[7] He completely negated the consideration of adopting a gentile child.[8] This however, only applies in the event that adopting a Jewish child born to Torah observant parents is available. However, in the event that it is not possible to adopt a child born to Torah observant parents, then in the Rebbe’s opinion, it is better to adopt a gentile child who will then be converted, then to adopt a Jewish child born to non-Torah observant parents.[9]


[1] See Igros Kodesh 6:95; 17:104; 22:268 and 297; Hiskashrus 551 p. 19; 570 p. 15; Nishmas Avraham 4:42; Minchas Shmuel 2:16; Sefer Al Ben Imatzta Lach

[2] See Megillah 13a; Sanhedrin 19b; Kesubos 50a; Chochmas Shlomo E.H. 1:1 [who questions that perhaps it even fulfills the Mitzvah of Peru Urevu!] Bigdei Kehuna 1, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah E.H. 154:27, in end of Teshuvah; Likkutei Sichos 15:480, printed in Shulchan Menachem 6:11 [pp. 38 and 59];

[3] Kesubos 50a; Shemos Raba 45:6

[4] Chazon Yechezkal Hakdama for Tosefta Yevamos

[5] See Igros Kodesh 23:24, 310; Nishmas Avraham ibid

[6] See Hiskashrus ibid; Shulchan Menachem ibid

[7] Igros Kodesh 6:95; 17:104; 22:297

[8] Igros Kodesh 17:104; Igros Moshe Y.D. 1:162; Shevet Halevi 6:202 p. 192; Sefer Al Ben Imatzta Lach 2:1-2

The reason: There are major questions, and debates in the Poskim, regarding the validity of the conversion of a Gentile child and certainly it is best not to enter into these discussions if not necessary. Likewise, when he grows older and is told that he was born a Gentile, he may not consent to remain an observant Jew which would retroactively disqualify his conversion. [Hamaor 5725 p. 66] Likewise, we do not encourage the conversion of Gentiles unless they themselves come forward to convert. [Igros Moshe ibid; Shevet Halevi ibid]

[9] Igros Kodesh 22:297; See also Likkutei Sichos 21:403 with the Rebbe discusses converting an adopted Gentile child so he receive a Jewish soul.

The reason: As such children are considered to have been born in impurity, without Nida purification of the mother, as well as that by a Jewish born child, there is a worry of Mamzeirus [Shtuki Veasufi], and him ending up marrying his biological siblings. [Rebbe ibid]

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