Shalom dear Rabbi, In the Talmud Tractate San’hedrin 99B, it states:
“And Timna, the concubine of Eliphaz, Son of Esau, gave birth to Amalek.” (Bereshit 36:12)
About this verse the Talmud questions:
“Who was Timna, and why does the Torah make a point of citing her name, as part of Amalek’s lineage, even though she was “only” a concubine?”
The Talmud answers:
“Timnah was the daughter of a king, and her interest in converting led her to seek Abraham, who repelled her. Persistent, Timnah (which means to repel in Hebrew) still tried with Itzchak and Ya’akov, who also repelled her.” But her desire to be part of the people was such, continues the Talmud, that she, even coming from a royal family, submitted herself to the condition of concubine of Eliphaz, so that she could be part of Abraham’s family and faith.
The consequence of this unwelcoming, the Talmud concludes, was the birth of the young Amalek, from whose offspring originated the people who inherit his name, and who in the future would be considered the prototype of the enemy of Israel.
Conclusion: All those who have repelled thousands of sincere candidates for conversion, under the most varied pretexts, not based on the Law or on Jewish tradition, not only disrespect the Biblical precept of loving the proselyte, preventing other Jews from doing so, but also transform love and interest into disappointment and resentment, thus contributing to the emergence of new enemies for the people of Israel.
We have further in Isaiah 56: 3-
“…3Let no foreigner who is willing to join Adonai come and say, “It is certain that the Eternal will exclude me from his people!” And let no eunuch claim, “I am really nothing but a dry tree!”4For thus says the LORD, “To the eunuchs who keep my Shabbatot, who act in the way that pleases me and hold fast to my Covenant (Torah), 5to them will I give, within my Temple and my walls, a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters, an everlasting name, which shall never be blotted out.
Resh Lakish said: The converted war is more beloved than Israel when it stood before Mount Sinai. Why? Had they not witnessed the thunder and the lightning, the shaking of the mountains and the sound of the shofars, [Israel] would not have accepted the Torah; and this one who witnessed none of them, came and surrendered to the Holy One, Blessed Be He, and accepted upon himself the Heavenly Sovereignty – do you know anything dearer than that?
And Rabbi Elazar said, The Holy One, Blessed Be He, only scattered the people of Israel among the nations so that they would add converts to themselves, as it is written (Hosea 2:25): “And their seed shall be to Me in the land.”
Rabbi the question remains?
Who is right, the Torah, the Talmud and the Prophet, or modern writings? Does this not apply to the whole earth, why exclude South America, since the whole earth was created and belongs to HaShem?
Thank you for your question.
One of the requisites for the acceptance of converts is that the convert be sincere about his or her will to do the will of Hashem, and not for any ulterior motives. Throughout the ages there were certain times when they did not accept converts. For example, during the time of King David and King Solomon, they did not accept converts. Additionally, in the time of the Messiah converts will not be accepted (see Tractate Avoda zara 3b). The reason is because they suspected that the conversion was not sincere, rather because the Jews were in an advantageous position. Therefore, we see that although in general we do accept converts, there are times and certain conditions that they won’t be accepted.
My understanding is that it is not in the whole South America that they don’t accept converts, (for example a person can convert in Uruguay) rather it is specifically in Argentina, and Brazil, that the Bais Din over there does not want to do conversions. This policy was adapted because of too many bad experiences that people claimed to want to convert but they weren’t sincere about it. Even the Bais Din over there will accept if a person comes to Israel and will undergo the conversion process with the Rabbanut Harashit. Therefore, anyone who is sincere about converting can come to Israel and convert, even if they are from Brazil or Argentina.