Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The Convert”

Regarding converts, in the Midrash, there is a parable:

A shepherd has a large flock of sheep.

A deer enters the fold.

The shepherd tells his herdsmen to treat the deer with special care.

The herdsmen ask why, with such a large flock, the shepherd should concern himself with this one deer.

The shepherd tells them, “My sheep have only this fold, while this deer has the whole world to choose from.

Yet he chose my flock, and it is therefore fitting that I should give him special care.” 

This attitude sums up many mitzvot that require us to welcome the proselyte in our midst, someone who has the choice of belonging elsewhere and who, nevertheless, chooses to enter the Jewish framework.

The convert deserves special consideration and a special relationship.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz