Paqid Yirmeyahu
historical, logical, archeological, scientific Tanakh Halakhah

Who is a Jew? So-o-o, why bother?

Matrilineal or Patrilineal?

I’m not an advocate of any non-Orthodox minboth definitions are fatalistic, racist reforms. Genetically, according to either of these definitions, either you are or you aren’t and that’s it! So… ♫ ”If that’s all there is, my friend, let’s break out the bo-o-o-oze, and have a ba-a-all, if that’s a-a-all, there is.” ♪

How can you be perplexed that Jews, your children or grandchildren, lose interest in vacuous (since atheists are included in both of these definitions, as demonstrated below), fatalistic racism? Especially as they become better educated? (This is why the Ultra-Orthodox must, cult-like, continue to oppose uncontrolled education and knowledge into their ghettos at all costs.)

Biblical Definition

Born-in and not opted out

The original intent — the only logically possible formula that fits all Scriptural instances (which has since been skewed by logic-challenged religious radicals) was to define a “born-in and not opted-out” plus “born-out but opted-in” via being adopted into the extended-family religion. (“Grafted onto the [genealogical] tree” in the Christian vernacular.)

Opted-out expelled from the start

At no point, from Yi•shᵊm•â•eilꞋ and Ei•sauꞋË•domꞋ, did anyone who opted-out continue to be a member of the religiously-defined family of Am Yi•sᵊr•â•eilꞋ.

While the family continues to remain genetically predominant, that’s no more than an obvious peripheral effect, not a cause. Am Yi•sᵊr•â•eilꞋ, from the start, has never been genetically-defined.


We have always been “chosen” because (i.e., in response to) we love and choose י‑‑ה. We choose to love and follow י‑‑ה and, only in response to our choosing to live according to His Torah, י‑‑ה then chooses us. Regardless who you are reading this, you can become chosen (by abandoning your present religion to follow Torah)!

Conversely, those who do not love י‑‑ה have always been expelled and excluded from Am Yi•sᵊr•â•eilꞋ (notwithstanding rabbis who presume to contradict Scripture and outrank י‑‑ה; see Dan. 7.25).

In fact, until recent Orthodox reforms, a family would sit shiv•âhꞋ if their child abandoned Torah.

From the time of Avraham, Scripture records and historically demonstrates that a child was assumed to internalize the family’s religion until the child eventually demonstrated his or her own, independent and free-will decision: either confirming or contradicting that assumption — then incurring the respective results.

From the beginning with Avraham, our original definition differentiated Yi•tzᵊkhâqꞋ from Yi•shᵊm•â•eilꞋ, then twins from the same mother: Ya•a•qovꞋYi•sᵊr•â•eilꞋ from Ei•sauꞋË•domꞋ — grandfather of A•mâ•leiqꞋ.

Abandoners of Torah: atheists and those converting out

Notice that atheists always try to define themselves apart from the others who abandon Torah, claiming that only those who convert to another religion have “opted out.” Rabbis, motivated by the effect on their prestige and power to expand their flock, agree. And both types of abandoners of Torah (secular and atheist) are racist arguments (depending on genetic lineage). But that’s not how Torah defines opting out. Opting out is not doing one’s utmost to live and practice Torah, whether by refusal, neglect or converting out.

Since no one can see into the heart, defining one’s “utmost” is a personal introspection. But, as RibꞋi Yᵊhoshua noted, anyone can tell, just by observing, those who are trying to keep Torah from those who are not.

Genealogical Definition Depended Upon Public Yo•khas•inꞋ

Not one Jew today can demonstrate that he or she isn’t descended from a convert somewhere along the line, or even from the ei•ruvꞋ multitude who joined Yisraeil in the Yᵊtzi•âhꞋ. The subsequent mixing of genetics afforded the descendents of all of them the genetic mixture scientists find today.

According to Talmud, when the Romans destroyed the yokhasin, any and every definition of Jew based on lineage was forever, irreversibly, invalidated (Qidushin 70b).

Only the family faith remains certain as an identifier. Today, there only remain genealogically invalid individuals who are partially descended from geirim! By Talmud standards, there’s no such thing today as a racially “pure” descendent of Yᵊhud•âhꞋ (a “Jew”)!

Plus: Born-out but Opted-In

Jews-by-Choice vs “Converts”

Both matrilineal and patrilineal definitions, being post-Ezra (more specifically, Christian-era), simplistic (in simpler times), racist reforms that strayed from the Biblical “DërꞋëkh י‑‑ה” of Avraham, et al, are contradictions of the original definition and ancient Scripture as compiled by Mosheh at Har Sinai.

The poisonous fruits of each of these race-based definitions includes the abuse of a•gun•otꞋ, non-Orthodox — and even Orthodox — Jews and the debasement of “converts” to a racially-inferior (“lacking a Jewish nᵊshâm•âꞋ“) subclass of “lifetime probationary, less-than-Jews” — directly incurring the Wrath of י‑‑ה (Shᵊm•otꞋ 22.20-23)! The Ultra-Orthodox and Rabbinate, setting themselves as peers of the Supreme One (Dan. 7.25) in claiming authority to override the Halakhah of millennia and setting themselves as Judaic supremists, have thereby set themselves against the Holy One Who also created all goyim in His Image.

The Geir in Talmud

Mishnah Qidushin 3.12 — “Wherever there is Qidushin with no a•veir•âhꞋ, the child goes after the male… Wherever there is Qidushin with an a•veir•âhꞋ, the child goes after the flawed one…<!– Any [woman] for whom there is no Qidushin to him [specifically], but there is Qidushin to others, the child is a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ. Which is this? This is one who cohabits with any one of the forbiden relations mentioned in the Torah. Any [woman] for whom there is no Qidushin either to him or to others, the child is like her. Which is this? This is the child of a (non-Jewish) maidservant or a non-Jewish woman. –>”

The Biblical definition: If a Jewish man mates with a woman of the goyim, then the child is not a Jew. If a Jewess mates with a man of the goyim, then the child is not a Jew.

Here, contrary to Orthodox tradition, Mishnah teaches that, in the absence of a violation of Torah, lineage is determined patrilinearly — in contrast to a prohibited coupling, in which case the child always belongs to the non-Jewish mate, regardless of gender. If a Jewish man mates (by definition, intermating is not possible) with a goy woman, then the child is a goy. If a Jewess mates with a goy, then the child is a goy.

Torah teaches that a child being brought up in a Torah home is a Jew, whereas a child not brought up in a Torah home is not a Jew.

As demonstrated below, the logic by which the arguments in Qidushin 68b interpreted Shᵊm•otꞋ 21.4 and Dᵊvâr•imꞋ 7.3-4 for their contradictory conclusion is based on fallacious rabbinic הֲסָרָה (ha•sâr•âhꞋ; deviation, swerving or straying in Biblical Hebrew, from סור) — interpreting Scripture to fit a simplistic, preconceived agenda:

Shᵊm•otꞋ 21.2-4: “If you buy a Jewish bondsman… in the seventh year he shall go free… if he is the husband of a woman, his wife shall leave with him. If his master will give him a woman and she bears him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall [continue to] belong to her master, and he shall go out by himself.”

Here, the children were the product of what was then chattel belonging to the owner. Product or profit from an owner’s invested chattel belonged to the owner. This has no connection whatsoever to a free Jew, much less to racist arguments of advocating matrilineal genetics.

Dᵊvâr•imꞋ 7.1, 3-4: “… seven goyim … {3} You shall not intermarry with them; you shall not give your daughter to his son, and you shall not take his daughter for your son, {4} because יָסִיר (yâ•sirꞋ; he will cause ___ to deviate or swerve, hiphil fu. m.s. of סור) your child from after Me, and they will worship the elohim of others…”

In a genderless language, rabbis would be correct in their argument that the use of the masc. verb implies that the husband, then considered to be in charge of the household, would impose his family’s religion on the child. The masc. sing. is collectively of the individual because there is no cross-gender collective term in the singular that can mean either sex (like “{s}he”) in Hebrew (a difficulty in English as well) — see, inter alia, Shᵊm•otꞋ 22.20-23 (geir and orphan can be either male or female despite being expressed, collectively, in the masc., and widow is certainly female, yet the verb is masc. sing. “if he shall cry out to Me…”).

Consequently, both in the singular and the plural, the masc. is often used in the collective sense, where “he” can mean either a male or an individual of either sex (but not limited to a single female, for which there is a specific term in Hebrew).

This is dictated by context. If the context (of Devarim 7.1-4) had been discussing only foreign males married to Jewish females, then their reasoning would conform to logic. However, the context also similarly discusses foreign females married to Jewish males. Thus, the masc. sing. verb has to be understood as collective: both a foreign husband or a foreign wife each will cause the child to deviate from following ha-Sheim.

This is also the case in the account of ËꞋzᵊr•â.


The primary point is that both cases of intermating are prohibited because both cause assimilation. Thus, this is not an argument for matrilineal or patrilineal racism; or any kind of racism. Rather, it’s an argument that intermating leads to הֲסָרָה (ha•sâr•âhꞋ; deviation, swerving or straying in Biblical Hebrew) from Torah — a conclusion vociferously and ferociously opposed by atheists whose only claim to being a Jew is racism (whether matrilineal or patrilineal).

Both Cases of Intermating: Child is a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ

Mishnah Yevamot 4.13 — “What’s the definition of a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ? [The offspring of a mating with] someone who shares the same flesh who the Torah forbids to you, according to Rabbi Akiva. Shimon the Yemenite says, a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ is [the offspring resulting from] any [sexual] prohibition that carries the penalty of excision by the Hand of Heaven [“kâ•reitꞋ“]. The halachah is according to Shimon the Yemenite.”

This simply explains that every child of a couple whose marriage is prohibited is a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ (different from the English term “bastard”). Mating between a Jewish mother and a gentile father is a prohibited and, therefore, their child is a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ. Similarly, mating between a Jewish father and a gentile mother is also prohibited and, therefore, their child, too, is a ma•mᵊzeirꞋ.

There is no argument here advocating racial lineage, whether matrilineal or patrilieal. Racist arguments, about genetic lineage, are strictly rabbinic הֲסָרָה.

The Book of Life & Tree of Life

The yokhasin (public family registries – collectively: the Book of Life; also the tree of the families of Israel – the Tree of Life), destroyed by the Romans some time after 135 C.E., originated in bᵊ-Mi•dᵊbarꞋ 1.18.

In Talmud, Qidushin 69a-b, geirim are listed in a second intra-marriageable group of the 10 classes of Israel, below the conditional intra-marriageable group that includes the classes of Ko•han•imꞋ, Lᵊwi•yimꞋ and Yi•sᵊr•â•eil•imꞋ.

The second conditional intra-marriageable group included Lᵊwi•yimꞋ, Yi•sᵊr•â•eil•imꞋ, defrocked Ko•han•imꞋ, geirim and חֲרוּרִים (kha•rur•imꞋ freedslaves; Jastrow, p. 500).

The third conditional intra-marriageable group included geirim, חֲרוּרִים, ma•mᵊzeir•imꞋ, Gibeonites, mutes and foundlings.

Marriage was permitted only within one of these intra-marriageable groups (see details in Atonement In the Biblical ‘New Covenant’ (ABNC); full disclosure: authored by this writer, available from publishers). See also “geir.”

(Interesting observation: in Biblical times, while the geir could not marry a Ko•heinꞋ, the Jew by conversion belonged to the class of Yi•sᵊr•â•eilꞋ, no longer a geir, and could marry a Ko•heinꞋ!)

The “Convert” According to Rambam

“[Even] a geir who was not examined, or who was not informed of the mi•tzᵊw•otꞋ and their punishments, and was circumcised and immersed in the presence of three הִדְיוֹטוֹת [hi•dᵊyot•otꞋ; laypersons] – still indeed, he is a geir. Even if it is known that he converted for some ulterior motive, inasmuch as he has been circumcised and immersed, he has made the exodus from the general goyim, and we are concerned for him until his righteousness is clarified (i.e., like gold, refined). Even if he reverted and worshiped idols, indeed, he is as an apostate of Israel. If he makes Qidushin [betrothal], they are Qidushin, and the mitzwah to return an article lost applies to him. After having immersed, he has become as Israel.” (Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, קדושה [Holiness], הלכות איסורי ביאה [Laws of Forbidden Sexual Relations], 13.17).

“You shall not taunt or oppress a geir, for you were geirim in Egypt. You shall not cause pain to any widow or orphan. If you dare cause any [of these] pain, if he shall cry out to Me, I shall absolutely hear his outcry. My wrath shall blaze and I shall kill you by the sword, and your wives will be widows and your children orphans.” (Shᵊm•otꞋ 22.20-23).

“You shall not boil (discriminate, harass, taunt, persecute, abuse) a kid (newborn, i.e., a convert) in its mother’s (country, religion or culture of one’s birth, native country, culture or religion) milk (cultural and religious teachings, upbringing)” (Shᵊm•otꞋ 23.19; 34.26; Dᵊvâr•imꞋ 14.21).

Yᵊr•eiꞋ י--ה

When all of the racism is filtered out to restore the ancient, Biblical, definition of the family faith of Avraham and his descendents through Yitzkhaq and Yaaqov-Yisraeil, the most accurate description of those who love י‑‑ה and try to live according to His Torah is neither the sanctimony or costume of Kha•reid•imꞋ, nor of Kha•sid•imꞋ, nor of Orthodox nor of Jew — but rather, Yᵊr•eiꞋ י--ה.

See also Feldman, Louis H., The Omnipresence of the God-Fearers; (Washington, D.C.: Biblical Archaeology Review, 1986.09), p. 44, 58).

About the Author
Paqid Yirmᵊyahu (Ben-​David), Orthodox Jew & 16th Paqid of the Nᵊtzarim, dedicated to the historical, logical, archeological, scientific interpretations of Tanakh; B.Sc.B.A. (UF) and Master's work in computer science (artificial intelligence and knowledge based networks, UCF); former intelligence analyst (USAF); made aliya with his wife, Karen, (Law of Re­turn '85), served in the IDF (despite being age-exempt) and Israel Police Reserves, belonged to Or­thodox Yemenite syna­gogue 10 yrs in Ra'anana where they live today. In addition to the sole Netzarim website (, his commentaries have been published in magazines and newspapers from the Orlando Sentinel and Toronto Mensa to The Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel and Ynet. He has also authored many books available in the Netzarim website or Amazon; including: Who Are The Netzarim?, Atonement Under the Biblical 'New Covenant', The Netzarim Reconstruction of Hebrew Matityahu (NHM), The 1993 Covenant (of Daniel 9.27), Pishtah Kheihah (The Flickering-out Remnant, Yᵊshayahu 42.3) and The Mirrored Sphinxes (revealing Moses' Egyptian Pharaonic secret knowledge & symbolism for prayer and relating to the Divinity).