Q & A Board - View Post
Author:  Anon
E-mail:  not available
Date:  1/9/2005 7:24:00 PM
Subject:  Adoptee Shiva
Author:      SW
E-mail:      stu_welk@hotmail.com
Date:      1/7/2005 10:13:25 AM
Subject:      shiva for adoptees
Message:      Message: does an adopted child who is a ger sit shiva for her adopted parents, shom she considers her real parents?

Reply: Tough issue, but nope. Ger or Jewish from birth.

What about the reverse...where the adoptee knows who his biological parents are? Does he sit shiva when they die?

Reply:      Yes, they are still his parents.

I don't understand the reasooning for this. What if the biological parents gave her up at birth. And what if she converted as an infant. Don't we learn that a parent is defined by how they brought up the child, not that they had a moment of intamcy?

Reply:      "Don't we learn that a parent is defined by how they brought up the child"
Can you please tell me where we learn that.

Kol HaKovod Rabbi,

I learned that a teacher is considered as a parent to a student that he taught at least one bit of Torah to. I also learned that Abraham Avenu was considered as a father to all the souls he converted. So my logic says that if that's the case, all the more so for a parent who adopts a child at birth, raises him or her as if they had come from their loins, gives them a firm Jewish education, has a house where Torah lives and in short carries out every aspect of what a Jewosh parent should do, then that child should be allowed and even encouraged to sit shiva as if the adoptive parent were the birth parent, After all the hard part of raising a child begins after birth.

However, it's not my reasoning that I'm trying to understand, but that of the Torah. If you could help in this area, I would be very appreciative. Could you at least point me in the right direction to learn more, recommend a safer, a portion of talmud etc.

Thank You.
Reply:  The Shulchan Aruch says in Yore Deah Siman 374 #5, a convert who converted with his (biological) sons or a servant who was freed with his (biological) mother, do not sit Shiva on each other. It is obvious that the connection between these people would probably be even stronger than an adoption situation and yet, no Shiva.
This is based on the Rambam in Hilchot Avel Perek #2 Halacha #3 that starts off with a case of a Jewish father who has a son from a maid. They do not sit Shiva for each other. And that case is a Jewish father(biological) with no act to change any status quo (ie. conversion) and still no Shiva.
What this teaches us, is that we don't understand aveilus on our human/emotional levels. As we don't understand many other parts of the Torah.

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