Sunday, November 06, 2005

Free the Mamzer

Wolf has a recent discussion on his blog about the pros and cons about giving Orthodox marriages for otherwise unOrthodox couples for fear of creating mamzerim.

Ok, that's fine and all and I can understand why you'd want to avoid having more mamzerim around if you hold by the laws stringently. As far as anyone knows, most people are not mamzerim and a mamzer can only marry other mamzerim (or converts). It leaves quite a stigma which never goes away. No matter how far the initial mamzer's line descends. His lineage will forever be one of mamzerim.

However, let's look at this more closely. What is the only real difference between a mamzer and a non-mamzer? The only real difference is this social stigma and the limitations on who the individual can marry. The only reason one would not want to be a mamzer is because one'll be looked down on by all the non-mamzerim and will be limited in marriage choices.

Wouldn't the social situation be so much better if _everyone_ were mamzerim. Then there would be no "untouchable" nebuch class in Judaism and there would be no marriage restrictions (beyond the other regular stuff). And one a mamzer, always a mamzer, so there would be no way to turn back into "regular" Israelite.

I say we should just assume we are all mamzerim and not worry about it. What's the worst that could happen? We could marry a mamzer and our kids could really be mamzerim? Oh no, that's exactly the same.

Just so y'all know, I'm not a mamzer, but I do work for the Free the Mamzer Foundation. Check us out at


Anonymous said...

I clicked and got ..." is not a real mamzer organization, it's called a joke - did not match any documents."
Yisrael Asper (again)

Anonymous said...

It's possible that your idea has a source in the gemara. There was an amora who knew for certain of mamzeirus in a certain family, but kept quiet anyway. Thus, the odds are that the mamzer in this family "infected" the rest of the lineage of klal yisrael, making us all have mamzerim in our ancestry.

Anonymous said...

In actual practice Mamzeirus only passes on as long as people remember. It is very hard to become a Mamzer to begin with so therefore people don’t feel the urgency to remove the stigma altogether. It would be nice if we all could be declared mamzeirim. I thought of such a thing myself as a solution that would be nice. If it can be done is another story. It says those who aren't expert in the Halachas of marriage and divorce should stay as far away from them as possible. It also says though that Mashiach himself is precluded from revealing who really is a mamzer and has been unknown as one.
Yisrael Asper (again)

Anonymous said...

If you get into areas of Judaism such as chasidus you'll encounter many other stigmas regarding the origin of an individual.
Such as the issue of a pgam, anyone that was concieved out of an 'impure' situation, nidah etc.

Pragmatician said...

It's a hard question, but a terrible idea what you suggest.

Orthoprax said...


Why is it terrible? It's an unjustified social stigma, nothing more.