Avraham B. Shimon
The Torah does not always state every law explicitly.
Our Rabbis had a tradition as to which verse matrilineal descent is
derived from. The verse is Deuteronomy 7: 4, "Because he will lead astray your
son from before Me" To understand this verse we need to look at the preceding
verse. Verse 3 states, "And you shall not intermarry with them, your daughter
you shall not give to his son and his daughter you shall not take for your
son". Verse 4 now becomes difficult. It should have stated "Because SHE will
lead astray your son". The non-Jewish girl that your son married ('your'
meaning Jewish) should be the one that would lead your son astray. Who is the
'HE'? You might answer that 'HE' is referring to the girl's father. However,
it is well known that in general, women leave their father's house and live in
their husband's house. They would then not be living with her father.
Therefore, it would not make sense for the girl's father to lead your son
astray if your son doesn't live with him.
The Rabbis conclude that 'HE' is the man that your daughter married and
'your son' mentioned in verse 4 is your grandchild, meaning Jewish grandchild.
Verse 4 is referring back to the middle section of verse 3. It reads like
this, "your daughter you shall not give to his son because he will lead astray
This shows that the child of a Jewish girl and a non-Jewish boy will be
Jewish. It is not uncommon for the Torah to refer to a grandchild as an actual
child. For instance, Kings I 15: 11 states, " And Asa did that which was
correct in the eyes of God just like David his father". David was not Asa's
father. He was his great-great-grandfather.
Additionally, Leviticus 24:10 speaks of the son of an Israelite woman and an
Egyptian man as being "among the community of Israel" (ie, a Jew). On the other
hand, in Ezra 10:2-3, the Jews returning to Israel vowed to put aside their
non-Jewish wives and the children born to those wives. They could not have put
aside those children if those children were Jews.