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Topic: Title of Nobility, Accepting

Leif Manson from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

My mother is Jewish, my father is Scottish from a clan that protected the Jews during the crusades. He disappeared when I was quite young. Years later he reappeared after he had inherited a Scottish title of nobility, "the Laird of Leckie," and converted to reform Judaism. Do I have any responsibility towards this position or should I abdicate on the grounds that I am Jewish?

Dear Leif Manson,

There's no reason in Jewish law why you shouldn't accept the title of "Laird of Leckie." Righteous Jews throughout history have held titles of honor in non-Jewish society. Joseph was the titled viceroy of Egypt, and Mordechai was the viceroy of Persia. Others include the Count of Coucie, Shmuel Hanagid and Don Yitzchak Abarbanel. In fact, England's Chief Rabbi Emeritus, Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jacobovitz, is today a member of England's House of Lords.

But keep in mind that inheriting a title often obligates the inheritor to pay large taxes on the estate. So carefully weigh the pros and the cons before accepting it, and perhaps consult with a lawyer.

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