March 28, 2017 5:56 pm at 5:56 pm #1245730
I think “subtly” would probably be a good word for what Rebshidduch meant by “sneakily”.
As she herself wrote:
“What I mean by “sneakily” is that you cannot force someone to become religious but you can show them how beautiful it is.”
So she was not talking about “tricking” anyone, but rather about being subtle as opposed to pushy.March 28, 2017 6:00 pm at 6:00 pm #1245738
M- maybe it’s really a combination. They sense that it’s true but they need to be comfortable emotionally as well. Remember, people are complex. Almost all (or all) of our actions have a variety of motivations and are never done completely for the “right” reasons. And there is nothing wrong with that. We are human after all! And we have to involve both our brains and our emotions in everything we do.
I think the important thing is to make sure that there is some intellect/concept of truth involved. Otherwise, it is nothing more than brainwashing and if something more appealing comes along, it’s over.March 28, 2017 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #1246157
M, that is my approach. it makes sense no one wants a shpiel about how awesome a religion is and how they should become religious.March 28, 2017 9:24 pm at 9:24 pm #1246158
Lilmod, you hit the nail on the head.March 28, 2017 9:29 pm at 9:29 pm #1246186
Rebshidduch -thanks! 🙂March 28, 2017 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm #1245993NechomahParticipant
I would like to briefly answer M’s comment about whether we are really doing kiruv or just pressing psychological buttons.
Like yichusdik, I came back to teshuva through Aish HaTorah and was very close to R’ Noach’s entire family, while not having much contact to R’ Noach himself, practically living in their house for close to 2 years.
My comment to M is that Aish HaTorah is a very logic-based approach to Torah and there are very reasoned and thought out answers and understandings of Torah and why we keep Torah that he had very carefully thought through during his lifetime and equipped his talmidim with this knowledge while they were learning with him. There is solid, unshakeable emes to Torah, if a person is willing to see it, think through the issues and, if they are willing to make the commitment, become frum through this. If a thinking person had their psychological buttons pressed (as was suggested by M) by reform or hindu or some other “religion”, and the person looked into the depths of that belief system, what would they find? Emes? There isn’t anything to support those religions.
I was first introduced to yiddishkeit through the Discovery program that he started, which provides many glimpses into the Torah and its truth and, while not convincing in and of themselves, spur a thinking person on to learn more in depth to prove or disprove their truths to him/herself. I hope I am being clear. I went to a Discovery seminar and my pintele Yid was awakened. I felt that my life was being changed by the 48 hours or less that I had been sitting there absorbing bits and pieces of emes.
One of the most convincing comments I heard/learned was, what other religion claims that there were 600,000 people present when G-d came and spoke with them and presented them with the 10 commandments. By any other religion, Divine revelation is to the individual (usually the leader) not to the entire population. Nobody can disprove a person who says “G-d appeared to me in my dream last night”. But when a whole population of people claim the same thing, how can such a statement be disproved? If such a statement had no basis, somewhere along the way it would have faded away since most people knew it was basically a lie and had just been made up by a few people or some such story. But it hasn’t and we are still claiming the same thing – not that we heard G-d on Mount Sinai, but that our ancestors were there.
I had the fortune of coming from a family of BTs that had come back through Chabad, but it had not appealed to me and I had not done teshuva until my brain was convinced that it was true. However, because I could see, as someone pointed out above, that there were normal people (my family and many of their friends) who were keeping Torah, then I wasn’t frightened off by what the commitment to keep it would involve.
I may not be the typical story of someone who goes to these kinds of programs in that I became charedi from their program (their ultimate goal obviously), but it is possible and I am sure that the people who run these and other kiruv programs are all hoping that the people they encounter will become the frumest that they are able to, given each person’s circumstances. The sky’s the limits.March 28, 2017 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm #1246203
This is a tough thing to put in words, so Im not sure it is coming out
Kiruv will also only work if It can fit in the persons life and what I mean is, for example Kiruv is much tougher if the person is married to a non-jew or is forced to alter family relationships in a bad way.
Ive met people who experienced a Shabbos and felt inspired , but when they went home, they were isolated on Shabbos (They lived too far away from a shul and lived with non-religious people and were not always able to go away for Shabbos and could not move) It was doomed to failMarch 28, 2017 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm #1246208MParticipant
Thank you Nechomah for your thoughtful, interesting, and touching answer.March 29, 2017 8:24 am at 8:24 am #1246226
The Torah is for everyone and it has to be possible for everyone to have a part in it even it’s difficult in some cases.
“Ive met people who experienced a Shabbos and felt inspired , but when they went home, they were isolated on Shabbos (They lived too far away from a shul and lived with non-religious people and were not always able to go away for Shabbos and could not move) It was doomed to fail”
That’s not a failure at all!
1. They kept Shabbos one week!!! Do you realize how amazing that is? Do you know how different their portion in Olam Haba will look now???? Do you have any idea how priceless that is!!!!
2. They were inspired. Now they feel more positively towards Torah and Hashem. Maybe they will be more likely to daven to Hashem the next time they need something, maybe they will express gratitude to Hashem, maybe they will put on Tefillin when the Chabad van comes around, maybe they will be nicer to the Frum family who moves next door. Maybe their children or grandchildren will imbibe their positive feelings towards Yiddishkeit and become Frum. Or maybe their son will decide to send his daughter to Hebrew School as a result and she will become Frum and he will be supportive of her decision. Maybe they will make a donation to a Frum cause, etc.
As you wrote so wisely earlier, one can not go into kiruv expecting people to become completely Frum on the spot.
The point is to light a spark that has no end. The point is to encourage a fellow Jew to keep one Mitzvah one time. The point is to give over a positive feeling for Yiddishkeit….March 29, 2017 8:25 am at 8:25 am #1246242TRUEBTParticipant
“But at the same time I myself am dating guys who are close to being OTD or actually OTD so there is a contradiction going on.”
I’m sure that contradiction is painful for you. May Hashem help you resolve it in accordance with His Will and give you the joy of a resolved contradiction.
Good Luck!March 29, 2017 8:25 am at 8:25 am #1246250
It very much depends on the person you are being mekarev. Some people are intellectual, and they need to sit with someone intelligent who can show them that (a) there are answers, we aren’t just fanatics, and (b) to actually answer the questions. Other people have very little sechel [read: Are not thinking people, are happy to subscribe to belief without a ‘knowledge’ per se] , and are led around by their emotions and good feelings. For these people, the “fluffy-kneidlach-syndrome” is more likely to be effective.
Most people, however, will need a combination. The base desire to become Frum will need some form of rational thought, which directly involves Bikush HaEmes. But commitment can only come if negative connotations associated with Yiddishkeit are dispelled, and that is best done through unconditional warmth, acceptance and love. Appealing to both emotions and intellect together is the surest way to motivate someone to take the leap.
Another point – to many people, a well delivered intellectual lecture can appeal to the emotions as well, not just to the intelect.March 29, 2017 10:13 am at 10:13 am #1246479
Yekke2 -nicely expressed!March 29, 2017 10:13 am at 10:13 am #1246476
TrueBT – +1,000! That was really nice of you!March 29, 2017 10:59 am at 10:59 am #1246557yichusdikParticipant
Nechomah – Though I was involved as a teacher, volunteer, chavrusa and host for Aish for many years, I am not blessed to have come to it as a Baal Tshuva. Though each of us in our own way is or should be chozer bitshuva on an ongoing basis, I grew up and was educated in a frum environment and community.
Lilmod – You and I have different approaches to Kiruv, though there may be some intersectionality. One thing I have moved away from is absolute statements. I gave my opinion on what is needed to be successful and whole as someone involved in macro-kiruv. It is based on experience and on the wisdom of others whose whole lives are immersed in kiruv. But I don’t assume there is no path other than what I suggested.
You wrote – “Rebshidduch’s situation is a macro-kiruv situation and she should not be involved until she has some of the above qualifications. She should certainly wait until she has attended seminary for a MINIMUM of one year.”
I broadly agree, but I don’t know about minimums and maximums. I do know she needs a mentor, and not an anonymous one in the coffee room like you or me.
You wrote “However, there is something important to point out. I attended an Aish HaTorah seminar at which the presenter made sure to deliniate the differences between Aish haTorah’s hashkafa and mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa. If you have been involved with Aish HaTorah, I am sure that you are aware of those differences.”
Having had the opportunity of learning and working throughout the broad spectrum of the observant world, from chareidi to the left fringes of orthodoxy, And working professionally in Jewish communities beyond the observant elements of it, I am more than aware of the differences, be they subtle or black and white, between the many beautiful elements that make up the whole. My experience and my friendship with dozens of people who are at once both Yeshivish and Aish-involved (or involved with other kiruv organizations that also have a different taam) tells me that the strategic differences between the yeshivish and Aish hashkafahs are very small, though the tactical approaches are often quite different
“If Rav Noach Weinberg zatsal was your Rav, then you can and probably should follow him. But please understand that most Frum Jews will and probably should choose to follow the mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa (if in fact there are differences).
Kiruv has been a part of my life for a long time. For part of that time I was involved through the Aish framework, and particularly as it related to how to teach and be mekarev, I learned and used R’ Noach’s mehalech and reached out to him for answers to questions as they came up. I wouldn’t characterize him any more broadly than that as my “Rav”, though the respect I had and still have for him is enormous.
I take issue with your use and implied definition of “frum” Jews. You don’t have a monopoly on the term, specific or colloquially used. Neither do I. I choose to use it, as many if not most do, as a loose definition most akin to “observant” which goes far beyond the Yeshivish world both towards the chassidish world and towards the centrist or modern orthodox world. (BTW, I dislike all of these labels. observant works for me). I don’t think, thus, that “most frum Jews should follow the mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa.” is either true or even desirable. As I and many, many others define it, that sounds presumptuous. Within the machne of shomrei mitzvos, elu voelu divrei elokim chayim.
Lilmod, the following statement of yours truly troubled me. “Rav Noach Weinberg zatsal was a big Tzaddik, but I’m not sure that he should be quoted as though he was the Gadol Hador and everyone has to follow him.”
As many who have been here longer than you can attest, I’m rarely interested in the My Gadol is bigger than your Gadol absurdity that often takes place here. I question the entire structure that has been built up around these manhigim, where access is restricted, askonim are paramount, and its impossible to know even if a letter or pashkevcil has actually even been signed by the quoted Gadol.
I certainly did not and do not make any assertion as to Rav Noach’s suitability for that description. It makes not an iota of difference to my incredible esteem and respect for him. Lilmod, he should be quoted as an expert, if not the foremost expert, in kiruv in the last 60 years. As I wrote, no one, with the possible exception of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, had a better understanding of the needs of those who are rechokim, or the capacity of the observant world to bring them closer to Torah. Whether that makes him a Gadol hador in your eyes is irrelevant to me and to the discussion.
But as such, I quote him as among the highest experts and Torah authorities on the subject of kiruv. If you want to be involved in kiruv, it behooves you to learn his mehalech – as well as that of the Rebbe, as well as that used by AJOP, by NCSY, by individual powerhouses like Jeff Seidel or R’Yom Tov Glaser in Jerusalem. I don’t expect you to learn to mountain bike or surf as well as R’Yom Tov, but I do think that every one involved in kiruv should see how he has a hashpo’oh on thousands of rechokim every year. Eizehu chachom, halomed mikol ish. And even more so when that ish is the expert of the generation.
Does everyone have to follow him? Who said so? not me. I quoted his words to me. As someone else wrote, the Lubavitcher Rebbe said something similar. As I love to point out, every Jew has choices. You can choose to follow him, or not. bechira chofshis is a wonderful thing.March 29, 2017 11:24 am at 11:24 am #1246579Avram in MDParticipant
Some have pointed out that kiruv works when a person feels loved, and less so when someone convinces the other that Torah is emesdik. This has been my observations as well — people become close to chabad, to Aish, or whatever, when they enjoy Friday night dinner, etc. But not because we discussed whether there is a god, and if so, blah blah blah.
I actually had the opposite experience. I became convinced that the Torah was true based on personal study before I interacted regularly with frum Jews. My subsequent road to joining the frum community served up a mixture of warm, friendly experiences and cold, upsetting ones. Thank G-d, knowing that the Torah was perfect, even if individual Jews had flaws and made mistakes, helped me keep going down the road.
But if this is true, that means that in theory kiruv could work for anything.
Absolutely! Only I wouldn’t use the word kiruv, but salesmanship. Large grocery store chains employ psychologists to help develop a presentation that maximizes impulse buying (simple examples: note how the staple foods are often grouped on opposite sides of the store, and kids products are lower down, commonly with brightly colored cartoon characters that stare straight out into kids’ eyes, happy and creepy). Christian missionaries pull out all of the psychological stops: they act warm and caring, treat you like a hero if you accept their faith, and make you fear things that go bump in the night if you don’t accept. Auto companies are pros at making customers feel successful and beautiful in their vehicles. Salesmanship is not a good or bad thing – that depends on what is being sold. And that’s why kiruv (to bring close) is different.
This seems disappointing because it means to me that we’re not *really* doing kiruv, just pushing on people’s psychological buttons, and manipulating them.
If the goal of kiruv was to get people to come back for more Shabbos dinners, or to double the sale of gefilte fish (sorry, zahavasdad!), I would agree with you. But the goal of kiruv is to help someone to start their path with Hashem, and if the gateway to that path is made sweet, why would that be dishonest? On the other hand, I think it’s important for those creating warm kiruv environments to mention that not every environment may be as warm, and that the goal is a relationship with Hashem.
But if it doesn’t…
Even if it doesn’t, the person still did some mitzvos, which is a huge zechus both to him/her and his/her people!March 29, 2017 11:44 am at 11:44 am #1246592
Giving someone Gefilte is a sure fire way to chase them away And if you really want to make sure they dont come back, Offer them some Chopper LiverMarch 29, 2017 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm #1246639
Lilmod: I’m surprised. It isn’t like you to denounce any Rav or Manhig, especially when you don’t seem to have any specific issues against him. You don’t need to be the Godol Hador to make a difference. And although the title “gadol hador” [should be/is] reserved for the all round Manhigim of Klal Yisroel, it is possible to have a specialty in one niche, and be the worlds foremost expert in that field – just because you are not a posek or manhig in other fields does not take away the expertise in your specific field.
I don’t think, thus, that “most frum Jews should follow the mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa.” is either true or even desirable. As I and many, many others define it, that sounds presumptuous. Within the machne of shomrei mitzvos, elu voelu divrei elokim chayim.
I’m going to try be careful to ensure I understand you. Do you think that just because you adhere to halachah, your philosophical approach and your attitude towards Torah and Mitzvos [and the way they affect our life and lifestyles] are irrelevant, and you are free to choose your own ideals? Or do you agree that there is one correct mindset, just you don’t feel it is what you call ‘mainstream Yeshivish hashkafa’?March 29, 2017 5:16 pm at 5:16 pm #1246776yichusdikParticipant
Yekke2, my personal understanding is that my philosophical approach and attitude towards Torah and Mitzvos is relevant to me and to the people who I interact with. They are less if at all relevant to Yossel in Monsey or Shaindel in Gateshead.
Here’s the controversial part. I think that many if not most of us here are products of a good or great Jewish education, built by the mesiras nefesh of our parents and grandparents, and by the incredible leaders of the sheairis hapleytah since 1950. I think that we are the products of their hashpo’oh, and of any other hashpo’os our parents saw fit to expose us to. I think that with those influences, with the guidance of a manhig or manhigim that the individual trusts, and the immersion of living in a Jewish environment, most of us are well equipped to make choices about how we express our Jewish ideals. They won’t all be the same. In fact, everyone’s expression of yiddishkeit will be at least a bit different, because personality and circumstances come into play as well.
Thus, within the parameters of Torah and Mitzvos, there is not one specific mindset. We are all ships in the same fleet, led by the ultimate admiral, going from the same port to the same destination. All the ships are different, some have more sails, some fewer, some are faster or slower, some bigger or smaller. But we have the same set of orders, and that includes how we deal with things that come upon us on the way. As long as we agree on the destination, and as long as we are working from the same set of orders, I don’t see the point in telling the other seafarers what their mindset should be.March 29, 2017 7:44 pm at 7:44 pm #1247167
It certainly sounds nice. How I wish it were true.
To argue with you would involve leveling accusations and statements against people and sects that would be assur for me to make, and would certainly antagonize many who would read it. So I’m not going to argue with you.
The issue I will bring up – without any names and addresses – is about those who act within the parameters of Torah and Mitzvos, yet do not fit with your admirable moshol. In your moshol, all are heading towards the same destination and are travelling along the same route. There is no necessity for the ships to be the same. On that we say כשם שאין פרצופיהם דומין כך אין דיעותיהן דומין זל”ז.
There are two types of people who I take issue with, and neither of them fit your description.
(A) There are those who are travelling towards the same destination, but who take a different route. This isn’t a difference in the ship, it is a difference in the journey. If the Torah prescribes a specific route, then you can be heading to the same destination and still be wrong. Although these people generally mean well, they can still be wrong.
(B) The people who live within the parameters of Halacha, but are not heading towards the same destination at all. These are people whose ships are heading in the opposite direction, and often the Torah and Mitzvos are “things that come upon us on the way”. They may be travelling the same seas and may look like the same ship, but there is a difference in destination.
Forgive me for going one step closer towards being explicit – people in Category B arise when they don’t follow your other desciption: I think that we are the products of their hashpo’oh, and of any other hashpo’os our parents saw fit to expose us to. I think that with those influences, with the guidance of a manhig or manhigim that the individual trusts, and the immersion of living in a Jewish environment. It’s when people expose themselves or their children to hashpo’os their parents didn’t see fit to expose them to, and immerse themselves in anything other than a Jewish environment.
Halacha dictates the parameters of “Dos and Donts”. If you contravene Halachah on a regular basis, then you are not observant. It is matter of hashkafa, however, to decide what is the destination and what route to take towards that destination.March 31, 2017 12:37 am at 12:37 am #1247814MTABParticipant
Tell her she can be frum without learning. Women have no chiyuv to ‘learn’. Just keep Shabbos, Kashrus, etc.March 31, 2017 8:05 am at 8:05 am #1247852
Tell her she can be frum without learning. Women have no chiyuv to ‘learn’. Just keep Shabbos, Kashrus, etc.
This is probably some of the worst advice here, Women who come from more modern backrounds many times have differnt views on such things and to them such things imply to them that women R’L are second class citizens in YiddishkeitMarch 31, 2017 11:34 am at 11:34 am #1247878
@yichusdik: In relation to what you were saying, R’ Akiva Eiger has a beautiful vort about individuality in Avoidas Hashem, and it emphasizes your point.
עתיד הקדוש ברוך הוא לעשות מחול לצדיקים והוא יושב ביניהם בגן עדן וכל אחד ואחד מראה באצבעו שנאמר ‘ואמר ביום ההוא הנה אלקינו זה קוינו לו ויושיענו זה ה׳ קוינו לו נגילה ונשמחה בישועתו
“In the furure, HKB”H will make a circle of Tzaddikim and He will sit between them in Gan Eden, and each of them will point with his finger and say “This is our G-d…””
R’ Akiva Eiger explains the significance of the circle. All the tzaddikim will stand in a circle, and HKB”H will be standing (כביכול) in the center. He points out that although they are each standing in very different places, and one side of the circle may be very far from the other side, all points in the circle are equidistant to the centre. And although now we cannot see it, לעתיד לבא we will see that they are all pointing to the centre, saying that “This is our G-d”; they all mean לשם שמים.March 31, 2017 11:40 am at 11:40 am #1247981RedlegParticipant
Just a note To Nechama about Klal Yisroel at Har Sinai. The 600,000 were just the men between the ages of 20 and 60. R’ Moshe ZATZAL, estimated that the actual number of witnesses was around 2,500,500.March 31, 2017 7:00 pm at 7:00 pm #1248129
Is it a good sign when a not frum girl wants to start being called by her hebrew name?April 2, 2017 7:34 am at 7:34 am #1248202NechomahParticipant
To Redleg: I am well aware of the 2 million number, but I did not want to post such a number here and then get called out to start explaining where I got my information. It is good that you could bring it with a source. Thank you very much.April 25, 2017 8:36 pm at 8:36 pm #1262504
Yichusdik & Yekke – I apologize that I did not have an opportunity to reply to your critiques of my post right away. I have been wanting to do so ever since I saw your posts, but I wanted to make sure that I did so only when I had the opportunity to really think carefully about how I phrased things so that I would not make the same mistakes as before.
First of all, I did not, chas v’shalom, mean any disrespect towards Rav Noach Weinberg, zatsal, and I greatly apologize if anything I wrote sounded that way. That was certainly not my intention, and I am certainly not on the level to be able to do so (nor is anyone else, for that matter).
I will try to explain what my point was, and I hope that I do a better job this time.April 25, 2017 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #1262505
I had stated what I thought was “Daas Torah” (i.e. the opinion of the Gedolim) regarding the appropriate approach to kiruv. My impression was that Yichusdik was telling me that I am wrong and I am not allowed to have that approach because Rav Noach Weinberg, zatsal, had a different hashkafa on this issue than the Gedolim do, and I have to listen to Rav Noach Weinberg, zatsal instead of the Gedolim, since he was the expert on kiruv.
Perhaps I misunderstood you, and if so I sincerely apologize. Since I thought that was what you meant, that is what I was responding to.
If that is what you meant, I greatly object to that statement. Whether or not we are wrong or right about what the Gedolim really hold and what Rav Noach Weinberg, zatsal, really held is irrelevant right now. I am and was referring to the hashkafa that one should attain his hashkafa from an “expert” in a field (whatever the field may be) as opposed to the Gedolim.
If I want to find out what the Torah approach is to a specific medical procedure that I have reason to believe may involve halachic or hashkafic issues, what would I do? I would first speak to the medical experts in order to find out the exact nature of the procedure so that I could make sure I present the question correctly, but the actual question (regarding the Torah halacha or hashkafic approach) would be asked to the Gedolim.
The same thing in any field, kiruv included. Torah hashkafa must come from the Gedolim period. And that was my point.April 25, 2017 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #1262507
Thank you Yichsdik and Yekke for your comments on my post and for giving me the opportunity to explain what I meant. I hope that it is clearer now. Please let me know what you think and if you have any further critiques or comments.
Thank you.April 25, 2017 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm #1262506
In terms of my usage of the term “mainstream Yeshivish Gedolim”, I used that term for lack of a better term. I certainly did not mean “Yeshivish” as opposed to “Chassidish”. I do not really want to get into a discussion regarding “who’s a Gadol”.
Amongst other things, I am not qualified for such a discussion, and I do not think this is the place for such a discussion. I think it is safe to say that I am referring to those Gedolim who are considered to be Gedolim and whose views are accepted by a large percentage of Talmidei Chachamim.
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