Which is Worse Publically Converting or Publically OTD?

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    Which do you think is worse Publically breaking shabbos while eating Trief or Publically getting baptized and “accepting” The man not born on December 25th as your lord and Savior?


    Which do you think is worse — hacking an innocent person’s arm off or injecting someone with blood contaminated by a potentially fatal disease?

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    We’re kind of halachically required to say converting is worse so I’m not really sure how much discussion this could possibly generate.

    The little I know

    Rewording this question into its true situations, “Which is worse, to be evil or to be sick?” Converting is שמד, and this is a question of guilt or innocence. OTD is not evil. It is a manifestation of someone coping with internal conflict (sometimes even external conflict) and making bad choices. While some who are OTD engage in criminal behavior, requiring the involvement of law enforcement, the OTD piece of the pie belongs in the realm of mental health. Pose this matter to anyone with experience dealing with at-risk and OTD issues, and you will find universal agreement on this.


    Going OTD can simply be due to taaiva and rishus.


    Someone might have converted because they hate Yiddishkeit so much (for whatever reason) and felt publically converting (and making a video of it, so the whole world sees it ) is some sort of way to get back at people. So they might be sick too (maybe worse)


    The little I know, making bad choices is not a mental health issue rather a yetzer hora/tavah issue. Making bad choices is as much a mental issue as all choices we make in life are.

    Being self-centered, having bad middos and a weak, undeveloped character, are usually the cause of a person going OTD. Going OTD is in the majority of times not a mental issue.


    In both cases you’re showing that you don’t believe in Judaism. Conversion also shows that you believe in another religion. So I’d say it’s pretty clear that conversion is worse – it’s OTD taken to the next step.


    Publically converting here means making of video of yourself near a baptism pool and going in and having the video go viral, Not just a private conversion



    For previous generations
    even apikorsim refused to shmad !

    Uncle Ben

    The choices here are both bad. Can we at least spell publicly correctly?


    How is this even a legit argument? It’s sad people are even comparing “otd” ( which is a terrible word and anyone I’ve seen use that word is usually problem with “otd” -hence guys that are struggling ) it’s just not even in the same conversation people that are struggling have nothing to do with someone that converts to Christianity, it’s sad that this is on ywn

    The little I know


    Sorry, it is not about rishus. You know that, and are making that statement to irritate others.


    It falls in the psychological realm, and it is not about being evil. You know that. When it is your kid ch”v, your eyes are more open. Sit shiva on an OTD kid? Not according to halacha. and taavah is a mental health issue. I am not applying diagnostic labels to it. Lastly, you try to pin 100% of responsibility for OTD on the kid. Have you ignored the abuse, neglect, and rejection that was inflicted on the kid? There are many people who get the respect as mechanchim etc. who will have serious din vecheshbon for the abusive impact they had on their talmidim. And I would never defend those that embarrass and shame talmidim and calling it the mitzvah of chinuch. This form of abuse ranks high among the elements that push someone OTD.


    Conversion is unrelated to OTD. The person converting is doing so for ideological and intellectual reasons, and has a serious problem with belief. The OTD is escaping pain and suffering, and is involved in reacting emotionally to events and situations of his life. The many OTD kids I know have never wavered in their belief or emunoh. They are on an emotional course of escape, angry, rejected, with poor choices of how to respond to these internal and external issues. They do not progress to conversion as a next step.


    The little I know, my life was not a bowl of cherries, to put it mildly. I always tell my kids I had all the reasons to go OTD, but you have to do what Hashem put you in this world for. Hashem gives trials for everyone and He gives the stregnth to o ercome it. Everyone is responsible for their own actions.

    Do you think that murderers don’t have good excuses? They were also abused, neglected, etc. Anyone can have excuse for doing evil. This is the 21st century liberal corruptness where we take no responsibility for our actions. This is not the Torah way that clearly says that we have bechira.


    Otd cases are nebech. Converting cases are also nebech, but the nebechkiet is overpowered by the stupidkiet.


    First, the answer is self-evident and virtually every respondent got it right.

    Second, the only valid reason to ask an A vs B question is when there is a need to choose between the options, which does not apply here. The question is pointless.

    Third, the causes of OTD are varied. To suggest that anyone who doesn’t do as you do or agree with your beliefs is mentally ill is pompous and shameful.


    When I was single, I went to someone house for shabbos. The father told his son to eat some chulent. The son refused saying he didnt want to be fleshig and the father asked again and the son refused. The father then grabbed the kid and shoved a spoonful of chulent in his mouth. I have no idea what happend to the son as I refused to go back there again. I am willing to bet shoving a spoonful of chulent in a kids mouth will not get him to like chulent or shabbos though


    One way to put it is: You are basically asking which is worse, Chillul Shabbos etc or Avodah Zarah?

    Answer: No doubt, AZ. It’s basis is found in the Torah and Chazal etc.

    The main issue with Chillul Shabbos is, it is considered “AS” a mumar etc. being that Shabbos “signifies” Amunah. (which is debatable and depending the situation etc), hence, official declaring one as a Mumar and a Meshumad is the lowest you can get.


    converting is obviously worse, because if you convert you are also OTD… right?

    The little I know


    Murderers are expressly harming others. Not so for OTD. They are self-destructive. No, it’s not good, and behaviors are not being dismissed or excused. And if a OTD kid gets involved in crime, I advocate the full brunt of the law. Yes, I have advised using police to counter threats and damaging behavior. But you are confusing a huge issue here. There is a major difference between בין אדם למקום and בין אדם לחבירו. Day and night. I advocate toughness on any form of crime, be it shoplifting, DUI, drug dealing, etc. If an OTD kid chooses ch”v to stop putting on tefillin or observing Shabbos, it is sad, but not my business. To the degree I might possess skills to attract him back to shmiras mitzvos, I have the obligation of ערבות to return to HKB”H one of his flock that strayed. Until then, HKB”H did not appoint me as his police officer or prosecutor to intervene. And the OTD will sooner follow the kiruv that is appropriate for him sooner than the sticks and stones that others imply are needed.

    No liberal corruptness for me. I recognize that crime is evil and requires appropriate intervention. The escaping from religion because of the myriad of negative experience is not evil, despite being sad and painful for others. Law enforcement, both the arrest and incarceration, do not rehabilitate the criminal. At best, they protect society from recurring crime. There might be an outcome of deterrence. That is not the intended result of intervention with an OTD kid. We want the kid to return to יהדות with the passion and determination that were our aspirations for him in the first place. Yes, that is an uphill battle. No, most people do not know how to accomplish that. Certainly not be criminalizing the aveiros. We should all achieve Ahavas Hashem – the very first mitzvah that gets coupled with קבלת עול מלכות שמים that we recite several times a day. No one ever succeeded in achieving that via punishment or other negative forms of treatment.

    Do not confuse בין אדם למקום with בין אדם לחבירו.


    Murderers sometimes do successfully use the insanity defense.


    1. AZ
    2. OTD
    3. BZ (bitul zman)

    1 and 2 are worse than 3. But everyone on this thread, exept me for calling you out, is oiver on 3


    Going OTD can simply be due to taaiva and rishus.
    Going on the internet can simply be due to taaiva.
    Being a troll can simply lead to rishus.
    Troling has been known to lead people OTD.



    ” if a OTD kid gets involved in crime, I advocate the full brunt of the law”


    ” There is a major difference between בין אדם למקום and בין אדם לחבירו.”
    ” The escaping from religion because .. is not evil”

    liberal corruptness by another name.

    “Do not confuse בין אדם למקום with בין אדם לחבירו.”


    The little I know


    I would have expected enough literacy to understand what I wrote. I guess I need to explain.

    ” if a OTD kid gets involved in crime, I advocate the full brunt of the law” why??

    OTD is not a crime. but crime is. Kiruv people, rabbonim, therapists, etc. are not equipped to deal with this. Law enforcement is. If an OTD person steals, they should face the consequences of their actions. It is of no benefit to prevent this. Kids don’t learn from it, and it does not protect anyone’s safety.

    ” There is a major difference between בין אדם למקום and בין אדם לחבירו.”
    ” The escaping from religion because .. is not evil” liberal corruptness by another name.

    I have no idea what part of this is too difficult to understand. Nothing corrupt here, and nothing liberal. Are you suggesting that someone who is not putting on tefillin or keeping Shabbos merits your punishments? Do you have any clue what these kids are experiencing, or are you looking for points? I am not excusing their behavior, and I am not accepting it. What they do harm other people is our issue. Hashem did not empower you to exact “revenge” on His behalf. He manages this world quite well without your help or advice. I am not liberal at all. Actually, I am just being realistic, and aware of my role and responsibility.

    “Do not confuse בין אדם למקום with בין אדם לחבירו.” why??

    Because one is my business, and the other is not. If you have difficulty understanding this, I suggest you visit a sefer or two and learn something. There are many psukim that address this, and there is quite a bit throughout Shas. If you prefer, try some sifrei mussar.


    I have no idea what point the OP was making with this question, but some people here seem to have rushed to express their opinion on the kids who go off the derech today and insist that they are in pain, not resha’im. I don’t think that is relevant to this discussion.
    To reword what I think the question was: Is it worse for someone who – for whatever reason – doesn’t want to keep mitzvos anymore to go ahead and publically do aveiros, or to convert to some other religion? I think worded that way, the question basically answers itself.
    So the reason why the person stopped being frum isn’t relevant to the question. But are all the people insisting that everyone OTD is escaping pain going to say the same thing about people who convert to other religions?



    Though it was fairly obvious what you were trying to convey, I was giving you the opportunity to walk it back. Instead you just dug the hole deeper.

    So saturated by the western zeitgeist, eh?

    Find us a source, any source that ” one is my business, and the other is not”!
    Tanach (with notable exceptions eg Tehillim) is written in plural. Do you know why?
    We are able to be yotzei someone Kiddush because of Arvus. why?

    e.g.D’vorim 29:28
    Ramban on Devarim 27:26
    One who shirks their obligation to uphold everyone’s Judaism as much as is possible is “Arur”

    If ” you have any clue what these kids are experiencing?” then why
    ” If an OTD person steals, they should face the consequences”?

    Because crime is more destabilizing?


    The little I know, the majority of OTDs are self-centered, chutzpadig, flaunt rules, etc. The behavior bein adam l’chveirah is sorely lacking for most OTDs. Of course, there are exceptions, there are nice OTDs too, but they are not the majority. And that they were all abused is a myth. Only a small percentage was abused, many come from wonderful families and nobody abused them. And many people are in pain, that gives no excuse to abandon Yiddishkeit.

    But that’s beside the point. What does it matter about bein adam l’chveirah vs l’makom? Converting to Christianity is also bein adam l’makom, and this is what we are discussing, which is worse.

    You write in your comments about “exacting revenge” which nobody was talking about. What in the world are you talking about?!

    The little I know


    Not any deeper, and I will never succumb to walking it back. Sorry, but a neshomoh is too precious to discard.

    Now, let me disclose that I have been working directly with OTD kids for many years. I know many, have helped many, and have been connected to many others who work with them. The Torah attitude to שמד is to sit shiva and disassociate from them. Not the person who is a baal aveiroh. There is a huge movement of kiruv rechokim, and there is a far smaller movement of kiruv kerovim. And so many have returned to shmiras mitzvos, established themselves as members of the community, and have families that are a source of pride and nachas to their families, Klal Yisroel, and HKB”H. They reacted to events and situations in their life, they had their nisyonos, just as we have ours. I cannot judge them, only recognize that they are experiencing something tragic, whether it is the negativity of what they underwent, or whether it is the poor choices they made in reaction. If you query these kids, they are not running away from Hashem. They are escaping the torture of their experience with us adults, and this is the way they chose. I am not justifying their poor choices. I am looking inside them. When I can see their pain, when I can feel their anguish, when I can feel their loneliness, I achieve a place where I can reach out and connect. When I cannot get into that space, I am not obligated to do anything, and that is not the Ramban’s “Arur”. Refer to Mesilas Yesharim (Perek 20) regarding the mitzvah of הוכח תוכיח.

    Have you ever spoken to one of these kiruv kerovim professionals? Try it. Learn something. These are troubled kids, not bad ones. They are usually harmless, though self-destructive. Allowing them to encounter the consequences of criminal behavior is part of their growth. I am not the one who wants them to rot in jail. But to learn a lesson is a good thing. Now, we must ask, does that empower us to punish? My answer is simple. When we possess the access the all the relevant data, we can do that. And knowing whether this is a weakness of character and spirit is part of the calculation. We repeated that message countless times in our tefilos on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. The tefiloh written by Reb Elimelech to recite daily before davening details this quite well, so you can look in a siddur without the need to dig out the machzorim.

    Now, I won’t backtrack. Every word I said was sacred and correct al pi Torah.



    If/When discussing practically now how to deal one on one, indeed one must work with patience, tolerance etc.
    However you as do many others mistake and lose the proverbial ‘ the forest for the trees’
    I actually have devoted quite a bit of my time with much cost over the years on more than one level and sphere towards kiruv kerovim

    In addition,
    as philosopher has implied more than once “many people are in pain, that gives no excuse to abandon Yiddishkeit”

    The little I know

    Time4Truth & Philo:

    “many people are in pain, that gives no excuse to abandon Yiddishkeit”

    We’re not excusing anything. I do not condone abandoning Torah and Mitzvos. I am understanding it in its context, and wish I could do more to help bring the afflicted person back to the derech. But let’s reverse the dynamic here. Just what do you intend to pronounce by holding the OTD person responsible? I never said he is not responsible for what he is doing. However, his judgment was not delegated to me, and it is not my role to “attack” him for this. I would not want younger people to see him as a role model, I would be horrified if he brought treif or chilul Shabbos into my home (or anyone else’s). Do you expect me to wish him dead? Do you seek to have the community impose punishments on him? What is your expectation of me?

    It is not about excusing. It is about understanding. And if either of you have been involved with the kiruv kerovim work as you claim, you should understand well what I mean. There is an obligation of rebuke – completely dependent on the likelihood of a positive outcome. Should an observer be happy or indifferent when seeing someone OTD? I never said that. I am saddened by it.

    As for the משומד, we are instructed by Chazal how to treat him. If HKB”H sees this as emotional illness rather than rishus, that’s for Him to handle. There is no reference in Torah to treat the OTD person with disdain. There is an obligation to help him return.


    We are also instructed by Chazal how to treat mechallel Shabbos and those who trample on halacha.

    Nobody said anything about wishing anyone dead, only you are talking about such ridiculous things.

    And it’s incredibly stupid ( sorry to be so blunt) that you ask if we should hold an OTD responsible for his actions…are you for real? WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE FOR OUR ACTIONS, INCLUDING OTDs.


    There was one specific case of a young, formerly Frum girl/woman being baptized which was videotaped and circulated online. I think it’s no longer public.

    I don’t know her story but if I would have to guess, my best bet would be that she was trying to hurt someone in her family by PUBLICLY converting (unless the video was not her doing, then there are different possibilites).

    Of course this is a lot worse than “just״ being OTD, which she clearly is.

    I forgot her name, but she used a very obvious Jewish/Yiddish name in the video clip (which someone brought to my attention and I probably shouldn’t have watched) and was surely trying to provoke.

    This is the ultimate Chillul Hashem, almost impossible on such a scale just a generation ago. In addition to that, there are the actual aveiros she committed by shmad’ing. We have a lot to mourn over.


    She was from a Rebbish Family and the video is still online

    Once a video is released to the public its very hard to squelch it

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