Sparing the Truth

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Reader: Dear Rabbi Ben-Chaim ,I love your website. I did not realize that Orthodox Judaism had such a beautiful system of logic. I have wonderful and caring neighbors who happen to be Church of Christ and the man is the pastor. Yesterday he started attempting to witness to me and I used Rabbi Tovia Singer's materials to completely confound this man and his King James Bible. How far should I go in inviting this man in and exposing him to the beauty of Judaism? Isn't it unfair to destroy a man's ignorance if to do so might disrupt his whole life and family? My thinking is that this man is only accountable to God for the Noachide laws and that it is not his fault that he was raised with an idolatrous belief in a "god made flesh". I love to teach my gentile friends about the beauty of Judaism but I also don't want to alienate anyone or cause divorce in a family. Is this Galut mentality? Shalom, Aaron


Mesora: Aaron,

You may teach him what you wish to impress him with the ideas of Judaism. What he may practice is another story, viz., as he cannot observe shabbos 100%. That is an exclusive practice for Jews.

If you replace his false notions with the concrete truth, he should not feel the rug pulled out from under him. On the contrary, one find's only true security in what is provable, in contrast to baseless beliefs. When one realizes ideas based in reality, now his mind is involved, whereas with blind faith, the mind is completely absent. When one's mind sees truths, his true essence is satisfied, his doubt removed, and true conviction exists.

Man is culpable for his actions and beliefs. Being raised in idolatrous ways is no defense. We all have intelligence, and the opportunity to approach our philosophy of life with rationale. At some point a person must abandon his false ideas, and only you know what he is ready to hear, and when. Be sure to befriend him so your rejection of 'his' ideas does not result in his feelings of self pity. Feelings of ignorance may accompany his feelings of embarrassment when he sees he ascribed to fallacy. But if you make it clear that you denounce ideas - not him - and you show a warmth, he will not sink into a depressed attitude. Your concern and friendship will support him with feelings of self value essential to ward off guilt for following baseless ideas until now. Any possible embarrassment will be avoided as you show that you do not accuse him of wrong, but the false notions which predated him. Make it clear that even our forefather Abraham worshiped idols, and all men including Moses err. "There is no righteous man in the land that does good and does not sin".

Nothing should come in between your teaching another human being the truth. Mankind's purpose is to learn about God and reality, and the Jew's purpose is to teach mankind.

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