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Help, Don't Hurt Those Who Seek
By Shlomo Phillips © January 29, 2017

A reader comments: I thought only converts show these (almost psychotic) signs of doing everything 300% and folding themselves in dogmas, but some Ger/Noahides do that too. They build up an arrogance.
Shlomo responds: This is true, but of course most Noahides come out of other religions as well. We can therefore say that they "convert" into the Noahide Way and run the risk of holding these same convert attitides.

There are also some Jews, I know some of these, who leave the Derech HaShem for a while to become so-called Messianics, to embrace Buddhism, etc. and who later return as Baal Teshuva. A Baal Teshuva is any non-observant Jew (whether raised religious or not), who takes up Torah observance later. These however, the ones who go off into other religions and return, sometimes find it difficult to control their fanaticism regarding other paths too. Its as though they feel that by condemning others they stregthen their observance of Judaism. The opposite is the case.

Here is how I think conversations with non-Jews should go:

Gentile: "I am a Christian (a Buddhist etc)."
Jew: "Wonderful."
Gentile: "I am a Christian (a Buddhist etc)."
Jew: "Why are you following a false religion?"
This is not good. Rather:
Gentile: "I am a Christian (a Buddhist etc)."
Jew: "Wonderful."
Gentile: "May I ask you a question?"
Jew: "Of course."
Gentile: "Why don't you believe as I do?"
Jew: "I follow Torah, you follow a different path. That's OK."
Gentile: "But why don't you accept Jesus (follow the Buddha Dharma, etc.)"
Now the Jew is obligated to explain, assuming the question is sincere, why he/she believes as he does. Why are we obligated? Because we are ordained by HaShem to be the Kingdom of priests and holy nation (Exodus 19:6). Not just the rabbis, all of us are under this obligation to be a blessing to the world. We are not required in Torah, and we are forbidden by the rabbis, to seek converts, however we are not to turn our faces against those who sincerely ask and seek our help, especially in religious matters.
Gentile: "I want to convert to Judaism."
Jew: "Not a good idea. I don't think you understand what you are asking for. Just be a good Christian (Buddhist etc.).
Gentile: "But I believe Torah is true and Jews are the Covenanted people."
Jew: If you have really come to (are coming to) this realization, then be a Noahide and stand beside us. This is the Path for non-Jews. Converting to Judaism is not required and not advisable for most people."
If we ridicule people's beliefs, which are normally genuinely held, what good do we offer them? Most observant people, regardless of their religion, sincerely believe they are serving G-d (as they understand Him based on their upbringing and studies). This is admirable! Most people today have no sincere interest in knowing G-d. Yasher Koach to those who do, and who exercise that interest in peace and love! We should help such people learn and embrace Torah, when they request our help, even if their current views contradict Torah.

A few years ago I was working closely with a man online who sincerely wanted to convert to Judaism. He was studying and growing nicely. I gave him the addresses and websites of two Orthodox shuls in his area (Dallas, Texas). He went to one during the week seeking advise from the rabbi. The rabbi refused to see him or to give him an appointment. He was told appointments were only for shul members and that no one there was interested in speaking with a non-Jew. He left and went to the second shul Shabbat morning as I advised, without making contact first. "Attend services, let them come to you and introduce themselves," I suggested. He did. The first time no one approached him. The second time he visited a greeter approached told him that Gentiles were not welcome there either. He asked him what he should do if he wanted to convert, and was curtly told again that he should leave and not return. In the second case I confirmed that this is indeed what happened with the shul. Today this man is a committed anti-Semitic follower of the "Hebrew Roots movement."

We Jews, and our Noahide friends, are commanded by HaShem to be a blessing to the other nations. Let them rage against us if they wish, but not because of anything we have done, G-d forbid, not because of our refusal to hear their religious questions and to help them.

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