Thursday, June 22, 2017

Aveiros For Kiruv

From the previous post written by Rabbi E.G. 

Many summers ago, I worked at Aish Ha’Torah in Jerusalem as an advisor in their Discovery program. My friend and I were fresh out of yeshiva and when asked to recruit at a particular location that we didn’t feel was appropriate for “bnei Torah” to spend time, we resisted. A meeting was scheduled with Rav Noach Weinberg zt”l, founder of Aish. After some small talk, he asked us what the problem was. We explained that we were yeshiva guys trying to work on ourselves and we didn’t feel that it would be good for our neshamos to hang out at an immodest location. I will never forget what he answered.

He looked us in the eye and with the greatest sincerity said, “Let me ask you. If you were in Eastern Europe and the train was leaving to Auschwitz and a woman extended her hand for you to pull her off, would you hesitate to take it because you are a yeshiva guy?!” “Well,” he said, “the train is leaving and it is taking millions not to Auschwitz, but to assimilation and oblivion. You need to go recruit and figuratively extend your hand to pull people off the train and redirect them from assimilation and into Discovery.”

Does that mean that for kiruv, according to Rav Noach, one may shake a woman's hand??

And how far do we take this? Can we also HUG for kiruv? Let us say that a female is going through a very traumatic or stressful time and really needs a hug. Would it be permitted?

The answer to the first question is that many many poskim strictly forbid it [some say יהרג ואל יעבור] while others are lenient abut shaking a woman's hand [passively - if she extends her hand]. I am a nobody but I wouldn't. The slope is slippery. Once we start permitting things it never ends. קירוב רחוקים ends with קירוב בשר chas vi-shalom. 

Hugging? Nobody would permit that.

There is a teshuva in the Tzitz Eliezer where he permits teaching immodestly dressed women for kiruv. Because if we don't permit the smaller aveirah - they will do much bigger ones.

But again - how far do we go?

This is not a simple question.  

I heard from a kiruv worker-musician years back that he received a heter from poskim in Bnei Brak [he declined to identify these poskim by name] to have a DISCO for boys and girls because that would draw them to other Jewish kids and save them from intermarriage.

As they say in the sfarim - וצ"ע.