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Why does Judaism not seek converts?


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Showing 1-25 of 149 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 26, 2012 8:44:52 PM PDT
neonpisces says:
Of the three Abrahamic religions, Judaism is the only one that does not appear to seek conversions.

Why is that?

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 7:41:39 PM PDT
Because we respect other people's right to believe what they believe. Joshua's brothers sold him into slavery, but the position Joshua achieved in exile enabled him to save his people. It is all according to God's plan.

It's not of benefit to all individuals, but the individual is not important - only a tiny part of the whole

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:04:28 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Does Islam seek converts? I'm asking because I really don't know. Do they go knocking on doors or how do they go about it?

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:16:52 PM PDT
Emma says:
Islam is a religion that believes everyone should believe what they do and become Muslim, so they do seek converts. Likewise, Christianity believes that everyone should accept JC as lord and savior to go to heaven, so they also seek converts. Judaism does not believe that other people have to become Jewish, so they are the only ones (of these 3) that do not seek converts. In fact, it is our practice to turn potential converts down 3 times. There is no reason to become Jewish, since we believe that a person can live a righteous life without doing so. However if someone chooses to convert, we welcome them with open arms.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:29:08 PM PDT
cbk says:
Islam converts by force by the sword. That is their history.

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 8:32:43 PM PDT
cbk says:
Judaism does not say that everyone has a "right" to believe what they want. (Rights are not a part of Torah, but that's another topic.) The Torah certainly does mandate a belief in One Creator. Torah, however, doesn't dictate, for non-Jews, a specific approach or manner of serving the Creator.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 27, 2012 8:38:00 PM PDT
Astrocat says:
Yes, that was true in the past, cbk, but how are they doing it now?

Posted on Oct 27, 2012 10:55:27 PM PDT
Trust Me says:
My understanding is that under certain authorities, proselyting by Jews was punishable by death, and Jews just never got back into it.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 7:19:23 AM PDT
cbk says:
Different tactics maybe but the goal is the same. Shooting a 14 yo girl in the head because she wants to be educated shows that inhuman brutality to achieve their goals is still part of their culture. They have been trying to conquer Europe for over 1,000 years by the sword; now they are trying to conquer it by other means of pressure and mass immigration to there.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 8:17:39 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 28, 2012 3:55:00 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 9:05:11 AM PDT
Balok says:
@Leonard M. Weisfeld:

> Joshua's brothers sold him into slavery

I think that you meant to write "Joseph."

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 9:15:32 AM PDT
Astrocat says:
cbk, so shooting Malala was a Muslim method of recruiting believers? I do see your point. Through fear they intend to conquer, and through revenge and whatever other negative actions and emotions they can perpetrate.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 12:44:54 PM PDT
Aggressive proselytizing is an xian 'invention' that was emulated by Islam.

The sincerity of a convert must be pure. Also, it would be a desecration of His Name, for me to try to convince people to believe in Him. If one goes into the conversion business, then they must be prepared to validate their beliefs, to the satisfaction of others. We don't do that.

I won't place my beliefs on the defensive, and that is what I would have to do, if I were to seek converts. And for what? To get a convert that needed to be convinced? No, if Hashem wants them, then Hashem will point them in the right direction.

Judaism requires a daily commitment for life. We don't seek 'validation' through numbers. We don't need validation. I am far more concerned with my fellows being Observant, for their own sake, than I am with having many fellows.

There have been times that we have forced conversions, or people converted to keep lions at bay. We are taught that those conversions were a mistake, and led to problems from the offspring of such converts.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 1:59:51 PM PDT
cbk says:
Very well said.

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 2:21:34 PM PDT
Thank you! Thank you very much. I'll be here all week!
Unfortunately, we both know I should be somewhere else. :)

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 28, 2012 2:55:15 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 28, 2012 3:08:06 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Oct 31, 2012 5:24:10 AM PDT
Ambulocetus says:
"If Hashem wants them, then Hashem will point them in the right direction."

LUV!

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 8:24:54 AM PDT
cbk says: Rights are not a part of Torah, but that's another topic.

lmw: the word "rights" might not be in the Torah. But if Jews have a responsibility to not steal, then it would seem to me that Jews have a right to not be stolen from. Perhaps more to the point is the Commandment to not bear false witness against one's neighbor. God does not say to not bear false witness in court, or simply to not bear false witness. Does He mean by using the word "neighbor" that it is OK to bear false witness against someone who is not one's neighbor?

Does God expect us to be dispassionate Stoics, and experience life with a purely intellectual understanding that all sins are against God and God only?

What is the other topic?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 8:26:53 AM PDT
Yes, of course you are right!

(do i get half credit for j-o-s- ?)
;-)

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 5:08:40 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2012 5:25:33 PM PDT
cbk says:
No. Simply put, people are obligated not to steal. If what you are saying is correct then the this statement is true:
Jews are obligated to give charity/tzedaka to poor people. Therefore poor people have a right to some of my money. Be careful, the Democrats may adopt that as their new platform.

>>Does He mean by using the word "neighbor" that it is OK to bear false witness against someone who is not one's neighbor?

>>What is the other topic?

The relatively new concept of human rights.

Neighbor has a specific denotation in the Torah; just like loving one's neighbor. "Neighbor" is a poor translation, because it has nothing to do with where one lives.

>>Does God expect us to be dispassionate Stoics, and experience life with a purely intellectual understanding that all sins are against God and God only?

Where did you get that from? I said nothing to infer it.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 5:20:48 PM PDT
Hi Leonard.

I'm not exactly sure what cbk was referring to, but I am pretty certain that you have misunderstood him. Sins against man, are sins against His creation, so yes, all sins are sins against G-d. To love His creation, is to love ourselves. This is why we must love our fellow as we love ourselves. G-d is a giver; and we are receivers. To fully receive, we must learn to give, which is to learn to be like G-d. It's not so much that others have the right to receive, it's more like I have the obligation to learn to give. This is the only way that the divine within me, can reach its potential, as the divine that it is.

That is Chessed. But I can't be entirely chessed. I can't survive that way. I would be loving my fellow, but not loving myself. That's not loving my fellow as myself; that's loving my fellow at the expense of my self. So there is Gevurah. It is with Gevurah that we draw the line between giving to others, and giving to ourselves.

This Chessed/Gevurah thing is a struggle within ourselves, that we must master. One can not dominate the other. Both must be in correct measure. Study Torah; live Torah; master one's chessed and gevurah.

There is a midrash in Midrash Rabbah, at the beginning of the midrashim associated with Lech Lecha. It is a midrash about Avram realizing that the world must have a master, and Hashem casting his gaze within Avram, and saying "I am the the Master". At a recent lecture, the lecturer talked about that midrash, and pointed out that to be a Jew, is to be gazed upon, by the Almighty. We must behave accordingly.

You know that I'm not any sort of master. I'm just sharing some things that I've been studying, recently.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 5:58:54 PM PDT
jeffesq613 says:
Well said, Jen. One who understands Torah properly, understands that by receiving charity, the poor person gives much more to the wealthy person than the wealthy person gives to the poor person.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 6:46:57 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 3, 2012 6:47:56 PM PDT
Thanks, Jeff. I know it's true, but I still have a bit of trouble wrapping my mind around it. I guess it is sort of like when a person has a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and they take the time to share with others, and others take that learning and grow, and become teachers as well. Not all of the students will be grateful. Not all of the students will take the learning and grow. But some will. And if the teacher never took the time to share their learning with others, then all of their learning will have been in vain. I guess that's the nature of wealth, whatever its form.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 10:45:28 PM PDT
cbk says:
Be careful, the Democrats may adopt that as their new platform.
lmw: oh,no. not all my precious money!

cbk says:
"Neighbor" is a poor translation, because it has nothing to do with where one lives.
lmw:
yet, it is there. and as poor a translation as it may be, my guess is that it refers to a person other than oneself, and also does not refer to God. When i read "neighbor", i think of my "neighbor". i don't think it is wrong to think of one's neighbor. Perhaps there is no Commandment that says to listen to your neighbor when his heart is aching. Should one say, why should i bother doing that if i am not commanded to?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 3, 2012 11:06:40 PM PDT
Hi, Jen:
It's not so much that others have the right to receive, it's more like I have the obligation to learn to give.
[Why? What if i give to those who don't need? What would be the point of that? How is it chartable, or just, to give where it is not needed? And if "justice" is the correct word, then i do think that indicates that the receiver has a right to receive.]
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Discussion in:  Judaism forum
Participants:  19
Total posts:  149
Initial post:  Oct 26, 2012
Latest post:  Dec 14, 2012

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