"Moshiach is ready to come now-our part is to increase in acts of goodness and kindness" -The Rebbe

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Unconditional Acceptance: A Delicate Balance

Unconditional Acceptance:
A Delicate Balance

Rabbi Y. Oliver

The Rebbe writes:
It is difficult to establish rules concerning your question whether to deliver a speech at [political] party meetings or for groups that are not G–d-fearing.

On the one hand, it is proper to use every opportunity to influence
diverse groups of our Jewish brethren, to draw them close to Judaism, Torah and Mitzvos.

On the other hand, one must exercise caution to ensure that one’s participation in their gathering not be interpreted as a form of endorsement of their views, or at least of their activities.

Practically speaking, you should make a point of negating the last concern, and lecturing in any place that is fit to sow a seed of Judaism and fear of Heaven. Most of the time this sowing leads to growth, whether on the spot, or at least at some later point in time.

Igros Kodesh, Vol. 4, p. 199.

The suggestion that you teach in a school with mixed classes and the like does not seem correct to me, for this lends endorsement [to such conduct].

Ibid., Vol. 18, pp.
Spreading Yiddishkeit involves maintaining a delicate balance. Obviously one should seek out every possible opportunity to exert influence on as many people as possible, and in order for the listener to accept one’s message, one needs to be tolerant, compassionate, and even unconditionally accepting of him.

Nevertheless, one should ensure that the listener does not walk away with the impression that one’s accepting approach on a personal level also entails tacit acceptance and endorsement of his inappropriate behavior.
How to make this point, however, depends upon the situation.

First and foremost, one should be mindful of the inherent need to project a clear moral standard and to prevent one's actions or words from being construed as being permissive. Then one can figure out how to go about doing so in one’s individual circumstances, or consult with a
mashpia for assistance.

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