Tell Your Child – By Rabbi Dovid Abenson

rabbi dovid abensonOn the street where my family lives, one can sit outside on a Shabbos afternoon, enjoying the peace and tranquility that Shabbos brings, learning in solitude or just enjoying the quality time spent with family. There is an exception though. Since our Canadian winters are a “little” on the cold side, the inhabitants tend to stay indoors enjoying the warmth of their homes but once the spring comes, we are invaded. I am not talking about the moskito or ant colonies which inevitably suddenly come back to life after their winter hibernation.

I am referring to missionaries.

You may think that this is old news and you would be correct in your assumption. The doctrine of missionaries goes back thousands of years.

Many years ago, whilst I was studying for Semicha, one of my commitments was to visit non-Jewish schools to give presentations to the jewish students studying there.

On one of those occasions, as I was waiting to go into the classroom, I happened to sit down next to a minister who was also waiting to give a class. As we made conversation, he opened up to me, admitting that Christianity has a major discrepancy in their belief system. I questioned him further about the discrepancy, and he told me that the New Testament teaches that Christians are Hashem’s chosen people because the Jews were driven out of Eretz Israel and so Hashem chose them instead. Now that since 1948, the Jewish people have returned back home to their homeland Israel, it is very hard for them to promote their beliefs that they are “ the “ chosen people. The contradiction is now that the Jewish people live in Israel after thousands of years, it disproves that Hashem did not forsake Klal Yisroel after all!

Therefore, he went on the say, their mission now is to “educate” the jewish nation to take on Christianity so that their “messiah” can come. He emphasized that as long as there are jews around practicing the jewish religion, his “messiah” cannot come.

Even though the basis of their philosophy is falling apart, we are still fighting a war of being missionized across the globe. There are many organizations, in Israel alone. Their pockets are full and their manpower is growing.

I gave a Jewish assembly in a top non jewish private high school in England years ago. The jewish students were very excited because they were about to perform the school’s annual play. Unfortunately, I got to hear that the rehersals and the production took place on Shabbos but more distressful was the fact it was a popular play known throughout the world, based on the top leader of Christianity aka the “messiah”.

I immediately contacted an anti-missionary activitist who advised me to explain to the students, the true role of the real Messiah. To prove who the real Moshiach is, chazal tell us, he has to perform 3 things. Firstly, gather Klal Yisroel back to Eretz Yisroel. Secondly, rebuild the 3rd Bais HaMikdash, and 3, bring peace to the whole world. I should then explain that their messiah did not fulfill any of the above. To the contrary, he brought more death and destruction to the world, crusades, Spanish inquisition, progroms etc.

I expressed my view that the students should not take part in the play or attend the performance but the general response was that it was just a musical and had no deeper meaning behind it.

Unfortunately I was not able to dissuade them from participating in the play.

A few days later, I happened to hear on the radio, a discussion concerning missionaries, and I heard the speaker say that the most successful technique they use to missionize today is that particular play!

In Pirkei Avos, perek bais, mishna 14, it says, “ Rabbi Eliezer says, be diligent to study the Torah and know what to answer one who is scornful ( apikorus) of the laws”. The Meiri writes “ a person must learn in order to fulfil the Mitzvah and for the sake of Torah study itself. He must also study in order to refute the arguments of a non believer.” The Rambam explains “ the word apikorus in the Mishna refers to a non jew.” Therefore, Chazal impress upon us the importance of having basic knowledge in answering missionaries.

Aish HaTorah use extremely useful techniques. I would like to quote from their publications, showing how distorted missionary ideals are.

1) They say {Matthew Chap 5:39{-“If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”

A good Christian really believes this.

Ask “Do you believe this?” If the answer is yes , try it (unless he is big)

2) They say (Matthew 5:42)”Give to him who begs from you.”

They say(Luke 6:30)”…Do not ask of them again.”

Ask; “Do you believe this?” If the answer is yes ,beg for his Bible , watch, etc

a true missionary believes in the above ideas quite literally and even will lose the shirt off his back!

This method has actually been used successfully to discourage missionaries from circulating certain parts of Yerushalayim. On hearing of the danger of losing one’s possessions, missionaries have had for some strange reason failed to return to these areas!

It is self evident, that those involved in kiruv rechokim cannot be equated with missionarizing. The latter attempts by various means , including financial inducements to entice people to embrace Christianity, the former are involved in the holy task of bringing our jewish brethren back to their roots.

Our tradition is not to have a dialogue with missionaries. Missionaries are completely brainwashed, therefore it is basically a waste of time to speak to them. But nevertheless it is important to teach our children in such a way to protect themselves of these foreign influences, so if by chance one needs to confront them or save another Jew from their hands, it is important to at least have a basic understanding, why as Jews, we disagree with Christian missionaries who try to convert Jews to Christianity.

With Pesach soon upon us, we will lift up our cups of wine and proclaim,

“ v’he sh’amda” …………- that throughout the generations, many nations have tried to destroy us but we must remember that Hashem will always deliver us from their hands.

May we all celebrate this Pesach in Eretz Yisroel with the TRUE Moshiach Tzidkeinu b’mhera b’yameinu amen sela .

Rabbi Abenson is the founder and director, author and lecturer at Shaar Hatalmud, a unique yeshiva based online program, featuring evaluations and upgrading of skills in Hebrew reading, Gemara studies, consulting school principals world wide to improve their ability to discover students who possess under-developed skills. He can be reached at [email protected] or 1-877-HATALMUD (428 2568).

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  1. Wow.

    Another great and interesting article by Rabbi Abenson.

    It’s amazing what Rabbi Abenson knows! A man of all wisdom and topics!

    Kol Hakavod, I will be using these techniques very soon…

  2. We have issues with these people. And yes, telling your child about the consequences and realities of these people will help maintain our goal: stay a yid. not to convert!

    what connection has it got?! Every single word!

  3. Although warning kids not to engage in conversation with missionaries is of general importance, please let us not put this subject under the theme of the Haggadah’s Vehiggadato L’vincho, and you shall tell your child. This is clearly not he meaning of V’higaddatoh L’vincho. The Mitzva is to tell your son the story of the Exodus, not to warn them about missionaries. We must not digress from the Torah’ holy direction of this holy night.

  4. Very surprising… The hagaddah discusses the story of leaving Mitzraim which of course has nothing to do with missionaries, with which @PoshuteYid was correct, however you missed the point that the article was trying to bring out. In the paragraph of vehishyamda.

    In every generation as you can see in the colorful hagaddahs which discusses the evil nations which have tried to destroy us, the romans, greeks, the persians and most recently, the cossacks and the spanish inquisition, … … hitler and now the jehadists

    All the above happened in different periods of Jewish history, but the missionaries have been going on since the beginning when christanity started. You may say that it has not been as brutal as the above empires who actually destroyed and killed.

    The missionaries don’t do that but they are worse; they convert them forever and all the generations are lost.

    So it’s still in the category of vehishyamda.

    So understand the concept and don’t be naaiv. Becuase just since you persoanly were not effected. They try and also reach out to not strong Jews. Or boys that are burnt out.

    Just to mention, in Israel alone! There are Hundreds of Missionary organizations trying to convert Jews, and most recently actually created a campaign, worth millions of dollars.

    Anyways thank you Rabbi Abenson for these wonderful techniques.
    Your article is one very unique and uplifting.


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