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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Fri, 2 Jan 1998 12:41:22 -0500 Subject: Kiruv Alienating? A Biblical Response I read with intrigue Tzadik Vanderhoof's account on how some kiruv activits ENCOURAGE cut off (from family) while others seems to OPPOSE it. A proper methodological approach in such a a case is to see Biblical stories. We are fortunate to have just such a Biblical story...the episode with Ishamael: * The Bible clearly states as a prophecy that Ishmael is blessed and will become a great nation! * The Bible relates how Ishmael and his brother the Patriarch Yitzchak use to play in a bad manner. The word for play in the Biblical verse (read in the Torah reading every New year) is in the Piel Form...and the Piel form of Play is always perjorative in the Bible...Rashi lists the possibilities: --Ishmael was showing Isaac "war games" --Ishmael was showing Isaac "idolatry games" --Ishmael was showing Isaac homosexual games We see the first problem with Kiruv...the contradiction that -Ishmael will become great and should have a good upbringing hence, do not cut him off -Ishmael is a bad influence on Isaac hence, do cut him off How should we react? * The Bible records in fact two views -- the same two views mentioned by Tzaddik in his posting --Sarah's view---CUT HIM OFF --Abraham's view---No cut off In this particular case G-d took Sarah's side * The aftermath...Ishmael is CUT OFF...and he is saved by a miracle. * The descendants of Ishmael and Isaac -- the Arabs and Jews--- have since then sometimes been friends(in the Middle ages) and are presently in a state of Cold war intespersed with actual conflicts Clearly the initial cut off several thousand years ago has affected Jewish Arab relations to the present. What do I conclude? I can't conclude that there is one answer to cut off or no cut off since the Bible cites respectable opinions on both sides. I can conclude that WHATEVER is done in any particular case will STRONGLY affect all parties. It is part of being an adult to take the responsibility for this and at least be AWARE of it. Tzadik raises serious and grave questions. The Bible highlights their seriousness. I hope the above helps people in dealing with these grave issues Russell Jay Hendel; PHd; ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu