Kingdom of Priests

Kingdom of Priests

You Still Think Judaism Has No Mission of “Conversion”?

So you still think Judaism doesn’t seek to influence the spiritual path that non-Jews are on? That Jews have no plan of “conversion” in mind for the rest of the world? That Judaism has no “mission” to humanity? This week’s Torah reading (Acharei-Kedoshim, Leviticus 16:1-20:27) begins with the description of the high priest’s service on Yom Kippur. 

Rabbi S.R. Hirsch notes on Leviticus 16:5: “That which the priest is to be to the [Jewish] people, the people are to be to the rest of mankind, the ‘leading ram’ at the head of God’s flock of human beings, showing the way to accomplish all that is noble and good.”
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Richard H

posted April 27, 2009 at 5:54 pm

As a Christian reader of Scripture I have observed such a mission for the Jews. As I read your posts, I see that perhaps I’m not just imposing a Christian reading on the text (though my perverse imagination can imagine some folks accusing you of allowing yourself to read the text from a Christian point of view).

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Aliza Hausman

posted April 27, 2009 at 7:15 pm

No, I still don’t believe that Jews are running around trying to convert people to their way of life to try to prevent them from falling into the fiery pit that is Hell. No, I don’t. This, though, was one of things I liked about it when I finally converted to Judaism.

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Richard H

posted April 27, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I’m not a Jew, Aliza, (and I’m not David either), but my guess is that he’d define the mission of the Jews not as prevent people “from falling into the fiery pit that is Hell,” but as extending the blessings of God to outsiders (remembering David’s starting point at Ex 19:5-6 – & Gen 12:1-3).

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David Klinghoffer

posted April 27, 2009 at 10:23 pm

Thanks, Richard, yes that’s exactly right — and I appreciate Aliza’s prompting me to clarify. The Jewish mission isn’t to save people from damnation by turning them into Jews but to save the culture of nihilism and meaninglessness by seeking to help people clarify ultimate questions with the help of the moral, spiritual, intellectual framework given in Torah for non-Jews, namely the Noachide code.

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Xube Posoh

posted April 28, 2009 at 10:14 am

All religions attempt to convert others to their way of thinking. But one must remember that the mind dies with the body…so thoughts are short term..thank Wakanda.
Religion is Man’s view of God.
Spirituality is God’s view of God.
As a breed Ponca elder and healer, I seek to convert no one for I have no religion, just my own spiritual connection to Wakanda (God)…which I cannot share with anyone and I cannot take their spiritual connection to God…whatever that may be.
Be at peace now, for soon your mind will die and your soul will be free to live in peace, harmony and love with the Universe.
I have said enough, for my words are beginning to sound like a religion…aho…

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Mary Ellen Rubinacci

posted April 28, 2009 at 11:35 am

I am a converted Jew…I wasn’t pursued, I chose…I’ve found TRUTH in Judaism…Judaism is a difficult path and isn’t easy…but I am happier than in Christianity!

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posted April 28, 2009 at 2:35 pm

My life was transformed by Judaism, I still have to convert. My first conection with Judaism was because of my granfather that was a Jew. First time I heard the Shema was from my granma that was a non jew.

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Maria Aznar

posted April 28, 2009 at 4:47 pm

“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him:
“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
(Matthew 22: 36-40)

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posted April 28, 2009 at 7:17 pm

A rising tide of righteousness elevates all souls, eh? A concept.
More simply put, everthing which adds goodness, add it for all. It may be worth recognizing that this is no less true of what non-Jews contribute.
Just an opinion.

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posted April 28, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Judaism does not only not have a mission to convert others, we actively try to dissuade those who come to us stating their wish to convert. It is only after the third time that they state their intention and desire to convert that we begin teaching our way of life to a stranger who would like to become one of Klal Yisrael.

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David Klinghoffer

posted April 28, 2009 at 8:45 pm

Rebecca, the issue isn’t converting people to Judaism. It’s awakening them to spiritual realities as framed by the Torah. Big difference!

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Brian Beckman

posted April 28, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I would characterize the external mission of Judaism as converting the gentiles into Noachides. Elijah Benamozegh (e.g., “Israel and Humanity”) is excellent on this topic.

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Amy Rosenberg

posted April 29, 2009 at 3:35 am

Judaism recognizes the fine line between respecting the beliefs of all good people and the desire to show our way to those interested in conversion. We believe all good moral humans are deserving of respect regardless of their religious beliefs. If they choose to join us out of a sincere belief that our belief systems is the one closest to their own, then we have no right to send this person away.

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posted April 29, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Mission? No. We have no mission to convert others to our way of life. Not having a mission doesn’t mean we can’t do so. There is a difference between mission and permission, and we are not forbidden from “welcoming the stranger”. But we tend to lead by example, to live our lives in such a way that others want what we have.

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posted May 17, 2009 at 7:53 pm

I’m not a Jew and I am searching for information and trying to learn about the jewish life style (To Convert to Judaism )
I would appreciate all the help and advice I can get to reach my goal

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posted May 18, 2009 at 10:56 pm

You should read “The Lord Will Gather Me In” by the author of this blog!!!

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isaac brown

posted October 24, 2009 at 1:02 am

i read in the torah that ishmael was a son of Abraham . a promise made by god that his descendants would be a great nation. i do not see that this promise has been realised.

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posted October 26, 2009 at 5:56 am

Isaac (such an ironic name, given your post),
Assuming the we can identify the descendants of Ishmael as the Moslems, I suppose I see your point. However, at /one time/ in history, the Moslems were relatively great. (I’m not sure if the promise must be that they’d be /eternally/ great. I guess this greatness was before a certain type of fundamentalism set in, though.

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