Interactions with Non-Religious Jews

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Tinok Shenishba

  1. The Rambam writes that the children and grandchildren of the Karaites were considered like tinokot shenishbau since he was brought up by a mistaken ideology. It is as though they were forced to accept heretical beliefs and even if they are exposed to Orthodox Jews they are still a tinok shenishba because they were brought up with those ideas.[1] Even though many rishonim disagree,[2] theoretically they agree for someone completely brought up with a secular upbringing but they consider that the Karaites were too exposed to Jews to say they were forced to believe their beliefs.[3]
  2. Most poskim applied the Rambam's approach to Karaites to secular and non-religious Jews today.[4] However, not all poskim agree to this assertion, especially where a non-religious Jew was raised in a non-religious home but was in the presence of an Orthodox community.[5]


  1. The rule that someone who is an apikores, min, or kofer is someone that a person should be morid does not apply nowadays.[6]


  1. Rambam Mamrim 3:3
  2. Ramban b"m 71b, Nemukei Yosef cited by Bet Yosef 159, Shibolei Haleket 2:46, Tashbetz 1:139, Radvaz 2:797, Shach YD 159:6
  3. Chazon Ish YD 1:6
  4. The Laws of Outreach p. 87 and ch. 4 fnt. 10 based on Binyan Tzion Chadashot 2:23, Rav SR Hirsch (Collected Writings), Bet Yitzchak YD 2:23 kuntres acharon, EH 2:65, Melamed Lhoil 29, Achiezer 3:25, Maharsham 1:121, Zakan Aharon 1:55, Igrot Reyia 1:138, Shoel Vnishal 3:116, Chazon Ish 1:6, Rav Henkin in Teshuvot Ivra 8:2, Minchat Yitzchak 6:34, Rav Sheinberg (Tzorar v. 2 p. 59-60), Shevet Halevi 8:165:1, 2:172, Yabia Omer OC 7:15, YD 1:11:16, Chut Shani (Shabbat v. 2 p. 286), Teshuvot Vehanhagot 2:460, Minchat Asher 1:10:5
  5. The Laws of Outreach p. 98 fnt. 10 writes that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach's opinion on this matter changed over time originally assuming like the Melamed Lhoil and later holding that secular Israelis are like mumarim. Rav Moshe Feinstein distinguished between a Jew who was raised in a non-religious home and community without knowing about Orthodox Jews who is like a tinok shenishba and one who was raised in the presence of an Orthodox community. Rav Elyashiv's opinion is a matter of a dispute.
  6. Chazon Ish YD 2:16 writes that nowadays we do not allow another Jew to die even someone who is an apikores, min, or kofer. The law of moridin only applied at times when miracles were experienced and Hashem's presence was felt palpably by everyone. Therefore, a sinner needs to be removed since he would pose a spiritual danger to the entire community and consequently everyone would be endangered by punishments. However, when there is a major breach in faith among many Jews then punishing the sinners will not solidify the community's faith but rather it'll appear to people to be a cruel and destructive act. Ultimately we have an obligation to help them do teshuva. Rav Chaim Soloveitchik (Avodot Vehanhagot Lbet Brisk v. 2 p. 266 citd by The Laws of Outreach p. 75) agreed.