Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Goal of Chabad Outreach

There was an article published on – a website that supports people who have returned to a traditional and observant Jewish way of life – entitled Why can’t Chabad be more like “Mainstream Orthodoxy”? This article elicited much discussion on and I felt that it was misleading in the way it portrayed the Chabad approach to outreach.

The following is the comment that I posted on to try and repair the damage done by an article that was at best unclear and at worst misinformed and misleading.

This article may not have made the point clear enough and seems to be somewhat misleading with regard the Chabad approach to Mitzvos. It is true that Chabad tries to see a Jew for the Pintele Yid rather than for his/her outward appearance and observance, however this does not in any way belittle the value of a physical Mitzvah, quite to the contrary.

According to Chabad philosophy, based on Kabbalah, the only way one can reach Hakodosh Boruch Hu’s essence is through doing a Mitzvah. This is why Chabad puts on Teffilin with people — by doing so we are enabling them to connect to the essence of the Divine.

Chabad philosophy lays its stress on getting as many people as possible to do individual Mitzvos whereas other Kiruv organizations focus on Making people completely Frum (Orthodox). Although (in an ideal world) Chabad would like people to take on the entire package, the important thing for Chabad is — not the outside appearance — but that they do Mitzvos and thereby connect to Hashem on a regular basis.

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