by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Why aren’t Jews supposed to reach out to non-Jews and try to convert them?
We are supposed to reach out to non-Jews, and we are supposed to “convert” them. In fact, this is one of our main obligations. We are told that we must be a “Light onto the Nations.”[i] However, the light that we are to show them is not the light of becoming a Jew, but rather, the light that comes from rejecting idolatry.
We have always been obligated to reach out to non-Jews, and to explain to them what it means that G-d is Infinite. This was the main, worldly work of our father Avraham, and it is still supposed to be a main function of his descendants, today. For the past 2,000 years we have experienced an extremely difficult exile. Our wellbeing was always subject to the whims of the many host rulers. This is why we have not been able to fulfill this task. But now that we have our land again, and are secure in many places around the world, we are expected to complete this task that Avraham began.
The concept of “Infinite” - without limits, is not such a simple subject for the average mind to understand. We have to explain it to them many different ways so they will begin to fathom what “Infinite” really means. At least, they are to truly understand what a limited being is. Then, we are to show them how worshiping anything less than the Infinite One is worshipping an idol.
Done properly, this can be a very interesting and enjoyable task, and we get better at it each time we try.
As to why we do not try to convert them to Judaism: Since we know that there are no accidents in creation, we know that they were created gentiles and not Jews, for a good reason.
We have to assume that it is to their advantage to fulfill their created nature and purpose in having been born as they are. Or else, why were they created as they are? This is why a rabbi is to push potential converts away over and over again… to make sure that conversion is really in that person’s best interest.
When non-Jews reject idolatry they elevate themselves to a vastly higher spiritual level. When they reject all of the forbidden actions,[ii] they become righteous people. They earn a wonderful portion in this world, and a share in the World to Come. This is a magnificent gift that you can give them.
[i] Isaiah 42:6
[ii] Idolatry, blasphemy, murder, adultery (forbidden relations), theft, eating meat that was taken from a still living animal (extreme animal cruelty), and unjust courts