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Is kiruv a mitzvah? Is it biblical or rabbinic? Is there any reason it should supersede other mitzvot? what are the sources in chazal and halacha relating to kiruv?

related: Kiruv and halachik compromise

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Well IIRC one may be mechalel Shabbos to save a person spiritually as well as physically, so hatzalas nefashos is one place to start looking –  yitznewton May 11 '12 at 17:05
    
+1 I was just thinking about this question. I know there is a Zohar about it, but that's not necessarily authoritative. –  Hacham Gabriel May 11 '12 at 21:57
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3 Answers

Rav Sheinberg ZS"L said the source is "Kol Yisrael Arevim ZeLaze."

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The mitzvah of tochecha(rebuke) and vahavta l'reacha kamocha(loving ones friend) are intertwined and kiruv is a huge mitzvah and it is like saving a life. Rambam (Mitzvos Aseh 3),Minchas Chinuch (Mitzvah 239 Os 4) .The Gemara in Shevous 39 brings the idea from a passuk of areivus(responsible for a community)that not only one has to help individuals but also bring a community closer.

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Sam, is tochecha the same thing as kiruv? would that mean that kiruv would follow the same halachic parameters (such as only doing if you know the person will listen/improve)? Is there a source that pairs kiruv with any of the mitzvot you mention? –  rachav May 11 '12 at 17:14
    
The Rambam in sefer hamtzvos mitzva 3( to love Hashem) he explains kiruv is part of this mitzva because if one really loves someone he will get everyone interested to also love that person.The Ramban explains tochecha and loving ones friend is one concept and the idea is really kiruv to bring the person back to Hashem with love. –  sam May 11 '12 at 18:23
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There is an Ohr haChaim by the mitzvah of hashavas aveidah which learns homiletically (al derech derush) that returning lost objects to one's friend is an allegory for returning lost Jews to Hashem.

I am not sure how authoritative it is really as a halachic source though.

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