Are you allowed to convince an agnostic Jew to start keeping parts of the Torah for purely practical purposes like: prayer & faith have a calming effect, learning Torah sharpens the mind, Shabbos is a weekly gift of peace & serenity, kosher food is healthier than non kosher, the many benefits that come from being part of a close knit community, etc?

Is there a problem with glossing over the spiritual & moral aspects in favor of highlighting the practical benefits that come with being a religious Jew?

  • What would be the two sides of the question? Commented May 17, 2019 at 17:14
  • That’s what Rav Yehuda says in the name of Rav on Pesachim 50b. Commented May 17, 2019 at 17:47
  • We don't mach sechorah mit d'Torah. This is what Rav Eliyashiv said regarding inviting somone who will drive on shabbos,one should not twist the Torah to make somone frum,this is talking about making stuff up,but if there is a source for it,why not?
    – sam
    Commented May 17, 2019 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


Sure, we follow what the Gemmorah taught us (Psochim 50b):

דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב, לְעוֹלָם יַעֲסוֹק אָדָם בְּתוֹרָה וּבְמִצְוֹת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלּא לִשְׁמָהּ שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ שֶׁלּא לִשְׁמָהּ בָּא לִשְׁמָהּ

A person should always engage in Torah study and performance of mitzvot, even if he does so for his own sake, as through the performance of mitzvot not for their own sake, one gains understanding and comes to perform them for their own sake.

The translation is based on the following Gemmorah (Nozir 23b):

אָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב, לְעוֹלָם יַעֲסוֹק אָדָם בְּתוֹרָה וּבְמִצְווֹת אֲפִלּוּ שֶׁלּא לִשְׁמָן, שֶׁמִּתּוֹךְ שֶׁלּא לִשְׁמָן בָּא לִשְׁמָן.‏

So pasken rambam in Talmud Torah 3:5.

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