Most of this question comes from Moznaim Rambam Mishneh Torah Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 2:5

In Hilchos Teshuva it says.

"Five individuals are described as minnim:

a) one who says there is no God or ruler of the world; b) one who accepts the concept of a ruler, but maintains that there are two or more c) one who accepts that there is one Master [of the world], but maintains that He has a body or form; d) one who maintains that He was not the sole First Being and Creator of all exstence;...

Look at this question which says more things about how one becomes a min. How does one become a Min?

Qoute from Hilchos Avodas Kochavim 2:5 from mechon-mamre about what happens to a min וְכֵן הַמִּינִים מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל, אֵינָן כְּיִשְׂרָאֵל לְדָבָר מִן הַדְּבָרִים. וְאֵין מְקַבְּלִין אוֹתָן בִּתְשׁוּבָה, לְעוֹלָם--שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "כָּל-בָּאֶיהָ, לֹא יְשׁוּבוּן; וְלֹא-יַשִּׂיגוּ, אָרְחוֹת חַיִּים" (משלי ב,יט). Similarly, Jewish minnim are not considered to be Jews with regard to any matter. Their repentance should never be accepted, as [implied by Proverbs 2:19]: "None that go to her repent, nor will they regain the paths of life."

(the notes in the Moznaim Rambam says:)

"Their acceptance should never be accepted" The commentaries have pointed out a contradiction between these statements and the Rambam's statements in Hilchos Teshuva 3:14: "When does the statement that these individuals do not have a portion in the world to come apply? When they die without having repented. However, if such a person repents from his wicked deeds and dies as a Baal-Teshuvah, he will merit the world to come, for nothing can stand in the way of Teshuvah. Even if he denies God's existence throughout his life and repents in his final moments, he merits a portion in the world to come as implied by [Isaiah 57:19] "Peace, peace, to the distant and the near,' declares God.I will heal him.'"

Any wicked person, apostate, or the like, who repents, whether in an open, revealed manner or in private, will be accepted as implied by [Jeremiah 3:22] "Return, faithless children." [We may infer] that even if one is still faithless, as obvious from the fact that he repents in private and not in public, his Teshuvah will be accepted."

this apparent contradiction was brought to the Rambam's attention during his lifetime. In one of his Responsa (101) he resolved the issue by explaining that his statements in Hilchos Havodas Kochavim refer to the attitude which should be adopted by the Jewish People. They should NEVER regard such an individual as a Baal-Teshuvah, because it is possible he is merely feigning repentance in order to gain public acceptance.

In contrast, in Hilchos Teshuvah, the Rambam is referring to the acceptance by God, sees the true feeling of every individual. If his repentance is sincere, regardless of the severity of his previous sins, God will accept him. (Note also the commentary of the Lechem Mishneh and the Responsa of the Radbaz, Vol. V, 1518, which offer similar explanations.)

Proverbs 2:19]: "None that go to her repent, nor will they regain the paths of life."

Avoda zarah 17a questions: Since they will never "Repent" how could they be expected to "regain the paths of life"? The Talmud answers: "Even after they repent, they will not "Regain the path of life"... - i.e they will die

וְאָסוּר לְסַפַּר עִמָּהֶן וּלְהָשִׁיב עֲלֵיהֶן תְּשׁוּבָה כְּלָל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "אַל-תִּקְרַב, אֶל-פֶּתַח בֵּיתָהּ" It is forbidden to talk to them or to reply to them at all, as [Proverbs 5:8] states: "Do not come close to her door."

And quoting Matt in one of his comments in the question I mentioned above:

"Hilchos Mamrim 3:1 two important ones: 1. they aren't included among the Jewish people, so any halakha that requires a Jew cannot be done by such a person, and 2. they should be killed (remember, this site isn't meant for practical advice- please don't kill anyone. The Chazon Ish and other say that second halakha no longer applies"

So my question is:

  1. Most non-religious people either do not believe in (look above: Hilchos Teshuva) a) That there is a God b) one who maintains that He was not the sole First Being and Creator of all exstencene c) does not believe in Techias Hamasim. So if I ask any Jewish guy do you believe in God? (or any of the other 2 questions) and he responds No then am I supposed to "It is forbidden to talk to them or to reply to them at all, as [Proverbs 5:8] states: "Do not come close to her door." And "1. they aren't included among the Jewish people, so any halakha that requires a Jew cannot be done by such a person"

  2. According to Rambam's Responsa (See above) then there is no such thing as a Baal-Teshuva correct? What about all those people who are baal teshuva should we never talk to them and "Do not come close to her door?

onewho accepts that there is one Master [of the world], but maintains that He has a body or form; d) one who maintains that He was not the sole First Being and Creator of all exstence

  • 1
    I'm not sure where you got the number for the Teshuva of the Rambam, in the Blau edition it's number 264 – הנער הזה Aug 1 '14 at 13:40
  • and just to clarify, though I think you know this: the Gemara means that they won't be able to live a long life, not that they die (i.e. cut off) in the afterlife – הנער הזה Aug 1 '14 at 13:41
  • @Matt your 1st comment. What are you referring to? @ – user6781 Aug 1 '14 at 13:42
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    you wrote about the Rambam "in one of his Responsa (101)" - I don't know which version has it as number 101. I have the Blau and Freidman editions, and the particular letter that you're referring to is in Blau 264 – הנער הזה Aug 1 '14 at 13:44
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    We don't ignore them. If they are wealthy, and willing to make a substantial donation, some yeshiva will honor them at their annual banquet or name a wing for them. I'm only half-joking. Rabbi Emanuel Feldman's son, Amram Feldman, zt'l, discussed this issue with a classmate of his from Ner Israel. The classmate's plan was to write-off the non-frum. Amram said: "Do you remember the really old plaques in the [yeshiva's] hallway of major contributors? Do you think even one of them was a shomer shabbos? They weren't! We can't write off the non-frum." – Bruce James Aug 1 '14 at 14:26

No, you are not supposed to ignore most non-religious Jews.

Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 3:3:

אבל בני אותן הטועים ובני בניהם, שהדיחו אותם אבותם ונולדו במינות, וגידלו אותן עליו--הרי הן כתינוק שנשבה לבין הגויים וגידלוהו הגויים על דתם, שהוא אנוס; ואף על פי ששמע אחר כך שהיה יהודי, וראה היהודיים ודתם--הרי הוא כאנוס, שהרי גידלוהו על טעותם. כך אלו האוחזים בדרכי אבותיהם שתעו. לפיכך ראוי להחזירן בתשובה, ולמשוך אותם בדרכי שלום, עד שיחזרו לאיתן התורה

However the children of those who are mistaken, as well as their grandchildren, that their fathers mislead them and they were born in an heretical philosophy, and were raised in it -- they are like a child who was captive among the non-Jews and the non-Jews raised them in their religion, which is an ones [forced against their will] - because they raised him in their mistake. And even though he hears afterwards that he was a Jew, and he sees Jews and their religion, he is like an ones, because he was raised on their mistake. Similarly all those who follow in the ways of their mistaken fathers. Therefore, it is proper to return them to Teshuva, and to attract them with peaceful manners, until they return to the the Torah.

That applies to 99% of anyone non-religious you will meet today. It can even apply to someone who was raised in a culturally religious home, as what they were taught about religion in the home might not match up with the external dress or Shabbos observance or other such external signs that lead you to such assumptions that they really learned this correctly and are rejecting it.

  • Thanks So much! So your saying that any person who went off the derech (to the extent above) then you are not allowed to talk to that person nor ever forgive him? – user6781 Aug 1 '14 at 13:52
  • @user6781, no, someone who went off the derech may have those categories you ascribed to them, but they may not. It is going to depend on some more nuanced circumstances, and some of the details of that also depend on specific Hashkafa issues, and specific psak. That is what I was getting at with my last paragraph. – Yishai Aug 1 '14 at 13:56
  • So really how can you tell if someone is a Min or not? Asking them if they believe in God is one thing, asking them if you were taught it is a different story. – user6781 Aug 1 '14 at 14:00
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    @user6781, CYLOR. It really is a case-by-case thing, and a matter for Psak, like most anything else. You wouldn't just look up a Rambam and decide if a a specific stain was Nidda or if a chicken was Kosher. How much more so in deciding if a Jew is Kosher. – Yishai Aug 1 '14 at 14:02
  • I feel like searching on this matter enough. If a person meets a off-the-derech teen then maybe no one is allowed to speak to that guy. For example if you go to a supermarket and you buy something from a not specifically kosher brand and decides that if it has a OU sign great if not to bad I will never know. No that does not make sense you have to check if it is kosher or not. Same with a Jew shouldn't we be more careful? – user6781 Aug 1 '14 at 14:13

Copied (with slight modification) from another answer of mine:

Almost all contemporary poskim, most notably the Chazon Ish, have assumed that at least some, if not all, of those halakhos are no longer applicable today to a person who doesn't believe in God, because we'd attribute it to his upbringing or the inability to be properly philosophically convinced due to uniquely contemporary circumstances. See Chazon Ish Y.D. 1:6, 2:16, 2:18, as well as in 2:28 where he writes that this was also the opinion of the Chofetz Chaim. This is an extension of what the Rambam writes in Hilchos Mamrim 3:3, as well as in his comments to Mishna Chullin 1:2 and in a letter published in Shut Harambam 489, that Karaites, despite believing in heresy, are not to be 'ignored', as you put it, because they believe in their heresy though no fault of their own.

The Chazon Ish is actually not the first to pasken like this - I believe that it is the opinion of R. Yaakov Ettlinger in Shut Binyan Tzion Hachadashos 23 (though I'm not sure what to make of that title). See also R. Moshe Feinstein in Iggros Moshe O.C. 4:91:6, as well as many other later poskim who have accepted this opinion, though there will always be dissenters here and there.

Additionally, there is a Rashash to Shabbos 31a, who (I believe) writes that a person is only considered a heretic after fully analyzing every side of the issue, which I doubt most people have. Until then, they are merely 'non-believers', which doesn't actually make them heretics. I'll quote his words in case I'm misinterpreting them:

דכופר לא מיקרי אלא אחר החקירה בכל חלקי הסותר, אבל זה לא חקר ולא נוכח אלא שלא שלא היה מאמין


I personally heard from a prominent midwestern Posek that most children who went off the derech at a young age are still considered in the category of tinok shenishba.

  • 1
    Can you share the posek's name? That would increase this posts usefullness. – Double AA Feb 3 '15 at 4:54

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