I've read in the interview with Monica Cellio that “Jews feel no need to evangelize.”

I am curious why is that.

  • There is no need to share the truth with the others?
  • Even the loved ones?
  • Are there some rules for that (convincing)? (What will happen with non-Jews?)
  • 1
    I think this has been asked before but I am not sure where. possibly judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/883/… Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 10:55
  • 2
  • On a somewhat simplistic level, the other 2 major religions - Christianity and Islam have some foundation emanating from Judaism. Christianity is pretty much a "given". They acknowledge it. Islam, maybe not as much, but they certainly trace their origin back to Abraham. So, perhaps we have nothing to really prove to them. If they see the benefits of Judaism via the way we act, and they understand the benefit to them, wonderful. If not, all they have to do is obey 7 commandments and G-d and they can be happy.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 15:41
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    To expand on DanF's, I think the basic issue is that Judaism acknowledges a path to heaven for non-believers (i.e. the 7 Noahide Laws). The "you must believe in XXX to get into heaven" puts a certain tension on a religion ("I'm force-converting you for your own good") that Judaism basically sidesteps.
    – Nic
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 19:36
  • Nic mentions a good point. Coercing someone to convert would seemingly contradict a fundamnetal of Jewish faith. In Juadiasm, a person believes in G-d as the only master and controller of all events that occur in the world. One must sense this on a very personal level, even if a person is not conscious of this idea at all times. If you were coerced into converting, in a sense, you would be reliniquishing that belief of "control" to the person that coerced you. Also, a fundamental of Judaism is free choice. Coersion contradicts that idea.
    – DanF
    Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 1:54

4 Answers 4


The only convincing we believe in is setting a good enough example of being upright human being so that people look and declare that God and His Torah is righteous.

The Jewish perspective is that following the Torah is our job. We were chosen to do this job. Non-Jews aren't obligated to follow the Torah. When we see non-Jews eating non-kosher we don't view that as an abomination.

There are, however, basic ideas that we believe all humans should follow. These are called 'The seven Noachide Laws'. But even of this you'll hardly see any Jewish people involved in outreach to non-Jews. This can be for various reasons.

  1. We aren't used to it. We are pretty new to being free to discuss things with others. For most of our history we've had a hard enough time minding our own business.

  2. It is largely ineffective. Being that it is not our business what other people do with their lives it isn't worth the effort.

Now, although nothing is better than to be part of God's covenant, we'd avoid convincing, even slightly, because if someone converts it must be completely sincere.

On the other hand, the Talmud says that the reason the Jews were scattered around the world was to collect converts. There are many statements in the Torah attesting to the great love of converts. However, we cannot initiate this since they would convert at a faster pace than they are really holding by doing.

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    This could be improved with sources.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 10:32

the truth is always out there for the true truth seeker see as the Chovot Halevavot writes (Gate 7 ch.6):

When the Creator rebukes and humiliates him on his evil ways and deeds, whether through the prophet of his generation, if he lives in the era of prophecy, or from the Torah of G-d, or through a Rabbi who preaches to him on the service of G-d. And this is grounds for a charge by G-d against all of humanity, since no generation is ever without such a guide, as our sages said "Before the sun of Moshe Rabeinu has set (his death), the sun of Yehoshua his disciple had risen, before the sun of Eli set, the sun of Samuel rose, before the sun of Elijah set, the sun of Elisha rose, the day Rebbi Akiva died, Rebbi HaKadosh was born" (Kidushin 72b), and in this way it can be found in every generation and in every land, there is never an absence of a preacher who calls to G-d and His service, and teaches His torah.

we don't actively go out to convert people like the christians because we want only the true truth seekers, and they presumably will find their way to us as above.

  • 1
    Do you have a source that your theory in the last paragraph less behind Judaism's confusion policy? Note that the op does not seem limited to conversions.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 23:58
  • 1
    This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post. - From Review Commented Jan 8, 2017 at 23:54
  • @sabbahillel rolled back to original answer
    – ray
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 11:27

The justification for proselytizing in Christianity at least is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." That is the essence of your question. If someone doesn't have the truth and you love them, you share it with them. They try to convert others to their faith. They call it Witnessing.

The Jewish way is learned from Hillel HaZaken from Shabbat 31a. Interestingly enough, the conversation is with a non-Jew who comes to him to convert if Hillel can teach the whole Torah to him while the non-Jew is standing on one foot.

Hillel's response was:

דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד זו היא כל התורה כולה ואידך פירושה הוא זיל גמור.

"What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor, that is the entire Torah, the rest is just commentary, now go and study."

We do not seek to convert everyone to our faith, just as we do not desire others to attempt to convert us from our faith. The Torah values diversity. This follows an explanation of the Lubavitcher Rebbe to comments from Rashi of Bereshit 30:35-37.

Rashi’s comment that the streaks (b’rudim) were white can be understood in reference to an earlier verse. When Ya’akov peeled stripes from the wooden sticks (30:37) he “uncovered the white layer underneath.” When the animals saw these sticks and mated, the offsprings had markings instead of uniform coloring like their parents -similar to the sticks which also had various colors, the color of the bark and the revealed white of the fresh wood underneath. Rashi therefore derives that the streaks were white, since they resulted from the animals’ gazing at the sticks, which also contained white (cf. 30:35 and Rashi there).

We have often discussed the fact that Rashi’s commentary, although it primarily addresses the simple meaning of the verse, alludes to deep, esoteric concepts in Torah.

As previously mentioned, “b’rudim” represents the world of “Tikkun,” which is characterized by the presence of differing entities which nevertheless coexist and intertwine together. This aspect is compared to a multi-colored object, the beauty of which derives from the combination and proximity of the many colors.

This is like is found in regard to the coat of Yosef (Bereshit 37:3). What distinguished his coat was that it contained many colors.

And so, in keeping with that idea, Jews do not seek to convert non-Jews to Judaism. Like with any healthy ecosystem, our diversity is the way of life.

  • 2
    Any source for applying these ideas to other religions?
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 22:04
  • As I understand the guidelines of this site, we aren't supposed to do what I think you are asking. Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 22:54
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    And for those who down-voted this answer, I would be interested to hear if the objection is more about the nature of the question or about the answer provided. If about the answer, what needs to be improved? Commented Jan 7, 2017 at 23:00
  • The reason for witnessing in Christianity is not only to share truth but to save people from Hell. This is the origin of the somewhat plaintive question -- "even the loved ones?" If you love someone, would you not want to save them eternal suffering and endless alienation from G-d in Hell? So in this cross cultural exchange, we must start by correcting this person's ideas about hell, before we can even start on our ideas about conversion.
    – SDK
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 4:26
  • The concept of eternal Hell and suffering is not what the Torah teaches. This is one of the reasons, for example, that Kaddish in practice is only recited for eleven months. The tikkun that is accomplished through Hell, if it is needed at all, is accomplished in less than a single year. Many of the misconceptions about this arise from a lack of knowledge about the principle of reward and punishment as taught in Torah. Commented Jan 10, 2017 at 12:33

Besides for the reasons listed about, I think we expect G-d to be the one to cause non-Jews to turn to Him as we pray every day in the second half of the Aleinu prayer

וְעַל כֵּן נְקַוֶּה לְךָ ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ, לִרְאוֹת מְהֵרָה בְּתִפְאֶרֶת עֻזֶּךָ, לְהַעֲבִיר גִּלּוּלִים מִן הָאָרֶץ, וְהָאֱלִילִים כָּרוֹת יִכָּרֵתוּן, לְתַקֵּן עוֹלָם בְּמַלְכוּת שַׁקַי, וְכָל בְּנֵי בָשָׂר יִקְרְאוּ בִשְׁמֶךָ, לְהַפְנוֹת אֵלֶיךָ כָּל רִשְׁעֵי אָרֶץ. יַכִּירוּ וְיֵדְעוּ כָּל יוֹשְׁבֵי תֵבֵל, כִּי לְךָ תִכְרַע כָּל בֶּרֶךְ, תִּשָּׁבַע כָּל לָשׁוֹן. לְפָנֶיךָ ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ יִכְרְעוּ וְיִפֹּלוּ, וְלִכְבוֹד שִׁמְךָ יְקָר יִתֵּנוּ, וִיקַבְּלוּ כֻלָּם אֶת עֹל מַלְכוּתֶךָ, וְתִמְלֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם מְהֵרָה לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. כִּי הַמַּלְכוּת שֶׁלְּךָ הִיא, וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עַד תִּמְלֹךְ בְּכָבוֹד.

And therefor we put our hope in You, Hashem our G-d, that we may soon see Your mighty splendor, to remove detestable idolatry from the earth, and false gods will be utterly cut off, to perfect the universe through the Almighty's sovereignty. Then all humanity will call upon Your Name, to turn all the earth's wicked toward You. All the world's inhabitants will recognize and know that to You every knee should bend, every tongue should swear. Before You, Hashem, out G-d, they will bend every knee and cast themselves down and to the glory of Your Name they will render homage, and they will all accept upon themselves the yoke of Your kingship that You may reign over them soo and eternally. For the kingdom is Yours and You will reign for all eternity in glory...

(- translations from Artscoll)

  • Nothing in that quote specifies non Jews. It ought to equally be an argument against keiruv for Jews.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 15:56
  • How does that even answer the question though? Are nearly all the people who inhabited the world for the last several thousand years, ignored and doomed just because at some unspecified point in the future different people will be enlightened?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 15:59
  • Furthermore, all we see from is that there will always be some bad in the world for God to improve in the eschatological era. There is no implication whatsoever that the only method for a non Jew to improve is to wait for God in the eschatological era.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:04
  • @mevaqesh Hoche'ach toeche'ach and kol yisroel areivim already deal with kiruv for Jews.
    – Y K
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:26
  • @mevaqesh The theological questions that you have based on my source don't detract from the answer my source provides
    – Y K
    Commented Jan 9, 2017 at 16:27

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