OlamiResources.com is honored to present free to the Olami Community and beyond, Rabbi Avraham Edelstein’s new landmark sefer, The Laws of Outreach. We are featuring the sefer to the readership of OlamiResources.com in downloadable installments over the next few months. We are greatly appreciative that Rabbi Edelstein has kindly offered to share this important publication, including extensive Hebrew footnotes, with rabbis, educators and mekarvim worldwide. This initial installment includes the Haskomos, Table of Contents and Preface.
PREFACE – THE HALACHIC APPROACH
The mekarev has dedicated his life to bringing Jews to doing Hashem’s will. He does that by example and by education, by being a wonderful person and an inspiration. Surely, the mekarev is one who should be showing maximum fealty to the very halachah he wishes his “mekarevees” to adhere to. As such, it is a part of the basic toolbox of the mekarev to be proficient in the knowledge of those areas of halachah which impact on the unique parts of his avodas Hashem. He should study, but only in order to ask. For the answer to these questions will not lie in any sefer but rather with a living posek. As Rav Moshe Feinstein wrote, concerning psak in general:
“And only a Mara D’Asra knows how to decide a final psak … And even when he knows the local conditions of the place, and he is fit to decide on this matter given his greatness in Torah and his greatness in pure yiras Hashem, still he should take into consideration places that are nearby that have no need for this psak, lest they come to rely on this heter, and the kilkul will be more than the tikun.”
So many factors go into the conclusions of the poskim on issues that impact on kiruv rechokim that no author could ever aspire to write them all down.
In order for the mekarev to ask his she’eilos, several things need to be in place. We must not only know a certain amount of Torah, but we must also have the right attitude. Rav Aharon Leib Shteinman once stated that the need to know the Shulchan Aruch for anything one might wish to do is similar to the need to know the protocol prior to appearing before a king: one would both want to avoid punishment for any wrongdoing, as well as be familiar with the customs so that he acts in a proper manner before the king. Similarly, we as outreach professionals ought to frame our approach to the laws of kiruv not only in terms of what the halachah allows us to do, but also in terms of how the King would like us to behave.