Vayigash – Messengers of Hashem’s Love

Did you ever wonder why Judaism is not into proselytizing but does engage in what we call “outreach” (but is really inreach?)
One of the answers lies towards the end of this week’s Haftorah for the Torah portion of Vayigash which takes place in Sefer Yechezkel perek 37.

The Gemara in Kiddushin 70b quotes Rabba bar Rav Huna saying: “The following is an advantage one [born] Jewish has over converts. For by one [born] Jewish it writes, ‘I will be G-D to them and they will be a people to me.’ (This is in our Haftorah, Yechezkel 37:27). Whereas a convert it writes, ‘Who is he that has pledged his heart to draw near to me? Says Hashem. You will be a people to Me, and I will be G-D to you’ (Yirmiyahu 30:21, 22).” (Click here for Hebrew text.)

What does it matter how one is Jewish? Why should one born Jewish have any advantages over a person who converted to Judaism? On the contrary we say in the first Hallelukah in pesukai dizimra every morning: “Hashem protects strangers” (Tehillim 146:9), and the Radak there says that Hashem is the Protector of all weak and defenseless strangers, whether uprooted Jews or gentile converts?!

In truth Rashi on this gemara sheds light on Rabba bar Rav Huna’s statement, “By one born Jewish it writes “’And I will be G-D to them’ even though they aren’t acting as a nation to me.  And through Me bringing them close they will be to me a nation. But when it comes to converts, they are not brought close from Heaven unless they first come close by themselves to be good.”

Rashi is explaining to us the difference between one born Jewish and a convert. Hashem, out of his immense fatherly love, is actively taking care of His children and is always running after them to bring them back to His palace and way of life ,no matter how far they have strayed. Whereas a convert had to find his own way to Hashem, but once he is there he has the same protexiaas any other Jew.  This is a tremendous advantage of one born Jewish over a convert; he always has that eternal love radiated on him, from the time he is born, no matter how rebellious he is;whereas a non-Jew could wonder around in darkness all his life, never finding the light, if he does not truly search for it.

How does Hashem search out and bring back those that are far away? He does not drop pamphlets from Heaven, neither does He speak to them individually. How does Hashem express His love and care for every single Jew?

The answer is that, that is why there are so many kiruv professionals in the world today. There is a kiruv movement because that is the way Hashem is bringing His children back to Him; they are the messengers of Hashem. But in truth ,anyone could be a messenger of Hashem. You don’t have to be a professional. Any person who brings his fellow Jew closer to Hashem, showing him or her the proper way of performing His mitzvos and teaching him or her Torah, are messengers of Hashem, to bring them back to His Palace.

If every Jew would realize the love and affection Hashem has for them, they would be running home to His Palace, or at least be seeking Hashem’s messengers for proper guidance. But alas, we have to be appreciative that we have the honor to act as the King of all King’s messengers to search out and bring home His princes and princesses. May we all come Home speedily in our days.