Girls Being M’kareiv Boys
Dear Rabbi Orlofsky,
I have become quite involved with several kiruv organizations – and it has come up a few times – that there have been boys who want to learn with me. Am I allowed to do that? If so, how? What do I say to them? How would I set it up?
This is a common problem in the field of kiruv. When a person chooses to reach out there is a price to pay. As Reb Yisroel Salantar says “the broom that sweeps gets dirty”. I have a shiur called “The Perils of Kiruv Rechokim” where I go into this in greater detail.
One of the biggest problems we face is overestimating our own importance. We think we are the only one who can inspire this person. I once shared a chiddush with a person in kiruv – “there is a G-d”. He thought I was joking, but I explained that he was working with the underlying assumption that Hashem has made a big mess of things and now if He will just get out of our way we will try to fix things up.
Rav Moshe Shapiro once explained that Hashem has decided to bring back a part of klal yisroel. Our job is to try not to interfere – the exact opposite attitude.
So your situation has come up a lot – there is a boy who only wants to talk to me otherwise he won’t become frum. I once told a young lady (somewhat indelicately I admit) that the Canaanites offered women as an incentive to men to attend temple, but it has never been a Jewish ideal.
Don’t sell yourself for the cause. You have an obligation to stay true to your own principles. If you would not normally socialize with a guy, don’t do it for the sake of heaven. In therapy it is possible to transfer a patient over to another therapist, even though the patient has a strong connection to the original practitioner. In Kiruv it is no less effective. You can say something like “I’m not learned enough to answer these questions, but I know someone who is more qualified”. Or “with my schedule I can’t do justice to what you need”. If you are at a shabbaton, call over a male advisor when the two of you are talking and make it a threesome. Then it is easier for you to excuse yourself.
Many times I have heard “Nah, that won’t work for this guy” and you may be right. Because it could be that he is more interested in you than in Judaism.
Hatzlacha and may you have siyata D’Shmaya in your holy efforts.