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#1 forever613

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Posted 10 November 2012 - 08:03 PM

Since the Akum are created by Hashem, what is our relationship supposed to be with them? Is it okay to be friendly? Or is it better to be distant? Doesn't Hashem love the goyim since they are His creations?



#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:20 PM

We should be distant enough to prevent being influenced by them and their culture. Therefore, because of the subtle ways friends, neighbors, and members of the same society and community influence each other, we need to remain separate from them in these areas of our lives.

 

Needless to say, we should always act cordial and polite to everyone and certainly never hurtful or uncivil (again - needless to say). 

 

As far as loving His creations, I'm not sure what you mean. Hashem made alligators and rocks, too. What does it mean when you ask about Hashem loving His creations? 

 

Why would someone think that just because something is created by Hashem that means we should not distance ourselves from it? Viruses are also created by Hashem - does that mean we should not stay away from them? (Of course, that was an analogy not a comparison.)

 

In general, I sense a disconnect in your question, valid though it certainly is. There is no concept of staying away from Akum because they are bad. It has nothing to do with them - it has to do with us. We don't want to be influenced to veer from the way we strive so hard to live. Put it this way - would you allow your child to play with the next door neighbor who is a Junior Christian missionary? It has nothing to do with whether the neighbor is a bad person or if he is Hashem's creation or anything at all to do with his being bad or good. It has to do with whether it is wise for your child to be friends with him. 

 

I'll tell you a story. Many years ago, someone in my Shul asked me if I think it is a good idea for him to allow his 8 year old son to be friends with their Akum neighbor's son. They used to play ball in the street together and stuff like that.

 

I told him I do not think it is a good idea. 

 

A few days later, I get a knock on my door, and guess who it is? It's the father of that Akum neighbor - Mr. Akum Sr. himself! Apparently this man went and told his neighbor that the reason his son can't play with his son anymore is because Rabbi Shapiro said so. (Yes, I know - it wasn't the smartest thing for this guy to do.) So the man decided to pay me a visit. At the door, he asked me if it was true that I instructed his neighbor not to allow his son to play with his son.

 

In response, I asked the man whether he was aware that we Jews do not believe in Yoshka. He said he was aware. I then asked him if he would be upset if he found out that one of his son's friends were influencing him not to believe in Yoshka. He said he would be upset.

 

Then I asked him whether he understands, in light of what he just said, that it may not be wise for him and the person who came to me with the question to encourage their children to be playmates. I explained that we Jews really do not believe in Yoshka and it is not unreasonable that, since the neighbor's kid goes to Yeshiva, the children may end up discussing their religious beliefs with each other, and his son may be influenced against believing in Yoshka.

 

He agreed, and actually thanked me. 

 

(see also here).