To Donate Click Here

Teenage Dropouts as Minim

Per my previous question of what is a min and how do you become a min, I have a few questions.

1. As it says in Hilchos Avodas Kochavum 2:5 about what you need to do to a min (ignore them etc.) My question is: a off-the-derech teen (or in this case anyone…) who was born with the knowledge of God (Rambam Hilchos Mamrim 3:3) and rebelled (or discontinued belief in God) Chas Vishalom then are we supposed to ignore them?

2. I see a lot of people who accept off-the-derech teens (and even if they do Teshuvah (quoting from Rambam Moznaim)”Their acceptance should never be accepted” The commentaries have pointed out a contradiction between these statements and the Rambam’s statements in Hilchos Teshuva 3:14: “When does the statement that these individuals do not have a portion in the world to come apply? When they die without having repented. However, if such a person repents from his wicked deeds and dies as a Baal-Teshuvah, he will merit the world to come, for nothing can stand in the way of Teshuvah.
Even if he denies God’s existence throughout his life and repents in his final moments, he merits a portion in the world to come as implied by [Isaiah 57:19] “`Peace, peace, to the distant and the near,’ declares God. `I will heal him.'”

Any wicked person, apostate, or the like, who repents, whether in an open, revealed manner or in private, will be accepted as implied by [Jeremiah 3:22] “Return, faithless children.” [We may infer] that even if one is still faithless, as obvious from the fact that he repents in private and not in public, his Teshuvah will be accepted.”

this apparent contradiction was brought to the Rambam’s attention during his lifetime. In one of his Responsa (101) he resolved the issue by explaining that his statements in Hilchos Havodas Kochavim refer to the attitude which should be adopted by the Jewish People. They should NEVER regard such an individual as a Baal-Teshuvah, because it is possible he is merely feigning repentance in order to gain public acceptance.

In contrast, in Hilchos Teshuvah, the Rambam is referring to the acceptance by God, sees the true feeling of every individual. If his repentance is sincere, regardless of the severity of his previous sins, God will accept him. (Note also the commentary of the Lechem Mishneh and the Responsa of the Radbaz, Vol. V, 1518, which offer similar explanations.) So we see that even if they do Teshuva we still do not accept them so my question is I see a lot of people accepting off-the-derech teens (Anyone who originally was brought up with the belief in God and discontinued believing in god) How could they if it is seemingly against halacha.

It seems like I am viewing this wrong (because I do not think a lot of people would make this mistake etc.) So can you shed some light on this topic etc.


A teenager who has dropped out and no longer “believes” is not a “min” but rather a confused kid.

We live in a generation of confusion and doubt, and unfortunately many kids fall victim to the general atmosphere that the 21st century brings. That does not make them “minim” or apostates. They have not left the fold for some perceived “depth” in another idolatrous or other belief system, but just dropped out without thinking about anything, out of confusion and perhaps lacking sufficient love or attention (or course each case is different).

Like the Chazon Ish writes about secular Jews, so too teenagers who drop out must not be treated as per the Talmudic (followed by Rambam) instructions vis-a-vis “minim”, and should rather be given an open door through which to return and an open ear for careful attention to their plight.

Best wishes.

Join the Conversation


  1. But if you ask them “Do you believe in God” and they respond “No”, how is that confusion? I understand they live there life in confusion and there beliefs are confused but aren’t minnim also confused because if they were not confused then they would follow in the ways of God.

    So in summary:

    I understand that they are living very confused lives but if you ask them if they believe in God, they are forced to think of a straight answer, so if they say: No then there beliefs are not confused (because they were forced to pick a side) they are just mistaken in their beliefs like minnim.

    If you ask them to really think about it, granted they may be more confused then a person who really thought about and came to the conclusion of God does not exist but they still believe that there is no Master of The World and that is a min.

    I am having trouble explaining what I mean.

    But I hope you understand.

    Thank You

    1. No, I do understand. Still, I think that their response will not place them in the “min” category, because it is not coming from ideology of sorts but out of confusion.
      The real “min” is somebody who reaches heretic positions out of deep beliefs and not just out of confusion and because of social malignancy.
      Best wishes.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *