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Scaring Non Religious Friend to Become Religious

Question:

Cvod Harav,
Chag Sameach!
I tried to make my secular friend religious by telling him about the punishments of Gehinom for sinning and getting into arguments trying to prove to him the Torah is Divine. I’m not sure if I was the cause,but I think it brought him further away from the religion and he doesn’t even keep Pesach anymore. The thing is, I believe I had him speak to a Rabbi who actually told him some pretty strange things. I believe he told him not to worry about “the fire and brimstone” and the Rabbi himself told him he wasn’t even sure if there was a place waiting for him after he died. Cvod Harav, is it my fault that he went further away from the religion?
Thanks a lot Rav!

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.
It is not possible for me to tell you if this is the reason that caused him to go further from religion, as people do things for many different reasons. As a general rule though, nowadays the way to help people come closer to religious observance is not by scaring them, rather by showing them how they will benefit and gain from keeping the mitzvos. By showing them how their life will be more fulfilling, more stable and satisfying, this is what gets people’s interest, and this is what speaks to them. By inviting them for a delicious Shabbos meal, which has an aura, or happiness, and contentment, the person will experience happiness when being involved in something connected to spirituality, and then the person will want more. Even if your friend went further away, it is never too late, and when the opportunity arises, you might just want to invite him for a Shabbos meal, without sermonizing to him, just let him have an enjoyable experience, and IY”H he will come closer to his roots and ancestry.
Best wishes

 

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