If I’m trying to get someone on the right track to be a baal teshuva, which is the first concept to stress?
I’ll tell you a little story.
Many years ago, fifty years ago I recall – it was forty-nine years ago – a young fellow came from Waco, Texas and he wanted to learn about Judaism – or maybe he didn’t want to learn about Judaism – and there was somebody, a yeshiva man who tried to teach him to be a Jew. So he started out with proving to him that the Torah was given in Har Sinai. But I got hold of that yeshiva man later and I told him that it’s the wrong way. You’re going to ram down his throat something which is most alien to his ideology.
The right way – this is what the Eglei Tal says; the Eglei Tal was a Chassidishe Rebbe, he wrote Eglei Tal, a halacha sefer – the Eglei Tal said the right way is you take in the youth and you get them involved in Torah; you get them involved in technical things, learning, halacha, asking questions. Once they’re involved, automatically they come to accept all the premises on which it stands and then there’s no problem of debating with them.
But if you’re going to start with the bare premises, you’re going to have a battle royal at the beginning and they may never progress beyond that. So with boys who can learn it doesn’t pay to argue with them or to teach them any catechisms, any principles; instead you teach them Gemara and Rashi and Tosfos. You teach them Rabbi Akiva Eiger has a kashe and get them interested. After a while, it’ll seep in by itself. They’ll understand all the principles by themselves.
Or a different level is Lubavitch. Lubavitch doesn’t argue with them. Lubavitch brings them to a farbreng and there’s a niggun and they’re dancing and they get into the spirit.
You think that’s the wrong way? I used to think it was the wrong way. I thought, “No, you have to be straightforward. You have to present the facts on the table right away.”
But it’s not so because nobody has straightforward heads. Everybody has a crooked mind. Why is he an atheist? Why is he a disbeliever? Because he argued it out? No! It’s because he followed the crowd. All the bums wear long hair, so he has long hair. All the female bums have short skirts, so she has short skirts. They haven’t argued anything out.
And even boys in college, the ones who imagine themselves to be intellectuals, it’s nothing.
A man told me, “What do you mean?!” This week he said to me, “I should give up my thinking?! I should stop thinking?!”
I said, “No, you should start thinking.”
You think you’ve been thinking up till now? Up till now you’ve been following them like a sheep after the crowd. Only that every ‘sheep’ walks with pince-nez on his nose and he minces his steps as if he was a professor. Every boy in college thinks he’s studying all the evidence. That’s what the teachers tell them. The teachers themselves never studied the evidence.
And all the college books start out this way, “The old timers,” they say, “accepted authority.” All the college books say the same thing: “The old timers accepted authority. We, however, only live by evidence.”
Well, according to the evidence evolution is the biggest fraud. All the fossils show that there was no evolution because they don’t have any sequence of the fossils. The fossils are the best disproof of evolution. People don’t know that. The answer is, they don’t follow evidence at all. They follow their theories! They imagine steps in between in order to fill in the gaps.
You know, 115 years ago, when Darwin wrote his books, Darwin said, “It’s true,” he said, “there are a lot of gaps,” but he said that he’s fully confident that as time goes on, they’ll discover more and more fossils and fill up the gaps.
Since then they’ve been digging all over the globe with tremendous funds and they have found literally millions of fossils and the gaps are still there! Because they never were bridged!
So if you look at the evidence, evolution is absolutely false. They themselves say. I have quotations; in my next book coming out in a few weeks I have quotations in which they themselves state openly, “According to the evidence, geologic evidence, evolution never took place,” they say, “but….” Always but. Heh heh heh.
So, so all these people who claim that they are living only with principles of investigation, the truth is they’re fakers. It’s following a crowd. It’s a religion. It’s a religion like any other religion. It’s an idolatry like all idolatries.
So therefore, why should we mince words with them and wear silk gloves and when a boy comes from college to us, so we’ll start teaching him principles of philosophy. No, We’ll put on the Pirchei record and give him some peanuts and apples and sing a niggun and tell him a story of the Vilna Gaon zichrono livracha. Later, later when he’ll get a little sense, he’ll knock the foolishness out of his head, then you can talk sense to him.
Now exactly how to deal with people, it depends on the person. If it’s a very cultured person, so just a niggun won’t get him. You have to deal with each person according to his level. But don’t make the mistake of thinking that the person has chosen his way because of principles. Nobody is the result of principles. Everybody is the result of emotion, emotion and whims. So we have to substitute good emotions and good whims for the foolish and wicked ones.
TAPE # 22 (April 1973)