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How can Messiah's arrival be imminent when most Jews are not Torah-observant?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg


Library » Israel » Messiah | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The fact that a majority of Jews are not Torah observant is quite irrelevant. According to the Torah, because these Jews were raised in a non-religious atmosphere and were not accorded a proper Jewish education, they have the Halachic status of a "tinok shenishba [a child who was held in captivity amongst gentiles and therefore does not know of the importance of Torah and Mitzvot]" and cannot be held responsible for their lack of observance.

Many thousands of non observant Jews are finding their roots and embracing a life of Torah and true Judaism. This remarkable phenomenon is surely a sign of the coming of Moshiach!
On the other hand, many thousands of these Jews are finding their roots and embracing a life of Torah and true Judaism. This remarkable phenomenon is surely a sign of the coming of Moshiach when "He [Elijah] will turn back [to G-d] the hearts of fathers with [their] sons."

Certainly it is our responsibility and privilage to try to get as many Jews as possible to prepare themselves for the coming of Moshiach by increasing their Torah observance.


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tinukei shenishaba

Posted by: Jim Wheeler, Pittsburgh, PA on Feb 21, 2005

If non-observant jews are halakhicly tinukei shenishaba, then they should not be permitted to marry cohanim when they become balei teshuvah as a tinuk shenishabah is assumed to have been misuesed for immoral purposes

Editor's Comment

The analogy of "tinok shenishba" is only used to illustrate why they are not responsible for their sins which were committed as a result of ignorance. The analogy does not necessarily apply to other areas. 

When does it change?

Posted by: Yudayajin on Apr 02, 2006

If uneducated Jews are considered not responsible for their sins, and then learn some and want to become frum Jews, at what point do they lose their status of not being responsible for their sins. Surely they cannot stop sinning immediately but technically they do know the difference between good and evil just have lived sinfully so long its hard for them to stop. So when do they become responsbile for themselves?

Editor's Comment

There is no rule of thumb to follow. Every person comes along differently and only G-d knows when he/she has gained enough exposure and knowledge to be able to have real Freedom of Choice.


Philosophy » Messiah

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Pertaining to Jewish Law.
Plural form of Mitzvah. Commandments of G-d. Mitzvah also means a connection, for a Jew connects with G–d through fulfilling His commandments.
A legendary prophet who lived in the 8th century BCE, and saved the Jewish religion from being corrupted by the pagan worship of Baal. He never died, he was taken to heaven alive. According to Jewish tradition, he visits every circumcision and every Passover Seder table.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.