Ask the rabbi

  • Torah and Jewish Thought
  • Repentance

convince someone to be religious


Rabbi David Sperling

Kislev 11, 5782
lets say you want to use the path of logically/intellectually convincing someone that the Torah is True and from Hashem, and that they need to observe it. Can you type out a list of all the major, most important points you would say to them and the sources, something like that? thanks!
Shalom, Thanks for the question. As we mentioned previously, there isn’t going to be a sure-fire answer and reading list that will convince someone to be religious. (Believe me, if there was, you wouldn’t have to write to me for it – you would have seen it posted in every Jewish site in the world…. If religion were only so easy!). None the less, for a person to believe in Torah, I would start by having them read the Torah, then the complete Tanach. After that, they should perhaps read the Rambam’s 13 principles of Jewish faith. (Really, we can only begin to have a belief discussion after knowing what Judaism is, so I would prefer that they first learn the entire Oral Torah, the Talmud. But this might be asking to much!). After having read those for starters, and having a very very basic idea of what we are trying to believe in, we can turn to books that talk about why we should believe. I would turn to the works of Rabbi Sacks (zt”l) starting with his video (online) “Why I’m a Jew”. All his books are very good also. There is a work called Permission to Believe by Rabbi Keleman, which some find helpful. The Kuzari is a classic work in Jewish belief. I hope this is a good start, Blessings.
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