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Co-ed trips


I run coed Birthright trips to Israel each year for secular students. A portion from each trip eventually go on to yeshiva. However, during the trips students inevitably engage in inappropriate relationships with each other. I have no doubt that these trips are one of the most successful ways to get students into learning, however, I’m not sure how it can be mutur to lead students on mixed events where forbidden things are inevitably going to happen under my auspices. Please reply with the Rav’s thoughts on the subject. Thank you.


Answer: This is a complex issue, both in halachah and hashkafa. The Rav’s opinion in a nutshell, is that in kiruv rechokim we must take a step back and look at the big picture. Ultimately our goal is to bring them back to Torah and Mitzvos. To accomplish this, sometimes the ends do in fact justify the means. This is not a blanket heter to do anything and everything in the name of kiruv. But within a halachic framework, i.e. no prohibitions are being transgressed on our part, we must be flexible and patient in a process which can only be successful in a step by step fashion. It is well known that after the initial inspiration our work has just begun. Navigating the path from inspiration to true commitment is a windy road which must be traveled with caution, not too slow and not too fast.

With regards to your specific question, since we are talking about things they would be doing regardless of your trip, and in fact these trips often minimize forbidden activity, there is no prohibition of לפני עור or of מסייע בידי עוברי עבירה.

הרחבת הדברים:

לגבי השאלה של לפני עור ומסייע לדבר עבירה עי’ בהערה לתשובה :”serving food on a fast day” המופיע באתר, ומה שהבאנו שם הוא שייך גם לנידון דידן. ולהשלמת הענין עי’ גם בשו”ת אגרות משה [יו”ד ח”א סי’ עב’] שהתיר להשכיר אולם שמחות לאלו שיעשו שם ריקודים של איסור. וביאר שבכל אופן יעשו דברים אלו, וכאן לכה”פ יאכלו מאכלים כשרים, משא”כ אם ידחו אותם למקום אחר [ועי’ גם מה שכתב באג”מ אבה”ע ח”א סימן ד’]. ועי’ גם במנחת שלמה [ח”א סי’ צח’] שהתיר לתת אוכל למי שודאי לא יברך עליו כדי להצילו מחטא דשנאת תלמידי חכמים. ובתוס’ שבת ד. [ד”ה וכי] מבואר שאמרינן לאדם לחטוא עבירה קלה כדי להציל עצמו מעבירה גדולה, וכל זה צריכים לשקול במאזני החכמה כשמדריכים לבעלי תשובה, על מה ובאיזה שלב להוכיח על איזה ענינים, ומתי השתיקה יפה לחכמים.

 [ועי’ גם בשו”ת מנחת אשר ח”א סי’ י’ ביאור רחב בענין תינוק שנשבה בזמנינו].

Comments (3)

  • Rabbi Gavriel Horan‏

    thank you so much for your detailed and prompt response. I really appreciate this service very much.

  • gavriel horan

    Would Rav Moshe’s psak about a chassana hall serving kosher food to a Jew on a taanis be the same by an issur d’oraissa? Would he allow the hall to cater kosher food at an intermarriage?

    • Rabbi Akiva Dershowitz

      Rav moshe’s psak was just to give them the hall itself, knowing they would do there forbidden activity, serving food was a seperate question which we inferred from rav moshe’s psak. this psak about the halls is even if they will violate there issuei doraissa.
      providing the actual catering is a slightly different shaila, but would also be permissible acc. to rav moshe, since they would do this anyways, and we are providing them kosher food. at the same time certainly a religious owned hall should not be made avilable for intermarriage without consulting with a rav, as this is a sensitive issue wcich may involve chilul hashem and the like.


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