A Meisit Invited to Speak in a Boca Synagogue?
A couple weeks ago, I hintingly warned about an event in a Boca synagogue that is troublesome, to say the least. I should have learned from Pinhas that very public sins require a very public protest. Apparently, the rabbi of this synagogue is a fan of a certain motivational speaker, who just so happens to write best-selling books promoting Catholicism on the side.
Now, I'm not here to knock the synagogue or its head-honchos, as it seems to be a very nice place with very good people and lots of Torah heard throughout its walls. And that's what makes the holding of this event even more bothersome.
Now, one may ask, "What's the big deal? He's not going to talk about any of that stuff in his lecture!" This is apparently the opinion of the rabbi as well.
The problems are manyfold:
1) ?הקריבהו נא לפחתך
Why would anyone want to bring a Meisit Umeidi'ah to speak into one's synagogue? Do we bring Mormon or Catholic books into the synagogue - even if they were harmless? Absolutely not. Do we allow posters of church events in the synagogue? Absolutely not. Even though this motivational speaker is wearing another hat, it would be abhorrent to bring such a person to speak in one's own home, let alone in a holy place.
2) How innocuous is the speech going to be really?
Do we really trust someone whose life's work is to convert people - especially Jews - to Catholicism to be silent on the issue when he's in front of a bunch of Jews? And this is someone from whom we should receive motivation?!?! אוי לנו מיום הדין אוי לנו מיום התוכחה.
3) The positive publicity for the speaker this generates
Even if the speech brings up nothing about another religion and really motivates people to do good things, wouldn't people be curious to find out more about the speaker? Won't they Google him and see what else he's up to? At the very least, this is a לפני עור type of problem.
4) How much is he getting paid?
Even if no one ends up being motivated to follow the speaker (a very unlikely scenario), isn't at least some of the money that he is being paid for this speech going to end up funding Avoda Zara? His speaking fee averages over $50,000 according to this site. Even if this event's fee is a fraction of that, would we want any amount of money to go to converting more Jews?
I urge those in charge of this synagogue to reconsider for the good of their own souls, the souls of its members, and the collective soul of Kelal Yisrael.
See also Tomer Devorah here and here and the following videos: