Here's a great tip:
Enter your email address and we'll send you our weekly magazine by email with fresh, exciting and thoughtful content that will enrich your inbox and your life, week after week. And it's free.
Oh, and don't forget to like our facebook page too!
Contact Us

Heresy in G‑d’s Name

Heresy in G‑d’s Name


They asked the Baal Shem Tov, “The Talmud tells us that for everything G‑d forbade, He provided us something permissible of the same sort. If so, what did He permit that corresponds to the sin of heresy?”

The Baal Shem Tov replied, “Acts of kindness.”

Because when you see a person suffering, you don’t say, “G‑d runs the universe. G‑d will take care. G‑d knows what is best.” You do everything in your power to relieve that suffering as though there is no G‑d. You become a heretic in G‑d’s name.

By Tzvi Freeman
From the wisdom of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, of righteous memory; words and condensation by Rabbi Tzvi Freeman. Subscribe and get your dose daily. Or order Rabbi Freeman’s book, Bringing Heaven Down to Earth, click here.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with's copyright policy.
Join the discussion
1000 characters remaining
Email me when new comments are posted.
Sort By:
Discussion (14)
July 3, 2014
I would not call "doing everything in your power to relieve suffering" a heresy against G-d's name. This is showing love as we are taught in the Torah to love. G-d uses people and things to do His will.
Wylie , TX
May 18, 2011

Alternatively, you know Gd wants you to save the person, so you save the person.
Posted By Anonymous, NY, NY"

If someone follows Torah, but denies he/she follows Torah -- that is still a problem.
ny, ny
May 17, 2011
this is a tough one. if a doctor stops to help someone is he a heretic or is he using the knowledge that G-d helped him to attain in order to help others. there is a paradox here which needs careful thought. A fine line exists between being kind and helpful to that of being non humane to other around you in the hope that all will be well. G-d did bring us up to be ignorant of matters and we should act with this knowledge.
leeds, UK
May 16, 2011
You & I
Man did not create/form himself. Then who did? Do kindness and caring mean that a person must believe in G-d? Given that everything is G-d, including us, the importtant lesson here is the doing of good, without expecting a reward for doing the right thing. Whether a person conciously believes in G-d or not, we as Jews know that Hashem gives us choice. It is not for us to sit in judgement, that is the domain of the supreme judge of the universe!
Cape Coral, USAS
May 16, 2011
If someone is suffering, say, from illness, or a fall, or some would say "karmic" suffering - does this mean a doctor (who may be an agnostic) who administers relief is classified as a heretic? I don't think so. Heretic would mean going against the religious doctorines of the time - not acceptable if someone is suffering and needs help from a friend.
May 16, 2011
I love it.
I adore this. I really do. This is the kind of thing that makes me love Judaism.

What is more holy before G-d: Those who invoke a belief in G-d, but turn their backs (or worse) on suffering, or-

the heretics who do relief the suffering of their fellow man?

Rather than reduce everything to being bound to 'chukim' (senseless or incomprehensible) before G-d, it reintroduces a mindfulness to our relationship with G-d.

This sort of thing is the true 'yetzer hatov' side of the Jewish covenant, and then of being Jewish.
Thomas Karp
New Haven, Ct.
May 16, 2011
Alternatively, you know Gd wants you to save the person, so you save the person.
August 6, 2009
responce to Hadassah
Thank you so much for responding to my comment.
However, I feel as though you still just reitterated the daily dose and it still bothers me to refer to our acts of kindness as heretical! I have learned in my years in Jewsih day school taht we learn to do acts of kindness becasue of emulating G-d! So to say that our acts of kindness are heretical seems counterintuitive.
Yaffa S.
Philadelphia, PA
August 6, 2009
I'd like to make a comment on heresy

When man (or woman) puts his faith, trust or hope in 'other gods', he or she will by default, live a heretical life.

If he (or she) tries to approach G_d, being unclean (spiritually) he or she will feel as if he is using the name of G_d in vain. This is how people destroy themselves.

When however, a person is living a life totally trusting in G_d, then The Name for him (or her) becomes as sweet as honey and the Creator's ineffable wonder is made known as gently as the morning dew. This is how miracles happen.

G_d is the G_d of Moshe Rabbeinu. All holy, set-apart, all powerful and loving.
August 5, 2009
yes it is yaffa
but a positive type.
if you trust in G-d totally then you'd say that what is happening is OKAY.
but we don't; we fight bad things, and that is saying that something in God's world is something we disagree with.
we are disagreeing with God - its heretical.
Glasgow, UK