P’sak from Rav Elyashiv: Davening on Behalf of an Aino Yehudi

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rav-elyashivRav Aharon Aberman, the Director of the renowned Lev Malka organization, recently posed a shailah to the posek hador, Rav Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, regarding whether one is permitted to daven at the Kosel on behalf of an aino Yehudi. The question arose after a Christian man made a donation to Rabbi Aberman’s organization for children battling cancer.

“A few years ago, I met a Christian man who promised to contribute money to our organization after hearing that we treat children who are struck with awful machlos,” explained Rabbi Aberman.

“That person called me about a week ago, after I hadn’t heard from him in several years, and wished to make a donation. The condition was that I would daven at the Kosel for him to succeed in business. I was mesupak whether I am permitted to daven for an aino Yehudi.”

A shliach was sent to ask a shailah to Rav Elyashiv. Rav Elyashiv ruled that one should not daven for an aino Yehudi.

 “Would one be allowed to daven for a person who is a pagan and does not believe in Christianity for example?” asked the shoel.

Al pi halacha,” said Rav Elyashiv, “the hagdara is anyone who is not an oveid elilim (idol worshipper) and believes in the God of [Klal] Yisroel is allowed to be davened for. If he is an oveid avodah zara and believes in something else, it is forbidden to daven for him.”

As a result of the p’sak, said Rabbi Haberman, he decided not to accept the contribution of the Christian gentleman, because he could not meet the condition that tefillos be said on his behalf at the Kosel.

 {Yair Alpert-Matzav.com Israel}


  1. There is a machlokes haposkim if Catholicism which believes in the trinity is considered Avoda Zara for a goy.
    Other forms of Protestabt Chrstianity which are monotheistic are not considered Avoda Zara, as is also Islam.
    As such, he probably could have (and maybe should have, which is another discussion altogether) accepted the money.

  2. ?? ?? ????? ????? ???? ??? ???? ?????, ??”? ?? ???? ??????. ?????? ?? ???? ??????. ???? ?? ????? ??? ??? ?? ?? ??? ????? ??? ?’ ???? ????? ????? ?????? ???? ?????.

  3. The psak was only regarding Davening for his success in business.

    If it were for an innocent sick child, he would have encouraged him to Daven. Reb Eliyashev is a Gevaltiga Baal Rachmonis.

    Even a regular person with human blood (besides the Germans), feels his heart melting when he sees any innocent person in pain.

  4. Wiseman. Based on what was written in the article Rav Elyashiv gave the guidelines, but ultimately Rav Aberman made the call regarding this Christians mans beliefs are defined as ovodah zara.

    Half baked does have a legitamite point. Rav Elyashiv never asked what the potential donor believes, unless there is something the Author left out.

  5. I am surprised with the p’sak. I am a convert. I cannot daven for my parents or siblings if they are sick, C’v? I am not being disrespectful. I just want to understand.

  6. The Rambam (Machalos Asuros 11) writes that the Christians are plain idol worshippers.

    The common argument is over the issue of shituf (i.e. they worship G-d but also yoshke as well and that addition, a shituf, is permitted them. This comes from a Rama that says you are allowed to cause a non-Jew to swear to his god, since he is not swearing to an idol but just adding his idol to Hashem). The Noda B’Yehuda writes (YD 148) that this understanding is in error, it is a mistake to think that Goyim are not commanded against shituf and xtians therefore are not ovdei avodah zarah. The reality is they are.

    Personally, I think that misses the point: xtians, catholic OR protestant (with the exception of J-witenesses and mormons who are polytheists) believe that yoshke IS l’havdil G-d. That’s a”z no matter how you slice it.

    To convert: I do not pretend to be an expert or geirus, but my understanding is that upon your conversion your parents are now avraham avinu and sarah imanu. If your relatives are akum then you cannot pray for them. I believe the same would apply if you were born Jewish and c”v your parents became xtians. You couldn’t pray for them either (except maybe that they should make teshuva).

    Again, I am no expert. I would suggest you ask a qualified Rav.

  7. Eli k,#3;if you noticed the wording,”aino yehudi,” even if such a person reads this site he will not know what its talking about.

  8. To convert:
    Your question (assuming you really are who you purpose to be) probably is not relevant to this issue, especially since exceptions may be found for ???? or ??? ??? – ???? ???? but be sure to consult a competent halachic authority as you would with any other question.

  9. what if a christian came in 1944 and said he will smuggle 1000 Jews out of Auschwitz under threat to his own life if you would daven for him, would the answer be no? I don’t think so. Same should be here. This man’s money might save the lives of Jewish children and we should say no? Publishing this article makes us look like elitist, ungrateful people and breeds resentment unnecessarily.
    Finally #7: there are many, many counterarguments to what you wrote.
    1)The famous Meiri, (which you will of course claim is not real) stating that non-Jews who establish peaceful society are not idol worshippers.
    2)Rambam living among Muslims, thus his harsher opinion of Christians. The Ashkenazi rebbeim, Rashi among them, were much more liberal.
    3)Common sense. The shita that non-religious Jews today are all tinok shenishba, how much can you expect from non-jews. Are you out on the street teaching them that christianity is Avoda Zara? How can they possibly now then. If you weren’t born Jewish, do you honestly think you wouldn’t practice whatever religion you were born into? give your honest, realistic answer.

    Finally, convert, don’t take any halachik advice from these internet posts. Asks your OWN pose who nows you and your situation. You will find that Yiddishkeit is much more sensitive and considerate than can be gleaned here.
    For instance, while a convert is not obligated to say kaddish for his parents, he is allowed to do so (and indeeed encouraged by many to do so to heal his heart).

  10. I know a convert who not only dovened for a sick parent, but had mi-sheberachs said in a chareidi yeshiva. This person also did the same for sick non-Jews on several occasions. In no case was the issue of “aino Yehudi” raised. Of course, here we are talking about America.
    Incidentally, except for the elderly parent, who had received a hopeless diagnosis much to late for anything other than an open miracle, all those dovened for recovered.

  11. My question is what about a Jew who doesn’t belwive in the one g-d
    Maybe we can’t daven for him ethier! (Not a t”s) or maybe that’s ok asking as he doesn’t woethship idols. What about a yid who worships idols and doesn’t belwive in g-d? I would say you can’t daven for him, why should he be different than añuo yeudi?
    I do agree that the covert question should be left aside, it’s very deep, we aren’t holding.

  12. There are stories of Chasidic Rebbes giving Berachos to non-Jews who had asked for them, and the Berachos worked for them. If a non-Jew is already asking a Jew who is Hashem’s ultimate representative to pray on his behalf, it means that the non-Jew must have some level of belief in the Torah of Hashem, and praying for such a non-Jew will help him want to come closer to the truth and perhaps even eventually consider eventually abandoning his alternative ideology beliefs such as Christianity.

  13. To #7. I asked my Rav, who is a Talmid Chacham, and he answered that I can daven for my parents and siblings for a refuah, however, I cannot make a m’shebeirach for them in shul.

    To #13. My Rav also stated that a convert cannot say kaddish and sit shiva for his/her parents.

  14. Has anyone remembered that when the Beit HaMikdash is standing non-Jews are allowed to bring korbanos? Since that is the case, they must have some madregah spiritually -so why shouldn’t we be able to doven for them?

  15. #17 – I mean I’m not sure how to say it but it seems you’ve tripped up a Talmud chaxham, or , he just decided to go against the exact psak which we are dealing with here!! One can’t daven for an aneio yeudi who worships elileilm and doesn’t bwleive in one g-d. Which relates to my previous question which is unanswered and probably won’t be answered in a forum, rather some one would have to ask the Posen hadoer. Hope you understand my difficulty with the question and why I’m bothered by your Rav’s psak

  16. It is well known that when former President Dwight David Eisenhower had a heart attack, Maran Rav Aharon Kotler, ZT’L, said a Mi Shebayrach for him in Beis Medrosh Gevoha. It is further well known that when former President Ronald Wilson Reagan was shot in the assasination attempt, Rav Avigdor Miller, ZT’L, said a Mi Shebayrach for him in his beis medrosh of Beis Yisroel of Rugby.

  17. To #19 –

    My Rav understood the question very well. By accusing me of tripping up my Rav is an insult.

    Uhhh. The qeustion that I mentioned previously has been answered. If you have an issue with it I suggest you ask a qualified Rav.

  18. I just had a conversation with one of the Chabad Shiluchim in my area of Northern California about this story. He related that it was well known that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, ZT’L, very often said prayers for non-Jewish people. He himself told me to say prayers for certain non-Jewish people I knew; when praying fora non-Jewish person, we say the person’s name, son of or daughter of, the father’s name. It would seem though that the Mi Shebayrach wording that states: ” . . . Among the other sick of Yisroel . . . ” is referring to Jewish people. So when saying for non-Jewish people, different wording would be used.

    He was quite surprised that the issue of Christianity not being considered Avoda Zara for a non-Jew was not properly addressed.

  19. I cannot begin to fathom why the person asking the Shaila from Rav Elyashuv, Sh’lita, did not at all tell him the whole story: The non-Jew is a Christian, who had met Rabbi Aberman and now wanted to give a monetary donation to Rabbi Aberman’s organization that helps children with, Lo Alaynu, Yenem Machla, but had wanted Rabbi Aberman to pray for him.

    So there are several serious Inyanim here: Christianity not being considered Avoda Zara for a non-Jew, a kiddush HaShem verses, Chas V’Shalom, a Chillul HaShem, Mipnei Ayva, Mipnei Darchay Shalom, having and showing proper appreciation, the monetary needs of a group that is trying to help children with, Lo Alaynu, Yenem Machla, etc.


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