"Blessing" of the Heretics. In case one unfamiliar with Jewish liturgy should grace these humble pages, "blessing" is a euphemism. The full prayer and a brief explanation can be accessed here.
I always wondered about this prayer when I was a Good Yid (tm). Shouldn't we be encouraging the repentance of those heretics, asking God to allow them to see the light, in His eternal kindness, rather than call for the utter destruction? It always seemed a bit odd to me.
And now it's even more odd. When I do go to synagogue and say prayers, should I skip this out? Maybe? Maybe not? I don't want to curse myself! Obviously, there's no Halachic answer to this, unless there's a Sheilos V'Teshuvos I'm missing on the subject, or a sefer "al Ha-Minim," perhaps written by the Rambam, which guides us troubled souls on such matters.
Being in these sort of Halachic situations is still a little awkward for me. It's not that I'm scared of Divine Retribution, it's that I don't want to mess with the beliefs of others. It would annoy me if people were disrespectful of Judaism when I was practising it, things have to be done properly, don't you know. So why should I ruin it for others?
For example, what do I do if I'm called upon to pray from the pulpit? Do I refuse twice and accept on the third time, as is the custom? Or do I say "I'm wearing sandals" as a cryptic reference to Mishnah Torah hilchos avoda zara, describing minim as those who wear sandals or coloured clothes?
What about leading bentching? Am I posul for that too? And what about all forms of eidus, especially vayachulu on shabbos [I never really understood how we could give eidus about something we never saw]?
I must confess that sometimes I do try and make life easier for those around me, if I won't go discovered. After all, what they don't know won't hurt them, right?
For example, on shabbos if no-one's remembered to tear up the toilet paper into usable bits, I do that. If there's a light on in a room that shouldn't be, I turn it off before anyone notices it was ever on. Or if a room is freezing I turn up the heating, and vice versa. Maybe the fridge light is on...Or is it? It's so hard to remember these things after a bowl of chicken soup, but it's off now, that's for sure.
Of course it's risky, discovery would be followed by the certain catastrophe all of us frum sceptics and skeptics are familiar with. But still...mitzvah gorreres mitzvah, right?
If anyone has any ideas on these puzzling questions, let me know.