Nechemyah D asked:

In this sugya Rebbe Eliezer is told by Rebbe Akiva that the reason that Hash-m has brough him to gardom is due to listening to a min and him feeling that it appeared proper (Rashi).

My question is if a thing like this can happen to a great Rav like Rabbi Eliezer Hyrkanos, the more so it can happy to a simple man. So what are some basic Halachot on dealing with minim, for they are all over. And it seems that nachrim like to ask me questions about the Torah and Judaism. I am not sure on how to judge a person who is trying to know Hash-m from the person who is out to make trouble and cause harm to Am Israel and me. What can I do to see who is real and who is not.

Nechemyah D, Los Angeles, USA

The Kollel replies:

While it is appropriate not to appreciate false Derashos that are said by a Min, even though they are witty, one must realize that the severity of the punishment clearly had to do with the fact that this was Rebbi Eliezer. A great man is punished severely even for small things. Additionally, Rebbi Eliezer's enjoyment of this "Derashah" looked like a consent of one of the leading scholars of Israel, something far more severe than a consent given by me or you.

In general, if Nochrim ask you a question about Torah and Judaism dealing with either belief in Hash-m or one of the seven Noahide laws, and you have a good answer for them, by all means you may share it. However, I would not advise getting into any sort of debate with them, even if they appear sincere, unless one is trained and experienced in such matters. If they ask deep questions that are outside the scope of the seven noahide laws or belief in Hash-m, it may not be permissible to answer. [If you would like more guidelines on what is permissible to teach Nochrim, see my sefer Halachic World Volume One, Parshas V'Zos Ha'Berachah.]

All the best,

Yaakov Montrose