Is it important to live in a Jewish neighborhood with a positive influence? There are many Rabbinical students, who, when ordained, go throughout the world to help and educate their brethren in Judaism. There is a lot to learn; our religion is rich of customs, tradition, and laws which have preserved Judaism for 4000 years since the first Jew, Avraham. However, many Jews are not familiar with many important elements of our rich deep religion. So it’s our job to care about each other because we are all responsible for one another. Nevertheless, one has to be concerned moving to a non-observant neighborhood; after all, some of us have taken great pains to reach the level that we are so proud of. We must preserve our precious Judaism.
Rav Henoch Leibowitz, z”tl guarantees, quoting, the prominent and holy commentary, Sforno, “Whoever goes out and reaches out to our brethren, they and their children will not be negatively affected.”
The Chachamim closely observe the first “Mr. Outreach”, our forefather, Avraham, who as the Avnai Nezer compares him to a Mikvah. A mikvah purifies individuals. However, in the process, it never becomes impure. So too, Avraham, in his education of people, was never influenced.
Rabbeinu Bachai teaches us that Avraham was an exceptional human being. He had the ability, whoever he made contact with, would be healed from their depressed state of mind, and that’s how he was able to bring people back to G-d. The healing took place through Avraham’s power of speech and his soothing voice. Avraham was a charismatic towering presence; whoever would listen to him would feel uplifted. He had a precious stone wrapped around his neck and anyone who would look at it would get healed. I guess he was a jewel of a guy. After Avraham’s death, G-d took back the jewels and placed it in the sun. That’s why we say in Tehillim “The skies preach the word of G-d”. Avraham was given a gift from G-d and lived up to his billings.
Interestingly, Rav Henoch mentions that G-d instructed Avraham to move out from his environment and pry away from his past, because G-d didn’t want him to get influenced. But wait, didn’t we learn Avraham was immune from outside influence? Therefore, we see that one has to be very careful. Everyone is susceptible and one should take the necessary precautionary measures to protect himself and his family. Advice might be extremely recommended.