The Talmud is arguing about the proper interpretation of some verse in the Bible about the general practices of idolaters. One interpretation is this:
The priests of idolatry would see some rich person and draw a picture of him with his colorful clothing and general appearance and then work their calves and animals of idolatry to the point of exhaustion and when they would give them something to eat they would put the picture of that rich person in front of them.
Then when the animals would see the rich person they would run towards him and the priest would say "You see the gods like you. come and sacrifice yourself to them."
Another interpretation of that same verse is that it referred to the father. Some father would sacrifice his son and the priests would say come and kiss the idol.
This gives deep insight about Kiruv. The attempt to get college students involved in the insane religious world .
The approach is the same. The main target is always some student with rich parents. the hidden message here is what the sages said that a poor person is considered dead. So these cults try to get the young students to give up their education and to join them and thereby to become forever dependent on the cult. The way they do this is by love bombing either them or their parents. They make this whole show of how much they love the students because supposedly he is Jewish. What they really love is his money.
I should mention that there is nothing wrong with learning and keeping Torah. But what is wrong with Kiruv is that Torah is used as bait to catch fish and cut them open and cook them and eat them.
It was my good fortune that I went to a baal teshuva yeshiva that was in fact only about learning and keeping Torah and had no other agendas. But that is rare.
I have come to see Kiruv as extremely evil.
The yeshiva I went to was in NY, Shaar Yashuv, which was an amazing place. It probably still is.
Later I was at the Mir and then in Safed. Safed was great until baali teshuva [newly religious] started showing up in Meor Chaim. You think making baali teshuva is a mitzvah. Ever try living next to one?
Baali teshuva [newly religious] tend to be the worst of religious fanatics. Part of the problem I think is ignorance about what the Torah says. The tendency is because they have an internal desire to be part of the insane religious world -which is nowadays the only way they can see to get married and have wholesome family--and they read a book about halacha they think they know enough to judge others. Or even recruit others. But newly religious people with this problem are not the only ones. Often families of what you think are people that have always been religious are actually of baali teshuva.
This accounts for almost all of the religious fanaticism you see today in Ultra Religious neighborhoods. It is not like they pretend that they have always been that way. rather the Ultra Religious are always the baali teshuva --just pushed back a few years.