Chilul vs. Kiddush Hashem by Shmuel Katz


Parashat Emor discusses two obligations regarding our everyday lives. The Pasuk states (VaYikra 22:32), “VeLo Techalelu Et Shem Kadshi, VeNikdashti BeToch Bnei Yisrael…” “You shall not desecrate My Holy Name, and I will be sanctified amongst the Children of Israel…”. The first phrase warns us of desecrating Hashem’s name. Everyday, when we are in public, we must make sure not to act inappropriately. For example, if gentiles see a Jew cursing, yelling, or acting impolitely, they will immediately assume that all Jews also act inappropriately, which results in a Chilul Hashem, a desecration of God’s name. This Mitzvat Lo Ta’aseh commands us not to bring shame to the Jewish people or desecrate the name of Hashem. .

Next, the Pasuk teaches the Mitzvat Aseih to be Mekadeish Shem Hashem, to sanctify Hashem’s name. For example, if a Jew holds the door open for an elderly person, the elder will look at him and remember that a kind Jewish boy with a Kippah did him a great favor. This is a Kiddush Hashem, which is a crucial aspect of our everyday lives. Whether it be picking up a piece of paper that has been dropped or holding the door open for someone, a Kiddush Hashem is an action on which we as Jews, Hashem’s people, must concentrate.  One should always be mindful of his actions, for they affect not only himself but also the entire Jewish people and Hashem.

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