On sanctifying and desecrating G-d’s name

By: David M. Weinberg

Jun 17, 2013

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When someone devotes his life to teaching Judaism to the alienated masses of secular Israeli Jews, I call that a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name. When someone else runs a derogatory campaign of public defamation and slander against a candidate for the post of chief rabbi, I lament the chillul Hashem – the desecration of G-d’s name. 

Published in Israel Hayom, June 17, 2013.

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When someone devotes his life to teaching Judaism to the alienated masses of secular Israeli Jews, I call that a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name.

When someone else uses gutter language in his weekly sermons to denounce and curse secular Israeli Jews and Diaspora Jews who are distant from traditional Jewish practice, that seems to me to be a chillul Hashem – a desecration of G-d’s name.

When someone establishes a rabbinical organization aimed at making Jewish marriage more accessible and pleasant to the broad Israeli public, I identify a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name.

When someone else blocks legislation that would modernize and streamline Rabbinate bureaucracy in this regard, and then proceeds to viciously mock anybody involved in the effort as weak-kneed reformers and “destroyers” of Judaism, I smell a chillul Hashem – a desecration of G-d’s name.

When someone regularly speaks of love, brotherhood, connection, commitment, partnership and common cause in advancing halachic practice and morality in Israeli society, I applaud the kiddush Hashem – the sanctification of G-d’s name.

When someone else speaks angrily, scathingly and mockingly of other Jews as “goyim,” “enemies,” “desecrators,” “wicked,” and “evil,” I fear for a chillul Hashem – a desecration of G-d’s name.

When someone presides with a smile over thousands of chuppas (Orthodox wedding ceremonies) for secular Israelis and Russian immigrants to Israel who have little background in Jewish law and practice and draws them closer to tradition, I sense a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name.

When someone else barks and snarls with a contorted face full of anger against soldiers, artists, writers, politicians, rabbis and just about any other person who has a slightly different perspective than his own; and then proceeds to mock the Russian immigrants that operate our hospitals, defend our borders, and build our economy as charlatans and Jewish imposters, I have no choice but to cringe in the face of a chillul Hashem – a desecration of G-d’s name.

When someone runs a clean, positive campaign that attacks none of the other candidates for the post of Chief Rabbi, and one articulates a well-defined plan for a bureaucratic revolution in Rabbinate procedures that is based upon proven personal experience, I laud that as kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name.

When someone else runs a derogatory campaign of public defamation and slander against candidates for the post of chief rabbi, I lament the chillul Hashem – the desecration of G-d’s name.

When somebody makes a run for the post of Chief Rabbi in or order to promote a defined, above-board agenda of tikkun, that seems to me a respectable kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name – whether you agree with the candidate’s agenda or not.

When somebody else promotes a convicted and unrepentant criminal as the leader of his political party, and advances candidates for the post of Chief Rabbi all of whom surprisingly come from the same family or are brothers of the leaders of your political party’s inner circle, I cry for the chillul Hashem – the apparent desecration of G-d’s name.

When someone promotes himself for the post of chief rabbi with humility, out of a sense of mission to make Orthodox Judaism more accessible to all Israelis, religious and secular alike, while simultaneously acknowledging the higher Torah credentials and validity of other candidates, I call that a kiddush Hashem – a sanctification of G-d’s name.

When somebody else attacks a worthy candidate for the post of chief rabbi as “wicked” and “having no fear of G-d at all” and being “dangerous to Judaism” and “bringing idolatry into the temple,” simply because he is from a rival camp within Orthodoxy, is that not a chillul Hashem gadol – an extreme desecration of G-d’s name?

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About David Weinberg

David M. Weinberg is a spokesman, speechwriter, columnist and lobbyist who is a sharp critic of Israel’s detractors and of post-Zionist trends in Israel. Read more »


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