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Shabbat Parashat Chukat 5772

Parashat Hashavuah: Sanctifying Hashems Name in Life

Harav Shaul Yisraeli - from Siach Shaul, pg. 417-418

How does Hashem describe Moshe’s failing, for which he was not allowed to enter the Land? “Since you did not believe in Me to sanctify Me before the eyes of Bnei Yisrael, therefore you will not bring this congregation into the Land that I gave to them” (Bamidbar 20:12). We see that the giant among giants did not stumble by violating an actual sin. Rather, Moshe’s failure to reach the level of kiddush Hashem that was expected of someone of his stature prevented him from entering the Land.

There are different levels and types of kiddush Hashem. There is kiddush Hashem before the nations, just as there is chillul Hashem in that regard. We see an example of the impression that Rabbi Chananya Ben Tradyon made on the executioner who repented based on his shining example of dedication to Hashem (Avoda Zara 18a). Kiddush Hashem makes one rethink that which he incorrectly assumed and contemplate ideas. It is not like propaganda, whose whole purpose is to influence. Rather it reveals greatness and makes people look in awe. This is what can turn people’s lives around, bringing them from one extreme to the opposite one.

There is a kiddush Hashem that impacts on the nation inward. A classic example is that of Rabbi Akiva, where his students asked him: “How far are you able to go [in your dedication]?” (Berachot 61b). This taught his students and future generations.

Nowadays, too, we are obligated to sanctify Hashem’s Name before the nations of the world. When the nations hear that the Jewish people returned to the Land of Israel but did not return to the Tanach, this is a chillul Hashem. In positive contrast, when an agricultural community is built based on the foundations of religious life, this is a kiddush Hashem.

However, the kiddush Hashem has to exist internally as well. The Hapoel Hamizrachi (Religious Workers’ Party) made a change in the country, as previously, “worker” was seen as a synonym to an irreligious person. Now we know that the two idea are unrelated, which is a kiddush Hashem. [Rav Yisraeli was the founding rabbi of K’far Haroeh, the pioneering religious agricultural settlement.]

However we have to increase the kiddush Hashem within Israel and within ourselves. We do not know our internal strengths, which are imbedded in our souls as Jews. We have to learn our potential from great acts of self-sacrifice, which come at times of great inspiration. We have to eternalize these moments in our souls and pass them on to future generations. They must be infectious, shared with others like, l’havdil, a communicable disease.

Rabbi Akiva looked for an opportunity to serve Hashem with the ultimate kiddush Hashem. We too have to look for the strength in ourselves and expand it – to show it to others … and to ourselves.


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