In this week’s Parsha we read how the Yidden didn’t return to Mitzraim after 3 days as Moshe Rabbeinu said they would. They also didn’t return the objects they borrowed from the Mitzri’im.
Was this not a Chilul Hashem?
Is it a Chilul Hashem to invite guests in Sedom? Were they wrong for tying a sheep to their bed in a land that worshipped sheep? How about forging passports to cross the Polish border after World War Two? Was refusing to work on Shabbos in the 1920’s a Chilul Hashem?
Am I allowed to support a Democratic candidate if I live amongst Republicans? Can I vote Republican if my neighbors are Democrats? What should I do if my neighbors are both Republicans and Democrats?
Is dressing like the larger community a Kiddush Hashem? How about singing like them, does that sanctify Hashem’s name?
The first and foremost way of desecrating Hashem’s name is by going against His will and doing an aveira, chas v’shalom. This includes chillul Shabbos, being dishonest, not keeping Kosher or insulting someone. Doing such an action shows a disregard for the Creator and is essentially stating that He is irrelevant. Doing a Mitzvah shows He is indeed relevant in our lives.
We also attempt to glorify His Name by having good manners, keeping the laws of the land or community practices, when they don’t contradict the Shulchan Aruch.
What it doesn’t mean is finding favor in the eyes of the nations at any cost. Throughout history we have been frowned upon for our ways, for one reason, while our brethren elsewhere were treated like outcasts for the opposite reason.
It makes no difference if the current fad is to speak a certain way or drive a certain car. Or whether society is awed by the knowledge of sports players or how to be a foodie. We have our thousands-of-years-old Torah and Minhagim to guide every facet of our lives. From how we wake up to how we get dressed, what we learn and what we eat. How we speak and how we work – the Torah is our guide and our Chachamim the torch bearers.
Fair-minded people eventually come to respect us. Our link to the past. Our honesty. Our regard for the sacred and the enormous value we place upon family life. We must always remember, it’s the Torah’s values that will ultimately gain respect, not changing with the times.
Then there are the scoffers. Otherwise known as Amalek. To them anything authentically Jewish that represents a belief in a Creator is to be ridiculed. Openly, or often-times under the guise of a noble casue. It makes little difference. It’s ultimately the believing Jew they are after.
To them we say: you are not our first Haman. Throughout the centuries, each Haman felt they were on top of the world, drunk with their own power. We outlasted them and their “modern” ways and we shall outlast you as well.
We are an am chacham v’navon as well as an am k’shei oref in the positive sense. We will stick by our beliefs through thick and thin. Confident that the final Geulah is just around the corner, when we shall wake up from our upside down Golus dream and the world will see there is indeed a creator, that there is such a thing as objective morality and that good things do indeed happen to good people.
May it be speedily in our days.
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,