Shabbos Candles: 8:36 PM

Shabbos Ends: 9:45 PM

Torah Reading “Emor”

The Mitzva of Kiddush Hashem

The most enduring and publicized image of the Jew in the world has been our tenacity with regards to our faith. Despite all that the world tried and tries to do to the Jew, the Jew remains faithful to his/her G‑d and G‑d’s Laws. This is in essence the core of Kiddush Hashem – The sanctification of G‑d’s Name in defiance of the pressure of all Israel’s enemies.

In our generations, however, many have left the fold due to the permissiveness of the American society which does not seek out the Jew for destruction. Thus the determined nature of the Jew works primarily when he feels threatened, not when he is seduced.

Nonetheless, I find it strange that the commandment for Kiddush Hashem is in this week’s Torah portion Emor and not with the portion Kedoshim. Kedoshim which expresses the Holiness of our people should have been the place where we sanctify and make “Holy” – G‑d’s Name!? Emor on the other hand speaks about the special nature of the priesthood, not the power of each Jewish soul – known as Der Pintele Yid – The Jewish Spark!

While Chassidic interpretations stress that each soul is a Kohen, even a Kohen Gadol – High Priest, nonetheless this is out of simple context.

The answer might be that just as a Kohen need do nothing to maintain his special sanctity, for he is sanctified automatically, so too is every Jew sanctified. That is without doing anything special we are G‑d’s beloved and G‑d’s Chosen. The reason for this love and choice only comes becomes apparent via our fierce determination to never quit being who we are. This strength of commitment, however, does not draw from our activities and accomplishments. It comes from the basic nature of our soul.

The Kohen is a Kohen only because of his nature. All of the stiff restrictions on his person stems from the need to remind him of his special nature. So too, every Jew is reminded that due to the special nature of his/her soul, that he/she can reach the highest levels of relationship with The Creator. This is what is implied in the commandment of Kiddush Hashem.

Anyone who is Jewish can and must SANTIFY G-D’S NAME. It is not dependent upon one’s accomplishments, one’s Holiness or wisdom. It is not determined by social status, wealth or lineage.

Rather, when a Jew behaves in a way that others can point and say, there is a Jew who is faithful to G‑d – this makes G‑d’s Name Holy! We bring Glory to G‑d.

How? When a Jew behaves in a way that others might expect him/her to do and shows that he/she does so because G‑d ordained for us to do what is right – this sanctifies G‑d, glorifies G‑d’s Torah and brings honor to his People.

One should not say, who am I to do this? Rather as Hillel says in The Ethics of The Fathers Chapter II, “In a place where there are no men (of greatness) exert yourself to “become a man”. That is, where there are none to look up to in character or deeds – you be the example, you become the leader.

The world rests upon you and me!

Good Shabbos!