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The Basics

5: Sanctifying Hashem’s Name

I should be sanctified among the Children of Israel. (Vayikra 22:33)

Following the first four mitzvos, we are taught that we have to be willing to give up our lives in honor of Hashem, if necessary.

This mitzvah has two aspects: the mitzvah to die al kiddush Hashem (in sanctification of Hashem’s name), if necessary, and the mitzvah to always live al kiddush Hashem. Hashem is the Creator of everything. He made us and gave us His Torah. Thus:

• One must give up his life rather than deny Hashem’s existence, commit adultery, or cause bloodshed (the three cardinal sins).

• If one is ordered to commit any sin in front of ten Jews, he must give up his life rather than commit the sin.

• If one is ordered to commit a sin at a time of shemad (persecution), he must accept death, even in private.

In our daily lives we are obligated to sanctify Hashem’s name, as the Rambam teaches:

If someone behaves in a manner which upsets people, even if he is not doing any specific transgressions, this is a chillul Hashem.... A wise person must be meticulous with his actions and act beyond the letter of the law. When he is careful to speak with gentleness to others, is involved with them, greets them even if they shame him, honors even those who are disrespectful to him, conducts his business dealings always seen studying Torah...and acts in ways that are even beyond the Torah’s requirements until everyone praises him, loves him, and desires to emulate his deeds: this person is sanctifying Hashem’s name. (Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 5:11)

Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and



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