Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Chilul HaShem and the Jewish People

How unique and important is God’s relationship with the Jewish people? How exalted are we? If the Jewish people are denigrated in any way - is it a Chilul HaShem? The answers to these questions can be found in a phrase written the Kinos as explained by the Rav. The following was taken form the Koren Mesoret HaRav Kinot.

The first Kina of the day is Kina 6 – composed by R’ Eliezer HaKlair. Therein is the following phrase: Sechi U’Maos Hashimuni B’Edrei Chaverai – They called me repulsive, worse than all my peers.

Rabbi HaKalir is not talking about the physical destruction of the Beis HaMikdash. He is referring to the Kavod – honor - of Israel. When Israel is dishonored it is a Chilul HaShem. The 2000 year exile constitutes a Chilul HaShem and the final redemption is the antithesis of that - and presupposes Kavod Yisroel. And is therefore a Kiddush HaShem. In effect God is telling the Jewish people that even though they are not deserving He will bring them back to Israel and rebuild the Beis HaMikdash – because God’s Name has been desecrated by the exile of His chosen people.

The fact is that God’s name cannot really be desecrated by human beings – no matter how powerful they may be. It s only desecrated by the fact of our exile. Yechezkel says (37:27-28) that one of the reasons Moshiach will come is not because Israel deserves it but because while they are in exile the holy name of God is in exile. It is desecrated, profaned and treated with contempt.

Yechezkel later says (39:27) that God will b e sanctified when God’s prophecy to the Nevi'im are correct and true - applying only to the Jewish people and no others.

During various periods in history this type of Chilul HaShem was amply demonstrated. There is no better demonstration of this than during the holocaust when certain Christian clergymen said that God had abandoned the Jews and that the words of their bible were being fulfilled. Rav Soloveitchik was confronted with those words and he used to cry – not for the Churban – but for the terrible desecration of God’s name that these arguments represented.

One of the significant things about the creation of the State of Israel is that it put an end to talk like that.

The Churban led to the denigration of God’s chosen people: ‘They called me dirty and repulsive’. This epitomizes the disdain the nations of the world had for the Jewish people. That too is a desecration of God’s name. The enemies of the Jewish people are the enemies of God. They do not only want to persecute and kill Jews. They want to deny the extra quality of Bechira – chosenness.