Rabbi Shraga Freedman with Rabbi Dovid Sussman

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Living Al Kiddush Hashem

Once in a while, I have occasion to attend a chasunah graced by the presence of Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky, the venerated rosh yeshiva of...

Living Al Kiddush Hashem – The Empowerment of Responsibility

Ask anyone for a list of the keys to achieving success and becoming a leader, and they will likely rattle off a number of qualities and character attributes that are, no doubt, very valuable. On the other hand, however, few people are likely to mention one of the significant causes of success that one researcher discovered: being a firstborn child. This researcher discovered that firstborns, who make up only about 35 percent of the general population, form a much higher percentage of high achievers, political leaders, successful businessmen, and other top performers. Astronauts, company executives, renowned scientists, and even United States presidents tend to be firstborns far more often than one would have imagined. The next question that the researcher asked himself was: Why? After extensive research and consideration of the evidence, he concluded that the primary distinction between firstborns and their peers lay in the fact that firstborns tend to be saddled with more responsibilities than their younger siblings. That responsibility tends to bring out latent abilities that otherwise might never have been tapped (Bringing Out the Best in Others, by Thomas K. Connellan).

Chillul Hashem And Responsibility To The Klal

Sometimes, a religious Jew makes every effort to create a kiddush Hashem but finds that his efforts are of no avail. Moreover, a Jew may sometimes find himself the subject of a non-Jew’s bitter hatred, even if he has done nothing to elicit the gentile’s wrath. There can be any number of explanations for this phenomenon, but one common - and highly unfortunate - cause of such occurrences is the chillul Hashem of another Jew. We have learned that achdus, unity, is an important factor in the creation of kiddush Hashem for many reasons, because true kiddush Hashem is created only through a conglomerate of individuals working together to bring honor to Hashem, and because large groups of people have a powerful impact by virtue of their sheer numbers. But there is another reason. A chillul Hashem created even by one individual Jew can have potentially disastrous consequences for many other Jewish people. Consequently, it is vital to ensure that the entire Jewish people remain united in the quest to bring honor to Hashem, in order to ensure that no individual fails in his observance of the Torah’s precepts and creates a chillul Hashem.

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