Monday, June 20, 2016

Kiddush HaShem requires that we also deal properly with the evil that Jews sometimes do

Somone just sent me the following guest post. It clearly expresses that being a proper servant of HaShem requires understanding the collective nature of the Jewish people and the need to uproot evil from our midst. Just as we clearly celebrate the good we do as Jews - we need to condemn and criticize the bad. Failure to be concerned with publicizing the negative because of fears of chilul HaShem or degrading talmidei chachomim - results in the disaster described in the post.
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In שמואל בּ פּרק כ״א, it describes a famine in Dovid HaMelech time. After 3 years he consulted the אורים ותומים and was advised that the famine was a punishment for Shaul HaMelech (deceased) killing Givonim many years earlier. So Dovid HaMelech approached the king of the Givonim and asked how he can appease them, and the response was "we want to kill 7 of Shaul's descendants as retribution". So 7 family members were handed over, they were killed and hung on a tree for 7 months, and subsequently the famine ended.

Two questions arise: 1) why was the whole בּני ישׂראל punished for one persons crime and had to endure a famine? and 2) Shaul HaMelech was long deceased so why rehash old stories and bring to the worlds attention problems the Jews had in the past and punish them creating a חילול השׁם?

Answers: The Abarbanel (and it appears also the Malbim) comment that the reason the Jews were collectively punished was because they didn't protest Shaul HaMelech's actions of killing the Givonim. Regardless that he was the Melech, Godol, Daas Torah (all the above combined in one) you do not blindly listen especially if they're making a mistake. And to the contrary, you have a responsibility to protest these actions.

The second question is answered by the Gemora Yevamos (78B and 79A) (Rashi ד״ה ואל יתחלל שׁם שׁמים), that a חילול השׁם was caused among the non-Jews as they saw Jews can commit crimes and escape unpunished. But after killing the 7 descendants as retribution and hanging them on a tree for 7 months, people asked who they were and were told that they are of royalty and how Jews treat crime seriously regardless of the perpetrator's background. This created a massive קידושׁ השׁם and 150,000 people converted to Yiddishkeit in that period.

We learn from here that whether covering up child abuse crimes or any other crimes or assisting perpetrators to evade justice, this is a חילול השׁם. The חילול השׁם isn't the public court case where the culprit is on trial for their crimes, but rather Jews assisting criminals in evading justice. And to the contrary, the קידושׁ השׁם is when the world observes Jews treating crime seriously using the justice system appropriately.

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