Wednesday, February 28, 2024

On Being a Kiddush Hashem

The Rambam, based on the Talmud, says the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem is fulfilled when a person is placed in a situation where they have to give up their life for the sake of God. We know there is the sacrosanct Torah principle of pikuach nefesh, which means in order to save a life virtually all of the commandments are set aside. But there are exceptions. If one of the three “cardinal” sins – idolatry, murder and sexual immorality – is involved, then a person must give up their life rather than transgress them. And, actually, during a period in which the Jewish people and the Jewish way of life is under systemised attack, it is a great mitzvah to give one’s life for the cause, even under other circumstances. In fact, this is the ultimate expression of kiddush Hashem; a brave declaration of total dedication, love and trust, a visceral demonstration that there is nothing more important than living in accordance with God’s values and with our ultimate purpose in life.

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