with Rav Avigdor Miller
Gaining a Good Name
Part I. Make His Name Great
A Matter of Life and Death
One of the many important pessukim that we come across in this week’s sedrah is, וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל – I should be sanctified amidst the sons of Yisroel (Emor 22:32). We know it as the mitzvah of “kiddush Hashem”, and it’s an obligation on all of us – that’s what the Rambam says in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah (Perek 5): Kol beis Yisroel metzuvim al kiddush Hashem – Everyone who belongs to the family of Yisroel is commanded to glorify the name of Hashem. “The whole house of Israel,” the Rambam says and that means it’s something we all have to keep in mind.
Now, if you’ll take a look in the Rambam over there, you’ll see that this mitzvah of making Hashem’s name great is so important that sometimes it requires a Jew to even give up his life; sometimes a man must be prepared to be killed for this mitzvah.
For example, if the gentiles want to force him to bow down to avodah zarah, he has to say, “Nothing doing! You’ll have to kill me before I do such a thing.” Or if they want to force him to commit immorality – you tell them you won’t do it but they don’t care what you say. They threaten you, “We’ll kill you if you don’t submit.” Like the wife of Potifar said to Yosef HaTzaddik, “I’ll kill you if you don’t listen to me.” Va’yimaein – Yosef refused! Sometimes a Jew has to be ready to give away his life for the glory of Hashem.
Our Glorious History
It’s because of this mitzvah that Jews have always provided scenes of the greatest heroism throughout history. Today a good portion of the Jewish nation has already lost its backbone but up till recently a Jew would let himself be skinned alive rather than bow down to the cross. And don’t think that it was easy once the decision was made. It hurts terribly to be skinned alive! The loyal Jew would be screaming from pain and yet he wouldn’t budge.
No other nations were so loyal – Josephus tells us that among the Greeks there is not one who would suffer the least pain for such a thing. If you would threaten a Greek that he’d better curse Homer or else you’re going to take a quarter out of his pocket, he wouldn’t give it a second thought – he’d curse Homer to save a quarter! But the loyal Jew was willing to give up his life! He suffered terribly and then went to his death for this mitzvah.
In Europe, there were many times that our forefathers were being besieged by the Crusaders who wanted to force them to accept the cross. The enraged mob was battering at the gates of the synagogue and our grandparents knew that soon the walls would come down, the “peace loving”, “turn the other cheek” Christians would come in with their axes in order to force the Jews to choose between the baptismal font and death.
And so what happened? In the big shul the Am Yisroel stood with knives ready to slaughter themselves. And not only the tzadikim! The ordinary Jews, the mothers and the fathers, were prepared to fulfill this mitzvah of v’nikdashti! The little children they couldn’t trust, so first they slaughtered the little boys and girls. Sometimes the children saw what was happening and they ran under the benches for refuge and so the mothers pulled them out by their little feet and slit their necks.
And then after all the youth were dead, the adults killed themselves – the mothers and the fathers, the chosson and the kallah, the talmid chochom and the shoemaker; everyone died al kiddush Hashem – and finally when the Crusaders burst into the synagogue, they found a holy congregation lying in their own blood. There was nobody to force to the baptism waters because they were facing a nation of loyal servants who understood what it meant to fulfill the possuk of v’nikdashti b’soch Bnei Yisroel.
And it didn’t happen once. It happened again and again and again throughout our history, from the earliest of times. How do we know? We don’t have to rely on our sources because the gentiles themselves have made these statements again and again. Josephus quotes ancient Greek writers – a whole list of them – who describe how the ordinary Jews went to death by torture rather than say one word against their Torah. We can look back proudly at a long and glorious history of forefathers who died for Hashem and brought the greatest glory to His name in their final moments.
Life of Kiddush Hashem
But it’s important for us to understand that this is not the mitzvah in its entirety – there’s much more to the mitzvah of v’nikdashti bisoch Bnei Yisroel than being tortured to death. And so we’re going to study now not the subject of dying al kiddush Hashem but of living for kiddush Hashem.
Of course, if someone will confront you chas v’shalom with a crucifix and he’ll say bow down to this or else, so you won’t have a choice – you’ll have to grow a spine and give up your life – but we’re going to speak now of an aspect of the mitzvah that is much more frequent and yet no less important.
At the end of this chapter, in halachah yud alef, the Rambam adds the following important and useful information. He says there that a Jew who learns Torah or even if he has a name somewhat of a frum Jew and he behaves properly with those he comes in contact with, harei zeh kideish es Hashem – he brings glory to the name of Hashem. Simply by means of living decently he fulfills the mitzvah of our parsha.
You’re on Display
People see you with a black hat, maybe you’re even wearing a beard, so they know you’re a Jew. Today meshugaim also wear beards but sometimes your face alone tells the story. Maybe you have your tzitzis out – at least a yarmulkeh you’re wearing – that’s already enough to identify you with the Orthodox. And a woman? Her hair is covered, she’s wearing a dress. Even the girls – today you can spot a Bais Yaakov girl or a Bais Rochel girl a mile away.
So you’re a Jew, that’s what people see, and that means that unless you’re a hermit who’s hiding away in the caves in the mountains, you have a big career ahead of you. I’m not saying it’s easy but anybody who belongs to the Orthodox camp has endless opportunities to fulfill the mitzvah of our parsha.
Getting People to Like You
How do you do it? You’re careful to greet others with a pleasant cast of countenance and you’re always polite and considerate of others. You speak gently to people and you always try to agree with them. As long as there’s no sacrifice of principles, you’re always saying, “You’re right,” in order to make people feel happy. You go out of your way to honor everyone – Jew and gentile alike – even those who don’t honor you. No matter what you’re always honest in your business dealings and you don’t retaliate when put to shame.
Every ordinary Jew who is careful with these things, harei zeh kideish es Hashem – he’s bringing glory to Hashem. Because people say, “Look at that person, that frum Jew. Look at his behavior. Isn’t he a fine man?” If people say that about you, so you know you’ve succeeded. If you’ll behave in such a manner that people approve of you, that people like you, you’re serving Hashem!
Guarding Your Every Step
It’s a big responsibility because it means that a shomer mitzvos has to be on guard always not to make a misstep. Here’s a yeshiva boy sitting on the bus and there’s an empty seat on this side and an empty seat on this side and now two women get on the bus; they look like they’re together. They’re talking and they want to sit down. So you sit there like a dumb statue and act like you don’t know anything and now they have to sit separately?! Why not remember this possuk in Parshas Emor and be nice enough to say, “Here; please take a seat.” They might say thank you. They might not. But at least you already have propagandized for Hashem.
And when you’re getting off the bus and there’s somebody getting off behind you so when you hold the door open, instead of holding it with your back towards the person, turn with your face toward the person and hold the door open. That’s a courteous act that will be counted on your record as a kiddush Hashem. And if there’s a gentile man getting off before you and he holds open the door for you, you have to say thank you if you’re wearing a yarmulke. Of course you have to say thank you anyhow, but if you are recognized as Orthodox, it’s already an entirely different story – it’s part of your career of kiddush Hashem.
When you’re waiting in line at the post office and a gentile woman comes by. She’s knocking her pushka for veterans or cancer or some other gentile cause, so it’s good to always have a quarter ready. Drop in a quarter and she’ll give you a big thank you. And you’ve done what is required of you because by means of that the name of Hashem becomes hallowed in the world.
Sometimes you’re sitting in the subway and a faker comes in with a tin cup and he’s tapping the floor with his stick, peeking through his smoked glasses looking for customers – he wants to see who’s going to give the first donation to the ‘blind’ fellow. Nobody budges. So what do you do? You whisper to yourself, “Hineni muchan u’mezuman to fulfill the mitzvah of making Hashem’s name great,” and you fish out a coin from your pocket. It could be the smallest coin, a penny – nobody will see what you have there – and drop it into his tin can with the most resounding bang you can. And then lean back and bask in the admiration of the entire subway car. Only that you should remember one thing — as you lean back virtuously to enjoy the admiring gazes of your fellow passengers, remember that you did it for Hashem!
Living For Him
“Oh,” says Hashem, “that’s My servant – that’s the man I love.” The Rambam tells us that: alav hakasuv omer, about this personthe possuk says, “Vayomer li, Hashem said to me, “Avdi atah, you are My servant;” it means that’s your form of serving Me — not by how you die but by how you live. On the bus, in the street, in the store, harei zeh kideish es Hashem – you are bringing glory to My name.
Becausekiddush Hashem doesn’t require only that a person lay down his life, to go up on the scaffold and sacrifice himself for the glory of Hashem’s name – it requires also that we live our lives in a way that brings glory to the name of Hashem. Instead of letting himself be killed for kiddush Hashem, this person is living for kiddush Hashem. And about him Hashem says, “Avdi atah, Yisroel, asher becha espaer – By means of you, Yisroel, I become glorified; and because you live with the intention of bringing honor to Me, that’s why I call you, “My servant.”
Part II. Make Your Name Great
In Pirkei Avos (4:13) there’s a mishnah as follows: Sheloshah kesarim heim – There are three crowns that a person can wear that will bring him glory. What’s a crown for? To make you taller – you put it on your head and it makes you taller than anybody else; it distinguishes you from others.
What are the three kinds of crowns?
Number one is keser kehunah, the crown of priesthood. If your name is Cohen, Kaplan, Kahan, Kahana, other names that designate a family as kohanim, be proud of it. Don’t say, “I can’t be proud. I did nothing to earn it – I was born that way.” Don’t be humble now! Be proud that Hakodosh Boruch Hu has placed this crown on your head. Don’t talk about democracy or chauvinism — forget about that. Hashem has spoken and His word is not to be revoked from now until the end of time — He has bestowed the keser kehunah on the head of Aharon Hakohen and his seed forever and ever.
The second crown, the mishna says, is called keser malchus, the crown of royalty. Only the House of Dovid has been granted this privilege, no one else. It was given away forever to Dovid and his family, and so, no matter how good you’ll be, no matter how many votes you’ll get, nothing will help — the keser malchus is not for everybody.
The Available Crown
But there’s another crown in that list that the gemara says is munach, it’s put away for anybody to take. That’s the keser Torah, the crown of Torah. That’s a crown that anybody can get. Anybody! Just start a career learning one line of Gemara a day and reviewing it. One line a day! Soon you’ll know ten lines and then twenty lines and then a whole page you’ll know. A whole daf! That’s already a crown on your head! Of course, there are all types of Torah crowns. There are big crowns and there are small crowns, but a little crown is also something.
Of course you have to aspire to the keser torah — if you’re not interested in it, you won’t get it. But if you start and keep going, there’s no question you’re going to gain a crown of Torah; I guarantee it.
And so, these are three great crowns that Pirkei Avos tells us about – the crown of Priesthood, the crown of Royalty and the crown of Torah. And if you put them side by side, you’ll see how important they are – they stand as three great distinctions and it doesn’t seem like anything could rival such crowns.
The Crown of a Good Name
But along comes the mishnah and says a big chiddush. Rabbi Shimon says there’s a crown greater than all of these, and that’s the crown of the shem tov: V’keser shem tov oleh al gabeihem – the crown of a good name rises above all of them.
That’s our subject tonight, the keser shem tov. But first a little grammar, some syntax. The word shem is related to the word shamoa, to hear. Shem is what you hear about a man – a name means what people say about you, the impression that you give off. And so we understand that when it says that the crown of a good name is bigger than anything else, it means that you should try to get people to say good things about you. And if you do, then you have achieved a success which is oleh al gabeihem, which is bigger than all forms of success – bigger than the keser kehuna, bigger than the keser malchus and even bigger than the keser torah. Achieving a good name is the crown of all crowns.
What’s In a Name?!
Now a big question arises. Because actually it doesn’t make sense. After all, how do you achieve the crown of a shem tov? By means of good character and good deeds; by means of being polite and considerate and treating everyone with respect. And so why shouldn’t we call it rather the “crown of good character” or the “crown of maasim tovim,” something like that. That’s what it is after all. The “good name” is only what is created by a man’s behavior so let’s go to the source and say a “crown of middos tovos.” That’s what counts anyhow.
And so we must say: the answer is that it’s not talking about good character here! It’s a good name that we’re talking about! Of course it’s a very great thing to have good character and it’s worth spending your life working to acquire that. There are places where people do that. In the Novardoker Yeshiva everybody worked on their character. Every day a certain amount of time was set aside for what they called the bujar. It means the stock market, only they were taking stock of something more important. They used to come together and talk to each other and criticize each other; they would offer suggestions on how to improve. They gathered in kollels, sometimes in groups and they discussed their problems, how to control anger, how to guard their tongue, how to learn to be more tolerant and charitable. The bujar – it was a remarkable thing that the Am Yisroel once possessed.
And so it’s certainly a great thing – good character is a tremendous crown. But that’s not what the mishna is speaking about. We’re speaking about creating a good name for yourself, getting people to think well of you, that’s all. That’s the crown that rises up above them all. It doesn’t say you have to be good. It doesn’t say the keser of being a tzaddik, the keser of being a righteous man. A crown that people think you’re good, that’s what’s important because that’s how you’ll bring glory to Hashem. What you are really, that’s not the intention here – your mark of success when it comes to the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem is what people will think about you.
Don’t Be Natural
So you can’t say, “I don’t care about what people think; I just want to find favor in the eyes of Hashem.” Oh no! Hashem says if you don’t care about people I don’t care about you either. Kol sheruach habrios nocheh himeno, if people are satisfied with you, ruach haMakom nocheh himeno, then Hashem is satisfied with you (Avos 3:10). You hear that? A tremendous statement. Hakodosh Boruch Hu is actually insisting that you have to exert yourself that people should like you — and even though you’re not so likeable; Hashem Himself knows you’re not likeable but He wants people to like you anyhow.
And so your job is to bea cunning fellow, and not follow your nature. You have to be artificial all the time. You hear that word? Artificial. Not to be natural. Natural means you get down on hands and feet and you’ll eat from a plate on the floor — why bother to sit at a table? And you don’t need a spoon. You’ll put your face into the plate and you’ll lick it up. That’s natural.
Natural means you’ll sit in public and put your fingernail into your ear or your nose and then take it out and inspect the results of your mining expedition. I was saying a shiur in the yeshivah and I saw a young man do that so I decided that being natural is not the way to go.
A person has to be unnatural if he’s going to succeed at living a kiddush Hashem. No matter what he’s feeling, he continues to maintain the proprieties, the derech eretz, that cause people to think well of him. He knows that he’s always on display and that he’s making a show for Hakodosh Boruch Hu.
Now, I understand that there were falsifiers who popularized theories about natural behavior. There was a man Jean-Jacques Rousseau — I have a special grudge against him because he was an anti-Semite but most people don’t know that and therefore they’re taken in. They’re bamboozled by his theory of naturalism. Now it could be some aspects of his teachings had practical value — right now I’m not ready to say that, but still it could be — but the general attitude that people gathered from his words was that what’s natural is the criterion of proper behavior; and the plain truth is that it’s a big lie!
It’s sheker v’chazav! We are not born in this world to live a natural life. We’re here to live an unnatural life. The Torah wants you to deceive everybody else into thinking you’re better than you are and therefore no matter what you actually are, you have to put on an act and pretend that you’re somebody very good.
Aim For Praise
Now, we have to pay good attention to the words of the Rambam because the Rambam’s language is always precise. The Rambam says there that a man should continue going in these good ways ad sheyimatze hakol mekalsim oso – until it comes out that everybody praises him. You hear that chiddush? If you’ll read these words carefully it means you must behave in such a way that will lead people eventually to praise you. That’s your goal here – that people should speak well of you even if you know that you’re not so deserving of praise. The mitzvah of kiddush Hashem means that you’re working hard to get people to think well of you, that you’re living in such a way that you’re gaining the crown of a good name.
And you must know it’s not a small achievement. It’s a crown of glory on your head; and not just any crown — here you are standing next to the kohanim with their crowns and next to the beis Dovid wearing their crowns and next to the gedolei hatorah with their crowns and your crown is taller! Now it doesn’t mean you’re a great Torah scholar. No, it doesn’t say that. Just like you’re not a kohen and you’re not a melech, you’re also not a Torah scholar. And still the crown of a good name ascends higher above all of those crowns together. Your crown, the crown of a good name, is oleh al gabeihem because you’re a living display that brings glory to Hashem.
The Big Condition
Now all this needs one condition. Whatever we’re saying here should always be done under one condition. You’re doing it because it’s the will of Hashem. Otherwise, you’ll just be like one of the students of Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie wrote a book – an interesting book by the way – called How to Win Friends and Influence People. He’s a goy and it’s nothing but gashmiyus in that book. It’s good advice, but it’s nothing but gashmiyus. So if you’re doing it just because of that so your rebbi is Dale Carnegie – it’s a waste of your career, a waste of life.
And so you have to add just one condition and then this avodah becomes avodas Hashem. “I’m doing all this for the sake of creating a good name for Hashem.” You know you’re no good! But you’re trying to make a hit because Hashem wants you to do it for the sake of His name. You know you’re a nobody, but as far as the world is concerned you’re a frum Jew and people will praise the Torah if you create a shem tov. And by so doing you earn a very great crown for yourself.
Part III. Become Great
One Penny At A Time
Now, a crown like that is valuable property – it’s real wealth. And like wealth it takes time to build up this bank account of shem tov. You know, you don’t start becoming a millionaire overnight. First you start making a few dollars here and a few dollars there and you build up your wealth little by little. Genuine wealth starts with small steps, with work.
So you might have thought that shem tov is when everybody let’s say in Crown Heights is praising you. Maybe everybody in the big beis hamedrash in Satmar in Williamsburg is praising you. All of Lakewood Yeshivah is praising you. All of Meah Shearim is praising you too – maybe that’s the keser shem tov we’re talking about. No, no, it doesn’t mean that – even though nobody is praising you except a few people in your neighborhood that’s already a shem tov; that’s already a crown of glory that you can proudly wear. When you gain a reputation with one person – that’s already a few dollars. Another person, that’s a few more dollars. That’s how you start building your wealth.
This I learned from a great man. He told me. “Make a hit with one person in your life,” he said. “Go all out to win over that person; after you succeed with him, it will start overflowing. Once you make a shem tov with him, it will overflow to others too.”
New People, New Opportunities
The best opportunity for this is when one is about to enter a new situation. I once did this. Many years ago when I was in Slabodka I was away for one month at the seashore – in those times the seashore was a kosher seashore – and I was staying with a family. In those days I worked on mussar. Ah! The good old days in Slabodka! And so I decided I would make a hit with the family I was staying with. I would take a walk every day and come up with plans how I would make a hit with them. And it worked – I fooled them.
So let’s say you’re getting married now — that’s the time to think about this most seriously. It’s a great opportunity and it should not be wasted. In the home where you grew up, it’s not as easy — they knew you when you were two and when you were three so you have a chazakah already that you’re no good and so maybe you’re discouraged. Of course, even at home it pays to try. It’s a good idea to try to make a hit with your parents. It could be by this time it’s a little late, but it’s still possible every day to start all over again. They’ll be surprised at first but they’ll fall for it. Make a hit with your father and your mother. You could make a hit with an older brother too. With a brother you can make a hit. You should try that — start a campaign in the house to get a good name, to make people like you.
But when you’re entering into a new life, that’s a special incentive. Your kallah does not know you at all yet, and your kallah’s parents also don’t know you. You’re gaining a whole new environment, in-laws, a whole new family, a new set of relatives. Maybe you’re moving into a new neighborhood too. Here is your opportunity to turn over a new leaf and to hoodwink everybody.
If you are the bride, then you must make it your business to get a good name with your chosson. It’s of paramount importance that he should never discover who you really are. All your life you should put on a face of pleasantness and cooperation – all your life! Smart women do that — smart women create the impression that they are not natural, that they are sugar and spice and everything nice.
Now sometimes that’s too difficult because it’s too long and grueling of a test; sometimes he’s a failure with his kallah. She discovers who he is. And sometimes he’s a failure with his father-in-law and his mother-in-law. It happens sometimes. So choose one of your wife’s relatives and try to make a hit with him. I mean it seriously. A cousin is visiting from Denver or from Chicago? Make up your mind that with this cousin I’m going to make a hit.
You’ll see him very rarely so it’s easy to deceive him. Plaster a smile onto your face and go over to him; “Hi Jake, it’s so good to see you – I haven’t seen you for a long time! You’re looking fine, Jake.” He’ll appreciate that, and now at least one person thinks well of you; it means that you have already some money in your shem tov bank account.
Now you can build up on that – you can continue making deposits. Let’s say you’re going next week Lag Baomer to a wedding and at the wedding you’ll meet some new people; now you can’t make a hit with everybody so before you walk into the hall say, “I’m going to choose one person tonight and I’m going to deceive him into thinking I’m a fine fellow.” And work on it. Now don’t waste his time too much. Don’t be a bore. Don’t talk too much. Say a few kind words and then get away from him. Let him alone. You have won another fan, another admirer. That’s what Hashem wants you to do.
Just One Person
You can even start with a child. Let’s say your wife has a cousin and you’re going to his bar mitzvah. Speak well of him, encourage him, shake his hand cordially; show him you’re interested in him. So you’ll say, “A little boy?! It’s important that a little boy should think well of me?!” Absolutely. Walk over to the boy, press his hand warmly and give him a brachah he should become a gadol beYisrael. He’s waiting for the check but the words are also important. A nice smile, encouraging words – you have to know that you’ve done something valuable. That boy all his life will think good about you – that’s already a shem tov.
If you’re working in an office, don’t do it all at once. First say, “I’m going to captivate this one fellow.” Now, the women forget about – the less you captivate women, the better off you are. But this one fellow – a gentile, a Jew, it doesn’t matter – start working on him. Now don’t be too much of a nuisance. Don’t be a poodle. You’ll slobber over him and you’ll lick his toes? No. But be friendly and let him learn that this fellow is a nice guy. He’s a nice Jew, that fellow over there. And then once you won him over, it’s easier — once you made a good impression, it doesn’t take as much effort now to grease the wheels of achieving a shem tov with him and so now you can try with somebody else; and go from one to the other. That’s your success in life.
Add Many People
Of course, out on the street you can make a hit with everyone – people you’ll be seeing only once in a while, sometimes only once in a lifetime, that’s your chance to make a hit for Hashem. If you make a hit with two people today or three people, even better. After a while you have many fans. You have a grandstand of fans who are cheering you, and if they cheer you then Hakodosh Boruch Hu will cheer you even more.
Of course, you’ll make it a project to expand your horizons because the size of your crown depends on how many people think good of you. Suppose you’re able to cause very, very many people to think well of you then you have a big golden crown on your head and it’s taller than all the other crowns. The more people that you have captivated by your personality, the wealthier you are – you’ve built up a very big bank account already.
The Secret Bank Account
I want to tell you a secret however; there’s a secret here because the benefit of developing a good name is actually twofold. While you’re building up that wealth of a good name, you’re building up a second account that’s just as important.
The Mesillas Yesharim tells us an important principle: Hachitzoniyus meoreres es hapenimiyus – the exteriority begins to stir the interiority. The second purpose of pretending to be better than you actually are is the great principle that has been mentioned a number of times here that the outwardliness stirs up the inwardliness. By doing things in a certain way you actually become what you’re doing. That’s why it’s good to be a rabbi. I really mean it. It’s good to be a rabbi because he has to put up a good front all the time and if you act a certain way, so sooner or later you become that way.
And therefore the man who is deceiving others is really deceiving himself. Behave as if you are good and little by little you’ll become what you are pretending to be. And so, the kesser shem tov doesn’t remain merely a crown on your head, an externality. It actually affects a change in your head – you become a better person.
I always repeat what the old Lubavitcher Rebbe once said. They came to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, I think it was the previous one, Rav Yosef Yitzchak zichrono levrachah, and they told him, “Your talmidim are deceiving the world. They’re putting up a front as if they are frum Jews. They’re acting very frum but they’re not really that frum!”
So what did the Rebbeh say? He said they should keep on deceiving the world until they deceive themselves too. He said the gemara says if someone deceives the public in order to get charity, hamatzveh es betno, if he acts like he has a swollen belly, vehamekapeach es shoko, or he acts like his foot is chopped off, he bends his knee up, eino niftar min haolam ad sheyavo liyedei kach, the end will be that’s how it will turn out. If you pretend, then what you pretend to be will happen. “That’s what’s going to be with my chassidim too – they’ll pretend and pretend and pretend, and they’ll become better and better just because of that; the frummer they act, the frummer they’ll become.”
A Successful Career
That’s our secret here. Keep on deceiving others and making a kiddush Hashem until you deceive yourself and you become that way. That’s also a glory for the name of Hashem – when you become an eved Hashem on the inside too. So a shem tov, although we started out saying how great is the effect of the achievement that the world should think well of you, nevertheless you should know it’s lo yashuv reikam, it doesn’t go without having an effect on your character too.
And so, the Jew who who wants to spend his days living a life of kiddush Hashem is always on guard – wherever he goes, whatever he does, he’s always thinking about bringing glory to the name of Hashem by means of his relations with the world around him. And he becomes a display of the greatness of Hashem to the world – his every step in the world becomes avodas Hashem. And as he does that, he’s changing himself too – not only is he bringing glory to Hashem but he’s achieving glory for himself. And so, by means of his behavior he’ll bask in the glory of this world, and then when the time finally comes, because he changed himself too, he’ll bask in the glory of the next world forever and ever.
Have A Wonderful Shabbos
Let’s Get Practical
The Mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem
A career of making Hashem’s name great is one of the most important mitzvos in the Torah and this week I will try to accomplish that. I will choose two minutes each day when I’m out in public to keep in mind that I am a representative of Hashem and I will guard every step to make sure that I am bringing glory to the name of Hashem.
I will also follow Rabbi Miller’s example and choose one person upon whom I will do everything possible to make an especially good impression. I will dedicate some time each day to think of how I can earn a good name with that person.
By starting this program I hope to take my first steps towards a lifetime of living for kiddush Hashem and little by little even changing myself on the inside as well.