The Rambam says it’s an ideal of kiddush Hashem, that a person should behave in such a way that people will say, “Look at that man! He learns Torah and look how well behaved he is.” So my question is, should he do it in order that people should see him and praise him?
Yes. He should do it in order that people should praise frum Jews. A frum Jew, a black-hatted Jew, should make it his ideal to behave in such a way, so that people will say good things about frum Jews. Here’s a black man from UPS who has to deliver a big heavy package. He has to open the door but he only has two hands, so he can’t open it. Now, you’re going by, and you’re a black-hatted man with a beard. So you go ahead and open the door for the black man, and he says, “Thank you.” That’s a kiddush Hashem because the black man sees that a rabbi with a beard is a mentsch. It’s a kiddush Hashem.
And don’t think it’s a small thing. Whatever you can do to make people praise you as a frum Jew, you should do that. Once you put on a black hat, you’re responsible to make a good impression on the world. And you should go out of your way to do it! I was once standing on the street corner, and a college boy threw something on the sidewalk. I bent over and picked it up and I put it in the wastebasket. A man standing nearby, a stranger, said to me, “Thank you.” He thanked me for picking it up from the street and putting it in the garbage can! Do things so that people should appreciate the frum Jews. Go out of your way! Show people that a frum Jew is polite, that he’s kindhearted and decent.
So you’re walking in the street, and a faker has a tin can, crying, “I want tzedakah from you.” He’s a loafer. So what do you do? You pick out a penny – he shouldn’t see it’s a penny – and knock it into his tin cup with a loud noise as you walk by. So all the spectators will say, “Ooh, the rabbi is giving tzedakah!” It’s a kiddush Hashem. But don’t put in two pennies; it’s a waste of money!
TAPE # E-205