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Chilul Hashem

What exactly is a chillul hashem? I hear many times people saying this is a chillul hashem but I am not certain of the precise definition. If gentiles or non religious or even certain religious jews will look negatively at an act, but the act is lesheim shamayim could that be a chillul hashem? I know this a general question but I hear this term quoted all the time and am sometime unsure of the exact definition.

Answer:

A chilul hashem is the desecration of Hashem’s Name. For example, the Gemara states that a person who finds lost property is not always obligated to return it, but where there is a concern for chillul hashem, he is fully obligated to return it. An act of chillul hashem is an act that causes others to say: “Look at the way Jews, the people of G-d, are behaving,” or “look at how religious Jews, the representatives of the Torah, are behaving.”

Therefore, the Gemara writes that the more “important” a person is, the more he must be wary of this matter, for he becomes a closer representative of Hashem and the Torah.

However, this does not apply to actions that are mitzvah deeds. If the performance of a mitzvah will make me look strange, and there is nothing to do about it, then looking strange is not my concern, for I am performing the direct instruction of Hashem.


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