New Definition: What constitutes a Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name)?

The old meaning of Chillul Hashem:

Chillul Hashem (Hebrew: חילול השם‎, “Desecration of God’s Name“) is a term used in Judaism particularly for any act or behavior that casts shame or brings disrepute to belief in God, any aspect of the Torah‘s teachings, Halakha (Jewish law), or the Jewish community.

The obligation to refrain from Chillul Hashem one of the 613 Mitzvot (commandments). The source for this commandment is to be found in the Book of Leviticus: “And you shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who hallows you” – the Biblical Lev. 22:32 term meaning to bring dishonor or shame to God’s name by an action or lack thereof.

Any behavior or action that disgraces, harms or shames God and his Torah is regarded as a chillul hashem (“desecration of God’s name”). The opposite term, Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God’s name) means any action that brings honor, respect, and glory to God.

The new meaning of Chillul Hashem:

A Chillul Hashem can only accrue when the negative  incident/event is published in the newspaper and reported in other media.You can steal, do Mesira, molest children etc…etc… just as long as it’s not reported.

Only then (when published for the worlds to see)  are we (the Jewish people) to take notice, voice our discussed and protest and even then we are to just protest the fact that the negative act/event was now published for the world to see  otherwise it’s not a Chillul Hashem and we can rest easy.

Bottom line, you can do whatever you want as long as the media doesn’t find out about it.

Also See:

Relating heretofore unknown cases of sexual abuse within the Orthodox Jewish community to the masses also seems to be high on the list of the ‘Chillul Hashem Label Flingers’. Head over to any of the Ultra-Orthodox “news” sites and take a gander at a story revealing a recent molestation scandal (when the accused is one who dresses in the traditional garb); you’ll notice that many of the comments below the piece attack the fact that the story was reported at all, as publicizing it produces a Chillul Hashem. I know what you are thinking; that the abuser him or herself created the Chillul Hashem, and you’re absolutely right. The Chillul-Hashem-flinging crowd could not possibly come to terms with someone who looks like them doing such horrible atrocities though, and if these evil events are to be written about for all to see, it is somehow not those who committed them who must be desecrating the Jewish people and God, it is those who speak about the perverts and their terrible actions that become those who are desecrating God and His people. How twisted is that?


One response to “New Definition: What constitutes a Chillul Hashem (desecration of G-d’s Name)?

  • Avot: Chapter 4, Mishna 5

    “Rabbi Yochanan ben (son of) Beroka said, whoever desecrates the Name of Heaven in secret will be paid back in public. Whether one acts unintentionally or intentionally, [both are accountable] regarding desecration of the Name.”

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