Kiddush Hashem is any act of integrity
which reflects creditably on the Jewish people and the religious faith,
therefore sanctifying the Divine Name of G-d. In times of persecution, it
generally applied to situations that call for martyrdom.
The Torah says: "You
shall not profane my holy name; I will be hallowed among the people of
Yisrael" (VaYikra 22:32), therefore, the
concepts Kiddush Hashem and Chillul Hashem (defamation of the Divine Name).
Nothing must be done that tarnishes Judaism or the Jew.
An example of Kiddush Hashem is told in the Midrash
about Rabbi Simeon ben Shetach, president of the Sanhedrin during the early
part of the first century...One day his disciples gleefully announced to him
that they had found a precious stone in the collar of the donkey he had bought
from an Arab. "But I purchased a donky and not a precious stone," he said and
immediately returned the gem to its owner. Upon receiving it, the Arab
exclaimed: "Praised be the G-d of Simeon be Shetach!" (Devarim Rabbah 3:5)
Kiddush Hashem can be defined as:
- to act so as to manifest a sublime faith
- to do more than what the formal law requires
- to practice goodness not out of fear nor for one's
own glory, but for the glory of G-d
The hallowing of the divine Name is in the familiar
beginning of the Kaddish prayer and in
the Kedushah, which contains the famous
"holy, holy, holy is Hashem tzeva'ot"
The highest standards of Jewish ethics are embodied in
the terms Kiddush Hashem and
Ency. of Jewish Concepts - Birnbaum