Kiddush Hashem 

  1. The Torah was given to sanctify the name of G-d. Chazal placed great emphasis on the obligation to sanctify the name of G-d and on the severity of the punishment for the sin of profaning the name of G-d. “Neither teshuva nor Yom Kippur nor suffering can atone for a person who has profaned the name of G-d. They hold the punishment in abeyance until death brings atonement. (Yoma 86a). In Pirkey Avos (4:4) we learn that wild animals enter populated areas because of the sin of profaning the name of G-d. The sin of profaning the name of G-d is punished (though not in the same way) even when it is done inadvertently.
  2. If a person does something before Jews or Gentiles that would cause others to be ashamed of him, he has profaned the name of G-d even if, strictly speaking, he didn’t do anything wrong. So, for example, a person who becomes known for reading sifrei epicorsis or drinking excessively at parties profanes the name of G-d.
  3. There are averos for which a person is also punished for profaning the name of G-d, such as making oaths that are vain or false.
  4. A person who turns to the gentile court is a rosho, even if he takes a gentile to court, even if the gentile court judges the case as a Jewish court would, even if both parties agree to turn to the gentile court. It is as though he has scorned and rejected the Torah of Moshe Rabbeinu, and that, of course, profanes the name of G-d.
  5. A person who misleads a gentile and steals from him violates a prohibition form the Torah and may cause the name of G-d to be profaned.
  6. A Jew is permitted to be a witness in a Gentile court if a gentile calls upon him to do so. To refuse would profane the name of G-d.
  7. Everyone has to be careful to avoid doing something which might cause people to speak badly of him, but talmidei chochomim should be especially careful. Even when a person does not regard himself as a talmid chochom, if others regard him as a talmid chochom, he must conduct himself accordingly and be especially careful. Nowadays, anyone who learns in a kollel is considered a talmid chochom. The Mishneh Brura provides an example of how a talmid chochom should conduct himself: Commenting on the din in the Shulchan Oruch (90:69) that a person who is unable to daven with the tzibur should nevertheless go to the synagogue to daven because it is a place that is dedicated to kedushah, the Mishnah Brura says, “It is clear that if the person is a talmid chochom and there is a possibility that his arriving too late to daven with the tzibur would profane the name of G-d, he should pray at home.
  8. A talmid chochom should be careful, among other things, to avoid speaking (even if he has already davened and is in the middle of learning) during the davening and the recitation of the Shma, for apart from the fact that it is forbidden, it profanes the name of G-d. He must not be careless with the money of others, and if he borrows, he should pay back the loan when it is due, for when a talmid chochom seems unconcerned to conduct himself in a proper and ethical way, people are quick to speak badly of him. He must never show disrespect for another person, and be calm and respectful when addressing the public.
  9. A person should not stop learning Torah to do a mitzvah that can be done by another person. But if, by learning and not doing the mitzvah, he will profane the name of G-d, he is permitted to do the mitzvah.
  10. Rabbeinu Yona writes in Sefer Shaarei Teshuva that a person who has profaned the name of G-d should do teshuva by doing things which will sanctify the name of G-d. Tzaddikim have said that if he does teshuva mi-ahava, then he can atone for his sin in his lifetime, and that diligent application to learning Torah also provides atonement. The Peleh Yoaytz writes that a person who has incurred the punishment of death from Heaven by profaning the name of G-d should have the intention of giving his life over to G-d when reciting the Shma and at the time of nefilas kapayim, for G-d regards a good thought as a good deed. 
MDhalachalMaase is written by HaRav HaGaon R’ Shammai Gross
Translated by Rabbi Tzvi Abraham