Kiddush Hashem vs. Chillul Hashem

Last week, the news was all about Kiddush Hashem.

A unified world Jewry mourned the tragedy of three Yeshivah students who were killed al Kiddush Hashem, and watched in awe as their heroic parents sanctified the Name of Hashem through exhibiting lofty levels of emunah.

In contrast, l’havdil, this week the world witnessed a shocking episode of chillul Hashem.

After days of uncertainty, suspects in the heinous murder of an Arab youth last week have been arrested and identified as Jews. Even if it turns out that these suspects are not guilty of this crime, the news of the arrests caused an unconscionable desecration of Hashem’s Name.

There can never be an excuse for the wanton shedding of innocent blood, nor can there ever be an explanation for a repugnant act of terror.

As we have previously stated in these pages, doing everything possible to try to prevent a murderer from killing again is obligatory on the justice system of any country.

“Vengeance,” however, even on a guilty party, is something that does not belong to mortals, but to Heaven.

The killing of this teenager — who had no connection to any acts of terror committed by some of his brethren — isn’t by any measure an act of revenge, but a deplorable act of murder.

We declare to the entire civilized world:  If — as it seems — this terrible crime was committed by Jews, they are deranged individuals who exchanged the ways of our ancestors for the tactics of our bloodthirsty enemies.

This vicious crime was an unspeakable, indefensible act that is the polar opposite of the basic teachings of the Torah, and is unequivocally condemned in the harshest terms possible by Jews around the world.

While those who committed this most despicable act does not in any way represent the Jewish people, it does not absolve us of our obligation to do soul searching of how such a thing can occur in a nation famed for its attributes of mercy and compassion.

Those who are inculcated from infanthood with the first of the Ten Commandments — “Anochi Hashem Elokecha — I am Hashem your G-d…” will grow up with an abhorrence to violate the sixth commandment of “Do not kill.”

Justice must take its course and those accused must be considered innocent until proven guilty.

In a conversation with Hamodia,  Harav Aharon Feldman, shlita, Rosh Yeshivah, Yeshivas Ner Yisrael, referred to the passuk of Hakol kol Yaakov v’hayedayim yedei Esav (a reference to the two ‘voices’ of Klal Yisrael, Torah and tefillah, in contrast to the military weaponry — “arms” — of the nations.

“When the kol Yaakov stops, the yadayim become yedei Esav. We have to strengthen the kol Yaakov, or else…” the Rosh Yeshivah said.

May we all have the wisdom to strengthen the kol Yaakov.