Learning is a vital part of our ethos and vision and we would like to respond to our members needs and requirements. Initially the Dayan has established a programme offering weekly sessions for both men and women but please do let us know if you would like any additional learning sessions and we will do our best to find you a suitable chavruta.
Shiurim & Adult Education
THOUGHTS ON EMOR BY RUTH WILKINSON
I should be sanctified amidst the B’nei Yisrael וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל (22.32)
This verse is the source of the mitzvah of kiddush Hashem, meaning that a person should accept martyrdom rather than deny Hashem. Throughout Jewish history we have seen that Jews have given up their lives when put to the ultimate test of their faith.
In the introduction to Reb Elchonon Wasserman’s sefer, his son writes the story of his tragic murder by the Nazis. (Which he was told by a person who managed to escape the event.)
Reb Elchonon was learning when they came to arrest him and some others. They were taken to be shot in a forest for the “crime” of being Jewish. Shortly before they were killed Reb Elchonon addressed the group. He spoke quietly and calmly, the way he always did. “It seems that in heaven they view us as pure Tzaddikim,” Reb Elchonon began. “We were chosen to atone for the entire nation with our bodies, and we must return to Hashem completely and immediately. The time is short. We must be aware that the purer we are, the more our sacrifice will accomplish. If we do[teshuva], we can save our brothers and sisters in America from this holocaust. Be extremely careful not to allow any thought that would invalidate our sacrifice come into your mind. We are now doing the biggest mitzvah possible. It is said that Hashem destroyed Yerushalayim in flames, and in flames He will rebuild it. The fires that will destroy our bodies will come around to re-establish Torah [following the destruction of the Torah centres in Europe].”
Their souls were taken to heaven, and as he predicted, the fires of Torah were lit across America and Eretz Yisrael re-establishing Torah to degrees never imagined possible. We may not be able to be Reb Elchonon, but we can learn from his tremendous Kiddush Hashem.
Although Kiddush Hashem is generally thought of as martyrdom, one does not have to give up their life to fulfil this mitzvah. Any time that a Jew behaves in a manner that brings honour to Hashem, and people can say of him, “That is the beauty of obeying the Torah”, that is a Kiddush Hashem.
The mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem is the cornerstone of love and passion of every Jew. In fact, Rav Dessler writes that Kiddush Hashem is the essence of every mitzvah. It is a precept of the utmost importance and one that can be applicable to situations every day. Every one of our actions may have the effect of either raising or lowering other people’s awareness and esteem of Hashem. We can therefore see the importance of weighing up every one of our actions to calculate whether it will add or detract from creating a Kiddush Hashem.
Rav Matisyahu Salomon used to extort his students to avoid making a chillul Hashem while driving to yeshiva in Lakewood every day. He would remind them that the purpose of Torah learning is to create a Kiddush Hashem. He would then warn his students that if they drove to yeshiva in a way that caused other drivers to think poorly of Hashem’s chosen people, they might very possibly negate the impact of all the learning they were going to engage in that day. He also explained that this is the reason why Chazal teach us that derech eretz proceeds the Torah.
Throughout our exiles, we have faced terrible persecution and edicts that threatened our allegiance to Hashem and his Torah. Generations of Jews struggled to resist our oppressors tearing us away from the Torah, often giving up their lives. While many of our ancestors passed the test of dying al Kiddush Hashem, we are now blessed to be in a different type of exile, one where our challenge is to live al Kiddush Hashem. When the Torah lifestyle is lived correctly, it inspires the respect and admiration of others. Let us take advantage of the opportunity afforded to us by this gallus and usher in the final redemption by declaring our commitment to live every day for the sake of Kiddush Hashem.