We are here to improve our relationships with others
in order to transform the Jewish people in these urgent times.
Last week’s stretch of the week was: Be mindful of the potential for holiness of an inanimate object.
Please allow ONE person to share her experience with this exercise for ONE minute.
Our words have a tremendous impact when speaking about the wonders of HaShem. We praise Hashem often through prayer, blessings and the like. However, these praises unfortunately, might become rote. How much more kiddush HaShem can be generated when we praise HaShem out loud, in front of others, especially our children. Comments on the beauty of nature, on the intricacies of the natural world, on the increase of knowledge of the world, can all be infused with mention of HaShem. Noticing, aloud, of HaShem's role in our individual lives, instead of remarking on "luck" or "coincidence" is another way to use our powerful speech to be mekadesh HaShem.
We need to be especially careful in speaking about Rabbis and teachers; even criticizing a dvar Torah brings the honor of HaShem down.
Not only must we speak positively about HaShem, His Torah and His teachers of Torah, but really we must consciously make an effort to praise all of HaShem's creations, all people, whenever possible. Speaking respectfully to and about others is showing respect for HaShem, bringing Him honor, just as disrespect and disparaging comments about others dishonors HaShem. This includes non-verbal messages, such as eye-rolling, as well. Every negative comment becomes a chillul HaShem because it causes us to become desensitized to the aveira, we don't even recognize it as something wrong.
(Reproduced from Living Kiddush HaShem by Rabbi Shraga Freedman, with permission of the author. For more resources, please contact: email@example.com.)
How many times do we find ourselves critical of our children's schools? They should have sent a notice home. They're not organized. There's too much homework; there's not enough homework. They spend too little time on Chumash; they spend too much time on Chumash. The teachers are not warm and understanding. The teachers aren't strict enough. And on and on. And all of those criticisms are probably true at one time or another, but speaking about these problems in front of or to our children is such a danger to the effectiveness of their education, and it is clearly a chillul HaShem.
How can these scenarios be used as opportunities for Kiddush HaShem?
· A long car trip with the kids?
· The Shabbos table discussion about the rabbi's speech?
· A conversation about math homework with your child?
· Explaining to your child why he/she will be changing schools?
· A conversation about the service in a new restaurant or shop?
Stretch of the Week:
Say at least one thing each day that praises HaShem or one of His creations.