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Av 4, 5768

Chillul Hashem


Rabbi Elchanan Lewis

Question:
I was pulled over by the cops (in Chutz laaretz) for speeding. I was wearing a Kippa and had visible Tzitzit. The officer could tell my religion. I was very polite and courteous, ever mindful not to give a bad impression (he still booked me though).

Have I made a Chillul Hashem by breaking the speeding limit and being pulled over?

If so, how can I rectify this specific error, and how can one rectify a general Chillul Hashem?

Answer:
The notion of Chilul Hashem does apply in regarding to non-Jews whenever they are expecting better behavior from the Jew. [see Tosfot Bava-Kama 113b]

If it is a common traffic violation that most people may transgress and is understood [even though not forgiven] by the authorities and Jews are therefore not looked upon more than others in a bad way such case may not be defined as Chilul Hashem.

In the case of a serious infringement where most people are expected to obey and the Jew is looked upon as one that should present higher standards of behavior it may fall into the definition of Chilul Hashem.

Complete Tshuvah for the classic Chilul Hashem is not always a simple task and in extreme cases almost unattainable [see Yoma 86a]

Your case on the other hand seams as a light case of Chilul Hashem if at all, as mentioned above; in such case I believe the words of Rabenu Yona in his Sha'arei Tshuvah [4; 5] that one should increase Kidush Hashem i.e. sanctifying Hashem's name by acting meticulously appropriate in that regard, are to be applied.


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