From today's Hakhel email:
Special Note Three: The following is an extremely important excerpt from the Sefer Geulah B’Rachamim by Rabbi Pinchas Winston, Shlita. For further information on how to obtain this special Sefer, one may contact www.thirtysix.org
“The Jewish people are on a mission and it can be summed up in two words: Kiddush Hashem, to sanctify the Name of Hashem. This is not just something we do on the side, something that is supposed to result from everything we do, whether alone or in public. Rav Papa asked Abaye, ‘Why is it that for the former generations miracles were performed and for us miracles are not performed? It cannot be because of their learning, because in the years of Rav Yehudah, their learning was confined to Nezikin, and we learn all six orders. And yet, when Rav Yehudah took off one shoe [during a drought on a fast day], rain used to come. We torment ourselves and cry loudly, and no one pays attention to us!’ He answered, ‘The former generations used to sacrifice themselves for Kiddush Hashem; we do not sacrifice ourselves for Kiddush Hashem’ (Brochos 20a). What does it mean to sanctify the Name of Hashem? There are many ways to do it, but they all result in the same thing: more of Hashem’s Presence in Creation. The opposite term, ‘Chillul Hashem,’ the profanation of Hashem’s Name, comes from the word ‘challal,’ which means a ‘void.’ Something that profanes Hashem’s Name has the impact of making Creation somewhat void of the Presence of Hashem, the extent to which depends upon the severity of the Chillul Hashem. Kiddush Hashem has the opposite effect, by drawing more Divine Light into Creation, thereby making the Presence of Hashem more pronounced. That’s why a Kiddush Hashem can occur even when a person is alone, and no one else is around to witness it; it will still impact Creation in a positive way. The longer the Jewish people remain in exile, the more we begin to mimic the host nations amongst whom we live, blurring the distinction between Jew and gentile. Eventually, our actions, even as Torah Jews, may fall into the category of those which are acceptable by world standards, but not by Torah standards, resulting in a Chillul Hashem, and sometimes, severe ones. This is very dangerous for everyone. Reducing the Shechinah in Creation, L’havdil, is like not keeping up sanitary conditions in a hospital--unhealthy stuff fills the void, endangering the lives of everyone. The more Creation becomes void of the Presence of Hashem, the more spiritual impurity fills the void, corrupting man and Creation, a situation that Heaven will put up with for only so long. We’ve seen what results when we cross that line. As the Gemora says, doing that which sanctifies the Name of Hashem brings special Divine Providence, anything from success in business to good relationships, to, perhaps, personal salvation from a life-threatening circumstance. Aside from being a Torah mitzvah, it is a wise step in the direction of the Final Redemption.”
As we continue through this auspicious time, let us purposefully do all that we can…to bring us to that Final Redemption!
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