Friday, November 8, 2013

Viral pictures, do Redditors define what is a Kiddush hashem or a Chilul hashem?

Recently, a picture went viral on the internet first on Reddit, of a kohen wrapped in a bag on a plane, it was posted by many frum blogs, websites and picked up by the secular media. The result, people who have no clue what it was about speculating and ridiculing orthodox jews and the Torah. When explained that it was about a kohen not wanting to become impure, many have been poking fun and mocking the Torah and Halachos of Tumah and Tahara and calling it a chillul hashem. Many frum websites joined in calling it a chilul hashem. (Video below of black man sleeping on Jewish guy in the subway)

This past week
another picture went viral of a Black man sleeping on a Jewish guy on the NYC subway. The subway rider, Issac Theil a frum Jew became an internet sensation. It was a kiddush hashem that went viral HERE. A nice story especially when the secular media (and some frum blogs) are having a field day reporting on the misdeeds and shortcomings of any orthodox Jewish individual. (Believe it or not there were many negative comments on Reddit about this story too). Or the story of a Rabbi that returned $98,000.00 cash found in a desk he bought on craigslist.

Do we define a Kiddush hashem or chilul hashem based on appearance or on the action?  A yid does something according to halacha that seems strange to the outside world and someone posts a video or a picture of it? Are we to be embarrassed and join the chorus on social media poking fun of the religious jews?
sleepin (1)
ואין לנו על מי להישען
We are living in a society were every action is recorded, photographed, uploaded, and tweeted for all to see. A Rebbe throwing apples, a chicken swung over peoples head, wearing Tzitzis, someone blowing a shofar, these things could appear funny to the outside world-does that make it something we are embarrassed of? Let us live a life of doing what the Torah and hashem want like Mr. Issac Theil. Not based on the approval of  Redditors.


  1. Yet while living a life of Torah, I think we need to balance what the Torah asks us to do with common sense. We won't stop blowing shofar or twirling chickens over our heads, but we need not institute new practices of dressing in a body suit when rov poskim disagree. I don't think we have a right to cause other to ridicule G-d.

    And I don't know anywhere in the Torah where it says that one must allow a fellow traveler to rest on his shoulder. It was very nice of Isaac, and certainly a Kiddush Hashem in my opinion.

    1. Could you elaborate on who these "rov poskim" are whom you referenced?

  2. הגמרא בסוף יומא בודאי מגדירה קידוש וחילול השם על פי מה שהבריות יאמרו.