Letter: Kiddush Hashem Opportunity

I went with my family to a local park yesterday. There were mostly frum people there, though a number of non Jews were there too.

Everyone got along well and all seemed fine.

But I looked around and saw numerous snack bags, gum wrappers, and other trash littered all over the park grounds. Some were kosher snacks, some were not, but regardless, it was troubling.

It bothered me so much that I took the garbage can there and walked around the park with it, picking up the wrappers.

Our community has much to be proud of. But we must also recognize that when a kosher snack bag or food wrapper is thrown on the floor, it makes a very negative statement and puts not only you, but all frum Jews in a negative light.

I realize that we have lots of children and they tend to make a mess. But what a great chinuch  opportunity we have to get them to clean up and make a Kiddush Hashem.

אַבָּיֵי אָמַר, כִּדְתַנְיָא: ״וְאָהַבְתָּ אֵת ה׳ אֱלֹהֶיךָ״, שֶׁיְּהֵא שֵׁם שָׁמַיִם מִתְאַהֵב עַל יָדְךָ. שֶׁיְּהֵא קוֹרֵא וְשׁוֹנֶה וּמְשַׁמֵּשׁ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים, וִיהֵא מַשָּׂאוֹ וּמַתָּנוֹ בְּנַחַת עִם הַבְּרִיּוֹת, מָה הַבְּרִיּוֹת אוֹמְרוֹת עָלָיו — אַשְׁרֵי אָבִיו שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה, אַשְׁרֵי רַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה. אוֹי לָהֶם לַבְּרִיּוֹת שֶׁלֹּא לָמְדוּ תּוֹרָה, פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה — רְאוּ כַּמָּה נָאִים דְּרָכָיו, כַּמָּה מְתוּקָּנִים מַעֲשָׂיו. עָלָיו הַכָּתוּב אוֹמֵר: ״וַיֹּאמֶר לִי עַבְדִּי אָתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בְּךָ אֶתְפָּאָר״.

Abaye said: As it was taught in a baraisa that it is stated: “And you shall love Hashem your God” , which means that you shall make the name of Heaven beloved. How should one do so? One should do so in that he should read Torah, and learn Mishna, and serve Torah scholars, and he should be pleasant with people in his business transactions. What do people say about such a person? Fortunate is his father who taught him Torah, fortunate is his teacher who taught him Torah, woe to the people who have not studied Torah. So-and-so, who taught him Torah, see how pleasant are his ways, how proper are his deeds. The verse states about him and others like him: “You are My servant, Yisrael, in whom I will be glorified”

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  1. I once heard a fellow at an amusement park say to a bunch of Jewish kids ” I don’t come to your town to throw trash on the ground. Don’t do it in my town.” I pouch up garbage whenever I go to these places ever since.

  2. this shouldn’t be about kiddush Hashem.

    this is about respect for other people besides ourselves.
    our chinuch should be to do the right thing, which is to respect other people and their property.
    and not just in parks.
    it is sad that this has become a chillul hashem issue instead of a middos issue.

    if we follow basic norms, we won’t have to worry about how we will be perceived.

    • We train to have good “middos” because thats what Hashem wants. Therefore its a Kiddush Hashem.
      We do not have “middos” because someone decided that is the right thing, Thats the route the Germans took, till something else was the ‘right thing’.

  3. On a rainy day last week, Camp Malka bunks took turns going on a special bus to get slushes from the store. A man in the store asked their supervisor if she was the one who would be paying for them as she stood there making a tally. When she replied yes, he said that he had been observing them from the time they got into the store and the whole time as they were serving themselves slush. He was so impressed that he would be honored to pay for their treats! She turned him down, but wow! What a Kiddush Hashem! I am so proud that my daughter ka”h was part of that group.

    In these difficult times, let us PLEASE not be mekatreig on Klal Yisroel,. Yes, we must clean up after ourselves, but make your point in a positive way. Tell the story of how you made it any activity for your kids to clean up, and that you are sure it made a Kiddush Hashem. Or how you realize that being part of Klal Yisroel gives us responsibilities and not rights, and that wherever you go your children make sure to find the garbage cans knowing that they represent Klal Yisroel. Thank you.

    • To clarify, what Yaakov meant to say is why do something because Hashem told us if we could do it as decent members of the human race? And as Midnight pointed out (although he perhaps went a bit too far by dragging in the Germans), that comment is as bad as it sounds. As Rashi brings down at the end of Parshas Kedoshim, one should never do Mitzvos for any other reason other than because Hashem commanded us.

  4. I don’t think the letter writer was mekatreg on anyone… He was pointing out something for everyone to be aware of… If I give you chizuk to come to shul on time, am I being mekatreg?

    This is a very similar issue in the country… I beg everyone to remain acutely aware of how we are perceived by the year-round residents… Many of them have a tremendous hatred for us, besides for the regular antisemitism, because we completely wreck their peace and quiet and tranquility for 10 weeks… It behooves us to drive in a way that makes a kid a sham and to be constantly aware of our actions… I applaud the letter writer for picking up garbage. I think it sends a strong message not just to our neighbors but to our own children about our values.

  5. Please bear this in mind everywhere else as well. It is also a chillul Hashem when my front lawn and driveway are full of snack bags and cups from the kids on the block. This should be a very basic thing parents should take the time to train their kids on. Yes, though, all the more so in parks and other public places and especially these days.

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