When I was in fourth grade I remember our field trip to the museum. However, I always beared in mind what our teacher said either before we went to the museum or on the bus going there. She told us, "Remember to make a kiddush Hashem and not a chillul Hashem."

I recently learned in halacha that ten adults males - 13 or above - make a minyan. For the shechinah does not dwell in a group with less then ten people.

If non-Jew comes to a person and says, "Eat this pig or I will kill you!" What do you do? It depends on the situation. Meaning, if there are ten Jews present, one must give up his life rather then transgress. Why? Because a chillul Hashem is defined as ten people watching a Jew transgress something in the Torah.

If one of the fourth graders (i.e. that are below 13) on the trip makes a scene in the museum, how would that constitute a chillul Hashem? If a non-Jew sees this fourth grader misbehaving and says to himself, "It must be that Jews like him misbehave on trips" that would be stereotyping.

  1. With the scenario above, what does halachah define as a chillul Hashem?
  • 3
    Do you have a source for the Halachic claim in your third paragraph?
    – Isaac Moses
    Nov 13 '14 at 2:55
  • To be honest, I don't know where the source is. However, would YOU eat the pig in front of ten Jews if you were at gun point? Nov 13 '14 at 3:28
  • @IsaacMoses see Halacha 4
    – hazoriz
    Nov 13 '14 at 4:03
  • @shmuel That seems to be a counter-source, as the Rambam says that without the presence of 10, it is still a chillul Hashem, just not a public Chillul Hashem. Halacha 2, on the other hand... Nov 13 '14 at 4:11

There are two relevant segments of the idea of chillul Hashem. One discussion is the discussion of when it necessitates giving up your life. That has one set of standards, laid out in Hilchos Yesodei HaTorah 5:1-4.

The other is the chillul Hashem of degrading the impression of Hashem and His followers. This is discussed in Yesodei HaTorah 5:10-11. Halacha 11 there says:

ויש דברים אחרים שהם בכלל חילול השם, והוא שיעשה אדם גדול בתורה ומפורסם בחסידות, דברים שהברייות מרננים אחריו בשבילן, ואף על פי שאינם עבירות--הרי זה מחלל את השם

There are things which are included in chillul Hashem, which a person who is an acknowledged Torah scholar and sage may do, which people find degrading, which even though they are not technically sins, they are still chillul Hashem.

This is the concept that someone who represents Hashem doing something which brings disgrace is a chillul Hashem even though it is not even a sin. This can apply within the presence of 10 Jews or not, as Halacha 10 there clearly demonstrates.

The children would be performing that kind of chillul Hashem, which does not obligate sacrificing their lives, but is still forbidden.

  • even if you say that it is forbidden, you mean that it is forbidden for the teacher to let them do it? how can something be forbidden for children under 13/12?
    – hazoriz
    Nov 13 '14 at 14:34
  • @shmuel A child has plenty of things that are forbidden. He may not be held accountable for it, but they are still forbidden. Nov 13 '14 at 19:04

The chillul Hashem to give up your live is chillul Hashem is not the regular chillul Hashem -- see below.

By the 4th graders, if they might cause a real chillul Hashem (not just PR for the Jewish community) they should not go to the museum (see the end of the halacha "One who could, however, escape and flee from under the power of a wicked king and fails to do so is like a dog who returns [to lick] his vomit.")

If a child under the age of 13 makes a scene in the museum, it would not constitute a chillul Hashem, (i understand chillul Hashem means doing something against G-d's will, children are not obligated by G-d to do anything so if they misbehave it is more a chillul for the teacher since it is his will that they are not listening to)

I do not know what gives the right for a teacher to make a judgment of a child and declare that the child is responsible for a chillul Hashem.

Rambam Mishneh Torah » Sefer Madda » Yesodei haTorah - Chapter Five:

Halacha 2


However, if he forces him [to transgress] with the intention that he violate [a mitzvah] in the presence of ten Jews, he should sacrifice his life and not transgress. [This applies] even if [the gentile] intended merely that he violate only one of the [Torah's] mitzvot.

Halacha 3

All the above [distinctions] apply [only in times] other than times of a decree. However, in times of a decree - i.e., when a wicked king like Nebuchadnezzar or his like will arise and issue a decree against the Jews to nullify their faith or one of the mitzvot - one should sacrifice one's life rather than transgress any of the other mitzvot, whether one is compelled [to transgress] amidst ten [Jews] or one is compelled [to transgress merely] amidst gentiles.

Halacha 4

If anyone about whom it is said: "Transgress and do not sacrifice your life," sacrifices his life and does not transgress, he is held accountable for his life. When anyone about whom it is said: "Sacrifice your life and do not transgress," sacrifices his life and does not transgress, he sanctifies [God's] name. If he does so in the presence of ten Jews, he sanctifies [God's] name in public, like Daniel, Chananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Rabbi Akiva and his colleagues. These are those slain by [the wicked] kingdom, above whom there is no higher level. Concerning them, [Psalms 44:23] states: "For Your sake, we have been slain all day, we are viewed as sheep for the slaughter," and [Psalms 50:5] states: "Gather unto Me, My pious ones, those who have made a covenant with Me by slaughter."

When anyone about whom it is said: "Sacrifice your life and do not transgress," transgresses instead of sacrificing his life, he desecrates [God's] name. If he does so in the presence of ten Jews, he desecrates [God's] name in public, nullifies [the fulfillment of] the positive commandment of the sanctification of [God's] name, and violates the negative commandment against the desecration of God's name.

Nevertheless, since he was forced to transgress, he is not [punished by] lashing, and, needless to say, is not executed by the court even if he was forced to slay [a person]. The [punishments of] lashes and execution are administered only to one who transgresses voluntarily, [when the transgression is observed by] witnesses, and [when] a warning [was given], as [Leviticus 20:5] states concerning one who gives his children to [the worship of] Molech: "I will turn My face against that person."

The oral tradition teaches [that we can infer]: "that person" and not one who is forced [to transgress, who transgresses] inadvertently, or [who transgresses] because of an error. If, concerning the worship of false gods, which is the most serious [of sins], a person who is forced to worship is not liable for karet, nor, needless to say, execution by a court, how much more so [does this principle apply] regarding the other mitzvot of the Torah? [Similarly,] regarding forbidden sexual relations, [Deuteronomy 22:26] states: "Do not do anything to the maiden."

One who could, however, escape and flee from under the power of a wicked king and fails to do so is like a dog who returns [to lick] his vomit. He is considered as one who worships false gods willingly. He will be prevented from reaching the world to come and will descend to the lowest levels of Gehinnom.

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