Sanctifying the Name of God
Parasha: Emor : אמר - "Say"
Torah : Leviticus 21:1-24:23
Haftarah : Ezekiel 44:15-31
Gospel : Luke 11:1-12:59
Thought for the Week
A king had two sons: a wise son and a wicked son. When people encountered the wicked son, he would abuse them and carry on in a manner unbefitting the prince. People would remark, "Is this how the king raises his son? Is this the kind of man the king is?" Yet when people encountered the wise son, he would treat them courteously and provide them all manner of service as befits a prince among his people. Then they would say, "What a fine king we have over us who has raised such a fine son. Truly he is worthy of his throne."
Leviticus 22:29-33 : Leviticus 22:32 says, "You shall not profane My holy name, but I will be sanctified among the sons of Israel." What does it mean to profane or desecrate the Name? Conversely, how does one sanctify the Name of God? The concept is one of reputation. It is the idea that our actions and behaviors affect God's reputation. Our behavior reflects on Him. If we act in a holy manner befitting children of God, God's name is sanctified. If we act in a godless or wicked manner, God's reputation is sullied. Our behavior profanes His reputation.
A significant amount of Jewish ethical standards are formulated around the idea of sanctifying the Name of God (Kiddush HaShem, קדוש השם). Every choice we make in life will in someway or another reflect upon God. Our every interaction with other human beings will in one way or another say something about the God we serve.
To sanctify God's Name means to treat His Name with the respect, honor and consecration that He deserves. But in the broader sense, it refers to obedience and uprightness of character. The Torah explains that the formula for sanctifying God's Name is obedience to the commandments. "So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the LORD." (22:31) The Master concurs: "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) He is saying that when we do good works, we bring glory to our Father in Heaven. Glorifying God requires more than just saying, "Glory!" It actually requires us to do good. By the same token, our sins rob God of the glory that He is due.
This is part of the meaning of the words the Master taught us to pray. "Sanctified be Your Name, Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done on Earth as it is in Haven," are all parallel statements. When God's will is done on earth, His commandments are being kept. His reign and rule are being exercised on Earth, and His Name is then sanctified.
When we sin, God's Name is profaned. His reputation is tarnished because of us. This is a very serious matter that deserves far more attention than we can accord to it here.
Source : First Fruits of Zion