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    This time of year many
    Country Vues readers have
    their annual migration
    to their favorite vacation
    spots. In the tristate
    area, over a half million
    people make the annual
    pilgrimage to the Catskills
    summer homes and bungalow colonies
    strewn all over Ulster and Sullivan counties.
    Towns such as Monticello, Woodbourne,
    Fallsburg, Ellenville, Kiamesha, Swan Lake,
    Hurleyville and many others are packed with
    myriads of orthodox Jews. All these city-folk
    come like an avalanche upon these quiet rural
    towns suddenly descending at the end of June
    like a raging bull in a china closet.
    This is a good time for us to brush up on
    the severity of chillul Hashem, the crime of
    desecrating Hashem’s Name in front of the
    other nations. (It applies in front of other
    Jews as well.) The Gemora teaches us that
    this transgression is so heinous that when it is
    perpetrated, even repentance, suffering, and
    the holy day of Yom Kippur combined do not
    fully atone. Only death completely atones for
    this terrible crime.
    In wanting to convey how horrible chillul
    Hashem is, the Alenu L’shabei’ach relates the

    following anecdote. There was once a couple
    in Eretz Yisroel who suffered from terrible
    marital discord. The husband, wanting to
    wreak hurt to his wife, put in motion to send
    their Jewish son to a monastery in Italy.
    Horrified, friends of the family wanted to go
    to the government to stop this at all costs.
    There was however a concern that the major
    news outlets would get a hold of the story and
    it would result in a chillul Hashem. However,
    those that were involved in the case felt that
    the risk was justified in order to save the child
    from shmad, from being sent to a catholic
    mission. They consulted Rav Shlomo Zalman
    Auerbach, zt”l, zy”a, the Posek Hador, and to
    their surprise he told them that if there was a
    chance of chillul Hashem, they cannot risk
    it, even to prevent the loss of a Yiddisher
    neshama. This is a striking example of how
    serious the crime of desecrating the Name of
    Hashem is.
    I know a family that was attacked in the
    secular papers regarding a nasty custody
    battle. When the papers asked them if they
    wanted to comment to defend themselves,
    Rav Dovid Feinstein, shlit”a, ruled that they
    could not participate in the discussion in the
    secular press even to defend themselves for
    it would be advancing more chillul Hashem.
    That’s asking a lot from a person – not to

    defend themselves against public
    humiliation – but that’s how high the
    stakes are when it comes to chillul
    Hashem. So let’s start talking about
    how this subject applies to the many
    city-folk who ‘invade’ the peaceful
    mountains during the summer.
    The first thing that needs to be
    eliminated is horn honking from our

    cars. The bedtime for many rural-
    folk is ‘early to bed and early to

    rise,’ while many of us city-people
    start first waking up when they are
    already in bed. We have to be aware
    of this whether it comes to blowing the horn,
    slamming the car doors, or just carrying on in
    a boisterous summer-way when many of the
    locals are already sleeping.
    Then there’s our behavior in the
    supermarkets. If you’ve ever been to the
    Catskills in the winter, you’ll see how nicely
    the shelves are setup and how orderly the
    store looks. So, while shopping if you decide
    not to take an item, put it back in its place
    – especially if it needs refrigeration. Try to
    bring your cart back to the store or to the
    place where they are gathered, and not left
    helter-skelter in the parking lot. And here’s
    something to really think about. Don’t go
    around tasting the grapes, having your
    kids taste them, and popping the olives
    in your mouth, and even munching on
    the grapes while they’re already in your
    wagon. I sincerely believe that if there’s
    no sign up saying “sampling allowed,”
    it is theft to taste fruit in order to decide
    if you want to buy the item. And, even
    if some stores will let you get away
    with this and not escort you out, this
    is certainly not the behavior of the Am
    Segula, the nation that is supposed to be
    the model of behavior. If I see a gentile
    waiting in line who has only two items,
    I always try to let them go ahead of me
    so they don’t mutter under their breath,
    the ‘Jewish invasion.’ Right or wrong,
    we need to be sensitive when we are
    trampling on their peace and quiet. And
    yes, it is true that they are looking for
    things to blame us for. That just means
    that we must be doubly careful not to
    give anyone ammunition.
    When driving in the night, we must
    always shut off our bright headlights to
    oncoming traffic and we shouldn’t drive
    like it’s a video game. Let’s remember
    that the locals are very proud of their
    pristine unpolluted environment so don’t
    open the car window and toss out the
    leftover drink, a bag with a dirty diaper
    or the wrapper from a nosh, carelessly
    to the side of the road. There are many
    more examples but the main thing is to
    heighten your sense of awareness and to
    be truly inhibited to causing any type of

    chillul Hashem.
    Finally, I’m sorry there’s a need to mention
    this but it should be obvious to ensure before
    having your children with other children that
    they are properly vaccinated. In Yiddishkeit,
    we follow the majority, especially in the face
    of sakana, danger, and chillul Hashem. The
    overwhelming majority, 90 percent plus of
    master physicians and Godolei Yisroel hold
    that it is mandatory to vaccinate. Any other
    discussion is a waste of time. The massive
    chillul Hashem that has resulted already on
    a global stage from measles epidemics needs
    to be repaired. Furthermore, as a child that
    had rubella, measles and mumps, I can tell
    you that only a criminally negligent parent
    will abstain from vaccinating a child.
    One more point. A smile goes a long way
    in improving relationhips. When you pass a
    gentile in the parking lot or in Home Depot
    tilt your head in greeting or give a smile. If
    thousands of us take this not so little step, we
    will make a huge difference in their attitude
    towards us
    May Hashem bless us with the smarts to
    avoid chillul Hashem and in that merit may
    we be blessed with long life, good health, and
    everything wonderful.