Must Man Sanctify Hashem?The concept of sanctifying Hashem's name ("קידוש השם") is considered by many to be one of the central precepts of Judaism. Perhaps surprisingly, however, nowhere in Torah is there an explicit command to do so. Though several verses admonish against profaning Hashem's name, both in connection with specific prohibitions1 as well as more generally,2 no parallel directive exists for sanctification. Hashem speaks repeatedly about His sanctifying of the nation,3 but it is unclear whether it is man, or only God, who can sanctify Hashem Himself.4 After all, how can a human make Hashem holy? What would it mean to sanctify His name?
"וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל"
The often cited source for the obligation to sanctify Hashem's name is found in Vayikra 22:
(לא) וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם מִצְוֺתַי וַעֲשִׂיתֶם אֹתָם אֲנִי י"י. (לב) וְלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ אֶת שֵׁם קׇדְשִׁי וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲנִי י"י מְקַדִּשְׁכֶם. (לג) הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לִהְיוֹת לָכֶם לֵאלֹהִים אֲנִי י"י.
(31) And ye shall keep My commandments, and do them: I am the Lord.
(32) And ye shall not profane My holy name; but I will be hallowed among the children of Israel: I am the Lord who hallow you,
(33) that brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the Lord.
This source, however, is far from a simple one. First, the phrase "וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי" is not formulated in the imperative, as expected of a command, but is rather a passive form, as if it is merely the consequence of a previous action. Moreover, the verse comes at the end of a unit dealing with priestly laws, suggesting that it is aimed at them specifically. In fact, throughout the previous chapters, there are numerous parallel verses,5 all of which target specific priestly rituals and have little to do with the rest of the nation's actions. On the other hand, this verse does differ from the parallel verses in that it is preceded by the general instruction of "וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם מִצְוֺתַי" and closes with the additional "הַמּוֹצִיא אֶתְכֶם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם", perhaps allowing for a connection to both a broader audience ("בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל") and a wider range of actions.
Martyrdom and Sanctification?
The sanctification of Hashem's name is commonly associated with the concept of sacrificing one's life for Hashem. Yet, it is difficult to find an explicit discussion of the obligation of martyrdom in the Torah.6 It is only in the much later book of Daniel,7 that we read of how Daniel and his friends were willing to be killed rather than transgress various commandments.8 Does the Torah mandate forfeiting one's life? If so, under what circumstances and for which commandments? Finally, is martyrdom related to the sanctification of Hashem's name and the aforementioned verses of Vayikra 22?