וְלֹא תְחַלְּלוּ, אֶת-שֵׁם קָדְשִׁי, וְנִקְדַּשְׁתִּי, בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל: -- And do not profane My holy name; but I will be made holy among the children of Israel. (Leviticus 22:31-32)
This verse states two diametric thoughts that seem as distant as east is from west; similar to saying ‘do not be a sinner; and be a tzaddik,’ – how are we to understand the message of this Torah? It may be explained by way of a true story involving 19th century Austria and Rabbi Joseph Bloch. Rabbi Bloch was a Talmudic scholar who also attended secular universities in Germany where he earned his PhD in philosophy. Rabbi Bloch’s knowledge in secular studies allowed him to legally challenge and defend against blood libel charges from Catholic theologians to the point where the slanderers had to publicly admit defeat. As a result, many Jewish families in Galicia sent their children to gymnasia and universities with the reasoning of necessity that there are intellectual Jews to similarly defend Israel against its enemies. Rabbi Akiva Kornitzur (Poland ca, 1890) observed that most Jews who entered these institutions quickly abandoned our traditions; many even converting to other religions. Says R. Kornitzur, do not profane My holy name even with apparent reason, and in staying faithful to the tradition, I (Gd) will be made holy among the children of Israel.