LET’S STOP THE LITTERING! Sullivan County Residents Post Photos Of Woodbourne Park

28

This morning on a local Sullivan County Facebook page, photos were published of a filthy mess left behind by members of our community, who visited a park in Woodbourne.

YWN has published articles about this many times, pleading with people to simply take their trash when they leave. For some reason, certain people do not understand the ramifications of Chillul Hashem, nor do they care about the outright hatred that their actions causes. Will there always be haters? Of course. But why add fuel to an already simmering fire? And of course there are those who will say that “it’s not only Jews that leave such trash”. Have we forgotten that we are the Am Hanivchar?

Here was the Facebook post:

“This is Woodbourne every single morning. I know the summer visitors are hopefully leaving soon, but we can’t do this anymore. The trash is from the movie parking lot, past the firehouse. Our whole town is one big trash can for them.”

 

Please read the following article By Rabbi Yair Hoffman for 5tjt.com:

It is the last week of the summer, and it is just before Rosh Chodesh Elul. We have an opportunity now to minimize, or make up for the grave Chillul Hashems that we may have caused or perpetrated this summer through our littering, chalilah.

The internet has been inundated with incidences, occurrences, activities, and statements that clearly constitute a Chillul Shaim Shamayim in how we treat our host communities in the Catskills.

Here are just a few examples:

“That is something I notice. They treat the world as their trash cans. Most of us have learned to put our garbage in the trash cans and try to live cleaner. There will always be some that litter, but this group has no respect for Villages they expect to respect them because of the religion. I am always picking up nasty diapers and trash they throw in my yard. Disgusting.”

“I have been biking walnut mtn in liberty last few weeks and the trash keeps getting worse. It is definitely the local hasidic camps because the little candies have hebrew on them. That and dozens and dozens of poland spring bottles and little sip cups as if they were sharing them. From parking lot right to the summit. It is great they bring the kids on hikes. Just please pick up the __ trash.”

“They are filthy pigs!”

“Give them measles!”

“Now now its not there fault…dont the rest of you locals know its our job to pickup after them! i mean they are our guests and do lots of good for our community!”

These are just some of the examples of comments.  Some people are posting pictures too.

SOME DO NOT SEE IT THAT WAY

Yet, to the dismay of many, there are members in our community that do not see it that way. They view the revelation of such incidents and activities as merely a manifestation of anti-Semitism. They say, well we bring in them all of this economic activity. This is a horrible and terribly incorrect perspective.

But to appreciate the enormity of Chillul Hashem, a brief introduction is in order.

A DIFFICULT GEMORAH

The world was created for Torah and its study (See Midrash Tanchuma Bereishis 10).  Since this is the case, there is a difficult Gemorah (Shabbos 31a) that requires explanation.  The Gemorah tells us that the very first question we are asked in the world to come is, “Were you honest in your business dealings?”

Why should this be the first question?  Since Torah is more important than anything else, the next question that the Gemorah tells us is asked should rather be asked first, “Did you set times for Torah study?”

The Pri Magadim in his Aishel Avrohom (OC 156:2) cites the Eliyahu Rabba’s grandfather’s answer to this question, that if Heaven forbid he was not honest in his business dealings – his entire Torah learning constitutes a Chillul Hashem!

In other words, this question is a prerequisite for Torah study, because if he is not honest with others in business, the Torah learning is not a source of merit.  It is the opposite.  The Torah learning itself is the source of Chillul Hashem.  The same applies to other forms of chillul Hashem such as littering.

This shows how very serious and fundamental the concept of Chillul Hashem actually is.

WHO IS COMMANDED IN IT

Every Jew is commanded not to desecrate Hashem’s Name, as the pasuk states:  “Lo sechalalu es shaim kodshi.”  The Mitzvah is listed in the 613 Mitzvos of the Rishonim and in the Sefer haChinuch 295.  Indeed, if someone causes others to make Chillul Hashems –  the Shulchan Aruch rules that he should be put in Cherem (YD 334).

WHAT CONSTITUTES CHILLUL HASHEM

The Rambam Yesodei Torah 5:4 explains that Chillul Hashem is actually the opposite of Kiddush Hashem.  This is a good rule of thumb to follow when one wishes to explore what exactly is a Chillul Hashem.  Nonetheless, it is also important to examine what Chazal tell us specifically.  The lack of clarity on the issue has created a situation where it could reasonably be said that one man’s Kiddush Hashem is another man’s Chillul Hashem.

For example, some people think that show of strength is an example of Kiddush Hashem.  Others feel that an abuse of strength is, in actuality, a grave Chillul Hashem.  It is thus important to see what Chazal and Poskim tell us in order to have a better gauge of the issue.  It is not that this examination will resolve any issues between people who are arguing points among each other.  But, hopefully, it will give a number of us greater insights.  For example, before we saw the Pri Magadim that introduced this essay, most of us were of the opinion that if someone is dishonest, it is a bad thing, but not that it converts the very Torah that he had learned into an object of Chillul Hashem.

Now we know otherwise.

THE DIFFERENT CATEGORIES

Chillul Hashem can be categorized in different ways.

1] There are a number of different categories of Chillul Hashem that are differentiated in some of the Rishonim.

2] There are Aveiros that the Psukim in the Torah call a Chillul Hashem.

3] There are behaviors that, no matter who the Jew actually is, also constitute a Chillul Hashem.

We will begin with the three different categories found in the Rishonim.

One category is when one if forced to violate one of the three cardinal sins that we must give up our lives for.  If someone did not do so, this is a Chillul Hashem according to Sefer HaMitzvos (#63).

A second category is whenever one purposefully does an Aveirah out of spite – this too is considered a Chillul Hashem (Sefer HaMitzvos, ibid).

A third category is when an important person does something that causes people to talk – even if it would generally not be considered an Aveirah (Shabbos 51b).  This is considered a Chillul Hashem because people will learn from him. The Gemorah explains that greater the person is the more careful he must be.

According to the SMAG #2 and SMaK #85, however, category three is even if is not an important person but a regular Talmid Chochom whose actions cause people to talk – this too is Chillul Hashem.  These authorities also say that when a Jew does any action that will cause Goyim to say, “The Jews have no Torah”  – this is a Chillul Hashem.

There is actually a debate as to the reason for the third category of a great person.  Is it because he has a higher standard in which to comply with?  This is what Rabbeinu Yonah (Avos Mishna 4:4) and the Rambam (Maamar Kiddush Hashem) write.  Others understand it because other people will learn from him.  Other Rishonim hold that it is because the Torah will be lessened in the eyes of others because of him (Rashi on tractate Shabbos 33a).

What are examples of category three?  The Gemorah (Yuma 86a) gives us illustrations.  Rav gives an example of a Talmid Chacham that doesn’t pay the butcher bill right away. Rav Yochanan gives as an example of Chillul Hashem of a Talmid Chochom that goes without Torah and without Tefillin for 4 amos.  Rav Yochanan’s explanation assumed that the onlooker does not realize that the Talmid Chochom just had a marathon session of Torah study and did not have the strength to continue further or the strength of intent to wear the Tefillin properly.

There are some observations that can be made from these illustrations.  In regard to Chillul Hashem, according to Rabbi Yochanan, “perception is reality.”  According to Rav, we have established the notion that it also involves a Middah, a character trait, or behavior and not just an actual sin.

WHAT THE TORAH CALLS CHILLUL HASHEM

There are specific Aveiros that the Torah itself specifically calls Chillul Hashem (See, for example, VaYikra 19:12).  Most of these have to do with false Shavuos (See Rashi Taanis 23a), although giving one’s child to the Molech (VaYikra 18:21) is also called a Chillul Hashem by the Torah.  Abusing justice by the judges is also a grave Chillul Hashem.   The Gemorah will also provide Psukim that back up the idea that certain activities such as going to Goyish courts is a grave Chillul Hashem (Gittin 88b).

Anything having to with Avodah Zarah (See Rabbeinu Yona Avos 4:4 based on Yechezkel 20:39) is also considered a Chillul Hashem.

GENERAL CHILLUL HASHEMS CAUSED BY PEOPLE

Anyone who sins and causes others to sin – choteh umachti es harabbim is actively being mechalel shaim Hashem (Rashi Yuma 86a).

Another form of Chillul Hashem is when it is pointed out to the world that Klal Yisroel is not doing their job.  The Beis Yoseph explains (YD 254) that if a poor person needs to be supported through gentiles – this is a situation of Chillul Hashem.  It is, in fact, forbidden for him to do so unless he has nothing to eat.  Regardless, it is forbidden for us, the community, to allow the situation to continue.

If Jews are aware that someone Jewish is going to falsely swear in front of gentiles that he does not owe money, when the gentile knows that he does – this is a situation of Chillul Hashem.  The Jews must stop him from swearing falsely and rather must work it out with the gentile.  This is a ruling in the Ramah in Shulchan Aruch in the laws of Shvuos ( YD 239:1).

Generally speaking, we are permitted to take donations from a gentile for a synagogue.  However, if the gentile gave it to something specific in shul – we may not change it for anything else because of the Chillul Hashem aspect of it.  One may do so, however, under certain circumstances if the donation was made by a Jew.  [TaZ’s explanation of ruling in Shulchan Aruch YD 259:6]

The Bach in a responsa (#111, old) cites the Sefer Chassidim (#829) that if it is the custom among the gentiles to forbid a certain food because a horrible sin was done with it– then Jews should also refrain from eating it.  This is on account of Chillul Hashem.

Publicizing a previously performed Aveirah that was unknown may also be a form of Chillul Hashem (see Tehillim 32:1 from Yuma 86a.)  Therefore, when an Aveirah is not known publically one should not say a public vidui.

Whenever it is possible to minimize a Chillul Hashem we should do this.  This is seen from many Poskim, for example, Chsam Sofer (OC Vol. I #61).  One such illustration, an extreme one, can be seen from the following idea:

Even though we no longer have the ability to deal with cases of capital punishments – there are times when Bais Din must act out of Migdar Milsa, especially out of Chillul Hashem.  There was such a case where a person [warning: impending euphemisim]  “blessed” Hashem and he was punished most severely because of the Chillul Hashem involved (See Teshuvos HaRosh 17:8 cited in Darchei Moshe CM 425).

What is shocking about this latter illustration is that nowadays we cannot perform capital punishment and if we do, it would constitute a capital offense on us as well.  And yet to prevent Chillul Hashem, Beis Din allowed it in that instance, in order to minimize the Chillul Hashem of someone “blessing” Hashem.  It is this author’s belief that the very term for the prohibition is referred to by the sages as “Blessing Hashem” in order to minimize the Chillul Hashem of the entire idea.  [It should be noted that nowadays this ruling of the Rosh is not applicable at all.]

How Hashem Deals With Chillul Hashem

The Gemorah tells us  (Kiddushin 40a) Ain Makifin b’Chillul Hashem – this means that Hashem pays back (in punishment) a Chillul Hashem right away.  What this means is subject to some interpretation (two views even being found in the Gemorah), but we see from all of this the gravity of Chillul Hashem.

So let’s do the right thing.  Let us clean up after ourselves and after our brethren, when they have not.  It can be a powerful lesson when we have our children go to a place and clean it up so that we can make a Kiddush Hashem and not a chillul Hashem.

The author can be reached at yairhoffman2@gmail.com

(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)




28 COMMENTS

  1. It’s zero effort to pick up your trash or pack it out when you are hiking. On a visit to Lkwd I watched a kid finish some kind of nosh and throw the package on the ground. His mother watched and said nothing and there was a litter bin a few steps away. There is no excuse to litter whether it is in Rockland Cty or any place else.

    When you go to a park or on an outing take a bag for your trash, and take a moment to pick up some of the junk left by others before you. Be a good guest and neighbor.

  2. with all do respect , is it right to assume that we did this even though there is no actual picture showing a fellow yid dropping this garbage on the floor

  3. I was recently in Gravesend park and saw busted water balloons everywhere. I was looking for the parents to tell them off but saw that the kids that were throwing the balloons and not cleaning up were not from our community. I don’t know who made the mess in Woodbourne park but let’s not jump to conclusions here.

    (btw if you decide to do water balloons as an activity it’s important to keep in mind that cleaning them up is quite a challenge)

  4. Is it not a chillul hashem to post derogatory information about unzerer on the internet?

    Moderator Note: No it’s not. I’ts a Mitzvah. But that is the typical kind of response from people who leave this type of pigsty behind them, to calling out this behavior. Are you one of them?

  5. Have we slowly become a nation of oblivious morons? And when these people are doing mitzvos, are they even thinking about the mitzva that they’re doing, or just going through the motions? I wonder.

  6. Sigh. This has nothing to do with chillul hashem. As if leaving trash on the ground is okay if there’s no one around, or if no one will find it?

    Please. It’s simply about being responsible for the environment and the world we live in.

    Leave it better than you found it.

  7. The message in this article is part of the problem. The reason we need to clean up is not because of chillul hashem. We need to clean up because it’s the right thing to do. We don’t have to live our whole life just for what other people will think. As long as we don’t teach that to our kids, they’ll never clean up.

  8. Besides for the chillul Hashem involved, do we want to have filthy parks and streets? We are so insanely clean at home, why, even for our own sakes, can’t we be clean outdoors. All around the lake in Lakewood, I also see litter even near the garbage cans. Disgusting for everyone, not only because of chillul Hashem

  9. GlatteSvara and all the others: Do you let your kids do this at home? I don’t want to think what your homes look like.

    You are all very wrong with your complacency. We face so much anti-Semitism, and it’s very frightening.
    Why do you have to make it worse with this mindless, inconsiderate behavior??? And how come the shmutz does not disturb you??? Isn’t it a disgrace???

    We are scrutinized from every angle when we are in public. Please! Stop being so selfish and act like mentschen. Say please and thank you, hold the door open for others, and stop acting as if the world is yours only. Behave properly to a fellow Jew and to a non-Jew. Its basic decency and we’re are in galus after all. In America too… Too bad about it.

  10. We, as “the light unto the world” have to be extra careful, for example when I’m in a parking lot of a store,even if there are many wagons strewed about, i am super makpid to always return my cart to one of the areas where they are supposed to go, also, wishing the other people in the store “a good day” with a smile can make all the difference

  11. Some people cannot be bothered to pick up their used facial tissues in shul, let alone clean up after themselves in a pristine public park. Regardless of whether or not littering constitutes a chillul Hashem, it is disgusting behavior and bad middos. Training in cleanliness and respect for property – both private and public – need to be begin early in childhood and be continually reinforced.

  12. Leaving trash is not mentchlich, dirty, disgusting, no matter where it is done; in shul, in a park, or anywhere else on earth. It is a sign of basic lack of consideration, because obviously someone else will eventuallty have to clean up your mess. No? But you simply do not care.
    But regarding the way this “local” is complaining, Who does she think she is? Why does she think some outsider is making dirty “her” park??? As far as I know, one of the freedoms every citizen (and illegal immigrants – according to the revise democratic party) in this country has the right to move and live wherever s/he wishes on US territory (besides security areas)vwithout having to get permission from the future neighbors. So when 20000 people decide to move up to sullivan county for the summer, this park becomes “their” park just as it is “her” park, of she likes it or not. So they are not making dirty “her” town, they are making dirty “their own” town, which happens to be wrong. But deal with it as a mature grownup, not as a baby who loves democracy until it includes letting jews move to your backyard for 9 weeks every summer.

  13. Well we can’t really blame anyone ! We are a community that mostly lives with full time help at home. Boone cleans up anymore as the ” Goyta” will do it. Since she’s not in the park , who is there to help ?

  14. No way.!!!
    And they weren’t Jewish?
    You mean this is not a Jewish thing?
    It’s just a kids being slobs thing?
    OMG.
    I would not have believed such a thing could be!!
    From the posters here I thought only Jewish people leave messes behind. Everyone else in the world is perfect. Thank you so much for clearing that up. That maybe it’s just a people thing. Some people are slobs, some people truly don’t care if the playground is dirty and some people probably die clean up after themselves.
    And it’s nothing to do with Jews

  15. It seems this is a world wide problem. I live in europe and the story is the same.
    Everywhere you go for an outing is littered with Liebers and Paskesz and Blooms. So you cant even say it’s the goyim.
    Remember, don’t be surprised when your daughter in law will complain that your son is messy!!

  16. FILTHY MESS is that an accurate description of the pics??? should say park visited by 1000’s has some garbage . ofcourse we need to put our garbage where it belongs

  17. People need to teach their kids to throw things in the garbage, period. Some people are too lazy to do that. They’ll run around for hours erev Yom Tov looking for perfect outfits for their kids, spend hours cooking up a storm, but can’t take two minutes to instruct their kids not to litter and throw away the trash.

    There are goyim who are very careful with keeping public and private places clean. There are goyim, many of them illegals who grew up in different environments, who litter all the time. You know what, it doesn’t matter. Jews need to do the right thing and clean up after themselves, chillul Hashem or not, minhag hamokom or not. You need to keep your personal property and public property cleanand neat. This is basic derech eretz.

  18. The majority of the frum yidden do not behave this way and DO clean up after their events and outings to parks and other venues. The problem is limited to a very small percentage of the tzibur, the same ones who put out overflowig trash cans on the street and whose front yards are filled with junk. They apparently believe that their time is too important to clean up after themselves and their children.

  19. We, that is anash, know what goes on in the Catskills during the summer. We know our kids, and some of our adult neighbors, make a mess and we know that “kids will be kids”. We also know that the locals hate it but we don’t care because they are only goyim. From hate of the mess to hate of those that create the mess is a very small step, one the locals are easily able to take. Some of them then become fully-fledged antisemites and guess whose fault it is? Maybe every family who vacations in the mountains should make a weekly payment to a Vaad whose job it will be to do just one thing: give employment to unemployed locals who will be happy to earn some money keeping their neighborhood clean during the summer. Isn’t that a reasonable and positive thinking way to deal with the situation, because we are not going to stop littering and they are not going to stop hating us for it. Please forget the sermons about the environment, democracy etc. None of us are interested in that. When the city decided to make a bike track through Williamsburg I remember the outrage that they could even consider such a thing in our neighborhood. If we can invade the Catskills every year and litter the place up, all in the name of democracy, why can’t very scantily dressed girls bicycle through Willimsburg?

  20. I am a resident of Monsey/Suffern. There is a section of forest that many of us walk thru every shabbos and yom tov to go to shul. Several years ago, a chasidishe yeshiva bought a couple of houses on the other side. Fast forward, what was once a clean forest, is now blanketed with wrappers from all sorts of kosher snacks, along with plastic bags, plastic cutlery, etc. It is a PIGSTY. And yes, its chasidim. Its not only the parents fault, it is the fault of the rebbies of the yeshiva.
    Besides that, the play area is made up of discarded wooden palates. There are boards with nails sticking out. Its a miracle that nobody got hurt yet. Lastly, they have made it their best effort to push out further and further into the forest with these monstrosities, we gan barely get by to go to shul. I’m sorry to say it so bluntly, but, they are PIGS.