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MAILBAG: Why Must We Make A Chillul Hashem With Our Kosher Trash?

To all of you who enjoy public places such as malls, amusement parks and other attractions:

As so many of you have done over the past week, I took my daughters to American Dream Mall for a nice mid-winter vacation outing.

They have beautiful lounge areas and I decided to relax while my daughters were enjoying themselves in the water park. As I sat down, I noticed garbage littered about the couches, coffee tables, and floor. Upon further inspection, I saw that this was very obviously kosher food thrown around. This bothered me to no end!!

In my mind, this was a huge chilul Hashem!

How much effort does it take to pick up after yourself and walk to the nearest garage bin and dispose of your trash? (There are bins all over the mall.)

People notice everything!

They see a group of Jews having fun and then leaving their garbage behind. What do you think goes through their minds?

We should all aim to be on a higher level than this!

Clean up after yourself!

Someone who is appalled by this behavior.
Miriam Zeitlin

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.


(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)

33 Responses

  1. Of course it’s wrong, and of course people should not litter

    But Chillul Hashem? What makes you say so? Do you think littering is unique to Jews?
    Jews acting like regular humans and sometimes littering does not mean it’s a Chillul Hashem to litter.

    You can definitely make a kiddush Hashem by cleaning up after yourself. It’s not a Chillul Hashem if you don’t.

    It’s also a kiddush Hashem to clean up after OTHERS. Keep that in mind

  2. On more than one occasion I have found myself cleaning up “kosher” trash myself in an attempt to avoid a chillul Hashem
    Definitely a big issue I see it constantly
    Why some Jews think it’s ok to leave an impression that Jews are dirty slobs is beyond me

  3. You are 100% correct. This has been a problem for years. Parents don’t teach their children how to be respectful of other peoples property. It’s sad ,but maybe schools have to become the parents for these children and teach them about manners. Some parents don’t even know manners themselves. it’s called common decency towards another person, and unfortunately many people don’t have it.

  4. I agree with this letter 100%. However, besides for the Chillul Hashem aspect, why would any decent person behave this way? This is low life behavior and we are not a nation of lowlives. As a group, we aren’t lazy and work very hard to provide for our families. We dress our kids in matching expensive clothing. We furnish our homes as beautifully as possible. We set amazing Shabbos and Yom Tov tables and we put so much effort into preparing fantastic food to serve at those tables. So how can we behave like a bunch of slobs? Where does this even come from?

  5. Commonsense, the schools aren’t doing such a great job of it, either. As a teacher, I can tell you about all of empty snack bags and other detritus that line the classrooms and hallways of the schools.

  6. Kudos to the writer for expressing authentic Torah hashkafah.

    “Heimishe” litterbugs should be detained and made to clean up litter for a while, expelled from the parks and sent home, or fined.

    Enough of those sickening phony frauds that masquerade as Jews, but act in a very non-Jewish manner.

  7. I was walking in American dream and saw a frum mother changing her baby’s diaper on a bench right in middle of where everyone was walking. If that’s not a chillul hashm then I don’t know what is.

  8. I agree with you Miriam but I was at the same mall in the same time frame and somehow missed seeing the garbage you saw. I saw a lot of frum families with children. They were visibly Jewish to the many others at the mall. While running around having fun the kids behaved in a way that made me proud to be one of them. To all the mothers and fathers there and to their kids, we have a lot to be proud of.

  9. yitzchokm,

    To act like a goy acts is a chilul Hashem. And as for aivah, when the Jews do exactly what the goyim do they hate us anyway. They will point a finger at us for doing what they will not admit to doing themselves. A Yid has to act right, regardless of the situation. Right means what the Torah says.

  10. I was walking behind some Bochrim on 39th street, near KRM. They ate some food and dropped the wrappers as they walked. I asked them to pick it up, they chose to laugh at me. I took the wrappers and followed them into a Belz building. When a Rebbe asked what I wanted I explained. He was not laughing.

  11. >> But Chillul Hashem? What makes you say so? Do you think littering is unique to Jews?

    This is something that may not have existed in earlier times: any incident can be captured on a phone and sent around the world – Jews disregarding airline rules, littering, etc. Even if in a certain aspect, we are better than general population on average, there would be enough slobs who are not lazy to have visibly Jewish appearance but not following up with the rest of the Torah?

    What can we all do? Maybe make sure that schools teach middos as seriously as kashrus – not just as stories of tzadikim, but also detailed halokhos about littering, driving, chillul Hashem, etc. Also, maybe if the rest of us, who are not 100% slobs, behave even better, it might create a firewall against accusation: someone hearing that a Jew did something inappropriate, will reply: I saw so many Jewish people who would waive me to drive in front of them that this bad apple is not representative.

  12. The first two comments posted are wrong, even ludicrous! We are the עם הנבחר, we are Hashem’s choice nation. We must be better. Why we don’t clean up after ourselves has been an issue gnawing at me for years. Park rangers and mall cleaning crews have been commenting about this forever. Why don’t we feel the need to make Hashem proud of our behavior?

  13. The foundation of slobbery begins in the home. Unfortunately Maria, Consuela, Tiberia, or other help isn’t on these trips to clean up after you, as they do in your house. Think this is bad, go to a beis medrash and watch the Gabboim pick up after the slobs (yes it’s a word and long overdue in describing this behavior)

  14. reply to lakewoodbubby
    Perhaps I am wrong but your name implies an age in the mid 40’s or higher. The problem is with the more recent generations. I can show you thousands that are not the way you describe; never worked a full time job and never clean up after their kids. Kids see and learn, then they grow up.
    There is an assumption that others (those that work) are paid to clean up after them.

  15. We have seen this issue raised over and over again in multiple contexts (most recently complaints about “jewish garbage” strewn about in parks during chol hamoed). Obviously, its not a uniquely Jewish issue but as others have noted, we hold ourselves (ostensbily) to a higher standard. Same issue has been raised about trash put outside of homes in certain frum towns and neighborhoods which is not placed in closed trashcans but instead loosely strewn about in trash bags, in some cases exceeding allowable volumes. Others complain about what “had been” well maintained front lawns and landscaping now used as overflow parking, kids toys strewn about with dying plants and grass. Is it anti-semitic? To some degree yes but there certainly is a lot more yidden can do to maintain the quality of life and beauty of their neighborhoods and local parks.

  16. I’m probably preaching to the converted, or to deaf ears, and so wasting my time, but the kiddushes filling the landfills with endless amounts of wasted foods and plastics are also a shame, even if non-Jews don’t see the trash picked up from shuls. It seems these kiddushes make money for shuls, so noone can object, even as Little Johnny comes home for lunch full because he had chips and pop and cake…

  17. I just flew back from Israel on a VERY crowded flight. You can imagine the composition of the passenger list. Sadly, it was the frum people who (1) blocked the aisles when the staff was trying to serve (2) refused to comply with mask mandates [this is not the place to discuss if there should be a mandate or not – IF YOU FLY YOU KNOW THERE IS A MANDATE] (3) stood up during landing (4) insisted on lining up in the aisles before the plane stopped moving (5) pulled down luggage from overhead compartments without regard to who was standing there (6) tried boarding through business line (7) changed babies’ dirty diapers on the seats
    Need I go one??? בשבילי נברא העולם needs to be balanced with ואנכי עפר ואפר

  18. Drive through Lkwd, Monsey or KY and see the candy wrappers and litter blowing down the streets and across unkempt lawns. This isn’t a problem that is isolated to this one entertainment venue.

  19. @ A_Person. If it is acceptable in the society we live in to breastfeed a child on that bench, then changing a babys diaper on that same bench is just as acceptable. Of course, the diaper, wipes etc should be properly disposed of.

    Clearly, you dont know what is.

  20. To BAHBY. So if you are a teacher and see this in school, why don’t YOU be the first to address this issue within a school setting. Teach the children and ask the principal to send home notices informing parents of this problem. Have an award ( it can be printed) given to a child that is seen picking up trash in the hallways and classroom. Maybe any teacher/ faculty member can give out papers ,little notes that say you did a mitzvah today. And when a girl/boy gets a certain amount they get an award paper. Maybe every Rosh Chodesh or something. Then at the end of the year if you have more than two or three awards you get a special prize. Something to that effect. To SHLOIMIEB : excellent job. I hope the boys learned a lesson

  21. I am in the business of renting amusement parks for our schools/camps. many refuse to rent to us bec. of our total disrespect of their facilities!

  22. I was once visiting our Holy Land and I saw a young man drop his trash on the sidewalk. I rushed up to him and quickly picked it up by myself. I said to him, “Don’t dirty our Eretz HaKodesh!”, and threw it into the garbage can.

    Dear readers, you can do this too; and it will have a bigger effect than any mussar shmooze.

  23. My father A”H was visiting me here on LI and commented that he finds it saddening that my town is almost spotless as opposed to Yerushalayim that has garbage spilling out from garbage containers almost all the time.

  24. I live next to a city park where a lot of schools bring their students, including Jewish schools. I constantly need to remind them to pick up their litter because the Hebrew worded wrappers identify it as “Jewish” debris. I try to bring to the staff’s attention that this is a Chillul Hashem. I hope this awareness is becoming effective.

  25. It should be noted that the owners of the American Dream mall are Frum Yidden. This fact is well known among the hundred or thousands of employees there. So this type of conduct can be taken as a reflection of the attitude of the mall management. This can definitely cause a damage to reputation and Chas v ‘Sholom a Hefsed Momon to their business. They also cater to fund raising activities for many mosdos and Tzdokos ( making separate water activities etc. ) it would be a shame if they would hesitate Hereon to allow these activities to happen.

  26. To yitzchokim:
    Of course we are not the only ones to litter. When you see treife nash, you don’t know if the owner was black, Chinese a Baptist, Roman catholic, Buddhist, etc. But when you see it’s KOSHER , you most definitely know it’s JEWISH.

  27. Parents need to clean up but let’s not try to make little kids feel guilty for being kids and responsible for the worst sin

  28. @ememc

    If a venue didn’t supply bathrooms with diaper changing stations, I would agree with you. There are bathrooms all over American dream along with diaper changing stations. I feel it is def a chillul hashm to have your baby’s privates and flying around smack in the middle of the mall. I rarely see breastfeeding stations…

  29. we live so out of town we’re not even on a map. when we visit frum communities, we are appalled by behaviors as described above. it’s embarassing.

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