We all want to be it and to make it. I refer to the great and exalted mitzvah of kiddush Hashem (sanctifying God’s name) [Vayikra, 22:23]
You shall not profane My holy Name; but I shall be sanctified amongst Bnei Yisroel. I am Ad-noy Who makes you holy.
And I will be sanctified"? Surrender yourself [to martyrdom] and sanctify My Name! Perhaps [this command applies even when] he is alone? The verse says: Among Bnei Yisroel.
R. Johanan said .. if a man is commanded: ‘Transgress and do not die’ he may transgress and not suffer death, excepting idolatry, incest/adultery and murder… For it has been taught, R. Eliezer said: And thou shalt love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, .. When Rabin came, he said in R. Yochanan's name: .. it was only permitted [to transgress] in private; but in public one must be martyred even for a minor precept rather than violate it. .. It is obvious that Jews are required [for this publicity], for it is written. But I shall be sanctified amongst the children of Israel.
Kol Beis Yisrael - The whole house of Israel is commanded to sanctify God's Name, for it is written, "...but I will be hallowed amongst Bnei Yisrael the children of Israel". We are warned not to desecrate God's Name, .. What does this mean? If, for example, a gentile forces a Jew to commit a sin by threatening to kill him if he doesn't, then he should commit the sin in order not to be killed, for concerning this commandment it is written, "...which if a man does he shall live by them" - and not die for them. If he allowed himself to be killed by not committing the sin, then he is liable as a suicide [in the World To Come].
Yevareich es Beis Yisrael … haketanim im hagedolim – let him bless the house of Israel, the minors with the gedolim [Tehillim, 115:12]
Similarly, if a wise person is particular to receive people in a reposed manner, and receives them with a pleasant expression on his face, and does not hide from them, then even those people who [had previously] mocked him will now respect and honor him, and will trust him. .. always acting beyond the letter of the law, which involves not being too withdrawn or bewildered. .. everyone will adore and love him, and follow his example. This is a sanctification of God's Name, and concerning this it is written, "...and said to me, `You are My servant, Israel, amongst whom I will be glorified".
[Na’aman the Noachide said to Elisha]: In this thing, the Lord pardon his servant, that when my master goes into the Rimmon house to worship [idolatry] there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon. And he said unto him, Go in peace. Now, if it be so [that a Noachide is bidden to sanctify the Divine Name], he should not have said this?
For the Jew, the obligation is to love God: V’ahavta es Hashem Elokecha .. bechol nafshecha. For the Gentile the obligation is to sanctify Hashem’s name [in public – “amidst Bnei Yisrael”]. That latter verse explicates public sanctification, and by implication exempts a private one. Since the Jew is also obligated in the 1st verse [loving God] there is no difference between the public and private.
Daas Zekeinim [Bereishis, 9:5] records a fundamental dispute
regarding the potential permissibility of even taking the lives of
one children for them to avoid the possibility of conversions.
Indeed, this behavior is regarded in many sources of Chochmei
Shkenaz. See Darchei Teshuva Yoreh Deah 157 for an in depth analysis
of this issue
Rav Lau [former Chief Rabbi of Israel, 37th in a chain of
Rabbis] , whose analysis yielded that conclusion in Rambam relates
in his remarkable biography Al Tishlach Yadecha El Haar that his
father, Rav Moshe Lau (last rabbi of Pietrekov) had penned a
prescient work Kiddush Hashem analyzing the depth and breadth of
the mitzvah. Alas , the book was lost in the flames of the
Holocaust! Years later, the Tchebiner Rav met Rav Lau in Eretz
Yisrael, who presented the latter with a special present – a
lone page from the sefer that his father had sent to the Rav in
order to secure an approbation [who had money to reprint the whole
book?]. In this, the only remaining page of the book lay that very
same analysis of Rambam that Rav Lau himself had independently
formulated in the Rambam light of the peculiar phrase beis Yisrael.
Rav Yaakov Kamenetzky further finds in the passive wording
v’nikdashti (“and you shall be sanctified”) [as
opposed to the active takdishu] the notion that the goal is
for God’s name to be sanctified more than an individual
simply doing an act of Kiddush Hashem. Thus the parents through the
children, fulfill the overarching mitzvah of Kiddush Hashem