Kiddush Hashem, translated as sanctifying God’s name, is the Jewish precept where anytime a Jew completes a good deed or acts as a positive example in public, he or she sheds positive light on the Jewish people as a whole and sanctifies God’s name. Over the past 10 days, leading up to the official release of his third studio album, Nothing Was the Same, Drake, our favorite Jewish rapper, has been a prime example. He’s on a charm tour.
It started with his September 14 appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Prior to performing “Too Much,” a deeply personal song about his relationship with his family, Drake said, “Before I do this song, I just want to say to my friends and family, I want the best for everybody, and I love you all.” His mom, who he’s quite close with, had taken issue with the lyrics, “Hate the fact my mom cooped up in her apartment, telling herself that she’s too sick to get dressed up and go do shit, like that’s true shit.” Before he debuted the song, he wanted to make sure she knew he loved her. Aw.
As it turns out, honoring his mother is Drake’s favorite commandment. On September 23 he sat down for an interview with Ryan Seacrest. “I’ve never brought trouble into my mother’s house and I’ve never really brought that much trouble into my career,” he said. “Sometimes trouble finds me and I can’t help that, but for the most part I try to stay very pure and that’s my mother’s doing. My mother is the strongest woman I’ve ever met.” He later added that “schmoozing” with Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Justin Timberlake led to their collaborations. Can’t you just imagine him with a glass of Moscato and some cake chatting with Jay and B like he’s at the shul kiddush?
Later that night Drake appeared on Chelsea Lately sweetly bearing gifts—an enormous candle, a pack of toothbrushes, and an album T-shirt for host Chelsea Handler. They went on to flirt and talk about b’nai mitzvot, and Drake clarified that his bar mitzvah party was at an Italian restaurant (so actually not like this at all). It was nice Jewish boy meets not-so-nice Jewish girl as they discussed embarrassing bar mitzvah stories on national television. Handler said hers was in her backyard and her parents took all her gift money. Drake said he didn’t get any money.
But did he? On his new song “Worst Behavior” he raps, “Bar mitzvah money like my last name Mordechaiiii…” before going on to say a few things about getting high that he thinks his mom, who’s opinion he’s apparently very concerned with, would probably be mortified to hear. This is Drake: bar mitzvahs, moms, and just a touch of that rapper edge.
He also released the video for “Hold on, We’re Going Home,” in which he plays a Scarface-like character who saves his captured girlfriend by shooting his enemies with a machine gun. He probably thought he hasn’t been tough enough lately.
Lauren Schwartzberg is an intern at Tablet Magazine.