Thursday, August 13, 2009

// // 13 comments

The Chosen People

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Question:

“How are we (the Jewish people) the “Chosen People,” and how can I communicate this to the non-Jews in my school in a way that is not offensive to them? I don’t want it to sound like I am saying that we are better than they are.”

Answer:

Before G-d gave us the Torah, He first offered it to all of the nations of the world. They all refused, as they still do today.

What have the Jewish people been chosen for? We have been chosen for two things: Number one, we are to be a nation of priests. This means that each of us has the privilege and responsibility to perform the precepts of the Torah.

The Torah speaks of the priestly family and the tribe that were chosen to be the Temple workers. In the literal sense, these were from a certain tribe of the Jewish people. However, mystically, the Torah is also speaking to every Jew in every age. You and I must do whatever we can to act as both the High Priest and as the Temple worker in our own individual lives. The Torah always addresses both the literal and the mystical perspectives.

The second thing that we are privileged and responsible to do is to be “a light onto the nations.”[i] It is incumbent upon us to teach the non-Jews that there is one G-d, and only one G-d. This was the mission of Avraham our father, and it is because of G-d’s love for Avraham that we, his descendants, have been so blessed by G-d.

The entire world is a single body. A body has a heart, and it has kidneys. The kidneys cannot be made into hearts, and the heart cannot be made into kidneys, or the body will die. We need each of the body’s organs to properly perform its own unique function in order for the body to succeed. I cannot become a literal kohen (priest) because my father was not from that tribe. It is not only impossible, but to do so would be undesirable. I was born into the tribe of my father for a good reason, and it is from this position that I must succeed. I must try to become the best possible me, not the best possible “you.”

When a non-Jew keeps the seven commandments that G-d gave to him, the Seven Mitzvahs of Noah, he becomes a righteous person, with a wonderful share in this world, and a share in the World to Come. This is a wondrous portion. The non-Jew can only find this path if you and I do our job properly. And if the non-Jew does not do what he is supposed to do, G-d is not only going to ask him why he acted as he did, He is going to ask us, “Why didn’t you help him?”

[i] Isaiah 42:6, 49:6

13 comments:

josh said...

I understand it like this:

Hashem has created this hierarchy:
- inanimate
- vegetation
- animals
- humans and Jews

Jews are not above the humans, but rather have a different purpose. Jews are also metaphysical creatures and our pure souls are merely placed in human form in order to perform the tikun/correction of this world and ourselves.

The Jews have a lot of responsibilities and the goyim do not have as much.

Anonymous said...

Blessings. i am a believing gentile, living in SE Asia. an ex xtian, my two sons are striving to be noahides in a place where there are no jews except the internet.

thanks for a wonderful and inspiring article. i have never felt offended that the jews were chosen for a purpose as G-d does not make mistakes.

i have studied in the various orthodox writings and the Tanya that G-d created everything in opposites. in my humble opinion i also believe that everything the jew represents and stands for is the opposite to the 70 nations unless they take on the 7 laws and its breakdown, and attach themselves to the children of israel as their spiritual teachers. the 70 nations in their raw form, i.e. not following the 7 laws are living examples of everything the jews should not be nor follow. and the jews are living examples to us on how we should and can live our lives and earn a place in the world to come.
there is nothing to feel offended that G-d has chosen the jews. He is also very loving and compassion to us gentiles in the sense a gentile can sincerely change to convert to judaism. blessings.

Anonymous said...

For Josh "Above":

Such concepts as you stated were your understanding are not for anyone...Yehudim, or goyim. Such concepts could be construed as a type of polytheism. As all men are made in His image, (b'neshama) does this mean there is a neshama b'goyim v'haneshama yehudim?

I suggest paying closer attention to the last paragraph of this post: Rebbe Locks eloquently summarizes the scope of our mission. Part of that scope is to neither insult, nor to exclude those we have been commanded to teach and lead.

"...Jews are not above the humans..."

The humans.

If that disturbs me, then imagine how you would be perceived to say such to a crowd of gentiles. I remind you, gentiles read this blog. Would you wish a gentile who is, perhaps, a potential ger tzedek to read such diatribe and then ascribe it to fact? Not thinking himself or herself of worth...as much worth to G-D as one of us? And, perhaps even make him an enemy of Am Yisrael? Drive away a mere "human" from HaTorah?

Think. Those words are exclusionary and elitist, holding a reverse parallel to words spouted during another, darker era just half a century ago. An era that most of us lost family members in. Other eyes read these sites, these posts. Many eyes.
If you wish to judge whether your words are correct, then picture yourself saying them to a crowd of gentiles while family members sat among them. Think of that concept.

With such internet postings available to all...you truly are addressing that crowd. Think of what words may hurt whom or whether they may encourage the next Amalek.
May these words be received by you, achi, with my respect to you and as sincere.

Yeshayahu Galluzzo

Anonymous said...

In addition, for the believing gentile above:

Boker Tov (good morning) to you.

Make no mistake: the Living G-D loves you just as much as any Jew ever born. You are cared about not only by Him, Baruch HaShem, but by many of us, of whom I am one. You know the truth of the Living G-D and His Torah, Baruch HaShem. For you to emerge from former beliefs as you explained is nothing short of a great miracle, and it is of Him, Baruch Hu HaKodesh Yisrael!
The Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg once wrote [I paraphrase]: The convert this day is in the eyes of G-D even more precious than all who stood before Him at Sinai...because the people all saw His miracles and wonders. The convert has nothing to rely upon except his faith and trust in G-D to be true and merciful.

I am not a Rabbi...but if I were where you are...I would teach you every day and explain to you everything I could: to you and your sons.

Because you and your family are worth so much to Him...priceless, in His eyes. Just as Ruth held worth. Just as the daughter of Paro' who took Moshe Rabeinu in, held worth.

Read and study and pray. Seek out a Rebbe if you can, but know this: the Living G-D holds you very, very dear in His heart. Let the words of no man dissuade you; follow the truth in your heart that G-D has placed within.

If you wish to write, you are welcome, and my wife and I will correspond with you.
Respectfully and Sincerely

Yeshayahu ben Avraham Galluzzo
205 Woodhill Dr Apt E
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
U.S.A.

joshwaxman said...

perhaps one can put forth Ogden Nash's reply to William Norman Ewer:

"How odd of God / To choose the Jews.
It wasn't odd /The Jews chose God."

and to note that any person, if motivated, can become part of the am hanivchar.

kol tuv,
josh

Jason said...

This is a great site that you have here. You should be proud. I have a debate site myself and I would like to exchange links with you. We have to stick together. Let me know. Jason

josh said...

Yeshayahu, believe it or not, the forum is very important context for one's words. This blog is about spirituality and abstract ideas flow here freely.

One of the things we learnt after the Holocaust and after the creation of the state of Israel is the need to stop being apologetic. Given that, there is a halacha about not provoking the nations, you can ask a rabbi if what I wrote is provoking anyone. Goyim can certainly find out what Judaism, the Talmud, and the real Zohar/kabalah thinks of them. I'm definitely not saying this to put anyone in their place, but the fact remains is that the Jews are supposed to be the nation of priests, not just human consumers.

The Jewish nation is certainly exclusionary. God commands us to stay this way. That we are presumed elitist is an inferiority galut complex. No one cares that some other religions are elitists, right? It's not a legitimate reason to get killed, so please stop giving it legitimacy.

The thing about the souls, perhaps, you should find answers elsewhere. I've been taught ideas about 'free will' as well.

As for Noahides, they are incredible. It must take a lot of courage to resist 'society' and do that. They have accepted that they are going to heaven without needing to take on all 613 laws.

And converts, you probably know that Judaism resists converts and does not, ever, actively pursue conversion. But once the potential convert shows a sincere intention, then there is a responsibility to them, and the minute after they complete the process, they become full equals with Jews.

I hope you won't be apologetic about Kohanim either. Are Kohanim exclusionary and elitist? Why are only Kohanim allowed to work in the temple. Obviously, there just must be something special about them.

Shiloh said...

HaShem hates Esav. End of story. Where does this xtian love come from? Yehudim have different a different neshamah. What's the problem, why appologize. Enough of the galut mentality.

If a person has a soul of a non-Jew, dipping him in a mikvah does not change them into a Jewish neshamah. They are goyim performing mitzvot.

Anonymous said...

for the non-Jewish people out there goyim means nation. The Torah also refers to the JEwish people as a goy i.e. a nation. The word is not necessarily derogatory, However, it has a certain derogatory tone, because of the persecution, elitism and exclusion the Jewish people suffered at the hands of the (non-JEwish_ nations/goyim. IT may also be used as a derogatory term by JEws who are indeed snobs. I've used it that way in the past and am ashamed . I no longer use the word since I have seen sincere converts get hurt by the term repeatedly.The nuances of the HEbrew language do not come across to those who don't speak Ivrit. Shabbat Shalom

10rainbow said...

blessings. the fact that i wrote, G-d loves us gentiles and thus if we are sincere we can convert clearly indicates there is nothing elistist about what i wrote or atleast meant to be.
the jews are not above humans. i know that, they go thro the same difficulties and temptations we do.
and i have rabbis who are teaching me, and am happy with them.

Neshama said...

Anonymous in SE Asia

It is so wonderful to read what you wrote here, and the religious Jews support your efforts. Keep doing what you are and influencing as many as possible to consider and follow your thinking.

Shiloh, why be so tough? Do you want Hashem to be tough with you?

josh said...

You know...
We are elitist. And there is nothing you or I can do about it. God gave us the Torah, we accepted it, and that 'brit' meant we would uphold this extra set of laws.
The goyim do not like the feeling, especially the most intellectual and spiritual, that we have one of the most rigid sets of rules that apply to all and not just some priests. These rules don't allow us to be like everyone else. They don't allow us to eat a hamburger at a neighbour's BarBQ, even if the burger is bought glatt.
This is seen as elitism, accept it.

Baruch Hashem that He created me a Jew.

Anonymous said...

For Josh

Baruch HaShem, that all Jews do not think as you do: lo tsayniut, lo chesed.

Micah HaNavi 6,8 may help clarify things.

Would you plunge the whole world into a bloodbath to justify your words? Our way is the correct way, but HaShem commands us to hold chesed b'ahavah, in order to be lights to the nations, AS THE RABBI SAID IN THIS POST! Most who expostulate an aggressive stance are uneducated, without any combat experience of any kind. If they had blood on their hands, maybe they would understand that all life, and all men are precious to G-D.
The Living G-D wants that all....ALL...men come to Him, to follow HaTorah. There is no room for arrogance for those who truly serve Him.

You kill the ones who attempt to kill you, yes, we know. Before that? You try to win them, if not with words then with humble example.

Baruch HaShem, that He created me a Jew to stand up to those with your mindset.

If I cannot protect you from yourself with my words, I will protect the strangers, the gerim, from those who would hurt them.

Od ha melechim (v' Ha goelim)

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