by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths
“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.”
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
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