From the Rabbi’s Study
The Torah portion “Ki Tavo” (Deuteronomy 26:1–29:8) contains extensive discussions about the Land of Israel and the commandments that are unique to the land. This week’s portion also contains the famous reference of the Jewish people being the “am segula”, the “Chosen Nation” or the “Chosen People”.
The Jews are certainly unique in world history. No other nation has survived exiles, persecutions, and holocausts as the Jewish people have. All of the oppressing nations have since been destroyed or have simply disappeared, while the tiny Jewish nation survives and flourishes.
At the same time, there may not be another nation that has contributed so much to their host countries. The Jews have made their mark in every country they’ve lived in, far disproportionate to their numbers. Not only that, but even Jewish leaders have always offered their services to the leaders of the countries they lived in. For example, Maimonides (the “Rambam”) served as the court physician for the Sultan of Egypt and the famous Torah scholar known as “Abarbanel” served in ambassadorial capacities on behalf of Portugal and Spain. The Jews have always been in the forefront of industrial and academic achievement, and the list goes on and on.
What does being the “Chosen People” really mean? It means living to a higher standard. It means fulfilling an ambassadorial role on behalf of God to the world. It means serving as role models by teaching and living by example the highest levels of decency, dignity, and morality in our too often corrupt world. The Jewish people are charged with bringing the world closer to God one step at a time.
At United with Israel we welcome all our friends to join and support us in this mission. In fact, we wouldn’t be nearly as successful without you!
Shabbat Shalom from Israel,
Rabbi Ari Enkin
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