Israel Forever

For the week ending 29 January 2005 / 19 Shevat 5765

An American Echo of a Midianite Priest

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

When the Midianite priest Yitro decided to join the people of his son-in-law Moshe, we are told in this weeks Torah portion that he rejoiced upon learning all the kindness shown by G-d to His chosen people.

The relationship between Jews and their G-d made a great impression on another great statesman more than 3,000 years later. As an example of how wise men of all nations viewed Israels role forever, we offer these excerpts from a letter written in 1806 by John Adams, second U.S. President, to F.A. Van der Kemp:

"I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other Nation. If I were an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization They are the most glorious Nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their Empire were but a bauble in comparison of the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the Globe and have influenced the affairs of Mankind more, and more happily, than any other Nation, ancient or modern."

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