Ask The Rabbi

Chosen People?

The Color of HeavenArtscroll
Topic: Chosen People

Ahmad Faiz bin Abdul Rahman from Malaysia wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

According to the Talmud, have the Jews been chosen to exercise control and authority over the life and property of non-Jewish people? Would this not be in utter contradistinction of the liberal notion of the political and civil liberties of the individual, something which is considered especially important in Western liberal thought and tradition? Are the Jews superior to non-Jews? If so, how does one begin to qualify this so that it would not be viewed as racist and bigoted? I have referred to Muslim professors of comparative religious studies on such matters. They have given the mainstream Muslim ideas or beliefs on what the Talmud says of non-Jews. I would now like to know the Jewish view of such matters so that my research will be balanced.

Wassalam.

Ahmad Faiz bin Abdul Rahman

Research Officer, IKIM

Malaysia


Dear Ahmad Faiz bin Abdul Rahman,

Jews have not been chosen to control other nations. Rather, we have been chosen to act as an example of morality for the nations of the world and to instruct them in the teachings of ethical monotheism.

As G-d states in the Torah:

"Now, if you obey Me and keep My covenant, you shall be My special treasure among all the nations…"

"And you shall be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…"

"G-d has similarly declared allegiance to you today, making you His special nation… you are called the priests of G-d, the servants of the Almighty..."

The emphasis, as you can clearly see, is on being priests. Priests are not rulers or kings; rather they are teachers and examples.

Sources:

  • Exodus 19:3,6
  • Deuteronomy 4:20, 26:17-19
  • Isaiah 61:6


 
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