Challenge of Chosen-ness

What does it mean to be Jewish? We are the Chosen People. It is hard to say that without grimacing a bit. How can people who have been victims of the hatred of supremacy maintain it for themselves?

In this weeks Torah portion, Ki Tavo, we read,

18And the Lord has affirmed this day that you are, as He promised you, His treasured people who shall observe all His commandments, 19and that He will set you, in fame and renown and glory, high above all the nations that He has made; and that you shall be, as He promised, a holy people to the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 26:18-19)

We see that being chosen as God’s treasure is predicated by the Israelites choosing to follow God’s Torah. It seems easier to explain being chosen if it is an outcome of one’s behavior as opposed to an accident of birth.  However, in what way did God speak to the Israelites so that they would be a treasured people? Just before they receive the Torah, we read,

5Now then, if you will obey Me faithfully and keep My covenant, you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples. Indeed, all the earth is Mine, 6but you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the children of Israel (Exodus 19:5-6)

I would assume that supremacy comes by claiming to be the best, but it often comes with claiming that others are worse. ”The entire world” is God’s. It would follow that we might understand that we are great, but the whole world is pretty darn great. It is as if God were saying, “Always remember that you are unique, just like everyone else.” Far be it from me to say that God does not love every one of God’s creations, but I still do not want to take away from the feeling that I am loved. Doesn’t God have enough love for everyone to feel special? I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the challenge of chosen-ness.


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