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Chosen People Against Antisemitism

(a work in progress)

The Biblical and Rabbinic concepts of a Chosen People in eternal Covenant with God (“Oneness”) have had various, non-exclusionary, interpretations:

  • As a people chosen (choosing) to be a moral “Light to the Nations” (gens/gentes; i.e. Gentiles) at a time when idolatry with human blood sacrifice were rampant in all surrounding regions of the world and remains so today in some parts of the Middle East.
  • As a people pleading with the heavens to open and announce the coming of the Messiah (“anointed one”) to Israel and to all Nations through the concentration and advancement of moral and spiritual qualities, and through witness to God’s presence among us -- “For My House shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples” [Isaiah 56:7].
  • As a people chosen (choosing) to be one nation serving the others through the affirmation and promotion of Universal Morality as bequeathed to Israel with the Ten Commandments. This is more a responsibility than a privilege.

At the highest level, this responsibility requires a never-ending struggle for Good against Evil, with the latter affirming Moral Relativism as a virtue -- a relativism that leads to Master theories for the subjugation of humanity, not just over mind and body, but over its very soul.

As such, Chosenness, in both a spiritual and practical sense, is the antithesis of superiority. It is a call to service. And yet for millennia it has been used by antisemites as an indictment against the Jewish People (and even by some Jews against themselves and their very Mission).

Scripture intoned the virtues and uniqueness of one sole and specifically chosen people for a world that was totally idolatrous. The blessings and curses in the Bible weigh heavily around the primary calling for His People to struggle against such idolatry, both inwardly and outwardly.

And yet, how beautiful of Scripture to also prepare His Chosen People for this same unbroken mission in a world now claiming to be heavily God-fearing, with other nations rightly affirming their own chosenness.

Diabolical idolatry is still rampant -- our calling today could not be more imperative at its primary level in the era of globalization. In fact, and unlike conventional wisdom, antisemitism needs to be confronted through the affirmation of Chosenness, not its denial or belittlement. Let not the sleeping beast, lull Jew and Gentile alike into self-delusion.

A fitting parable is useful to deepen understanding of the lofty significance of Chosenness for our own day.

Teacher is distributing educational assignments in class. Each pupil is asked to write a paper on his thesis and present it to the others. One pupil is assigned the topic of “universal morality”.

Does that make him/her superior to the others in the class? No!

Is that pupil “teacher’s pet”? Definitely Not! In fact, that pupil has even tried to get out of the assignment!

Does that pupil have to be personally moral to present his/her paper in class? Again, No!

Is that pupil special? Yes, but only in the sense that he/she has a special assignment, as all the other pupils have theirs, to perform a special service for the enlightenment of the class.

Thus, the old Jewish quip, “Why can’t You choose someone else for awhile?!”, is nonsensical – to each, his/her “assignment”. Teacher provides Jonah with no escape.

Should any one people be singled out for attack because it has a special assignment? Should the U.S.A be attacked because it sees itself as covenanted (“on assignment”) for the promotion of Liberty? And France, for the promotion of Culture as it sees it?

If not, then “Why The Jews”? And why because of their “chosenness”?

Yet, antisemites continue to relish their indictment of only one chosen people. The best that can be said on their behalf is that they don’t realize that they are thus abetting the diabolical forces that would also subjugate them. Let them look to Jerusalem for their personal and communal chill-out.

And let Jews internalize the covenantal message that the battle against antisemitism is not just for ourselves, but for all humanity.

At a primary level, holding the People of Israel to a higher moral standard, because “you say that you are supposed to be better” is a clear cop-out and put-down. To be otherwise, it must be accompanied by a primary realization that, here and now, in this world, not the next, the most burning issue is not Morality vs Immorality but a different paradigm altogether, that of Universal Morality vs Moral Relativism – the latter claiming that the end justifies the means. This is a struggle against modern-day manifestations of blood-thirsty idolatry, whether dressed up as Master Race or Master Jihad.

It is the Eleventh Hour, and our own generation dare not be “out to lunch”, as was that of our fathers (see God and the Shoah). Or, so busy with dirty bathwater that we forget the child in a rat-infested bathroom.

“He was (hu haya), He is (hu hoveh), He will be (hu yihiye)…” [Adon Olam liturgical prayer] and He will cause to become (yehaveh).

Become what? Become United!

“For in that day, God will be One, and His Name will be One” [Zechariah 14:9; included in the daily Aleinu prayer]