One of the most fascinating questions in the history of Jewish thought is the matter of chosenness. We affirm this doctrine every time we are called up to the Torah for an aliyah. In our blessings, we praise God “who chose us from among the nations and gave us His Torah.”
On this Shabbat Yitro, it’s fitting to consider some of the implications of chosenness on the relationship between Jews and others. For example, what if the other nations were to demand access to Torah as well? I’m not referring to individuals, who can of course become part of the Jewish People. I mean entire nations–could other Peoples conceivably accept the Torah? What would that mean for Jewish uniqueness–chosenness?
There’s a great story in the Talmud that fantasizes about just such an exchange between God and other nations. On Shabbat morning, we will read the story together, and talk about what it means for Jewish identity and our place in the family of nations.
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi David Wise