Why Be Jewish?

My Journey from Christianity to Judaism

The Torah quotes Balaam as saying, הֶן־עָם לְבָדָד יִשְׁכֹּן וּבַגּוֹיִם לֹא יִתְחַשָּׁב׃   ” It (Israel) is a nation that dwells in solitude and is not to be reckoned among the nations. ” Israel is a nation alone that does not intermingle with other nations.

Why is it necessary that we be a nation alone and why have we, throughout our history, always been the outsider and the foreigner?

 The role of Klal  Israel

the Jewish perspective regarding other nations/ religions is unique. We do not believe that other nations who do not follow our religion have no purpose in the general scheme of creation. Most of the religions believe that those who do not share their beliefs are denied salvation and may be considered infidels whose lives have little or no value, souls that are doomed or, at best, souls that can never achieve eternity.  We do not share this attitude.  We believe that all of mankind, Jews and non-Jews, were created b’tzelem Elokim- in the image of God- and deserve respect. We are forbidden to steal from non-Jews, to cheat him, or to mislead him in any way, even if our action cause him no loss or harm. Chazal teach us that non-Jews could have a share in the Olam Haba if they adhere to the 7 Noahide laws.  However, we also believe that Klal Yisrael  is the Am HaNivchar-the Chosen People- and, as such, we must understand the unique role of Klal Yisrael.

We were chosen to have a special relationship with Hashem and to serve him in a very  specific  and unique manner. However, this does not preclude the significance of non-Jews. There is an interrelationship between Jews and non-Jews. The purpose of Klal Yisrael is not merely self-centered on his own avodat Hashem, either as individuals or as a nation. We have a responsibility to other nations as well. The Navi says:  in Isaiah 49 verse 6, וּנְתַתִּיךָ לְאוֹר גּוֹיִם לִהְיוֹת יְשׁוּעָתִי עַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ׃ – “I will make you a light for the nations, so that my salvation may extend to the ends of the earth.”

  This is the meaning of the verse “וְאַתֶּם תִּהְיוּ־לִי מַמְלֶכֶת כֹּהֲנִים וְגוֹי קָדוֹשׁ ” – “You will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The relationship between Jews and other nations is comparable to the relationship between the Kohanim (Priests) and other Jews. Kohanim Were given task that are different from those of other Jews and Kohanim were sanctified because their role in the service of Hashem is unique.

This website is dedicated to that role.  To work in harmony Jew and non-Jew together to make this world in the image of Hashem.

 

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