When studying the Tanya we learn that there are two souls… and to put it nicely, it is the Natural Soul and the Jewish Soul. We all have Natural Souls… instinct… desire… things we do to survive and reward our natural inclinations with.
The Jewish soul keeps that in balance… We may have thoughts that are not appropriate… evil inclinations… but our Jewish soul keeps us from acting on those thoughts.
We are able to control those things with our outer garments… Thought… Speech… and Action…
Ben and I have both touched on this subject within the last few posts.
This is already a tough concept to stomach… because it puts Jews… us… on a higher plane. Clearly if you are not Jewish, you cannot and do not have a Jewish Soul.
Well… I know many non-Jews who are elevated… living on a very high spiritual plane… who do far more good in the world than I do. So how could I reconcile with this concept?
This notion was starting to irk me… rub me the wrong way…
It was a similar reaction I had when the men get to thank Hashem for not having made them a woman… What the…???
We are made as Hashem intended us… and each gender has the ability to do things the other cannot. Men may be able to perform more Mitzvot, thus the thank you is for that. Okay, got it. That makes more sense. I truly appreciate when things are explained to me like that, so again… special thanks to all my mentors for not dismissing me with a simple “that’s the way it is” and actually delving in and explaining these things.
Women have the incredible ability to carry a child and give birth… a miracle if there ever was one. We are NOT saying one is better than the other… We are saying we are different… and celebrating the idea that we are.
Yet still, the notion of saying that Jews are the Chosen People… of putting the entire Jewish people above and beyond anyone else was tugging at me. Then something dawned on me… I remembered an idea I heard in Aish’s Discovery Class…
Hashem did choose the Jewish people… but perhaps more importantly… WE CHOSE HIM! Out of all the nations, we accepted the words of Hashem… all of us together… in one spot… at one time.
And yes, we have battled and questioned and debated and discussed… but being Jewish means making choices…
The reason we feel bad when we do not do our morning prayers… say the Modeh Ani… wrap… or pray… is that we are choosing to NOT connect with Hashem that day… that time.
This is why I believe it is so important for all Jews to support Israel… to connect with Israel… to CHOOSE Israel… even if there are questions on some of her tactics and politics. I am not saying that we be blind, or ignore issues that need to be dealt with… but I am saying that even the slightest crack allows others… outsiders to say Ah Ha! And jump on her and attack her.
Being the Chosen People is not easy… Dennis Prager (and no, I do NOT agree with everything Dennis Prager says) claims that this is why we are so often attacked… that people KNOW we are the Chosen ones and resent it. Case in point… the San Bernardino killers’ “obsession with Israel.” And not a good obsession. As Prager says, if someone is obsessed with Israel like that, you know all you need to know about them. Just look at what this obsession did… it killed people of all faiths… harmed people of all beliefs, including Muslims.
I always make an attempt, especially here, not to veer off into the political… but the point needs to be made… and I think being Jewish gives us that responsibility… many responsibilities in fact… Tikkun Olam is one right there… A HUGE one!
We strive for, and ask, and thank Hashem for a life of “peace, goodness, blessing, graciousness, kindness and compassion.”
And that brings us back to my original point… and the true point of this post…
As Jews, we ARE the Chosen People because we CHOSE Hashem… and Judaism… and all that goes with it. So let us live up to that responsibility… to connect to it, each and every day.
Let us truly live like we are the Chosen People because we ourselves made that choice.
What? I choose the rugelah from Marzipan in Jerusalem!