- Torah and Jewish Thought
- Basics of Jewish Faith
There is a Midrash (brought down by Rashi on the Chumash) which says that before Hashem gave klal yisroel the torah, he offered it to all the other nations of the world... With this in mind, what does it mean that we are the chosen nation? how can we say " asher bachar banu", despite the fact that G-d could have and would have easily given the torah to others (as well)?
The Maharal of Prague in his work 'Tiferet Yisrael' explains that this Midrash comes to demonstrate that the reason the nations didn't accept the Torah was not because they didn't want it, rather it was because they couldn't. The Maharal explains that the Torah could only have been given to a nation which had the same spiritual level and base as it, and that nation was the Jewish nation. It was NOT POSSIBLE for any nation to receive the Torah except the Jews. This Midrash therefore, is not aiming to challenge this notion, rather to support it. By the way, this does not mean that the Jews are better than any other nation, we do not believe in our superiority.- Rather the Jews were given immense responsibility - responsibility to Hashem, responsiiblity to the world and responsiliblty to ourselves. We therefore say thankyou to Hashem who has chosen us (Bachar Banu) from all the nations to give us the privledge and the responsibility to bring His Name into the world. May we all merit to live up to the great responsibility personally given to us by Hashem! Rabbi Baruch Kitay