The uniqueness of the People of Israel does not begin with the appearance of the people of Israel, but well before that. As R. Yehuda HaLevy says in his classic work HaKuzari, we already see differences between people starting from the days of Adam HaRishon – the first human being to live on the face of the earth – and we comprehend that not everyone is equal.
> We are adding a floor to our house. At first, we will access it from the house, but we may eventually make it a separate unit with access via stairs from the street. Therefore, we made a door on the side of the street – during construction it is accessed by a temporary ramp, but then it will be sealed until if and when we build stairs. Does that door require a mezuza now?
he Torah teaches us that our great teacher Moshe, even after writing the Torah, had ‘ink left in his quill.’ I do not, God forbid, pretend to resemble Moshe in any meaningful way, but I also have some stories left over that will not appear in the book.
Soon, the Nation of Israel will be greatly raised up, it will become clear why the Jewish Nation suffered more than the other nations, and why it became a wretched symbol of degradation among the Gentiles.
There always were different approaches as to how we should relate to gentiles. Obviously different approaches are suited for various periods, but Rav Kook helps clarify which to use & when? R. Yehuda praised the Romans' bridges, markets & bathhouses, R. Yossi chose not to comment, & R. Shimon Bar Yochai totally derided them, saying that even those contributions to the Land of Israel were for their own selfish pleasures. The first approach posits to accept the good from the gentiles, & this is the most advantageous & practical approach towards the gentiles themselves, especially during exile. Contrarily, when we can be independent, we must fight evil, for the sake of the weak, for society, & also for the sake of the evil themselves.
Chazal liken Esav, the Romans and Christians to the pig= externally kosher but internally not. Rav Kook stands on the difference between Israel & Christianity, which did away with the observance of mitzvot, claiming that all God wants is morality, to looks nice but Crusade. The Romans legitimize physical pleasure even when it's selfish, the Catholics see physical pleasure as problematic, and especially the social, political, military & economic as void of God and belonging to "Caesar". They simplistically divide the world as black-white, good-bad, physical-spiritual, setting unrealistic goals which infer that God made mistakes in creating physical pleasure. Judaism believes God is Perfect and there is good phys. pleasure vs. the selfish.
The yahrzeit of Rav Yechiel Yaakov Weinberg, often referred to by the name of his seforim, Seridei Eish, occurs this week. Since a teshuvah by him on the subject of kosher animals is the basis for much of this article, I thought it appropriate to discuss this topic.