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In Judaism, "chosenness" is the belief that the Jews, via descent from the ancient Israelites, are the chosen people, i.e. chosen to be in a covenant with God. The idea of the Israelites
Israelites
being chosen by God
God
is found most directly in the Book
Book
of Deuteronomy[1][2] as the verb bahar (בָּחַ֣ר (Hebrew)), and is alluded to elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible
Hebrew Bible
using other terms such as "holy people".[3] Much is written about these topics in rabbinic literature. The three largest Jewish denominations— Orthodox Judaism, Conservative Judaism
Judaism
and Reform Judaism—maintain the belief that the Jews
Jews
have been chosen by God
God
for a purpose. Sometimes this choice is seen as charging the Jewish people with a specific mission — to be a light unto the nations, and to exemplify the covenant with God
God
as described in the Torah. This view, however, did not preclude a belief that God
God
has a relationship with other peoples — rather, Judaism
Judaism
held that God
God
had entered into a covenant with all humankind, and that Jews
Jews
and non-Jews alike have a relationship with God. Biblical references as well as rabbinic literature support this view: Moses
Moses
refers to the " God
God
of the spirits of all flesh" (Numbers 27:16), and the Tanakh
Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible) also identifies prophets outside the community of Israel. Based on these statements, some rabbis theorized that, in the words of Nethanel ibn Fayyumi, a Yemenite Jewish theologian of the 12th century, "God permitted to every people something he forbade to others...[and] God sends a prophet to every people according to their own language."(Levine, 1907/1966) The Mishnah
Mishnah
states that "Humanity was produced from one man, Adam, to show God's greatness. When a man mints a coin in a press, each coin is identical. But when the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, creates people in the form of Adam not one is similar to any other." ( Mishnah
Mishnah
Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
4:5) The Mishnah continues, and states that anyone who kills or saves a single human, not Jewish, life, has done the same (save or kill) to an entire world. The Tosefta, an important supplement to the Mishnah[4], also states: "Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come" ( Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
105a). According to the Israel Democracy Institute, approximately two thirds of Israeli Jews
Jews
believe that Jews
Jews
are the "chosen people".[5]

Contents

1 In the Bible 2 Rabbinic views

2.1 Further interpretations

3 Modern Orthodox views 4 Conservative views 5 Reform views 6 Alternative views

6.1 Equality of souls

6.1.1 Different in character but not value 6.1.2 Altruism 6.1.3 Righteous non-Jews

6.2 Spinoza

7 Reconstructionist criticism 8 Views from other religions

8.1 Islam 8.2 Christianity

9 Influence on relations with other religions 10 Ethnocentrism 11 See also 12 Notes 13 References 14 Further reading 15 External links

In the Bible[edit] According to the Bible, Israel's character as the chosen people is unconditional as it says in Deuteronomy 14:2,

"For you are a holy people to YHWH
YHWH
your God, and God
God
has chosen you to be his treasured people from all the nations that are on the face of the earth."

Prophet
Prophet
Amos as depicted by Gustave Doré

The Torah
Torah
also says,

"Now therefore, if you will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then you shall be a peculiar treasure unto me from all the peoples, for all the earth is mine" (Exodus 19:5).

God
God
promises that he will never exchange his people with any other:

"And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God
God
to you and your descendants after you." (Genesis 17:7).

Other Torah
Torah
verses about chosenness,

"And you shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:6). "The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because you were more in number than any people; for you were the fewest of all people; but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your ancestors." (Deuteronomy 7:7-8).

The obligation imposed upon the Israelites
Israelites
was emphasized by the prophet Amos (3:2):

"You only have I singled out of all the families of the earth: therefore will I visit upon you all your iniquities."

Rabbinic views[edit] Sometimes this choice is seen as charging the Jewish people with a specific mission — to be a light unto the nations, and to exemplify the covenant with God
God
as described in the Torah. This view, however, did not preclude a belief that God
God
has a relationship with other peoples — rather, Judaism
Judaism
held that God
God
had entered into a covenant with all humankind, and that Jews
Jews
and non- Jews
Jews
alike have a relationship with God. Biblical references as well as rabbinic literature support this view: Moses
Moses
refers to the " God
God
of the spirits of all flesh" (Numbers 27:16), and the Tanakh
Tanakh
(Hebrew Bible) also identifies prophets outside the community of Israel. Based on these statements, some rabbis theorized that, in the words of Nethanel ibn Fayyumi, a Yemenite Jewish theologian of the 12th century, "God permitted to every people something he forbade to others...[and] God sends a prophet to every people according to their own language."(Levine, 1907/1966) The Mishnah
Mishnah
states that "Humanity was produced from one man, Adam, to show God's greatness. When a man mints a coin in a press, each coin is identical. But when the King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be He, creates people in the form of Adam not one is similar to any other." ( Mishnah
Mishnah
Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
4:5) The Mishnah continues, and states that anyone who kills or saves a single human, not Jewish, life, has done the same (save or kill) to an entire world. The Tosefta, a collection of important post-Talmudic discourses, also states: "Righteous people of all nations have a share in the world to come" ( Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
105a). Most Jewish texts do not state that " God
God
chose the Jews" by itself. Rather, this is usually linked with a mission or purpose, such as proclaiming God's message among all the nations, even though Jews cannot become "unchosen" if they shirk their mission. This implies a special duty, which evolves from the belief that Jews
Jews
have been pledged by the covenant which God
God
concluded with the biblical patriarch Abraham, their ancestor, and again with the entire Jewish nation at Mount Sinai.[6] In this view, Jews
Jews
are charged with living a holy life as God's priest-people. In the Jewish prayerbook (the Siddur), chosenness is referred to in a number of ways. The blessing for reading the Torah
Torah
reads, "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has chosen us out of all the nations and bestowed upon us His Torah." In the "Kiddush", a prayer of sanctification, in which the Sabbath is inaugurated over a cup of wine, the text reads, "For you have chosen us and sanctified us out of all the nations, and have given us the Sabbath as an inheritance in love and favour. Praised are you, Lord, who hallows the Sabbath." In the "Kiddush" recited on festivals it reads, "Blessed are You ... who have chosen us from among all nations, raised us above all tongues, and made us holy through His commandments." The Aleinu prayer refers to the concept of Jews
Jews
as a chosen people:

"It is our duty to praise the Master of all, to exalt the Creator of the Universe, who has not made us like the nations of the world and has not placed us like the families of the earth; who has not designed our destiny to be like theirs, nor our lot like that of all their multitude. We bend the knee and bow and acknowledge before the Supreme King of Kings, the Holy One, blessed be he, that it is he who stretched forth the heavens and founded the earth. His seat of glory is in the heavens above; his abode of majesty is in the lofty heights.[7]

Further interpretations[edit]

The following section contains information from the Jewish Encyclopedia, originally published between 1901-1906, which is in the public domain.

According to the Rabbis, "Israel is of all nations the most willful or headstrong one, and the Torah
Torah
was to give it the right scope and power of resistance, or else the world could not have withstood its fierceness."[8] "The Lord offered the Law to all nations; but all refused to accept it except Israel."[9] How do we understand "A Gentile who consecrates his life to the study and observance of the Law ranks as high as the high priest", says R. Meïr, by deduction from Lev. xviii. 5; II Sam. vii. 19; Isa. xxvi. 2; Ps. xxxiii. 1, cxviii. 20, cxxv. 4, where all stress is laid not on Israel, but on man or the righteous one.[10]

Monument to Maimonides
Maimonides
in Córdoba, Spain

Maimonides
Maimonides
states: It is now abundantly clear that the pledges Hashem made to Avraham and his descendants would be fulfilled exclusively first in Yitzchak and then in Yaakov, Yitzchak son. This is confirmed by a passage that states, “He is ever mindful of His covenant . . . that He made with Avraham, swore to Yitzchak, and confirmed in a decree for Yaakov, for Yisrael, as an eternal covenant (Tehillim 105: 8,9).[11] The Gemara
Gemara
states this regarding a non-Jew who studies Torah
Torah
[his 7 mitzvot][clarification needed] and regarding this, see Shita Mekubetzes, Bava Kama 38a who says that this is an exaggeration.[clarification needed] In any case, this statement was not extolling the non-Jew. The Rishonim explain that it is extolling the Torah. Tosfos explains that it uses the example of a kohen gadol (high priest), because this statement is based on the verse, "y'kara hi mipnimim" (it is more precious than pearls). This is explained elsewhere in the Gemara
Gemara
to mean that the Torah
Torah
is more precious pnimim (translated here as "inside" instead of as "pearls"; thus that the Torah
Torah
is introspectively absorbed into the person), which refers to lifnai v'lifnim (translated as "the most inner of places"), that is the Holy of Holies where the kahon gadol went. In any case, in Midrash
Midrash
Rabba (Bamidbar 13:15) this statement is made with an important addition: a non-Jew who converts and studies Torah etc. The Nation of Israel is likened to the olive. Just as this fruit yields its precious oil only after being much pressed and squeezed, so Israel's destiny is one of great oppression and hardship, in order that it may thereby give forth its illuminating wisdom.[12] Poverty is the quality most befitting Israel as the chosen people (Ḥag. 9b). Only on account of its good works is Israel among the nations "as the lily among thorns",[13] or "as wheat among the chaff."[14][15] Modern Orthodox views[edit] Rabbi
Rabbi
Lord Immanuel Jakobovits, former Chief Rabbi
Rabbi
of the United Synagogue
Synagogue
of Great Britain (Modern Orthodox Judaism), described chosenness in this way:

"Yes, I do believe that the chosen people concept as affirmed by Judaism
Judaism
in its holy writ, its prayers, and its millennial tradition. In fact, I believe that every people—and indeed, in a more limited way, every individual—is "chosen" or destined for some distinct purpose in advancing the designs of Providence. Only, some fulfill their mission and others do not. Maybe the Greeks were chosen for their unique contributions to art and philosophy, the Romans for their pioneering services in law and government, the British for bringing parliamentary rule into the world, and the Americans for piloting democracy in a pluralistic society. The Jews
Jews
were chosen by God
God
to be 'peculiar unto Me' as the pioneers of religion and morality; that was and is their national purpose."[16]

Michael Wyschogrod

Modern Orthodox theologian Michael Wyschogrod
Michael Wyschogrod
wrote:

"[T]he initial election of Abraham
Abraham
himself was not earned. ... We are simply told that God
God
commanded Abraham
Abraham
to leave his place of birth and go to a land that God
God
would show him. He is also promised that his descendants will become a numerous people. But nowhere does the Bible tell us why Abraham
Abraham
rather than someone else was chosen. The implication is that God
God
chooses whom He wishes and that He owes no accounting to anyone for His choices."[17]

Rabbi
Rabbi
Norman Lamm, a leader of Modern Orthodox Judaism
Judaism
wrote:

"The chosenness of Israel relates exclusively to its spiritual vocation embodied in the Torah; the doctrine, indeed, was announced at Sinai. Whenever it is mentioned in our liturgy—such as the blessing immediately preceding the Shema....it is always related to Torah
Torah
or Mitzvot (commandments). This spiritual vocation consists of two complementary functions, described as "Goy Kadosh", that of a holy nation, and "Mamlekhet Kohanim", that of a kingdom of priests. The first term denotes the development of communal separateness or differences in order to achieve a collective self-transcendence [...] The second term implies the obligation of this brotherhood of the spiritual elite toward the rest of mankind; priesthood is defined by the prophets as fundamentally a teaching vocation."[18]

Conservative views[edit]

The Jewish Theological Seminary of America, the main rabbinical seminary of Conservative Judaism

Conservative Judaism, views the concept of chosenness in this way:

"Few beliefs have been subject to as much misunderstanding as the 'Chosen People' doctrine. The Torah
Torah
and the Prophets clearly stated that this does not imply any innate Jewish superiority. In the words of Amos (3:2) 'You alone have I singled out of all the families of the earth—that is why I will call you to account for your iniquities.' The Torah
Torah
tells us that we are to be "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" with obligations and duties which flowed from our willingness to accept this status. Far from being a license for special privilege, it entailed additional responsibilities not only toward God
God
but to our fellow human beings. As expressed in the blessing at the reading of the Torah, our people have always felt it to be a privilege to be selected for such a purpose. For the modern traditional Jew, the doctrine of the election and the covenant of Israel offers a purpose for Jewish existence which transcends its own self interests. It suggests that because of our special history and unique heritage we are in a position to demonstrate that a people that takes seriously the idea of being covenanted with God
God
can not only thrive in the face of oppression, but can be a source of blessing to its children and its neighbors. It obligates us to build a just and compassionate society throughout the world and especially in the land of Israel where we may teach by example what it means to be a 'covenant people, a light unto the nations.'"[19]

Rabbi
Rabbi
Reuven Hammer comments on the excised sentence in the Aleinu prayer mentioned above:

"Originally the text read that God
God
has not made us like the nations who "bow down to nothingness and vanity, and pray to an impotent god", [...] In the Middle Ages these words were censored, since the church believed they were an insult to Christianity. Omitting them tends to give the impression that the Aleinu teaches that we are both different and better than others. The actual intent is to say that we are thankful that God
God
has enlightened us so that, unlike the pagans, we worship the true God
God
and not idols. There is no inherent superiority in being Jewish, but we do assert the superiority of monotheistic belief over paganism. Although paganism still exists today, we are no longer the only ones to have a belief in one God."[20]

Reform views[edit] Reform Judaism
Judaism
views the concept of chosenness in this way: "Throughout the ages it has been Israel's mission to witness to the Divine in the face of every form of paganism and materialism. We regard it as our historic task to cooperate with all men in the establishment of the kingdom of God, of universal brotherhood, Justice, truth and peace on earth. This is our Messianic goal."[21] In 1999 the Reform movement stated, "We affirm that the Jewish people are bound to God
God
by an eternal covenant, as reflected in our varied understandings of Creation, Revelation and Redemption [...] We are Israel, a people aspiring to holiness, singled out through our ancient covenant and our unique history among the nations to be witnesses to God's presence. We are linked by that covenant and that history to all Jews
Jews
in every age and place."[22] Alternative views[edit] See also: Kabbalah
Kabbalah
§ Distinction between Jews
Jews
and non-Jews Equality of souls[edit]

Rabbi
Rabbi
Menachem Mendel Schneerson, known as "the Lubavitcher Rebbe"

Many Kabbalistic sources, notably the Tanya, contain statements to the effect that the Jewish soul is qualitatively different from the non-Jewish soul. A number of known Chabad
Chabad
rabbis offered alternative readings of the Tanya, did not take this teaching literally, and even managed to reconcile it with the leftist ideas of internationalism and class struggle. The original text of the Tanya
Tanya
refers to the "idol worshippers" and does not mention the "nations of the world" at all, although such interpretation was endorsed by Menachem Mendel Schneerson and is popular in contemporary Chabad
Chabad
circles. Hillel of Parich, an early Tanya
Tanya
commentator, wrote that the souls of righteous Gentiles are more similar to the Jewish souls, and are generally good and not egoistic. This teaching was accepted by Schneerson and is considered normative in Chabad.[23] Different in character but not value[edit] According to the author of the Tanya
Tanya
himself, a righteous non-Jew can achieve a high level of spiritually, similar to an angel, although his soul is still fundamentally different in character, but not value, from a Jewish one.[24] Tzemach Tzedek, the third rebbe of Chabad, wrote that the Muslims are naturally good-hearted people. Rabbi
Rabbi
Yosef Jacobson, a popular contemporary Chabad
Chabad
lecturer, teaches that in today's world most non- Jews
Jews
belong to the category of righteous Gentiles, effectively rendering the Tanya's attitude anachronistic. Dov Ber Pinson, a contemporary Chabad
Chabad
mystic, denies the idea that there is any essential difference between the Jews
Jews
and non-Jews. According to his theory, every person has a lower animalistic and higher Godly soul. The Tanya
Tanya
does not talk about Jews
Jews
and non- Jews
Jews
as social groups, but describes the internal struggle between the materialistic "Gentile" and spiritual "Jewish" levels of consciousness within every human soul.[25] Altruism[edit] An anti-Zionist interpretation of Tanya
Tanya
was offered by Abraham
Abraham
Yehudah Khein, a prominent Ukrainian Chabad
Chabad
rabbi, who supported anarchist communism and considered Peter Kropotkin
Peter Kropotkin
a great Tzaddik. Khein basically read the Tanya
Tanya
backwards; since the souls of idol worshipers are known to be evil, according to the Tanya, while the Jewish souls are known to be good, he concluded that truly altruistic people are really Jewish, in a spiritual sense, while Jewish nationalists and class oppressors are not. By this logic, he claimed that Vladimir Solovyov and Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore
probably have Jewish souls, while Leon Trotsky
Leon Trotsky
and other totalitarians do not, and many Zionists, whom he compared to apes, are merely "Jewish by birth certificate".[26] Righteous non-Jews[edit] Nachman of Breslov
Nachman of Breslov
also believed that Jewishness is a level of consciousness, and not an intrinsic inborn quality. He wrote that, according to the Book
Book
of Malachi, one can find "potential Jews" among all nations, whose souls are illuminated by the leap of "holy faith", which "activated" the Jewishness in their soul. These people would otherwise convert to Judaism, but prefer not to do so. Instead, they recognize the Divine unity within their pagan religions.[27] Isaac Arama, an influential philosopher and mystic of the 15th century, believed that righteous non- Jews
Jews
are spiritually identical to the righteous Jews.[28] Rabbi
Rabbi
Menachem Meiri, a famous Catalan Talmudic commentator and Maimonidian philosopher, considered all people, who sincerely profess an ethical religion, to be part of a greater "spiritual Israel". He explicitly included Christians and Muslims in this category. Meiri rejected all Talmudic laws that discriminate between the Jews
Jews
and non-Jews, claiming that they only apply to the ancient idolators, who had no sense of morality. The only exceptions are a few laws related directly or indirectly to intermarriage, which Meiri did recognize. Meiri applied his idea of "spiritual Israel" to the Talmudic statements about unique qualities of the Jewish people. For example, he believed that the famous saying that Israel is above astrological predestination (Ein Mazal le-Israel) also applied to the followers of other ethical faiths. He also considered countries, inhabited by decent moral non-Jews, such as Languedoc, as a spiritual part of the Holy Land.[29] Spinoza[edit]

Tractatus Theologico-Politicus

One Jewish critic of chosenness was the philosopher Baruch Spinoza.[30] In the third chapter of his Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza mounts an argument against a naive interpretation of God's choice of the Jews. Bringing evidence from the Bible
Bible
itself, he argues that God's choice of Israel was not unique (he had chosen other nations before choosing the Hebrew nation) and that the choice of the Jews
Jews
is neither inclusive (it does not include all of the Jews, but only the 'pious' ones) nor exclusive (it also includes 'true gentile prophets'). Finally, he argues that God's choice is not unconditional. Recalling the numerous times God
God
threatened the complete destruction of the Hebrew nation, he asserts that this choice is neither absolute, nor eternal, nor necessary. Reconstructionist criticism[edit] Reconstructionist Judaism
Judaism
rejects the concept of chosenness. Its founder, Rabbi
Rabbi
Mordecai Kaplan, said that the idea that God
God
chose the Jewish people leads to racist beliefs among Jews, and thus must be excised from Jewish theology. This rejection of chosenness is made explicit in the movement's siddurim (prayer books). For example, the original blessing recited before reading from the Torah
Torah
contains the phrase, "asher bahar banu mikol ha’amim"—"Praised are you Lord our God, ruler of the Universe, who has chosen us from among all peoples by giving us the Torah." The Reconstructionist version is rewritten as "asher kervanu la’avodato", "Praised are you Lord our God, ruler of the Universe, who has drawn us to your service by giving us the Torah." In the mid-1980s, the Reconstructionist movement issued its Platform on Reconstructionism. It states that the idea of chosenness is "morally untenable", because anyone who has such beliefs "implies the superiority of the elect community and the rejection of others."[31] Not all Reconstructionists accept this view. The newest siddur of the movement, Kol Haneshamah, includes the traditional blessings as an option, and some modern Reconstructionist writers have opined that the traditional formulation is not racist, and should be embraced.[32] An original prayer book, by Reconstructionist feminist poet Marcia Falk, The Book
Book
of Blessings, has been widely accepted by both Reform and Reconstructionist Jews. Falk rejects all concepts relating to hierarchy or distinction; she sees any distinction as leading to the acceptance of other kinds of distinctions, thus leading to prejudice. She writes that as a politically liberal feminist, she must reject distinctions made between men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals, Jews
Jews
and non-Jews, and to some extent even distinctions between the Sabbath and the other six days of the week. She thus rejects the idea of chosenness as unethical. She also rejects Jewish theology in general, and instead holds to a form of religious humanism. Falk writes:

"The idea of Israel as God's chosen people [...] is a key concept in rabbinic Judaism. Yet it is particularly problematic for many Jews today, in that it seems to fly in the face of monotheistic belief that all humanity is created in the divine image - and hence, all humanity is equally loved and valued by God
God
[...] I find it difficult to conceive of a feminist Judaism
Judaism
that would incorporate it in its teaching: the valuing of one people over and above others is all too analogous to the privileging of one sex over another."[33]

Reconstructionist author Judith Plaskow
Judith Plaskow
also criticises the idea of chosenness, for many of the same reasons as Falk. A politically liberal lesbian, Plaskow rejects most distinctions made between men and women, homosexuals and heterosexuals, and Jews
Jews
and non-Jews. In contrast to Falk, Plaskow does not reject all concepts of difference as inherently leading to unethical beliefs, and holds to a more classical form of Jewish theism than Falk.[citation needed] A number of responses to these views have been made by Reform and Conservative Jews; they hold that these criticisms are against teachings that do not exist within liberal forms of Judaism, and which are rare in Orthodox Judaism
Judaism
(outside certain Haredi
Haredi
communities, such as Chabad). A separate criticism stems from the very existence of feminist forms of Judaism
Judaism
in all denominations of Judaism, which do not have a problem with the concepts of chosenness.[citation needed] Views from other religions[edit] Islam[edit] See also: Islamic-Jewish relations The children of Israel enjoy a special status in the Islamic book, the Quran (2:47 and 2:122)[34] However, Muslim scholars point out that this status did not confer upon Israelites
Israelites
any racial superiority, and was only valid so long as the Israelites
Israelites
maintain their covenant with God:[35] Christianity[edit]

Artist's depiction of Saint Paul Writing His Epistles, 16th century (Blaffer Foundation Collection, Houston, Texas). Paul was the first major figure in Christian history to hold that Jewish law is no longer valid.

See also: Jewish-Christian relations Some Christians believe that the Jews
Jews
were God's chosen people (Deuteronomy 14:2),[36] but because of Jewish Rejection of Jesus, the Christians in turn received that special status (Romans 11:11-24).[37] This doctrine is known as Supersessionism. Augustine
Augustine
criticized Jewish chosenness as "carnal." He reasoned that Israel was chosen "according to the flesh."[38] Influence on relations with other religions[edit] Avi Beker, an Israeli scholar and former Secretary General of the World Jewish Congress, regarded the idea of the chosen people as Judaism's defining concept and "the central unspoken psychological, historical, and theological problem at the heart of Jewish-Gentile relations." In his book The Chosen: The History of an Idea, and the Anatomy of an Obsession, Beker expresses the view that the concept of chosenness is the driving force behind Jewish-Gentile relations, explaining both the admiration and, more pointedly, the envy and hatred the world has felt for the Jews
Jews
in religious and also secular terms. Beker argues that while Christianity has modified its doctrine on the displacement of the Jews, Islam
Islam
has neither reversed nor reformed its theology concerning the succession of both the Jews
Jews
and the Christians. According to Beker, this presents a major barrier to conflict resolution in the Arab-Israeli conflict.[39][page needed] Ethnocentrism[edit] Israeli philosopher Ze’ev Levy writes that chosenness can be "(partially) justified only from the historical angle" with respect to its spiritual and moral contribution to Jewish life through the centuries, "a powerful agent of consolation and hope". He points out however that modern anthropological theories "do not merely proclaim the inherent universal equality of all people [as] human beings; they also stress the equivalence of all human cultures." (emphasis in original) He continues that "there are no inferior and superior people or cultures but only different, other, ones." He concludes that the concept of chosenness entails ethnocentrism, "which does not go hand in hand with otherness, that is, with unconditional respect of otherness".[40] Some people[41] have claimed that Judaism's chosen people concept is racist because it implies that Jews
Jews
are superior to non-Jews. The Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
asserts that the concept of a chosen people within Judaism
Judaism
has nothing to do with racial superiority.[42] See also[edit]

Light Unto the Nations Religious nationalism Supersessionism Zionism

Notes[edit]

^ Clements, Ronald (1968). God's Chosen People: a Theological Interpretation of the Book
Book
of Deuteronomy. In series, Religious Book Club, 182. London: S.C.M. Press ^ "What does it mean that the Jews
Jews
are God's chosen people?". GotQuestions.org. February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 4, 2018.  ^ The Jews
Jews
as a Chosen People: Tradition and Transformation, S. Leyla Gurkan p. 9 ^ (see "Tosefta") ^ 2013 Democracy Index, "We asked: “To what extent do you believe that the Jews
Jews
are the ‘chosen people’?” As shown in Figure 34, roughly two thirds of the Jewish respondents (64.3%) believe “very strongly” or “quite strongly” that the Jews
Jews
are indeed the chosen people, while one third (32.7%) do not share this view." ^ "Chosen people." Encyclopedia Britannica. 20 February 2018. ^ Translation by Philip Birnbaum, "High Holyday Prayerbook" ^ Beẓah, 25b ^ Mek. Yitro, Pes. R. K. 103b, 186a, 200a ^ Sifra, Aḥare Mot, 86b; Bacher, "Ag. Tan." ii. 31 ^ Avraham Yaakov Finkel. The essential Maimonides. Translations of the Rambam, Jason Aronson Inc, Northvale New Jersey London ^ Ex. R. xxxvi:1. ^ Cant. R. ii. 2 ^ Midr. Teh. i. 4 ^ Weber's "System der Altsynagogalen Theologie", etc., pp. 59-69, is full of glaring errors and misstatements on the subject of Israel as the chosen people ^ qtd. in Mackenzie ^ Wyschogrod, Michael. The Body of Faith, Judaism
Judaism
as a Corporeal Election. 1984. pp. 174-177. ^ Lamm, Norman. "Seventy Faces: Articles of Faith, Volume 1." Google Books. 16 February 2018. ^ Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, JTSA, New York, 1988, p.33-34 ^ Reuven Hammer, Or Hadash, The Rabbinical Assembly, New York, 2003 ^ The Guiding Principles of Reform Judaism, Columbus, Ohio, 1937 ^ Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism, adopted at the 1999 Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
Convention, Central Conference of American Rabbis ^ Lessons in Tanya, Vol. 1, Ch. 1 ^ סידור הרב, שער אכילת מצה ^ Dov Ber Pinson, Reincarnation and Judaism ^ ר' אברהם חן, במלכות היהדות ( Rabbi
Rabbi
Abraham
Abraham
Chen, "In the Kingdom of Judaism") ^ Likutei Moharan, Part 2 ,5 ^ Isaac Arama, Akedat Yitzchak, Ch. 60 ^ Gregg Stern. Philosophy and Rabbinic Culture: Jewish Interpretation and Controversy in Medieval Languedoc. Routledge Jewish Studies Series ^ Levy, Zeev. "Spinoza and the Philosophical Impossibility of a Chosen People." My Jewish Learning. 1993. 20 February 2018. ^ Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot, newsletter, September 1986, pages D, E. ^ e.g. Mitchell Max, The Chosen People: Reclaiming Our Sacred Myth ^ Falk, 1996 ^ http://www.askmusa.org/site/c.ehLKKZPJLuF/b.3125653/k.7027/The_Jews_and_the_Quran.htm ^ M. Abdulsalam. "Is the Quran Anti-Semitic?: The Semites, a Chosen People." ^ Liberation and reconciliation: a Black theology p. 24 ^ The Collegeville Bible
Bible
Commentary: Based on the New American Bible, Robert J. Karris, Liturgical Press, 1992, p. 1042 ^ Augustine. Adversius Judaios. ^ Avi Beker, The Chosen: The History of an Idea, and the Anatomy of an Obsession, New York: Palgrave Macmilan, 2008, Preface ^ Ze’ev Levy, Judaism
Judaism
and Chosenness: On Some Controversial Aspects from Spinoza to Contemporary Jewish Thought, in Daniel H. Frank, ed. (1993). A People apart: chosenness and ritual in Jewish philosophical thought. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1631-0. , p. 104 ^

Dinstien, Yoram (Ed.), Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 1987, Volume 17; Volume 1987, p 29 Sharoni, Simona, "Feminist Reflections on the Interplay between Racism and Sexism in Israel", in Challenging racism and sexism: alternatives to genetic explanations, Ethel Tobach, Betty Rosoff (Eds), Feminist Press, 1994, p 319 Beker, Avi, Chosen: the history of an idea, the anatomy of an obsession, Macmillan, 2008, p 131, 139, 151 Brown, Wesley, Christian Perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, p 66 Jacob, Jonathan, Israel: a divided Promised Land, p 69

^ The Talmud
Talmud
in Anti-Semitic Polemics Archived 2010-08-05 at the Wayback Machine., Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
(February 2003)

References[edit]

Emet Ve-Emunah: Statement of Principles of Conservative Judaism, JTSA, New York, 1988, p. 33-34 Platform on Reconstructionism Federation of Reconstructionist Congregations and Havurot, September 1986, pages D, E Statement of Principles for Reform Judaism, 1999 Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh
convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis Encyclopaedia Judaica, Keter Publishing Ismar Elbogen
Ismar Elbogen
Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History JPS, 1993. The most thorough academic study of the Jewish liturgy ever written. Marcia Falk
Marcia Falk
The Book
Book
of Blessings HarperSanFranciso, 1996 Reuven Hammer, Ed. Or Hadash: A Commentary on Siddur
Siddur
Sim Shalom for Shabbat
Shabbat
and Festivals, The Rabbinical Assembly, 2003 Nosson Scherman, Ed. The Complete Artscroll
Artscroll
Siddur, Mesorah Publications, 2nd edition, 1986

Further reading[edit]

Eisen, Arnold M. (1990). "The Rhetoric of Chosenness and the Fabrication of American Jewish Identity". In Lipset, Seymour Martin. American pluralism and the Jewish community. Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-0-88738-286-4.  Daniel H. Frank, ed. (1993). A People apart: chosenness and ritual in Jewish philosophical thought. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-1631-0.  (Part 1. Chosenness)

External links[edit]

The Contemporary Rivalry over the Chosen People: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Perspectives - Avi Beker
Avi Beker
at the Institute for Global Jewish Affairs Chosen people at the Jewish Encyclopedia Beliefs of Reform Judaism The Jewish concept of chosenness The Chosen People FAQs Some are Chosen, All are Loved. Rabbi
Rabbi
Gilbert S. Rosenthal The Chosen People: Reclaiming Our Sacred Myth, Mitchell Max How does Jewish Pride differ from Nazi Supremacy?, Rabbi
Rabbi
Tzvi Freeman Anti-Defamation League
Anti-Defamation League
paper on Christian Identity The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord - a Christian Identity movement The Real Truth About The Talmud
Talmud
by Rabbi
Rabbi
Gil Student. Exposes fraudulent or distorted Talmud
Talmud
quotes used by antisemites Are the Jews
Jews
the Chosen People? chabad.org Oz Torah
Torah
- Isn't it arrogant and exclusionist for Jews
Jews
to regard themselves as the Chosen People?

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