What’s all that about the Jews being “chosen”?

(A bee doing her job.)


​The ​concept of ‘chosen-ness’ really messes with some people’s minds. Let’s clear it up so we can be productive.

I read a drash​/teaching​ by a friend for the parshah Kedoshim​ (teaching on a section of the Jewish bible)​. He said:

The Parshah of Kedoshim begins with the statement, ​’​You shall be holy, for I, the L‑rd your G‑d, am holy.​’​ This is followed by dozens of mitzvot (Divine commandments) through which the Jew​ ​sanctifies him- or herself and relates to the holiness of G‑d.

I have put in bold the part that held my attention. ​My understanding is that​ ​b​y performing the mitzvot Jews set them​ apart and become holy AS JEWS, not as Christians, not as Sufi, but as Jews.​ Other religious traditions have other rules and understandings of how they are to relate to God’s demands on them. They have their own contract with the Eternal. The mitzvot are the Jews’ contract. This is how I see ‘chosen-ness.’

Thus, every person, every tradition​,​ has been chosen for something. The goal in life is not to worry about what someone else’s job is, but to clarify what YOUR job is. And then do it.

Please don’t waste any energy worrying that someone thinks they are better than someone else. At the end of the day, who cares if they think they are so hot? You are here for one brief shining life. Get to work identifying what you are here to accomplish.

One of my favorite sayings is from Rabbi Tarfon who said, “You are not required to complete the task, nor are you free to desist from it.”

Feeling anxious about this concept? Feel free to email or call me.