Tuesday, May 22, 2012

SHABUOT: On becoming the chosen people.

In a few days, this coming Saturday May 26th at night, we will celebrate Shabu'ot, one of the major Holidays of the Jewish calendar. Shabu'ot is known as Chag Matan Tora, the day in which we, the Jewish people, received the Tora. The giving of the Tora was actually the conclusion of a larger process: the choosing of the Jewish People as the Nation of God. 

We arrived at the Sinai desert on the first day of Sivan (today!). HaShem Almighty ordered us to camp in the desert, facing Mt. Sinai, and get ourselves ready for the greatest event. 

Then HaShem made us His offer: ve'ata im shamo'a tishme'u beqoli...  and now, if you accept listening to My voice--God's commandments--and keeping a covenant with Me, you will become for Me a Kingdom of Priests and a Special Nation (goy kadosh).

In this sense, to be the "chosen people" means that we have more obligations and more accountability than the rest of the world.

1. Kingdom of priests: The priests--Kohanim--are those Jews dedicated exclusively to the service of God. The Kohanim  have more limitations and responsibilities than those who are not priests, for the privilege to serve God. The Jews are the "Kohanim of the world". We were offered to become the people who will dedicate our lives to serving God. In Shabu'ot, we accepted upon ourselves 613 Mitzvot (God's commandments), 606 more than any other nation.

2. Goy Kadosh: To be a special people (or a 'separated' people) means that HaShem Almighty will supervise and collectively protect us, guarantying that as a people we will never disappear from the face of the earth. This direct supervision also implies that God expects from us an exemplary behavior. God will be examining our conduct closer than the rest of the nations. See Amos 3:2. raq etkhem yad'ati mikol mishpechot ha-adama "You alone did I chose from among all the families of the earth; therefore I will hold you to account for all your iniquities..."
(to be continued...)

Click here to read "Was Columbus secretly a Jew?" By Charles Garcia,  Special to CNN