Wednesday, November 14, 2012

No Room for Self-Righteousness

Rabbi Jonathan Sachs had this to say in his book, The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society (p. 121):
The concept of a 'chosen people' is similar to that of a 'master race'. These two ideas are, however, opposites. A chosen people is called to serve; a master race to dominate. The characteristic emotion of a chosen people is humility; that of a master race is pride. A master race sees victory in terms of its own merits; a chosen people attributes it to God. A master race sees defeat as humiliation; a chosen people sees it as a call to repentance. A master race commemorates its victories in monumental architecture. A chosen people does the opposite: it records its defeats and shortcomings. Indeed, there is no more self-critical literature than the Hebrew Bible - an ongoing story of failures, back-slidings and derelictions of duty. A chosen people lives under the constant possibility of judgement, and thus also of re-dedication, repentance, metanoia.
God bless the Jewish people. To quote Jesus: "Salvation is from the Jews" (John 4:22). For centuries upon centuries, they were the only people on earth to acknowledge the one, true, living God. Humanity owes a magnanimous debt of gratitude to these people for their religion.