Chosen Peoplehood

Rabbi Arthur Waskow

If the Jewish people were 'chosen', does this exclude the chosen-ness of all other peoples?
Does that mean if I love my daughter, I cannot love my son? If I love my sister, I cannot love my brother? If I cherish my heart, I cannot cherish my liver? My brain? My lungs?
And if I can love or cherish each of these, the Holy Blessed Infinite One is more limited and cannot?
I think that the Holy Blessed One is able to "choose" or to "call" every people to live according to the highest ethical and celebratory standards, each in its own language, symbolism, practices, etc -- and indeed chooses to do so precisely in order to hold together the organic unity of the universe, in which a liver and a heart are both chosen not *despite* being so different from each other but *because* they are so different from each other.
The Rabbis (yes, THOSE Rabbis) taught: What is the Tzelem Elohim, the Image of God, that God put upon ADAM/ all human beings? ? When an ordinary king, like the Roman Emperor, puts his image on a coin, all the coins come out identical. When the King Who is beyond all Kings puts His Image on a coin, all the coins come out different !
[Apologies for the hierarchical and masculine imagery; it was the cultural outlook of those same Rabbis, whose wisdom I can learn from and even say "amen" to, even when on some occasions I find their imagery inadequate or unpleasant.]
I have no doubt that the same Infinite Holy One is able to choose many peoples, precisely to be different from one another.
Some peoples, for some periods of their history, have rejected or turned away from their Calling or Chosenness. Among them, on occasion, has been the People Israel.
By Rabbi Arthur Waskow
Director, The Shalom Center

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