Who are we as Jews that people love to hate us? That’s a great question. It has never been easy to be a Jew. Many of us say “I know we’re the chosen people but can’t they choose someone else for a change”. My father used to say that because he was beaten up for being a Jew… so was my brother and my rabbi, may he Rest in Peace.
I asked myself, what is expected of me as a Jew, and after searching all my life, 32 years ago I began to read the Torah, THE “Jewish book”. After all, if we want to know the truth about something, we go to the source. Right?
Guess what I found? The message is ridiculously simple, but sadly most of us seem to prefer complicated. The Torah deals extensively with this subject. Here it is in a nutshell: There’s the Creator of the universe, the Bore Olam who made everything. He chose certain people to talk to… one by one, beginning with Adam, later Noah, then Abram, and so on. To Adam, He gave one rule which he probably would have kept except that God also made Eve. Women are always getting us into trouble. That’s a joke, ladies! I’m one.
Later, Noah heard a voice telling him to build an ark, God was going to send a flood to destroy the world because people were so violent. At the time, Noah was living on a mountain, and it hadn’t rained on earth yet. Today they’d put him in a psychiatric ward. After building it and warning others, for almost 100 years, only he, his wife, his three sons and three daughters-in-law got on together with hordes of animals and birds. His confidence level must not have been too high with that success rate. I’m so glad he listened because here we are, the entire population of the world is descended from that one family. Basically, all humanity are cousins…this is a family feud par excellence. One group was chosen to fulfill a role and that caused jealousy…a recurring theme in the Torah.
Another person down the road heard the voice again. Most of us know the story of Moses who led a lot of people out of slavery to the base of Mount Sinai. These were the natural descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, together with a mixed multitude which means non-Israelites had joined us, because they had been a witness to what our God could do, and they wanted to be on the winning side. There they stood, at the base of Mt Sinai; suddenly there was thunder, the mount shook, its top was on fire and sounds of shofars blasted from who knows where. After the first few sentences, they told Moses to listen to the voice and to tell them what God had said because they were far too frightened. Millions of people were witness to that voice from heaven. To which other people did this ever happen?
At that unique moment, God handed Moses the Ten Commandments, the principles by which all humanity could love their neighbor as themselves. Our mandate was and still is to live by these simple ten and to teach them to the rest of the world. The rest is commentary and application. Adam had one rule; we have ten.
Yes, we were chosen but not because we were such a hot item but simply because God decided to do so. We are not better; we have a mandate. We are the messengers chosen by the Creator of the universe. Simple but not easy. If we keep His Words, He said He would keep us safe and we would prosper and be healthy; if we disobeyed them, we would suffer the consequences. Look around…do we see any? He also promised to deal with our enemies and do battle for us, His children.
How do we fight anti-Semitism today? We simply bring the Ten Commandments back into our schools, into our homes, into our government offices and into our courtrooms. Again, simple but not easy but when was anything worthwhile easy? No one on the outside can ever destroy Israel and the Jews. We alone can destroy ourselves from within. My motto is #BringBackTheTen Commandments.
Montreal Qc, Canada