Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “The unique nature of the Jewish People.”

Ever since the Jewish People’s transformation at the revelation at Sinai into “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation,” it can no longer become something else.

To be sure, it is possible that individuals among the Jewish people, large parts of the people, or even the entire nation will at times not want to fulfill the Sinaitic commitment.

This non-fulfillment, however, does not negate the unique nature of the Jewish People.

It is merely an attempt not to live up to it, not to persist in it.

It is possible that the Sinaitic covenant will not be upheld at one time or another, but it cannot be abrogated or changed.

There have been attempts to nullify this covenant ever since Sinai, and not only in recent centuries.

But these attempts – “when you say, ‘We will become like the nations, like the families of the lands’” – have never succeeded.

Ever since the acceptance of the Torah, the Jewish People has had its own special path, which it cannot leave.

Any attempt to do so leads to one of two results – either the people (or part of it) recommits itself to the covenant again and yet again, or else the segment of the people that is not interested in the covenant separates from the Jewish People entirely.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz