Thursday, February 09, 2012

Who Wants to be a Kingdom of Priests?

By Moshe Feiglin

"And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (From this week's Torah portion, Yitro, Exodus 19:6)

Before the giving of the Torah, before the Ten Commandments, before the most momentous and splendorous ceremony in history, the Creator explains why. Before "Honor your parents", before "Guard the Sabbath day to sanctify it", before all the 'how', G-d explains why He gave us the Torah; why this trek from the House of Bondage to the Land of Israel. What is the destiny? What is the purpose?

"And you will be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

Without a nation, a king is not a king. To rule over His world and to lavish His goodness on every corner of creation, the Creator created a treasured nation, bringing it to a special Land so that it can live its life in a special way. In the holy city – the place chosen by G-d, this nation will build the Creator's royal palace. From there His Divine Presence will emanate to the entire world.

But who wants to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation? Let us just make ends meet! It is not in our hands. G-d's covenant with our Forefathers and the exodus from Egypt locked us into a national commitment from which we cannot flee.

Kaiser Frederick the Great used to debate theology with the French prince, Jean Batisse de Voyeaur: "Please give me a clear proof of the existence of G-d," the kaiser demanded. The prince answered: "I have an exact and irrefutable proof for his majesty. A proof in one word: The Jews." (from the Hidabroot Hebrew website)

The supernatural, meta-historical existence of the Jewish nation is intrinsically bound in humanity's consciousness with the existence of G-d. Like it or not, we are the nation of the Creator and we cannot escape the responsibility that the position entails.

All of humanity longingly desires the message of liberty pronounced by the Jewish Nation when it left the House of Bondage. It craves the message of liberty that descended from Mount Sinai.

We have no choice other than to be ourselves: To choose destiny over mere existence, to choose to actualize our status as a treasured nation and not to deny it, to choose liberty over slavery.

Shabbat Shalom

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