An illustration of the Chosen People..
(photo credit: PEPE FAINBERG)
I ADMIRED Mordecai Kaplan, one of my professors in rabbinical school, in many ways. Unlike most teachers, he really made you think. But I disagreed with his determination to eliminate the concept of the chosen people from Judaism. Among other things, he would not recite the blessing said when called to the Torah which states “… who chose us from among all the nations.”I still disagree with him about that, but over the years I have grown to understand what motivated him. He felt that the idea of “chosenness” was just another form of racial superiority, dividing humans into inferior and superior races. The result of that belief has been the murder of millions of Jews and enslavement of blacks by other races. Kaplan was right that such a belief has no role in Judaism and must be expunged wherever it exists. But that is not what ‘the chosen people’ means and it is important that we understand it correctly.