The Torah, a divine pledge exclusively to Am Yisrael, the People of Yisrael

 It is not a selfish proclamation. Neither is it an arrogant, patronizing or a condescending one. It is simply a historical fact which was created for a reason.

The Torah, written in Hebrew, the language of Am Yisrael, was given to Am Yisrael only. Whether one believes that it was given on Mount Sinai at this time of year or not is irrelevant. Am Yisrael has possessed and owned it for several millennia, followed its directives and taught it to the world which on more than one occasion refused to follow its universal moral compass. Any attempts by foreign doctrines or creeds to claim it as their own is a lie and an infringement of copyright.

I realize that to some the above may sound confusing or contradictory. If the Torah was given exclusively to Am Yisrael and is owned by its members, how then can we expect others to follow its universal ethical guidelines?

To answer this valid question, here is a definition of what the Torah stands for.

The Hebrew Word, Torah (תורה) is derived from the root yareh (ירה). Yareh means to shoot an arrow at a target. The Torah is, therefore, the arrow aimed at the target which is the truth about G-d and how one relates to Him. It teaches us what He expects of us, Am Yisrael, in particular and humanity in general.

To me, a teacher, this is akin to a teachers’ manual, that text we teachers receive as part of any curriculum. The manual is designed to help us prepare students for the challenges they may face in various subjects.

The Torah, authored by G-d, published and practiced by Am Yisrael is a manual in the art of living. It is a two - part manual. One part carries a lesson plan for Am Yisrael only. It spells out its duties, practices and rituals as part of its relationship with G-d as expressed in the covenant, contract, that it entered with Him on Mount Sinai. It also lists the rewards and punishments for failure to comply with it. The members of Am Yisrael accepted that manual in pure faith and unconditionally as expressed in their words נעשה ונשמע, accepting its commandments without questioning them.

The second part of the Torah applies to all, Am Yisrael and others. It is the moral, ethical code that should concern all humans wherever they are. That part is universal, one that belongs to all regardless of creed, colour or race. It is the part that is supposed to unite us humans in dignity and a shared fate. Am Yisrael has been entrusted with the hard task of teaching it.

The concept of the two parts of the Torah is clearly and nicely reflected in the Ten Commandments. The first four apply strictly to the relationship between G-d and Am Yisrael. The others are universal and speak about the relationship between Man and his fellow Man.

Am Yisrael did not choose to receive the Torah, rather it was chosen as its exclusive recipient. Am Yisrael was not selected because it was better or worse than others but because its members were different. They were chosen because they agreed to assume upon themselves the responsibility of being G-d’s tool to help make this world a better place.

After all, let us face it, how many would have accepted such a gigantic task, such an enormous responsibility, without making even the slightest of effort to contest or challenge it?