In preparing to give the Israelites the Ten Commandments in this week’s Torah portion, Yitro, God tells Moses to say to the Israelites that “you shall be My treasured possession among all the peoples…a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Ex. 19:5-6).
The idea of having been “chosen” is often misunderstood. The idea is not centered on favoritism or elitism; Jews are entrusted with the responsibility of teaching and exemplifying the value of ethics and moral behavior based on God’s teachings, as expressed in the Ten Commandments. Religious teachings give us a pathway to holiness in how we relate both to God and to other people. When at a loss for “the right thing to do,” it is a comforting thought that we can find our way through Torah.
Rabbi Sandra M. Bellush