Parshat Eikev • Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25

We Jews are the “Chosen People”. This idea, and these words, might be used as either a moral imperative or an anti-semitic trope depending on who is speaking them. As such, I am a bit squeamish when I hear the phrase… and I suspect I am not alone. A redeeming explanation is provided by this week’s Torah portion, Eikev.

“For God, your God, is bringing you into a good land (Deuteronomy 8:7).” Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, perhaps the founder of modern orthodox Judaism, writes: “Your training course of wandering in the wilderness has now come to an end. You are about to enter upon that future for which your anomalous situation on earth thus far was to be a preparation. Now, given a normal position as individuals and as a nation, you must demonstrate in practice the lessons which you should have learned during that singular training course, and which you must not forget if the future you are about to enter is to endure.” We wandered that we might learn. We learned that we might positively impact. We positively impact if we are to endure. Am Yisrael Chai — for that we are chosen.

Rabbi Aaron C. Meyer