Judaism

Judaism

Judaism

Judaism

Excerpt

God made covenant with a particular people that it should be His priesthood. To this people, the seed of Abraham, the slaves He had just redeemed from Egypt, He revealed the Torah, the Law which they were to obey, as the particular burden of the Jews and as the sign of their unique destiny in the world. He chose the land of Canaan as His inheritance and that of His people, the Holy Land which would forever remain the place in which He would most clearly be manifest.

God exists in the world and cares for all men, for are not the children of Israel, as Amos said, no more to Him than the Ethiopians? It was out of His love for mankind as a whole that He taught all men His way of redemption, the Torah, in His revelation in the desert of Sinai, to show that, like the desert, the Law belongs to anyone who dares to claim it. God does not speak to man only in the Holy Land, for He addressed Noah in the land between the rivers, Abraham in Ur, Moses in Midian, and He spoke even to Balaam, who came to curse the Jews in the desert of Sinai. The Talmud contains a vision of the end of days, in which the holiness that is particular to the land of Israel will "spread out" to encompass all the lands.

Either of the two sets of assertions just above is true as description of Judaism, but neither is true without the other. It would be easy to say that these two versions of Judaism, the so-called "universal" and "particular" aspects, are in uneasy tension; this has indeed been said by non-Jewish commentators and polemicists for many centuries. From the perspective of one who stands inside the Jewish tradition, in the faith and experience of the Jewish . . .

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