Special relationship between god and jews

Jews as the chosen people - Wikipedia

special relationship between god and jews

Our tradition reflects the view that humans are created in the image of God. Each individual's relationship with God is unique and deeply personal. Topic: God. The idea that the Jews are the “chosen people” and have a special relationship with God is ubiquitous in Jewish sources. However, the nature of this. Oct 27, In particular, are the Jewish people still “chosen,” maintaining a special relationship with God? And, if so, does this therefore mean that they are.

The claims of a special relationship therefore reflect how the person making the claim is situated, in terms of their faith community, moment in history and broader worldview.

Chosen people

Let us examine the issue from the perspective of Christians and Jews respectively. Section 2 of The Gifts explores the theological status of the Jewish-Catholic dialogue and in so doing goes to the heart of some of the theological issues. The description of a special relationship based on these premises should not be taken as an inevitable fact, based on the evidence alone, but as a choice.

Christianity springing out of Judaism is not the only case in world religious history where one religion grows out of another. Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism, in their respective ways, all grow out of Hinduism. When one religion grows out of another, this means that, in some way, the growing religion maintains its grammar, its constitutive conceptual framework.

Thus, while offering other solutions and sourcing from other foci, saints, scriptures and more, each of these traditions shares the basic grammar of the value of action karmareincarnation, the quest for spiritual redemption and more. Especially if they have in some way rebelled or taken another course, or crossed some fundamental divide caste system, scriptures, ritual etc. There is, however, one factor that makes the Jewish-Christian situation unique in relation to other possible parallels.

But such incorporation requires interpretation and Christians have interpreted Jewish scriptures in relation to the church as Israel through some construct or another and typically, until recently, through a theology of supersession.

Thus, while the continuity of scripture does provide a unique historical fact, this historical fact is only meaningful because of Christian self-understanding as having a unique relationship with Israel or Judaism. Only when Christians affirm the uniqueness of this relationship, in light of scriptural continuity, do we emerge with a statement of a special relationship. The role of choice in affirming a special relationship becomes clear when we consider how Jews respond to the same data.

The understanding of a special relationship is based on a series of facts — relating to Jesus and the formation of the Christianity canon — that are in and of themselves meaningless to Judaism. For most Jews throughout history, nothing good has come to them as a consequence of the facts marshalled as proof for a special relationship.

If anything, the contrary is true. It was, if anything, a negative special relationship. Jews did not, and on the whole still do not, view Christianity as a relationship that is to be appreciated apart from their view of other religions. All precedents of a Jewish view of other religions formulated in the Middle Ages and the early modern period consider Christianity and Islam in the same breath. It is worth noting that differences between Islam and Christianity are not germane to this view.

While Maimonides considers Christianity to be idolatrous and Islam non-idolatrous, this distinction is irrelevant to an appreciation of their historical role. The point here is that Christianity and Islam are considered in the same breath, when considering their historical significance.

The same is true for almost all rabbinic authorities Franz Rosenzweig provides an interesting exception to the rule. Positive references to other religions include both Christianity and Islam.

Various obstacles must be overcome for Jews to be able to affirm a special relationship with Christianity. The Nation of Israel is likened to the olive.

Just as this fruit yields its precious oil only after being much pressed and squeezed, so Israel's destiny is one of great oppression and hardship, in order that it may thereby give forth its illuminating wisdom.

Only on account of its good works is Israel among the nations "as the lily among thorns", [13] or "as wheat among the chaff.

In fact, I believe that every people—and indeed, in a more limited way, every individual—is "chosen" or destined for some distinct purpose in advancing the designs of Providence. Only, some fulfill their mission and others do not. Maybe the Greeks were chosen for their unique contributions to art and philosophy, the Romans for their pioneering services in law and government, the British for bringing parliamentary rule into the world, and the Americans for piloting democracy in a pluralistic society.

The Jews were chosen by God to be 'peculiar unto Me' as the pioneers of religion and morality; that was and is their national purpose. We are simply told that God commanded Abraham to leave his place of birth and go to a land that God would show him. He is also promised that his descendants will become a numerous people.

On the Relationship Between the Jewish People and God

But nowhere does the Bible tell us why Abraham rather than someone else was chosen. The implication is that God chooses whom He wishes and that He owes no accounting to anyone for His choices. Whenever it is mentioned in our liturgy—such as the blessing immediately preceding the Shema This spiritual vocation consists of two complementary functions, described as "Goy Kadosh", that of a holy nation, and "Mamlekhet Kohanim", that of a kingdom of priests.

The first term denotes the development of communal separateness or differences in order to achieve a collective self-transcendence [ The Torah and the Prophets clearly stated that this does not imply any innate Jewish superiority. In the words of Amos 3: Far from being a license for special privilege, it entailed additional responsibilities not only toward God but to our fellow human beings.

The visitor inquired of Abraham why Sarah laughed at bearing a child at her age, as nothing is too hard for God. Frightened, Sarah denied laughing. Abraham's plea Main articles: They walked over to the peak that overlooked the 'cities of the plain' to discuss the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah for their detestable sins that were so great, it moved God to action. Because Abraham's nephew was living in Sodom, God revealed plans to confirm and judge these cities.

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At this point, the two other visitors left for Sodom. Then Abraham turned to God and pleaded decrementally with Him from fifty persons to less that "if there were at least ten righteous men found in the city, would not God spare the city?

However, Abraham's nephew, Lot, met with them and strongly insisted that these two "men" stay at his house for the night. A rally of men stood outside of Lot's home and demanded that they bring out his guests so that they may "know" v.

special relationship between god and jews

However, Lot objected and offered his virgin daughters who had not "known" v. They rejected that notion and sought to break down Lot's door to get to his male guests, [Genesis He "looked out toward Sodom and Gomorrah" and saw what became of the cities of the plain, where not even "ten righteous" v. While he was living in GerarAbraham openly claimed that Sarah was his sister. Upon discovering this news, King Abimelech had her brought to him.

special relationship between god and jews

God then came to Abimelech in a dream and declared that taking her would result in death because she was a man's wife. Abimelech had not laid hands on her, so he inquired if he would also slay a righteous nation, especially since Abraham had claimed that he and Sarah were siblings.

In response, God told Abimelech that he did indeed have a blameless heart and that is why he continued to exist.

  • Jews as the chosen people
  • What Do Jews Believe?
  • The First Covenant

However, should he not return the wife of Abraham back to him, God would surely destroy Abimelech and his entire household. Abimelech was informed that Abraham was a prophet who would pray for him. Abraham stated that he thought there was no fear of God in that place, and that they might kill him for his wife. Then Abraham defended what he had said as not being a lie at all: Further, Abimelech gave Abraham a thousand pieces of silver to serve as Sarah's vindication before all. Abraham then prayed for Abimelech and his household, since God had stricken the women with infertility because of the taking of Sarah.

special relationship between god and jews

Abraham then reproached Abimelech due to his Philistine servant's aggressive attacks and the seizing of Abraham's well. Abimelech claimed ignorance of the incident.

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Then Abraham offered a pact by providing sheep and oxen to Abimelech. Further, to attest that Abraham was the one who dug the well, he also gave Abimelech seven ewes for proof.

Because of this sworn oath, they called the place of this well: Abraham was "an hundred years old", when his son whom he named Isaac was born; and he circumcised him when he was eight days old. During the celebration, however, Sarah found Ishmael mocking; an observation that would begin to clarify the birthright of Isaac.

special relationship between god and jews

She declared that Ishmael would not share in Isaac's inheritance. Abraham was greatly distressed by his wife's words and sought the advice of his God. God told Abraham not to be distressed but to do as his wife commanded.

special relationship between god and jews