Get latest articles and videos with Jewish
inspiration and insights
A 4-year-old girl and her family risk their lives fleeing Ethiopia to reach the land of Israel.
Is the nuclear agreement between the United States and Iran a good or bad deal?
How to free yourself from ingrained habits.
Get the facts about the proposed nuclear agreement with Iran.
The significance of this year’s European Maccabi Games taking place in Berlin.
Israeli society is repulsed and outraged at the latest violence allegedly perpetrated by Jews.
Aloof and rude, I think my self-respect demands that I distance myself from my husband’s sister.
When my parents divorced, I didn't realize how they set my world ablaze.
How I learned to gain control over my incessant need to be constantly connected.
How happy are you?
When it comes to being there for others, don’t hesitate. You won’t regret it
What possessed me to make my kitchen kosher?
Many couples divorce because “we just grew apart.” It can happen to any of us if we’re not careful.
Celebrate Israel and the flavors of our home with these recipes.
I’m sweating the small stuff and it’s no way to live.
Yes, you can build chemistry! Here are 8 ways to go about it.
How to escape from the friend zone.
After seven months of great dating she suddenly broke up with me. I feel used and betrayed.
Searching for religious truth is more than a matter of faith. It requires a unique blend of genuine tolerance with cogent reasoning and intellectual honesty.
As spiritual beings, we are responsible for actualizing the potential holiness that God imbues in each moment.
Do we own our bodies, or are they only on loan?
Practical and relevant insights on the weekly parsha.
Advanced-level midrashic and Kabbalistic illuminations on the weekly parsha.
Lessons, stories and discussion questions for parents and kids.
How to access the transformational power of Yom Kippur.
The connection between envy and the holiest day of the year.
Try your best, and God takes you all the way.
All you need to know. Share it with friends and family!
My dentist is like Vladimir Putin, but with less warmth. My teeth are his little KGB prisoners.
Superstitious people are everywhere. Whatever you do, don’t give them the evil eye.
What do you think about Greystone Bakery's hiring process?
Tisha B'av and the secret of Jewish unity.
The meaning behind the tears.
A fascinating overview capturing the meaning of the holiday.
1) Family Secrets
2) What's in a Name?
3) Little Black Boxes
4) Why Ten Plagues?
5) A Divine Comedy?
March 21, 2009
September 8, 2011 4:14 AM
To Prove a Point
In the last video Rabbi Fohrman says that God dosen't need Pharoh's approval, but maybe God was trying to pove a point. Pharoh was the most powerful and respected person in the world at that time, and if God could influence him and make him change his mind then God will show that he is above all people. By doing this he gaines the respect of the Egyptians and also we gain respect from the Egyptians. Just what I was thinking.
May 21, 2009 8:38 PM
rebuttal to #11
That's a nice way to sound less elitist, but it's a piece of political spin not supported by your own analogy.
An employee who has no time for his employer, doesn't think about his employer's desires/plans for the company, only tentatively accepts his employer's existence... is of no significant value to his employer. At best case scenario this kind of employee will be used as a pawn in the employer's plans for the company. Use them in whatever way possible, even by allowing them to rebel and then making an example of them as a deterent to other would-be rebelious employees... but most likely they will simply get sacked from the company.
Other talents/tasks? like what? business? painting? languages? self preservation? self actualisation? being famous and popular? making coffee? buying shoes?... nonesense. If you persue a self-serving path, there's no logic in any percieved reward from God. God has a plan, if we contribute, we can expect rewards, that's logical and that's what scripture encourages us to do. We are only obligated to tolerate the existence of parasites, not to recognise their social indifference and call it "Individualism and freedom of choice". Off-course they have free will, but that doesn't mean any decision is justified. Most people want to be told that it's OK to be an individual, all the while they stray further and further from their Torah inspired path. or maybe you don't believe in it! Cherish your free will, but an employer of teachers is not interested much in grafitti artists and accountants in general.
As for your point about being "more qualified", qualifications aren't heriditary like some people would like to believe. It's more logical that every person in every generation ought to study, think about and actively follow the best path according to their wisdom subject to their free will. Therefore "I choose" to be Jewish, "I choose" to care about God's plan even though I'm not entirely sure what it is. God might have chosen me to "wake up" but "I chose" to hear his voice and give it due weight in my mind, and in my life, in this lifetime. The choice is mine, the credit is mine, the reward is mine... and God is happy for an employee like me to join the company. Happier than with someone who takes their chosenness for granted because they were "born into it"! Why don't you think that God's favour must be earned? Do you take God for granted...
April 25, 2009 2:46 PM
If a boss choses one of his/her employees for a special task, does this mean he/she does not value his other employees? or is it just that this particular employee is most qualified for the task in question, while the other employees have different talents, and different tasks? It seems to me that this is the way to approach the matter of "chosen people."
April 7, 2009 5:51 AM
"chosen" - who's made the decision?
When you hear the words "chosen people" you cannot help but think that they were chosen by God... but I don't think that's accurate. I think it was Abraham who chose to think about God (correctly), thereby becoming the father of the chosen people. In other words, I think God was waiting for someone to think about him and whoever it was would have become the father of the chosen people. That way it sounds like a fair reward for a most revolutionary thought (1 God, not an idol). So, I think the Jews are "chosen" but that is merely the reward for a decision made by Abraham (in effect, Abraham did the choosing). Otherwise (if God actually chose Abraham) I don't know why God would wait until Abraham was 95 (or 75, I can't remember) before he would speak to him!
And why walk on eggshells guys, being chosen doesn mean we bear a greater responsibility and a closer relationship with God, so yeah, that sort of does make us "better" although better is a misleading word. I don't believe in equality, however I do believe that anyone should have the opportunity to improve their circumstances, so if you want to be chosen, make the choice yourself, who's stopping you? "Equality" per say is actually not fair on those who think and make better choices.
March 30, 2009 3:57 PM
The Real Meaning of Chosen
Passover is G-d's way of painting a detailed picture of the redemption story that began at Garden of Eden. He promised a Redeemer to Even and out of all the lineages from the earth He chose Abraham's lineage to produce the Chosen One better known to us as the coming Messiah who is His first born who will establish the Kingdom that Adam abdicated.
The story of passover is the complete story of how the redemption would happen in the future by the symbolism of events that gave birth of the nation that will bring about the fulfillment of our great G-d's promises during and after the Adamic period (present age)is fulfilled.
By the way, G-d did not mess with Pharoh's mind but rather He knows man's heart and knows how pride will react to circumstances. There is no mystery that Pharoh, who thought he was god in the flesh to his subjects, would not take kindly to a nation of slaves to tell him what to do. Unfortunately, we tend to humanize G-d and ignoring that to Him there is no past or future, He saw Pharoh's actions as past event typical of a self centered monarch.
March 30, 2009 4:45 AM
More on Chosenness
The idea that Hashem does not choose between His children is a x-tian one and has nothing to do with either reality or Judaism. Hashem has chosen His first born nation to serve Him and to teach His Ways to a world that many times does not wish to hear about G-d. It is this desire to wipe Hashem and morality off of the earth so that they can live a life of unfettered evil that has caused the nations of the world to give the Jews a hard time, since we Jews are Hashem's representative here in this world.
All of this does NOT mean that Hashem does not love all of His creation -- he does and even reprimanded the angels for being happy when the Egyptians had to be destroyed at the Sea of Reeds, for they too were part of Hashem's creation. Judaism is unique among the religions for stressing the fact that a good person who does good deeds will be rewarded by Hashem and is loved by Hashem, even if he or she is not Jewish.
The chosenness of a Jew means that he or she has a "higher calling" and must be a moral example to the world. We must bring Hashem's teachings to the rest of mankind and teach them the way that our Creator wishes His creation to live.
March 29, 2009 9:15 AM
The Concept of Chosenness
Ruth, I read your comment and hear your concern with the word chosen. Chosen does not mean better. We are the chosen people. This means that we have a responsibility to learn Torah, and teach others the correct way of living. We have given so much to the world and have some much more to give. Our choice to make, is whether we want to live up to this responsibility or not?
March 24, 2009 8:17 AM
To #2 And #4: Stay tuned
No you didn't miss the answers. Rabbi Fohrman's style is to present a littany of questions and then answer them all with one overarching approach to the story. It is usually quite compelling and thought-provoking. I am looking forward to future episodes for the resolutuion to these profound questions.
March 23, 2009 3:17 PM
Out-think the Divine?
It seems that 'chosen' refers to the nation of Israel rather than the individual. The prophets all predicted that the nation of Israel must be rsstored and for hundreds of years this appeared totally impossible - but there is no frustrating Divine plans.
March 23, 2009 2:04 AM
Did I miss the answer to the question of why did G-d interfere with Pharoah's free will?
Dr. Robert Haas,
March 22, 2009 8:58 PM
Get out of the box and think as one of the Israelites in Egypt.
If you look at day 4,5 & 6 you will see evolution. If you look at the the egyptian symbol for Yud Yud you find the Hebrew word for I am, the Captain of the Egyptian Ship of the Dead. Then look at our Second Commandment. It behooves to study the history and langusge of ancient Egypy.
March 22, 2009 3:45 PM
into the desert: Exodus
I watched the first of this series and will watch the rest later. In terms of chosen ness, maybe your views will crystallize in later videos. I don't like this word and it had been used to mean so many things such as Chosen, How? We do know the Jews have suffered immensely through history, so chosen takes on new and different dimensions depending on how we view this word itself. Yes, chosen does have the notion of choice, within, and being the "chosen" people has both burden and prized in association.
I am apprised of one thing, and that is, I do believe in equality and that God does not choose among children, and this does imply this. So the meaning must go deeper. I think it is arrogant to hold the view that we, as Jews are chosen, in that sense. Perhaps the message has to do with a learning curve that has to do with arrogance itself, and perhaps we ALL, meaning all people, have to get on our knees and pray together, because truly, in deep and ongoing ways, This is the Family of Man.
As to chosen, then everyone is a Jew and that is another way to view this, if we must. How could that be? Well, through the transmomigration of souls, perhaps it will emerge that we have all been in each others' tents and then, we will truly understand something deep, that is about family, and empathy that is about circulation, as truly as our blood does circulate.
My answer is as follows: we are as the Family of Man, chosen to be born, and what we bear in being borne, is the knowledge that all creation is mirroring in deep ways, Echod.
March 22, 2009 1:10 PM
Fantastic! Mazel tov on the Rabbi Fohrman project. He is among the best.
Display my name?
Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.