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V'etchanan(Deuteronomy 3:23-7:11)

Secret of the Jews

The prophet Isaiah refers to the Jewish people as a "light unto the nations," and it's no secret that Jews have positively influenced the world. As Mark Twain wrote of the Jew:

"His contributions to the world's list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning, are also way out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers."

Think about it. It's one thing for a people to have great influence, but we would never predict this from a nation that is so "few in number." This dichotomy defies all sociological norms.

Even more amazing: This "heavy influence by a small minority" is predicted in this parsha (Deuteronomy 4:27) which declares:

"You shall remain few in number among the nations where God shall lead you."

Indeed, Jewish history has never gone according to the rules. Two thousand years ago, on the day of Tisha B'Av, the powerful Romans destroyed the Holy Temple and exiled the Jews from the land. If you would have told anyone at that time: "I'll bet you that the Jewish people will survive longer than the Roman empire," what kind of odds do you think you could get? A million to one?

But here we are, 2,000 years later, thriving in our land. What is the secret of the Jews?

Published: May 6, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 10

(7) Anonymous, August 7, 2014 1:34 PM

Great!

This is great! Thank you so much for posting it!

(6) Carole, August 4, 2012 1:55 PM

G-d's Chosen

The secret of the Jews is no secret. You are G-d's Chosen People. When you followed the Law and G-d, you could not be beaten. When you fell into the ways of the world and did what you were commanded not to do, G-d removed His hand from you. This has happened over and over and over again throughout history. I think this is something that needs to be remembered TODAY. Your Messiah is almost here. Remember your history; believe that with G-d nothing is impossible for His people.

(5) Anonymous, August 10, 2011 11:57 PM

two cents

Indeed, the Jews have positively influenced the world. What is amazing is that those of the other nations not only lack gratitude for it, but also are all too willing to frame the Jewish people in the worst light. Live long enough & you will not be allowed to forget that.

(4) Wilhelm Figueroa, July 19, 2010 3:45 PM

The secret of the Jews

What is the secret of the Jews' immortality? The answer, in great detail, is found in a book called Torah. That is the secret, that is the answer as to how and why we exist to this day despite the million to one odds. Twain's essay appeared in a Harpers magazine article in the late 1890s. It makes for great reading.

(3) Grace Fishenfeld, July 19, 2010 12:29 PM

Responsibility

Jews accept and respect other religions. On one foot, Hillel gave up the secret of the Jews to the world. The Jewish mind and heart is open and understands that individuals can make Choices. Free will gives to the Jewish people the responsibility to follow a productive path. We know that it is up to us to fix what is broken and to help others. It is our law.

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