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Secret of the Jews

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

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons

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?

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