May 15, 2005

`Am S'gula

Amritas titles his latest post, "Erabareshi Mono", which is Japanese for "Chosen People". That phrase always seemed a little odd to me, because as far as I know, it appears nowhere in the Bible or in any Jewish literature. Certainly, it is not a term commonly used in Jewish literature. I think that the term comes from here:

 וְעַתָּה אִם שָׁמוֹעַ תִּשְׁמְעוּ בְּקֹלִי וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם אֶת בְּרִיתִי וִהְיִיתֶם לִי סְגֻלָּה מִכָּל הָעַמִּים

V`ata im shamoa` tishm`u b'qoli ushmartem et briti vihyitem li s'gula mikol ha`amim

And now if you hear my voice and keep my covenant then you will be to me a treasure from among all the peoples

Exodus 19:5 (also here)

The term `am s'gula (עם סגולה) - a treasure-people is commonly used, but it seems to me that that's not quite the same thing. On the other hand, as you can see a few posts down, there are a few places where Jewish sources talk about the Jews being chosen, but as far as I know, it's always in the context of being chosen for something in particular, not a generalized "chosenness".

Posted by David Boxenhorn at May 15, 2005 12:47 AM | TrackBacks
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The idea of the Jewish people being chosen is right there in every prayer service: "she bahar banu mi-col ha amim" (sorry if I don't remember it exactly). This is NOT in the context of being chosen for something in particular, just in being chosen to be the ones to "get the faith".

Posted by: Dina Q at June 30, 2005 06:03 PM Permalink

Dina, you are quoting from the qidush blessing for holidays, which is exactly what I was referring to in the link. Go and read it, it DOES specifically refer to being chosen to inherit Shabat and the holidays.

Posted by: David Boxenhorn at June 30, 2005 06:24 PM Permalink

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