Sources

Raison D’etre as a Nation

Our tradition teaches that every human being is created in G-d’s image (Genesis 1:27), and is required to behave morally (by keeping the Noahide laws, as in Tosefta Avoda Zara 9:4). G-d’s decision to give Torah to the Israelites was in no way intended to exempt the rest of humanity from moral behavior. Rather, Israel was given Torah in order to facilitate the morality of all peoples:

“And you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (19:6).”
And all the people answered in unison saying: ‘All that the L-rd has spoken we will do.’ ” (Exodus 19:8)

Just as a kohen (priest) facilitates the spirituality of others, so must a nation of priests facilitate the spirituality of other peoples. The Torah commentator Sforno elucidates: “You will be a treasured nation when you are a…

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Prayers

Prayers, Tears and Feelings can have considerable cosmic influence

  • If Noah had asked G-d for mercy, there would have been no flood (Kedushat Levi : Noach, first article)
  • On three occasions G-d accedes to Moses’ requests not to destroy Israel  (Exodus 32, Numbers 14, Numbers 16)
  • Jeremiah tells the exiles: If you had cried even once in Zion, you would not have been exiled (Midrash Tehilim 137:1)
  • Rabbi Meir’s prayer leads to the repentance of criminals (Babylonian Talmud, Brachot 10a)
  • Rabbi Eliezer’s sorrow about being shunned wreaks destruction, which is only contained by Raban Gamliel’s prayer. (Babylonian Talmud, Baba Metziah 59b)
  • “The blessing of an ordinary person should not be taken lightly…The curse of an ordinary person should not be taken lightly” (Babylonian Talmud, Megilah…
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