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Why Was the Torah Given to Israel?

Israel is the Creator’s virtue, as it is said, “To be a virtuous nation unto Him.”

Midrash Tana’im, Devarim [Deuteronomy], Chapter 14


Why was the Torah given to the Israeli nation without the participation of all the nations of the world?” The truth is that the purpose of creation applies to the entire human race, none absent. However, because of the lowness of the nature of creation and its power over people, it was impossible for people to be able to understand, determine and agree to rise above it. They did not demonstrate the desire to relinquish self-love and come to equivalence of form, which is adhesion with His attributes, as our sages said, “As He is merciful, so you be merciful.”

Thus, because of their ancestral merit Israel succeeded, and over 400 years they developed and became qualified and sentenced themselves to a scale of merit. Each and every member of the nation agreed to love his fellow man.

Being a small and single nation among seventy great nations, when there are a hundred gentiles or more for every one of Israel, when they had taken upon themselves to love their fellow person, the Torah was then given specifically to qualify the Israeli nation.

Baal HaSulam, “The Love of the Creator and the Love of Others”


Rabbi Elazar, son of Rashbi (Rabbi Shimon Bar-Yochai), clarifies this concept of Arvut even further. It is not enough for him that all of Israel be responsible for one another, but the whole world is included in that Arvut. Indeed, there is no dispute here, for everyone admits that to begin with, it is enough to start with one nation for the observance of the Torah for the beginning of the correction of the world. It was impossible to begin with all the nations at once, as they said that the Creator went with the Torah to every nation and tongue, and they did not want to receive it. In other words, they were immersed in the filth of self-love up to their necks, some with adultery, some with robbery and murder and so on, until it was impossible to conceive, in those days, to even ask if they agreed to retire from self-love.

Therefore, the Creator did not find a nation or a tongue qualified to receive the Torah, except for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, whose ancestral merit reflected upon them, as our sages said, “The Patriarchs observed the whole Torah even before it was given.” This means that because of the exaltedness of their souls, they had the ability to attain all the ways of the Creator with respect to the spirituality of the Torah, which stems from their Dvekut, without first needing the ladder of the practical part of the Torah, which they had no possibility of observing at all.

Undoubtedly, both the physical purity and the mental exaltedness of our Holy Fathers greatly influenced their sons and their sons’ sons, and their righteousness reflected upon that generation, whose members all assumed that sublime work, and each and every one stated clearly, “We shall do and we shall hear.” Because of that, we were chosen, out of necessity, to be a chosen people from among all the nations. Hence, only the members of the Israeli nation were admitted into the required Arvut, and not the nations of the world at all, because they did not participate in it. And this is the plain reality.

Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut [mutual guarantee],” Item 19


It is written, “Ye shall be Mine own treasure from among all peoples.” This means that you will be My treasure, and sparks of purification and cleansing of the body shall pass through you onto all the peoples and the nations of the world, for the nations of the world are not yet ready for it. And at any rate, I need one nation to start with now, so it will be as a remedy for all the nations.

Baal HaSulam, “The Arvut [mutual guarantee],” Item 28


Judaism must present something new to the nations. That is what they expect from the return of Israel to the land! It is not in other teachings, for in that we never innovated; we were always their disciples. Rather, it is the wisdom of religion, justice and peace. In this, most nations are our disciples, and this wisdom is attributed to us alone.

Baal HaSulam, “The Solution”


The Assembly of Israel is the essence of the entire reality, and in this world, this essence is poured out in the actual Israeli nation, in its corporeality and spirituality, in its genealogy and its faith. The Israeli history is the essence of the ideal of the general history, and there is no movement in the world, in all the nations, whose similitude is not found in Israel. Its faith is the finest essence and the source that imparts the good and the idealism unto all the faiths. Thus, it is the force that questions all the terms of faith until it leads them to the degree of a clear language, for all to call the name of the Creator, “And your God is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth.”

Rav Raiah Kook, Orot [Lights] 138

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