Chapter 4: A Nation on a Mission
The Role of the Jewish People
The Legacy of the Jews
The Jews that remained in Babylon after the ruin of the First Temple developed a flourishing community that spread throughout the Persian Empire. Later, when the Second Temple was ruined and the Romans conquered the land of Israel, the Jewish people lost its sovereignty over the land.
But the conquest of the Jewish people introduced the world to two tenets that were to become the basis of all three predominant, aptly named “Abrahamic” religions: “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and “monotheism,” meaning that there is only one God, one force governing the world. These notions are paramount to the success of the correction of humanity because when understood correctly, the former defines the mode by which we will achieve correction—through loving others, and not kin, but our neighbors, meaning strangers. The latter defines the essence of our attainment once we are corrected—the singular force of reality.
Accordingly, Professor T.R. Glover from Cambridge University wrote in The Ancient World, “It is strange that the living religions of the world all build on religious ideas derived from the Jews.”[i] Likewise, Herman Rauschning, a German Conservative Revolutionary who briefly joined the Nazis before breaking up with them, wrote in The Beast from the Abyss: “Judaism, nevertheless … is an inalienable component of our Christian Western civilization, the eternal ‘call to Sinai’ against which humanity again and again rebels.”[ii]
The exile of the Jewish people from the Land of Israel was a long process by which Jews, and therefore Jewish values, were gradually absorbed by their host nations. Yosef Ben Matityahu, better known as Josephus Flavius, the Romano-Jewish historian, describes the expulsion of the Jews by the Romans at the beginning of the exile. In The Wars of the Jews, Flavius writes, “And as he remembered that the twelfth legion had given way to the Jews, under Cestius their general, he expelled them out of all Syria, for they had lain formerly at Raphanea, and sent them away to a place called Meletine, near Euphrates, which is in the limits of Armenia and Cappadocia.”[iii]
In Chapter 3, Flavius elaborates, “For as the Jewish nation is widely dispersed over all the habitable earth among its inhabitants, so it is very much intermingled with Syria by reason of its neighborhood, and had the greatest multitudes in Antioch by reason of the largeness of the city, wherein the kings, after Antiochus, had afforded them a habitation with the most undisturbed tranquility.”[iv]
Today, narrates author Yaakov (Jacob) Leschzinsky in The Jewish Dispersion, the Jews have spread the world over, and at a surprising pace. “When we scan the diaspora of Jewry over the entire globe and throughout the entire civilized world,” he writes, “we are surprised to see that this nation, which is almost the most ancient in the world, is in truth the youngest in terms of the land under its feet and the sky above its head. Because of the relentless persecutions and forced expulsions, most Jews are but recent newcomers to their respective lands of residence. Ninety percent of the Jewish people have lived in their new homes for no more than fifty or sixty years! (The Jews) are dispersed over 100 lands on all five continents.”[v]
Interestingly, their mingling with other nations is precisely what was required to complete Moses’ corrections. While it is true that, as long as Israel was apart from other nations, the above-mentioned tenets at the heart of Judaism could not be tainted, it is also true that the Jews had much to gain from their exile among the nations. This is why the Book of Psalms (106:35) tells us that the Jews were exiled to “Mingle themselves with the nations and learn their works.”
[i] Terrot Reavely (T.R.) Glover, The Ancient World (US: Penguin Books, 1944), 184-191.
[ii] Herman Rauschning, The Beast From the Abyss (UK: W. Heinemann, 1941), 155-56.
[iii] Josephus Flavius, The Wars of the Jews, Chapter 1, translated by William Whiston in The Works of Flavius Josephus (UK: Armstrong and Plaskitt AND Plaskitt & Co., 1835), 564
[iv] William Whiston, The Works of Flavius Josephus, 565.
[v] Yaakov (Jacob) Leschzinsky, The Jewish Dispersion (Israel, World Zionist Organization, 1961), 9.