Dalai Lama: Are Jews the chosen people? | David Wolpe and Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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March 21, 2022
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Dalai Lama: Are Jews the chosen people? | David Wolpe and Lex Fridman

TL;DR

Judaism exemplifies both a particularist and universalist tradition, emphasizing the chosenness of the Jewish people while acknowledging the inherent chosenness in other cultures and religions as well.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How does Judaism reconcile the inherent chosenness of the Jewish tribe with the power of other tribes?

Judaism acknowledges that before any specific people or tribe, all individuals are human beings. The Torah begins with Adam and Eve to emphasize the universal nature of humanity. While Judaism emphasizes the chosenness of the Jewish people, it also recognizes the chosenness in other cultures and religions.

Q: What is the significance of the Jewish New Year starting with the creation of the world?

The Jewish New Year's focus on the creation of the world reflects the universal statement that all of humanity is in the image of God or children of God. It highlights the belief that Judaism is a particularist tradition with a universal message.

Q: Is the concept of chosenness in Judaism meant to imply superiority?

No, the concept of chosenness in Judaism does not equate to superiority. Historically, during times of persecution, Jews may have attempted to assert their superiority as a form of psychic revenge. However, the core Jewish belief is that different peoples have different missions, and they are not inherently better or worse than one another.

Q: How does the Dalai Lama perceive the concept of chosenness?

When Rabbi Jonathan Sacks met with the Dalai Lama, the Dalai Lama asked about the concept of chosenness. Rabbi Sacks explained that Jews believe they were chosen for a specific mission in the world, but that does not diminish the chosenness or importance of others. The Dalai Lama responded by saying that his own culture also believes they are chosen for their own purpose.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Judaism does not only focus on the power of the Jewish tribe but also recognizes the importance of all humanity as children of God.

  • The Jewish New Year starts with the creation of the world, emphasizing the universal statement that all of humanity is in the image of God.

  • The concept of chosenness in Judaism does not imply superiority, but rather signifies the unique missions and roles of different cultures and religions.

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