Nation vs. Religion

Tzvi Ilan ben Gita update: Thank God, we are seeing consistent progress. He is able to speak more and remembers and follows more of what’s going on. He is also moving more, though he cannot walk yet unaided. He has just started eating real food.

Deuteronomy Hizkuni: Ki Tavoh

Nation vs. Religion

Everyone has got it wrong. And it is this error that has created confusion. People think of and define Jewishness as a religion. In this, they are mistaken. Jews are a Nation.

In a related way, people are making a fatal mistake about Islam as well. When the Jihadists start spilling Christian blood in the streets of Europe, people may realize their mistake – or then again, perhaps not – or maybe we’ll see the resurgence of the Crusaders.

It may not be politically correct, but by calling these Nations “religions” politicians and the media make believe that it is just a matter of spiritual beliefs or ritual practice. They don’t understand that we are talking about National allegiance to a people, a cause and a geopolitical reality. The current nation-states are merely a backdrop to these conflicts.

Nations on the other hand are classically defined as a collection of people within a certain geographic area and/or with a certain common genealogy. Judaism gives great value to both geographic connections (namely the Land of Israel) and genealogy (how many peoples trace their ancestry back thousands of years?). But that is not nearly the whole picture.

“On this day you have become a Nation.”

Deuteronomy 27:9

Rabbi Hizkiyahu ben Manoach makes a very simple statement on this verse. When the Israelites accepted the Torah – that is when they became a Nation. What defines the Jewish Nation are not borders or genetics – it is the allegiance to the Torah – to God’s word and mission for us on Earth.

That is what unites us. It is not the language or the geography or even the common ancestry, though we may share many of those things. It is the commitment to the principles, laws and details of the Torah. The Torah and the Jewish Nation have transcended empires, continents and time itself. Jews individually and through their ethical teachings have served as a beacon of light to civilization and history. That’s a Nation I’m proud to be a part of.

May we always be united in our nationhood and call a spade a spade.

Shabbat Shalom,



To the Rebbe of the Shomer Emunim. He has been preaching some of the above for many years now. Especially the doom and gloom bits of the coming global clash between Islam and Christianity – over Israel. Don’t say you weren’t warned…

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