The Noble Among the Nobel

A non-Jew recently wrote to me criticizing Jews for thinking they were chosen and superior.

The response, which I did not bother to write, was simple. Chosen. Yes we are. Superior. To whom?

Our prayers confirm the first. “Asher bachar banu mi kol ha amim”…who has chosen us from all other nations. But chosen for what reason? To be an “or la goyim”… a light unto the nations. To teach the truth to those who walk in darkness or ignorance. Those very men who lead us are called rabbis, which means teachers. Our chosen-ness was in order that we may teach the idea of the One and Only God.

As for superiority we never claimed to be the master race. That was left for the German nation and its people. But we definitely are superior in education than many other larger nations.

The list of Nobel Prize winners bears testimony to that truth. The numbers are astonishing.

Between 1901 and 2015, 850 Nobel Prizes have been awarded. 194 of them were awarded to Jews. That is to say, 22% of all Nobel Prize honorees have been Jews.

Jews comprise less than 0.2% of the world… 1 out of every 500 people. 36% of Nobel Prize recipients have been American Jews. Jews comprise less than 3% of the American population.

Please compare those numbers with the number of Muslims world-wide between the same years 1901-2015 who were Nobel prize recipients. Their numbers are also astonishing.

Over the last 114 years since Alfred Nobel first established the Prize that bears his name, only 11 Muslims have been recipients… 2 for literature, 1 for physics, 1 for chemistry and 7 for the Peace Prize.

Yasser Arafat was one of the latter. A man of peace? Not in the mind of any normal person.

Does that mean that Jews are superior to Muslims in science, mathematics, arts, literature, medicine, etc.?
I’ll leave that conclusion to you. The numbers speak most clearly for themselves.

Back to “the chosen people”. I prefer to use the term “the choosing people”. God chose us because we chose Him.

He offered his laws to the 70 nations which existed. Each nation declined the offer. One nation said “Thou shalt not kill”, but we make our living by killing. We do not accept your law.

Another nation said “Thou shalt not steal” cannot apply to us. We are a people who rob strangers on the highways. That is how we make our livelihood.

Yet another nation said “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. What are we supposed to do with the many idols we worship as gods.
And to each nation the offer was made and each nation declined.

Until God came to the smallest of the nations which listened and which replied “naaseh v’nishma”… we will do and we will hear. First we will observe and do Your commandments and then we will understand them”. We, the people of Israel, chose God to be our God and in return He chose us to be His special people.

As history has tragically shown, we were not chosen for wealth or for power. We suffered for believing in Him and we died as martyrs for His name’s sake.

In the last breath of a dying Jew, he proclaims “Shma Yisrael Adonai Elohenu Adonai Echad”…. Listen (hear) O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One.

In religious belief and many practices, Jews are closer to Muslims than they are to Christians. Both Judaism and Islam are staunch believers in the one-ness of God, whereas some sects of Christianity believe in a Trinitarian God, that idea being rejected by all Jews and by all Muslims.

As a Jew of the people of Israel, I am very proud to be choosing and having been chosen.

As to superiority…. Well, you’ll just have to ask my wife.

About the Author
Esor Ben-Sorek is a retired professor of Hebrew, Biblical literature & history of Israel. Conversant in 8 languages: Hebrew, Yiddish, English, French, German, Spanish, Polish & Dutch. Very proud of being an Israeli citizen. A follower of Trumpeldor & Jabotinsky & Begin.
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