“G-d gave the Jews a unique merit to receive the 613 commandments which have great reward, whereas non-Jews only have 7 biblical commandments with which they can earn their share in the world to come. But I always understood that G-d loves all people, they’re all his children. So why did he give us a more elevated status with 613 mitzvoth? Isn’t it discrimination?”
Rabbi Daniel Balas answers:
Greetings Tali, and thank you for your question.
First of all I’d like to stress the difference between Judaism and all other religions vis a vis the world to come. Christianity claims that a ‘non-believer’ is relegated to eternal damnation in purgatory and even Islam has similar requirements to believe in Mohammad or else. These false religions have written off billions of people to eternal and endless cruelty in the world to come and this proves their falsehood.
As you know these religions are based on Judaism, our Torah and our coming out of Egypt and G-d’s divine revelation to the entire Jewish nation at Mount Sinai where we received the Torah. They deal with and quote our Holy Scriptures and prophets on a constant basis, whereas Judaism doesn’t quote or show an interest in the other religions, their writings or their prophets which are but a poor imitation of our genuine article. They unfortunately have not learned from us the values and character development the Torah bequeathed to all of mankind.
Truth is recognized through its inherent rightness. Judaism is the sole religion that treats all of humanity justly and teaches that all the nations have a share in the World to Come as long as they are upright and righteous. The more good they do the greater the reward and G-d doesn’t deny anyone his due reward. (Bava Kama 38b) Any non-Jew can merit the title ‘Saint of the World’s Nations’ if he is righteous and he will merit a portion in the World to Come.
The truth of Judaism is further reinforced by its stark contrast to the other religions in that we don’t chase after new members to join Judaism; we have no membership drives and no missionaries to ‘spread the light’ looking for new believers. The ones who merit being Jews are those who pursue truth and seek it out like the treasure that it is like the words of King Solomon: “If you seek it like silver and search for it like treasures, then you will understand the fear of G-d and knowledge of the Lord you will find.” (Proverbs 2, 4)
Now there are 4 main reasons not giving the Torah to the nations is not discrimination:
1) G-d doesn’t give people a gift they don’t want:
Let’s ask in all seriousness, if G-d came down right now to Mount Sinai to give the 613 commandments again, this time to the nations, do you think they would accept the mitzvoth and appreciate the great gift they are receiving and thank G-d for it? Would all the European Catholics happily forego eating shrimp and bacon? Would they stop lending with interest and stop touching women other than their wives? Would they start keeping Shabbat
avoiding all forbidden labors? Would the Muslims gladly start wearing Tefillin and Tzitzith? Would they build a sukkah on Sukkot and eat matzoh on Passover? Would they honor their wife as themselves and make times for daily Torah learning? For them all these things would be the biggest emotional and physical punishment possible!
The Ramban (Nachmanides) had a famous debate with the Christians in which he pointed out that Jews are recognized and distinctly apart from all the nations in their entire way of life; their clothing, speech, learning and all their daily actions from morning to night. Whereas most European nations live their lives without religion; religion when they practice it has no bearing on their daily life.
The merchandise shows the integrity of the merchant. The false other religions like Christianity and Islam don’t require a person to change his life drastically for they’re actually looking for those who don’t believe in it and aren’t interested in it. Billions of people accepted Islam or Christianity precisely because they didn’t want true change in their lives which they would have to do to serve G-d. The illogical and lowly hate the nations have for the Jewish nation for millennia to this day shows their rejection of the Torah and its mitzvoth otherwise they would admire and seek closeness with the nation that fulfills the Torah from G-d, and want to partake of its knowledge and adapt its character development for themselves.
“G-d checks the heart and investigates (the counsel of) the kidneys”. (Jeremiah 17, 10) G-d knows the hearts of man and therefore he doesn’t appear to those who aren’t interested in Him and doesn’t give commandments to the nations who aren’t prepared to sacrifice to merit G-d’s closeness. For this reason G-d waited over 2,000 years from the beginning of creation until the Jewish nation was born which was prepared to and desired to fulfill the Torah and answered G-d with the most beautiful words: “Everything G-d spoke, We will do and we will hear”. (Exodus 24, 7)