A Private Covenant

“Judaism speaks of the Torah as a private covenant with the Jewish people: ‘He has revealed His word to Jacob, His laws and decrees to Israel. He has done this for no other nation.’ (Tehillim 147:19-20). On the other hand, it projects the values of Torah against the backdrop of mankind. ‘Observe them carefully’, says Moses about the commandments, for this is your wisdom and understanding in the eyes of the nations. They will hear all these rules and say: This great nation is surely a wise and understanding people.’ (Devarim 4:6). A Jewish perspective is both inward and outward, concerned to maintain a critical distance from other cultures while at the same time engaging their attention and ultimately admiration. To be a Jew is to be a witness to the world of the presence of God.”

Tradition in an Untraditional Age, pp. 110-111