The King’s Hidden Treasures

September 6, 2017 at 2:26 AM , , ,

“…G-d has set you apart this day to be His treasured people, just as He spoke concerning you…” – Devarim 26:18

וה’ האמירך היום להיות לו לעם סגלה… ולהיתך עם קדש לה’ אלקיך כאשר דבר” – דברים כו, יח”

What is the meaning of G-d setting the Jewish people apart as His “am segulah,” “His treasured people”?

Rashi (on Shemos 19:5) explains: [Segulahmeans,] “a cherished treasure…. costly vessels and precious stones, which the kings stow away. Likewise, you will be treasured by Me more than the other nations.”

Treasures

This comparison of the Jewish people to treasures that the kings stow away is precise.

The significance of these precious treasures is precisely in the fact that they are stowed away, and are not intended for use.  These “costly vessels and precious stones” do not fund the king’s domestic programs or military campaigns, nor do they add beauty to his crown or palace. They are collected and saved for no purpose other than their very being—for the king to own them and delight in them. In fact, the king’s possession of such national treasures, amassed simply for the sake of the enjoyment he derives from owning them, is part of what makes him a king—it contributes to his personal sense of kingship and eminence.

This is the significance of G-d’s setting apart the Jewish people as His “treasured nation,” meaning, that their preciousness transcends even the “purpose” that they serve. Certainly, through the observance of G-d’s commands, the Jewish people reveal G-d’s reign throughout the world, thereby expanding His “kingdom”. The essential identity of a Jew, however, is not the purpose he serves, but the delight that he brings G-d simply by his existence. Like the hidden treasures of a king, a Jew’s very existence is a source of delight for G-d, even prior to his fulfillment of G-d’s demands of him.

-Likutei Sichos, vol. 24, p. 162-164

 

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