Moses Cared for Gentiles

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim

Observe Torah faithfully, for that will be proof of your wisdom and discernment to other peoples, who on hearing of all these laws will say, “Surely, that great nation is a wise and discerning people.” (Deut. 4:6). 

One might read this to mean Moses wants the Jews to be revered. But Moses also said this:

Let not the Egyptians say, “It was with evil intent that He delivered them, only to kill them off in the mountains and annihilate them from the face of the earth.” Turn from Your blazing anger, and renounce the plan to punish Your people” (Exod. 32:12).

The latter verse expresses Moses’ concern that after the Jews’ sin of idolatry (worshiping the Gold Calf) that God not annihilate the Jews, as this would give Egypt the wrong impression of God. Moses cared for all humanity…even those who enslaved his own people for 210 years. With the same care that gentiles revere God, Moses told the Jews (Deut. 4:6) that following the Torah will give gentiles a great impression of God, through a “wise and discerning people.”  Moses said that gentiles—“who on hearing of all these laws”—will be impressed. God is the source of the laws. The gentiles’ are impressed by the Jews, but only due to the Jews having selected to follow “these laws.” Gentiles would be equally impressed by any people who follow Torah. The Jew is conditional, and not inherent in the gentiles’ respect of God.

Following Moses’ concern for others, all Jews today should care to make an impressive example to gentiles. We represent God’s Bible. We must adhere to it and be courteous, generous, patient, charitable, just, kind, honest, and respectful to all people. Bible (Torah) is intended for all people, and we must share its teachings in words, and in actions.