Who Chose Whom?


Did God force the Jews to be a “chosen nation” or did we freely elect to be chosen?  Classical Jewish sources are conflicted as to the answer to this question. In this resource, learners will study multiple Jewish sources as springboards for analysis and discussion; students are introduced to a variety of contemporary views of chosenness as diverse as Golda Meir, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Sampson Raphael Hirsch.  Using the talmudic/midrashic texts as primary sources, this lesson suggests having the students write an investigative journalistic report such as a newspaper article on who chose whom. Yet another interactive activity utilizes the two aggadic sources as a basis for artistic expression (visually or linguistically through song, poetry, etc.)

The learner will:

  1. Understand the implications of God choosing the Jewish people versus the Jewish people choosing God

  2. Know that the concept of “chosenness” has meant different things to different Jewish thinkers throughout Jewish history and will know how some of the classical and contemporary sources address the concept.

  3. Be able to formulate and share personal responses to the different perspectives studied in this resource

When you click on the Jewish Education by Design resource link featured above, you will find the following educational building blocks for the creation of a lesson plan:

  1. Essential questions that get to the “heart” of the learning

  2. A hook/s to open the lesson in an engaging fashion and spark the learners’ curiosity

  3. In depth discussion questions that are designed to elicit conceptual thinking and personal reflections about the featured source/s

  4. Suggested activities that enable the students to both process and apply what was learned in a thought provoking and creative fashion

Student handout of sources; writing and art materials for student responses to sources

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