Kyrie Irving is the latest celebrity to dabble in antisemitic tropes, when he recently shared an Alex Jones tweet accusing Jews of being part of a mastermind cabal to take over the world. While that’s an absolutely insane and false accusation, this trope exists because admittedly, there are a lot of Jews in positions of power and success and those numbers outweigh our tiny size. And that leaves us with a perplexing question- why have Jews throughout history made a significant mark on humanity? Some of the most impactful men in world history – Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Marx, Freud, Einstein – were Jews.
Compare that to another people who are small in size, highly persecuted and scattered around the world – the Romani people. Like the Jews, there are about 14M and change for this people. But unlike the Jews, you rarely hear from them, because they behave like you’d expect a tiny persecuted people to behave- not making too much noise.
So how do we explain why Jews somehow are on the front page of every newspaper and Israel is discussed way more than we’d expect it to be? I believe the answer can be found in this week’s parsha – Lech L’cha. In it, God gives Abraham a blessing:
I will bestow My blessing upon you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sands on the seashore; and your descendants shall seize the gates of their foes.
Now this blessing has always bothered me, because Jews have never been numerous. So is God just a liar? I recently got to thinking about what a desert, pre-electricity would look like. It would have stars and sand everywhere – absolutely everywhere. The Jewish people- like those stars and sand also seem to be everywhere. But it’s our small size that makes our ubiquity a miracle.
Being blessed to be in the limelight does not make us automatically better. In fact, if we commit crimes, which thankfully isn’t too often in our community, those crimes will also be in the limelight. For Jews, this blessing is a responsibility, to use our limelight to make a positive impact on the world and not, God forbid, a desecration of God’s name. For non-Jews, we should not be blamed that we are always in a place where we are seen. There is no cabal working to take over the world, we are merely beneficiaries of a blessing that’s been playing out for millennia.