Apr 4, 2011

Mi K'Amcha Yisrael

I think we need to be discerning about when we exclaim, "Mi K'Amcha Yisrael," when we are amazed by what Jews do.  The words mean, "Who is like Your nation, the Jewish people."  There are certain things that are exclusively Jewish or almost exclusively Jewish, but then there are things that although they are impressive, are done by other people too.

I think martyrdom for the sake of Hashem would be a good example of something special about the Jewish people.  Although there are some non-Jews who gave up their lives for their religion, the vast numbers of Jews who died al kiddush Hashem rather than convert supersedes anything we know of among other people.  Simple Jews, learned Jews, pious Jews, not that observant Jews, whole communities died al kiddush Hashem again and again over the centuries.  We don't see this with any other nation.

I've been thinking about this because I read about US Marines who were posthumously awarded for allowing themselves to be killed by a grenade to save their buddies.  This immediately brought to mind the story of the Israeli soldier, Roi Klein, who jumped on a grenade to save his fellow soldiers.  I was taken aback.  Apparently, I was under the impression that what the IDF soldier did was uniquely Jewish. 

We know from Chazal what traits are uniquely Jewish.  Chazal say we are "maaminim bnei maaminim" - believers, children of believers, and Chazal say that Jews are: rachmanim, bayshanim, and gomlei chasadim (compassionate, inhibited due to their refinement, kind). 

Can you think of examples of "Mi K'Amcha Yisrael"?


  1. Jews are known to get up in the middle of the night or stay up until the middle of the night to study Torah. While charitable and giving people can be found in all societies, I can't think of any group who puts so much emphasis on the continual study of their religious works except for Jews. That such a thing as a kollel exists where Jews devote themselves entirely to learning rather than to chasing the almighty dollar, does not exist among other people. It requires sacrifice that most people are not capable of but the Jewish people make a priority of it. What other army on the planet regards the study of Torah to be integral to their protection?

  2. Good example :)
    Although there are people of other religions who piously study their religious texts, it's vastly different with Jews.

  3. After going to a funeral because one heard that the deceased had no children or family & suddenly seeing dozens or hundreds of fellow Jews.

    1. Dozens or hundreds comlpete* strangers* to the deceased