(by Yehuda HaKohen)


"`You have seen what I did to Egypt, and I have borne you on the wings of eagles and brought you to Me. And now, if you hearken well to Me and observe My Covenant, you shall be to Me a Segula of all nations, for Mine is the entire world. You shall be to Me a Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the Children of Israel." (SHEMOT 19:4-6)


Before bestowing Israel with the Torah at Sinai, HaShem commands Moshe to relate these instructions to the entire Hebrew Nation. The words are in fact a prerequisite understanding for receiving the mitzvot as only through comprehending the function of Israel can we hope to fully grasp the Torah's true objective.


The holy Ohr HaChaim writes an extensive description on the word Segula, for which he brings three basic definitions:


  1. The Segula is something special possessing supernatural properties, meaning that it is beyond what is commonly viewed as normal. The Segula of Israel is something illogical to human wisdom built into the system of nature.


  1. Israel is a Segula when compared to other nations, who worship idols of one form or another while only Israel serves HaShem directly.


  1. There are sparks of sanctity that are scattered throughout the world. These sparks cannot be gathered together without the Hebrew Nation and its preoccupation with the Torah.


Israel, as a sovereign and unified national entity in the Land of Israel, is to act as a magnet that will attract sparks of holiness from wherever they exist.


The Kingdom of Israel is to become a healthy concentration of sanctity in this world and the Torah is the instrument enabling the Jewish Nation to fulfill this Divine charge.


Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook writes that the holiness and Divine connection of Am Yisrael is made up of two main components – the Segula and free will.


The Segula is Israel's absolute inner essence that does not depend on an individual's behavior or awareness.


It is the eternal national Covenant between G-D and Israel that no man has the ability to negate or interfere with; the holy power that HaShem infused into the nature of Clal Yisrael – Israel's collective soul – and it, like the nature of all else in existence, cannot be altered.


This supports the Mishnaic teaching that all Israel have a share in the world to come.


Just by virtue of being linked to the absolute Divine, every Israeli has an eternal connection to the Infinite.


The inner Segula of Israel is generally revealed only to the extent that a Jew's free will facilitates its expression.


Its manifestation is therefore normally dependent on belief in HaShem, fulfillment of mitzvot and the study of Torah.


Because Israel possesses this Segula – the potential to bring great blessing to the world – we must work to manifest this blessing through our individual and collective behavior.


The Hebrew Nation was created with the ability to shine a tremendous light to the world that will uplift all of Creation to its highest potential.


While all Jews possess this unique Segula regardless of whether or not one ever actualizes his true potential, a healthy person who understands this responsibility will naturally strive to realize and live up to this ideal to the extent that is possible.


The more one understands this unique ability, the more he desires to display it in his life.


This manifestation of Divine energy is accomplished through the performance of the individual mitzvot in all of their details.


Although there are times in history where the Segula is able to override personal choice (such as the dawn of the Zionist movement), the role of Israel's free will is to recognize and reveal this Segula's innate holiness by conducting personal and national lives in accordance with G-D's Torah.


When one uses the power of choice properly, he opens a valve that brings Divine content to flow through the world.


Each mitzvah is a finite vehicle that infuses immense light into our current reality, like a faucet connected to a pipe full of blessing that enters the world through each precept carried out.


This blessing then raises the world to a higher and truer plane of existence, thus improving and illuminating it through the mitzvot performed by G-D's treasured Nation.


Every time an Israeli studies a word of Torah, plants a tree in his country or gives charity to the poor, Divine goodness is added to the world as the quantity of poverty, hatred and disease is reduced.


This idea can be understood through an historic example.


For much of the period that Jews were in exile from Eretz Yisrael, the world was trapped in what is referred to as dark ages.


Advancement in the fields of medicine, culture and technology was halted as senseless violence and disease plagued civilization.


But as soon as the Hebrew Nation began to trickle home to our native soil, a world of wisdom and ideals began to flourish throughout the entire globe.


Science began a rapid advance as mankind suddenly became more idealistic and humane.


For the first time in history, warfare – rather than glorified – became viewed as a negative (although often necessary) human trend.


Mass movements were formed and revolutions took place geared towards rectifying the ills of modern society.


HaShem created this world in order to reveal a certain ideal that manifests itself through Israel living a national life of Torah in our land.


While the Segula of Israel is eternal and unchangeable, the Hebrew mission is to reveal it on the highest level possible in order to assist humanity in attaining a perfect world.


The Torah is not a "religion" relegated to the houses of study or prayer.


Nor is it some set of rules merely limiting a person's individual life.


In truth, the Torah is diametrically opposed to the Western understanding of personal religion.


When realized in its grandeur, Israel's lofty national mission of being a "Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation" will demonstrate to the world that the Divine expression in our lives is not limited to individual behavior.


The Torah encompasses all of national and even international life, including the most complex aspects of our existence.


There are laws of war, laws of government, laws of agriculture and laws for running a healthy economy.


This reality is in direct opposition to the belief of man-made religions that the physical realm is unable to be elevated and that religious life must be kept separate from matters of state.


In direct contrast to the Western line of thinking, the Torah standard of Am Yisrael existing as a holy Nation necessitates the sanctification of every element of individual and national life.


This lofty ideal manifests the Oneness of G-D that encompasses both the spiritual and the physical spheres of Creation.


This is the Divine Ideal, revealed even before the Ten Commandments, that constitutes the very essence of Israel's national configuration.


And this represents the major difference between the Judaism of exile and the Torah of Eretz Yisrael.


In order to advance the Hebrew Nation forward in achieving our lofty mission in this world, we must contribute to building the holy Kingdom of Israel that will revolutionize human thinking and shine blessing to mankind.


It is our task to establish a perfect society, built on the truth of Torah and love for HaShem's creations that will be an example of Divine goodness to the whole of humanity.


Shabbat Shalom.

With Love of Israel,

Yehuda HaKohen

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