Thursday, June 30th | 2 Tammuz 5782

September 15, 2014 6:52 am

The Secret of Jewish Immortality

avatar by Ronn Torossian

Albert Einstein. Photo:

In 1898, perhaps the greatest American writer ever, Mark Twain, provided the following timeless quote about the Jewish people:

“If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in the world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?”

As right as Mark Twain was, Albert Einstein was also right when he said, “There are two things that are infinite, the universe and man’s stupidity….. And I am not sure about the universe.” Indeed, worldwide throughout history there has been an obsession with the Jews – and today, that obsession often amounts to undue attention being paid to Israel.

As the Torah said to the Jewish people, Chazak Ve-ematz: be strong and have courage. Thankfully, in this generation there are many strong, tough Jews who continue to stand up for the Jewish people. There are perhaps many answers for the continued strength of the Jewish people – from religion to tradition to self-pride, but what is clear is that the Jewish people are omnipresent.

The Jewish people live.

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