The Rainbow People: Part 2

Dear Friends,
As some of our previous letters indicated, we have a covenant with the Compassionate One which defines our purpose within the Promised Land: to create a model society which can become a source of inspiration for all the nations. As we shall discuss in future letters, the abandonment of this covenant causes us to go into exile in order to experience a period of suffering and purification that will lead us to “fully” return to the path of the Compassionate One and thereby experience the full redemption and ingathering of all our exiles. If, however, we needed to go through a period of suffering and purification, then could not this suffering and purification have taken place within the Promised Land?  The Talmud cites the following reason in the name of Rabbi Elazar as to why the People of Israel were exiled among the nations: “In order that converts should attach themselves to them” (Pesachim 87b).
The noted commentator on the Talmud, the Maharsha, explains that we were exiled among the nations in order make them more aware of the belief in the Compassionate One; moreover, through their encounter with our people, some individuals will be inspired to join us through becoming converts.
Converts therefore have a major role in the Divine plan for the “firstborn child,” and the following teaching can serve as a reminder:
The Compassionate One said to Avraham, our father: “All the families of the earth shall be blessed through you” (Genesis 12:2) The Hebrew word for “will be blessed” in the above verse is v'nivrichu. This word can also mean “to be grafted on” or “to join”; thus, the Talmud interprets this Divine promise in the following manner: “All the families of the earth will join you” (Yevamos 53a). The biblical term “families of the earth” usually refers to the peoples of the earth.  In what way will all the peoples of the earth join Israel - the people of the covenant - that will emerge from Avraham? The Talmud explains that this is referring to converts from all the peoples that will join the People of Israel, and the Talmudic sage, Rabbi Elazar, cites as examples two famous female converts in the biblical period. He states:
“What is the meaning of ‘all the families of the earth will join you’? The Holy One, Blessed be He, is saying to Avraham: ‘I have two good grafts to graft on to you - Ruth the Moabite (the great grandmother of King David) and Na'amah the Ammonite (a wife of King Solomon and mother of King Rehoboam).’ ”
According to this Divine promise, the people of the covenant will not be limited to a single race or nationality, for this people will include converts from all the families of the earth. This people will be universal not only in its purpose, but in its very composition.
Through Divine Providence, humankind had evolved into a “rainbow” of peoples, and since the story of Israel is to express the human story, Israel is to become a rainbow people that has representatives from all the peoples of the earth. In addition, having representatives from all the peoples will enhance Israel’s ability to serve as a social model, for when the other peoples see Israel, they will be seeing themselves. In other words, the converts make it easier for the other peoples to identify with Israel.
Another benefit that the converts bring is that their willingness to join us through accepting the Torah and its path of mitzvos often inspires us to rededicate ourselves to our own mission. This is a theme of a book titled, “Gifts of a Stranger,” by Ahuvah Gray, an African American woman and former Christian minister who converted to Judaism. (For further information, see the “Related Comments” at the end of this letter.)
Yes, we are to absorb converts from all the peoples, and according to the Netziv, a noted 19th century sage and biblical commentator, an allusion to this universal role appears in the following Divine proclamation to our people, after we arrived at Mount Sinai: 
“And now, if you listen well to Me and observe My Covenant, you shall be to Me a treasure from all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine.” (Exodus 19:5).
In what way is Israel to be a “treasure from all the peoples”? The Netziv explains that through fulfilling the Covenant of the Torah, Israel is to become a “treasure” of the Compassionate One that will absorb converts from all the peoples.
Shalom, and a Chodesh Tov – a Good Month!
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen  (See below)
Related Comments:
Rabbi Natan Gamedze is a convert to Judaism who was an African prince. For information about him or to invite him to speak, visit his website:   . An interview with Rabbi Gamedze, when he was living in Tsfas, appears on the following site:  
The following are recommended autobiographies by converts to Judaism. They are former Christians who accepted our pure belief in the Compassionate One, and they began to pray directly to the Compassionate One like we do. They joined our people through accepting the Covenant of Torah and its path of mitzvos.
1. “Gathered Stones” by David Starr-Glass - The story of a Scotsman's journey to Judaism. He now lives in Jerusalem.
2. “My Sister the Jew” by Ahuvah Gray - The story of an African American woman and her journey to Judaism. She now lives in Jerusalem. (For further information or to invite her to speak, visit:   )
3. “Gifts of A Stranger” by Ahuvah Gray –  In this book, Ahuvah Gray tells about her moving experiences as a lecturer and teacher “after” her conversion. In addition to her work as a tour guide in Israel, she travels around the world in order to share her story and spiritual insights.
The above books are distributed by Feldheim:  

Hazon - Our Universal Vision