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Jews and the Social Contract

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Chapter Summary

Jews have experienced minority status probably more than any other people on earth. Indeed, at the very beginning of their history as a people, Moses tells them, "you are the smallest (ha-me'ath) of all the people" (Deuteronomy 7:7), which turned out to be as much a prediction of their future. It is this experience of being a minority, and the experience of negotiating social contracts in public, that enables Jews to understand why they need a social contract and why that social contract be one they participate in rather than one they assimilate into. But in a world in which every people is becoming more and more of a minority, and in which more and more people want to partake of a democratic social contract, the experience, reflection, and reasoning of the Jews is something that can truly influence and instruct many more people than just the Jews themselves.

Keywords: Jews; Moses; social contract



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