21 And who is like Your people Yisrael, a unique nation on earth, whom Hashem went and redeemed as His people, winning renown for Yourself for great and marvelous deeds, driving out nations before Your people whom You redeemed from Egypt.
u-MEE k’-a-m’-KHA yis-ra-AYL GOY e-KHAD ba-A-retz a-SHER ha-LAKH ha-e-lo-HEEM lif-DOT LO AM la-SUM l’-KHA shaym g’-du-LOT v’-no-ra-OT l’-ga-RAYSH mi-p’-NAY a-m’-KHA a-sher pa-DEE-ta mi-mitz-RA-yim go-YIM
כא וּמִי כְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל גּוֹי אֶחָד בָּאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ הָאֱלֹהִים לִפְדּוֹת לוֹ עָם לָשׂוּם לְךָ שֵׁם גְּדֻלּוֹת וְנֹרָאוֹת לְגָרֵשׁ מִפְּנֵי עַמְּךָ אֲשֶׁר־פָּדִיתָ מִמִּצְרַיִם גּוֹיִם׃
17:21 And who is like Your people Yisrael
In this verse, Israel is referred to not only as a “people” but as a “singular nation on earth.” Throughout history, the unique character of the Jewish people has been variously described, by friend and foe alike, as a people, a nation, a religion and even a race. It is hard to pin down the exact nature of the Jewish people, but it certainly seems to contain elements of both nationality and spirituality that deeply connect Jews with one another. During the first bloody week of the Yom Kippur War, a soldier stationed on the Golan Heights asked Prime Minister Golda Meir about the many casualties Israel had suffered, “I know we will win, but is all our sacrifice worthwhile?” The Prime Minister replied, “If our sacrifices are for ourselves, then no. But if for the sake of the whole Jewish people, then I believe with all my heart that any price is worthwhile.” Her message was that the State of Israel would serve as a safe haven not only for Israelis, but for the entire People of Israel all over the world. Indeed, “who is like Your people Yisrael”?