In the preface to this important book, David Sears, author of The Path of the Baal Shem Tov: Early Chasidic Teachings and Customs, writes: "The Torah instructs the Israelites to be a 'light unto the nations,' a model of spirituality and moral refinement that will inspire the rest of the world to turn to God of its own accord. This is one of the main forms of kiddush Hashem sanctification of God's name." Jews for centuries have maintained their particularity for the benefit of all humankind.
This anthology of texts and quotations from the Talmud, the Jewish sages, and contemporary rabbinic leaders sets before us "certain universalist and humanistic components of Judaism." Chapters on "Judaism and Non-Jews," "The Chosen People," and "The Messianic Vision" reveal the depth dimensions of compassion as a central motif in this religion. For example, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson lifts up and accentuates a legacy of the chosen people that is very significant: "The Jew, through his Divine service, demonstrates that the spiritual and the physical can be brought together. The mundane can be sanctified, and everyday life can become holy."