Recently, the media reported that a letter written by Einstein will be auctioned off on eBay. In this letter written in German, colloquially referred to as his “God Letter,” Einstein states that he is glad to belong to the Jewish people but “they have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups…I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”
Raised as a non-observant Jew, Einstein’s appreciation for Judaism stemmed from something purely cultural. Why he was glad to belong to the Jewish people, when he didn’t care a thing about Judaism I cannot fathom. Of course, if your name is Einstein or Goldstein or just Stein, you might as well claim that you’re a Jew. Once in Jacksonville, Alabama, after introducing myself to two of the biggest “bubbas” in the county, one looked askance (although he would never describe it using that word) at me and asked, “What kind of name is that?” – a sure euphemism for “Are you a Jew?” Now it could have been my nose, but I still think it was my last name.
As a non-practicing, non-believing Jew, Einstein maintained that the Jews possessed no trait that defined them as chosen because he saw the Torah as nothing more than “a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.” Clearly, he had missed the meeting where benefits and special privileges are handed out to card-carrying Jews! Jews still have one of the best dental plans of all modern faiths. And we gave the world Sandy Koufax!
The perception that the chosen nature of the Jew is an inherent, tangible, phenotypical (the visible characteristics of an organism resulting from the interaction between its genetic makeup and the environment) manifestation of the Jew’s spiritual DNA was popular among the aristocratic priesthood during the Second Commonwealth. Even as late as the first century BC, Shammai is famous for his publicly recorded rejection of the potential convert, representing the provincial faction of the rabbinic tradition, while Hillel, his plebeian opponent, is equally as famous for his warm acceptance of converts.
But the tides eventually turned, and with great strength and resiliency being drawn by the opposition from the Book of Ruth which traces the royal lineage of the mighty King David, and thus of the Messiah Himself, to a Moabite woman, the Jewish tradition places no great emphasis on such an interpretation of Jewishness, as Einstein would have one believe.
There’s Catholicism in this message? Well, let’s just say (trite as it may sound) that you don’t have to be Einstein to be a Catholic. No sir. In fact, the USCCB (U.S. Bishops) would rather you not be Einstein. Einstein was Jewish in name only – culturally Jewish. He rejected the faith and all that it had stood 5000 years for. So, when it comes to making really important decisions – please for goodness sake – don’t be like Einstein! Our U.S. Bishops are asking us this November not to be Cultural Catholics. They are prompting us to prepare for the coming November elections by careful study of the issues and daily prayer, especially the daily Rosary, for the intercession of Our Blessed Mother on our nation.