TEXT: Another [Baraitha] taught: 'For it is a statute for Israel'; this tells me only that Israel [are judged]; how do I know that this applies also to the [other] nations of this world? Because it is written, an ordinance for the God of Jacob'.
How is it that the statement "God of Jacob" seems to be used as the prooftext showing that the judgment applies to the nations of the world ? As far as I can find, this expression does not seem to be used in other contexts (Psalms, Talmud) to indicate anything about the nations of the world.
Thanks for your help.
Jonathan Brodie, Potomac,
The first part of the Pasuk mentions Yisrael as the subject of the justice; it is a day of justice for the People of Israel. The second part of the Pasuk does not mention any subject. Instead, Yakov is used simply as an adjective; "the G-d of Yakov judges." The Gemara infers from this the subject of the second justice is not Israel; it must then be the other nations.
Why is Hash-m called "the G-d of Yakov" when judging other nations? Perhaps in order to show that His judgment of the other nations revolves around Yisrael; have they helped Yisrael accomplish the task of Tikun Olam that is incumbent on them, or not? That is also part of the reason that "Yisrael is judged first, and only afterwards are the other nations judged," as the Gemara here says. This is what the Gemara means when it says "any retribution that strikes the world is only because of Yisrael" (Yoma 63a) and many other similar statements. It is the G-d of Yakov that judges the other nations.
Why Yakov as opposed to Yisrael? Because Yakov is the name of our forefather that is used when he has a job that can be done through the cooperation of the other nations. (After all, it was chosen because "Esav's hand was holding the heel of Yakov", symbolizing the contribution of other nations to Yisrael). The name Yisrael ("You have fought with angels and people and overcome them") represents a higher level, the part of our job that can be done only by us.
Best wishes for a Chag Kosher v'Same'ach,