Section: Daas Torah   Category: Pearls Of Wisdom
Rav Meir Shapira - Blaming All The Jews
The gemara Yevamos (61a) says "אתם קרויים אדם ואין עכו"ם קרויים אדם", only a Yehudi is called "Adam" and not a non-Jew. Why is this? Are non-Jews not people?

Rav Moshe Shternbuch says that the gemara is not focusing on the term "Adam" but rather the word "Atem", the plural form of "you". The whole Klal Yisroel together is called "Adam", a single individual made up of many parts. We may be spread around the entire globe but we still remain one. Non-Jews do not have this intrinsic unity. Even among a single nation living together, the pain of one does not evoke a cry from another. The plural word for a many Jews remains Adam, a single Jew, while the plural term for many Jews is no longer the singular Adam but rather the plural form Anashin, many people.

Rav Shternbuch cynically says in the name of Rav Meir Shapira that even the non-Jews apply this principle. When a single errant Jew commits any crime, "the Jews" are to blame. However even when many non-Jews of the same persuasion commit a string of atrocities, no one would dare blame their entire ethnic group. Each crime is considered an isolated incident and the person is judged only as an individual and not as a member or product of their upbringing or associations.