Jewish Superiority: Rejected by the Rabbis
Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim
I was just listening to a shiur by Rabbi Israel Chait where he quotes Abraham the son of Maimonides. Abraham cited the discussion between Chazal and the Greeks regarding astronomy. Chazal had the ability to defend their position, but they did not, and admitted that the Greeks had greater knowledge than they had: "Their knowledge is better than ours." The was stated by Judaism’s wisest men, not by today’s foolish and arrogant Jews. Chazal fulfilled the mishna in Pirkei Avos 5:7, that a chocham is one who admits the truth, with no concern whether he is defeated. Social status plays no role in the chocham's pursuit of truth.
Again we find support that the Jewish soul is not superior than any other soul.
I also find this debate about the superiority of souls to be completely baseless. If one would tell you that A's soul is round, and B's soul is square, you would reply that this is a ludicrous statement, since the concept of shape is inapplicable to a metaphysical soul, and that which is metaphysical cannot be detected by our senses. Therefore, man cannot make any statement about a soul. This includes shape, color or its imagined capacity to be superior or inferior to another soul. How can one suggest that “capacity” even relates to souls? Man has no way to gauge this! Therefore, it is foolish to quote even an ancient rabbi (not that ancient authors are more correct) who defends the view of a Jewish “superior soul,” since any defense requires reason, and there is no basis in reason to claim Jewish soul superiority, nor is there any tradition that says so. Additionally, rabbis are not infallible, so one might be quoting a rabbi with an incorrect notion.
Maimonides teaches that any human being who enters the world has equal potential (Shmitta v'Yovale 13:13). Without evidence, reason or tradition to claim otherwise, human equality goes unchallenged as the true reality.