The Haftorah of Vayikra begins with G‑d describing the Jewish people as “This nation whom I formed for Myself.”1 G‑d thus proclaims that all Jewish men, women and children, at all times and in all places, are unique in that we are His nation.

As the Haftorah reading is to be “in the spirit of the Torah portion,”2 we must understand the relationship between the Haftorah and the portion Vayikra. Specifically, what is the connection between the opening words of the portion, “And He called to Moshe,”3 to the first phrase in the Haftorah, “ This nation whom I formed for Myself.”

Additionally, why does G‑d refer to the Jewish people as the nation whom He formed for Himself, rather than employing more commonly used expressions, such as “created” or “made”? And why does G‑d allude to us here as His nation, and not as the Children of Israel or the like?

The fact that G‑d considers the Jews to be His nation implies the essential relationship that exists between a king and his people. For a nation can be considered such only when it has a ruler, and a king can be a sovereign only when he has subjects over whom to reign.

Thus our Sages state:4 “There can be no king without a nation.” This means to say that the very sum and substance of a king — not only his majesty and glory — depends on having subjects. Consequently, G‑d, as it were, is wholly dependent on the Jewish people in order for Him to be King.

Accordingly, even before a king issues decrees to his subjects there must be an essential relationship between the two. Only as a result of this association can the king issue decrees relating to the conduct of his people.5

The leading verse of the Haftorah also serves to inform us that being G‑d’s nation is not something that is subject to change, for it was brought about by G‑d Himself — “This nation whom I formed.” Just as He is immutable, so too are His choices.

As a result, after G‑d gave the Torah (at which time the Jewish people accepted His sovereignty for all time), each and every Jew became a full partner in the Jewish nation, and thus caused G‑d to be King, for “there can be no king without a nation.”

In other words, anyone who was born Jewish or was properly converted needs no other qualifications to be considered part of “this nation whom I formed;” his essential relationship with G‑d is not determined by his level of performance of Torah and mitzvos. In the words of our Sages:6 “A Jew, although he sinned is still a Jew.”

Although a king is incomparably loftier than his subjects, his subjects must be similar to him in some way, for only then can he reign over them. A human being, for example, can only rule over other humans and not over animals.7

This being so, one would think that any comparison, as it were, between G‑d and the Jewish people exists only on the essential level of the Jew — where every Jew is “a part of G‑d above,”8 and where “G‑d’s nation is part of Him.”9 On a revealed level then, this could only take place when a Jew reveals this intrinsic level through his service of Torah and mitzvos.

The verse forestalls this error by stating “This nation whom I formed,” rather than “created” or “made.” By doing so it tells us that even the revealed form and shape of this nation and all its individual components are similar to its King. This is because G‑d formed us “for Myself,” so that even our revealed form would always be consonant with G‑d Himself.

As a G‑dly people, even the revealed form of the Jews is inherently G‑dly, in keeping with the saying of our Sages10 that the Jewish people have three natural identifying traits: “They are compassionate, demure and perform acts of loving kindness.”

This loving relationship between G‑d and the Jews is also alluded to in the opening words of Vayikra , where the verse says: “He called to Moshe” — “called” being an expression of love.11 Moreover, the verse does not name who did the calling,12 for G‑d’s call to Moshe and the Jewish people as a whole is from so lofty a level that it cannot be limited by a mere name13 — similar to the relationship between “this nation” and “Myself.”

Based on Sefer HaSichos 5750, Vol. I, pp. 378-384.