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In Isaiah 42:6 we read

I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and have taken hold of thy hand, and kept thee, and set thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the nations

I have seen it argued that it is a responsibility for Jews to act as example to the people of the world. Based on the fact that throughout global history Jews have had a very minor influence, and even today there are billions of people who have never heard of or are at best only remotely aware of the existence of Judaism at all, I would like to know if any Rabbinic authority has written on the subject of the seeming failure of the Jewish people to successfully be a light to the nations?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Yishai, Shokhet, Gershon Gold, HodofHod, Daniel Oct 20 '14 at 22:42

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    How many places didn't hear of "The Bible" or of the Koran (both of whom were influenced by us). See Rambam at the end of Hilchos Melachim – Shmuel Brin Oct 20 '14 at 18:25
  • @ShmuelBrin currently, several billion in China and India for starters. But in any case hearing about a book(s?) is the definition of success in being a light to the nations?!? – user6641 Oct 20 '14 at 18:45
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    @user6641, not sure you really can fix the question. Any answer is a matter of opinion. Nothing really wrong with the question, but not every question fits here. – Yishai Oct 20 '14 at 20:18
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    @user6641, yes, that would certainly be an objectively answerable question, although you might consider phrasing it more neutrally (e.g. "... on the subject of whether or not the Jewish people have successfully been ...") – Yishai Oct 21 '14 at 1:48
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    @user6641 I doubt you'll find anyone who considers our task to already be a closed book. – Charles Koppelman Oct 21 '14 at 21:56
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in this phase of history we are supposed to be working on being good students not good teachers.

the messianic era is when the Jews will be the teachers of humanity and the light unto the nations.

source

Rabbi Uziel Milevsky, former chief rabbi of mexico

http://dafyomireview.com/audio/m04-3_flaws_of_man_and_role_of_jews.mp3

nevertheless, he brings some examples of how judaism has successfully influenced the world, the concept of ethical monotheism - it all comes from us.

  • by ethical monotheism do you mean as mandated in the 7 Noahide mitzvot? I don't believe there is or has ever been any significant amount of people who practice that. – user6641 Oct 20 '14 at 18:24
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    @Shokhet I am aware, which is why I wrote "significant amount" – user6641 Oct 20 '14 at 18:47
  • @user6641 see the lecture where he quotes the sefer ikarim on certain aspects of christianity and islam – ray Oct 20 '14 at 20:15