Why are we called “The Chosen People”?
The Bible describes the purpose of the Jewish people in the following terms (Isa. 43:21): ‘This people I [God] have created for Myself, My glory shall they tell.’ This is the fundamental purpose of the Jewish people: to declare the glory of God in the world–to promulgate faith in God, to demonstrate His supervision and guidance over the world, and to encourage service of God.
Historically, this is also what the Jewish people have done. They brought moral monotheism to the world, and, by means of the religions that derived from Judaism (Christianity and Islam), the great majority of the world now believes in one God (Rambam makes this point). Their very survival as a nation, in spite of their long exilic condition, is a point of great wonder, and demonstrates the guidance of God over the world.
This is the meaning of the Chosen People. They have been chosen by God as the nation whose purpose it is to reveal God to the world, and, as such, they have been chosen to enjoy a special relationship with God.
Concerning “chosenness,” Lord Immanual Jacobowitz, former Chief Rabbi of the UK, put it as follows:
“Yes, I do believe that the chosen people concept as affirmed by Judaism in its holy writ, its prayers, and its millennial tradition. In fact, I believe that every people – and indeed, in a more limited way, every individual – is “chosen” or destined for some distinct purpose in advancing the designs of Providence. Only, some fulfill their mission and others do not. Maybe the Greeks were chosen for their unique contributions to art and philosophy, the Romans for their pioneering services in law and government, the British for bringing parliamentary rule into the world, and the Americans for piloting democracy in a pluralistic society. The Jews were chosen by God to be ‘peculiar unto Me’ as the pioneers of religion and morality; that was and is their national purpose.”
Another aspect of the Chosen People is the Torah we were given. The special relationship we enjoy with God, which comes together with the unique purpose of the Jewish People, is placed into action by means of the Torah we perform. As it were, the relationship is latent in the Torah we received at Sinai, and it therefore defines our “chosenness.”
There is much more to be said about this topic, but I hope that this gives some inkling of understanding into the matter.