What is a treasure?
I can treasure something. Some people treasure cars, others shoes. More often people treasure not that which is the most costly but that which was given to them. They then hold in their hands a keepsake. The possession acquires value because of the giver rather than because of its monetary value. My most valued kiddush cup is not that which is even the most beautiful but that which was given to Susie and me by her grandparents and which served the family for several generations.
I can treasure a book, the Torah. I wonder. Does it matter which scroll I read or is it the words that I spend my years examining and pondering that are the more important and therefore the most treasured?
I can treasure someone. Most treasure family, a spouse, children, parents and grandparents. I wonder. Do their actions make me treasure them less? If I become disappointed with them do I love them any less? On the contrary, if they do something which makes me proud do I treasure them even more? I think not. They are treasured because of who they are. They can do right or even wrong, but they are family and will always be treasured and loved.
So too the Jewish people. In the Torah we are called God’s treasure, an "am segulah," a treasured people. Is God’s love dependent on what we do? “And the Lord has affirmed this day that you are, as He promised you, His treasured people… (Deuteronomy 26:18) We are treasured because God promised. The giver grants sanctity. The giver lends meaning to the treasure.
The cup with which we sanctify Shabbat reminds me of our grandfather.
And yet the verse continues: “…His treasured people who shall observe all His commandments.” Grand expectations are placed upon our shoulders. We expect so much of those we love.
Are we loved any less if we fall short?
Not by God. But most certainly by ourselves.