Thursday, May 29, 2008
The Whole World Was Created for My Sake - What Does This Mean to Me?
Guest Post by Lazer Herson, from our Dixie Yid reader's Yeshiva Bochurim division:
I recently took part in a discussion, where the main topic was the Mishnah in Sanhedrin that "Kol Echad V'Echad Chayav Lomar: Beshvili Nivrah Ha'olam" - Every person is obligated to consider himself as the Raison d'Être of the universe. In that discussion, each person advocated his personal take on the mishna. As always - two Jews, three opinions. Some interpretations included:
-Every person has to have a "personal G-D". That is the meaning of "world" in this context.
-Or: Every person must realize that G-D created this world for his pleasure. Ma Rabu Ma'asecha Hashem... etc...
-Or: Purely egotistical. I rule. You have to get out of MY way.
-Or: It is meant to serve as an ego boost when you are feeling blue. On the flip side, one must also keep in mind that: "Ani Afar V'Efer" - I am nothing but dust and ashes in the grand scheme of things.
-Or: the Gemara's take on B'Shvili; Namely, that every man is a potential progenitor of the entire world, he is therefore the equivalent of an entire world.
-Or: The preferred explanation of my teachers: The shirt I am wearing, the table I am sitting at, and the computer I am using, all were created for me to use to better serve G-D.
Now, it may be just because I heard it from my teachers, but I have a problem with the last explanation: It explains why MY shirt, table, and PC were created, but what about YOURS? Where do they fit in? How do they better enable ME to serve G-D? Do they serve no purpose?
Also, it explains where tangible objects fit in, but what about the intangible? Going by Ha'olam, meaning the WHOLE world, how do the 2008 elections help? A conversation YOU had with YOUR friend? And even more importantly: YOU!! Why were YOU created? If I never meet you, and you have zero effect on my life, what purpose do you serve in this "master plan"??
Thinking about all this, I came up with a slight variation on the theme. Try this one on for size!
Maybe.... Just maybe, the world was created and Adam and Chava placed within it. They had children who had children who had children... etc.... Every event that ever took place was ordained, every encounter pre-conceived, and every life course was mapped out, all that two people should meet, get married, and have a child.
And every human and non-human event, encounter, discovery, sight, etc.. were all put into place to shape my enviroment, friends and family, all to enable me to become a better me!
Just think about the implications!
That conversation that you had with a friend, was to cause someone else to say something to me, and shape MY life! And it can be even more indirect! Think "butterfly effect", where a butterfly in Brazil flaps its wings and causes a tornado in Texas. Think Ian Malcolm's Jurassic Park, or Ray Bradburys The Sound of Thunder!
On the flip side: Think about the *responsibility* involved in this. G-D created this whole world *just for me*. How can I NOT accomplish what I am meant to? What possible excuse is there for not fulfilling my potential????? I'm no longer insignificant me! No longer do I have the *right* to fail! If I'm the linchpin in this whole Dira B'Tachtonim thing, who am I to disregard my divine mission? Are you going to turn your back on 5768 years? On countless people, animals, events, conversations, and wars? Try telling the Dor Hamidbar that they left Eygpt and trekked through the desert needlessly! Try telling the Marranos that their fight was for naught! Try telling any Holocaust survivor you know, that he lived for nothing! See what kind of reaction you get!
There is another element here: Caring. G-D caring. If G-D went through all this effort to set you up in the ideal position to fulfill your mission, you think he isn't watching with bated breath? You don't think he knows and cares about every little move you make?
If you feel all three elements of: Privilege, Responsibilty, and G-D's Love for You, then, in my opinion, you are good to go.
I just wish it was as easy to feel as it is to write....
(Picture courtesy of battin)
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