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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A Simple Jew said...

I must sound like a broken record now always quoting Degel Machaneh Ephraim, but I thought you should see this

Anonymous said...

Very nicely written and explained. Really made a difference to me.

Chaim B. said...

See Likutei Moharan kamma torah #5.

Dagy said...

Nicely brought out. If I may, I'd like to add by making a point with different perspective.

More then the fact that all of creation till this second has someway influenced and brought about our own individual life with it's purpose. It still doesn't negate the existence of another.

In other words, one can take it from a very self centered perspective even with the loftiest understanding of what it means that the world was created for him.

Yet, we can look at it from a more objective view. Just as the world (and all the events that transpired till now) was created
just for me, so too was it created just for you, and there's no contradiction. Hashem has orchestrated everything in a way that we each have our own specific tasks that only we can do, and no one else. On the other hand, we are all part of one, and we can't be complete without each other.

With this in mind we can add one more element to Privilege, Responsibilty, and G-D's Love for You. There's a forth element of Humility, which one experiences upon contemplating how though we have our own mission, we are in reality small compared to the giant picture, and small compared to all that was done by all our predecessors before us and for us. For only through true humility can we all unite, and even our individual mission (b'shvili nivra ha'olam) can't be complete without it.

I hope my hackacheinik hasn't bored anyone too much, and hopefully there's some meaning and truth to what I wrote.

Anonymous said...

Yasher Koach!

DixieYid (يهودي جنوبي) said...


I had the opportunity to discuss the piece in Likutei Moharan that you so kindly quoted the other day (#5) with a Breslov meshulach at the grocery store last night. He said that Rebbe Nachman was saying that when one internalizes the feeling that bishvili nivra ha'olam, then one begins to feel an achrayus for the effect one has on the world. Just as when one with a very important job in this world is filmed and watched doing his job by everyone, he feels the importance of doing the job, doing it right, and doing it with a simcha and a geshmak, so too it is with us when we realize that the whole world is counting on us to do our mitzvos. The feeling of achrayus will instigate me to do my job better and with more simcha, because I recognize its importance. Yasher koach for sharing that ma'areh makom!

-Dixie Yid

Chaim B. said...

R' Nachman says something that I have not seen elsewhere (but which is very much in keeping with other pieces in Lik"M): one has a responsibility to pray for the world. Tikun ha'olam does not just mean *acting* properly, or acting to improve the world, but tikun ha'olam means asking Hashem through tefilah to make the world a better place.
Simcha is not just about being happy that you are doing your job in the world or for the world. Simcha (as R' Nachman explains there, os beis) is a baramoter of the degree of dveikus and hiskashrus the oseh hamitzvah has with Hashem, which itself is a reflection of the hiskashrus of the Shechina with the world (since bishvili nivra ha'olam, my relationship with G-d is really the same as G-d's relationship with the world as a whole.)

Anonymous said...

I'm Completely impressed. Not only is this written extremely well, but it brings out a great point!

Nice Job!

tzvi hirsh said...

Very well put including everything in the world, however you didn't answer your question (and as you are trying to show the value of a person, however I think you are somewhat degrading it).
Your question was how can it be said that the whole would is made for me, if their are other people also?
Your answer was that, that person's life has a affect of my life in some small way, and that is the reason that all the people in the world were created.
Your answer didn't answer you question,
How can you say that the reason of someone else's creation is for me, if you tell that to him also? If you say that I was created for him then he doesn't need me as his reason for being created, he is the reason that I was created!

To understand the statement of our sages, we can look at their source which they quot, G-d made only one person when he created the world. This shows that the whole world was made for one person.
This leaves us, however, with a paradox, G-d DIDN'T create more people so we should know that the world was all for one...but why was it all those people's fault that they weren't created? Wouldn't it be just as important to create all those people that g-d could have created?
So that is the answer to the riddle, there is no appreciation or respect to anyone in the world if you don't appreciate one person,
if you really appreciate one person in the whole world, you appreciate every one.
It would be just as accurate to say that no one in the world was created for anyone else.
So the whole world was created for me means that I (just like everyone else) am so important that if I don't appreciate myself I don't appreciate anything.
(This is one reason that the bible says that a person that murders gets the death sentence. He doesn't appreciate his life and his stadias legally in Talmudic terms is not living, so anyone that kills him is exempt.)
Hopefully through our respect for one another we will merit to see the coming of the messiah!