Vayera/Chayei Sarah

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It's My World

By: Rabbi Barak Bar-Chaim

“…each and every person is obligated to say: The world was created for me.” (Sanhedrin Ch. 4 Mishna 5)

The above Mishna stresses the uniqueness and importance of each one of us. It declares that human beings are not merely a spec of cosmic dust in the infinite universe. Human beings are, in fact, the focus and central point of the universe. We are to remember that our lives and actions are meaningful and impactful.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov explains that this teaching broadens our level of responsibility and concern from our own personal lives and circumstances to the entire world. He states: “It emerges that if the world was created for me, I am required to constantly be aware of what I can fix in the world, that I must fill the lack in the world, and that I must pray for others.” If I view the entire world as being created for me, then I also feel a responsibility to make MY world a better place.

Rebbe Nachman teaches us that there is always something we can do. Even in circumstances where we are powerless to correct a difficult situation, there is still something we can do. We can always pray to God for the welfare of others. Our forefather, Abraham, views the welfare of the entire world as his responsibility. He assists wayfarers with both their physical and spiritual wellbeing. When Abraham hears that God plans to destroy the city of Sedom, he becomes the defense attorney of the city and pleads with God numerous times to save the people of Sedom from destruction.

We all have the tendency to be insular and focused primarily on our own personal life situations. We sometimes become oblivious and, worse yet, indifferent to the plight of others around us. Abraham challenges us to broaden our vision and to view the entire world as ‘my world’. Abraham challenges us to act and pray for the welfare of everyone!