Exploring Judaism

This site is dedicated in memory of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg who were murdered at their Chabad House in Mumbai. This is the place to learn more and ask those questions you were always too shy to ask.

Dear scholar, I have been starting to learn more Talmud and try and strive to learn more in general but I can't help feel hopeless at times. The Talmud has a statement that one must consider that the world exists in their merit but yet we must be humble at all times. How can one reconcile these two opoosites?


Dear Adam , this is a very good question. Allow me to answer this in this manner and if you have any further questions please let me know.

The world was created for me:

This is a popular statement taken from the Gemora Sanhedrin 37A, have you ever asked yourself what this means? Was the world really created for me?
The Rambam(1134-1204) translates this to mean that that every person should feel that the world is in a perfect balance,by us doing good we tip it towards the good and G-d forbid when we do bad we tip it in favor of bad. Therefore the world depends on our action alone.

This places a great responsibility of us all, we have to bear this in mind the whole time. The great Mussar sages said that at all times a man must walk with 2 pieces of paper in their pocket. One saying "The world was created for me" and in the second, "I am nothing, we are but dust of the earth." We have to remember that we were created from the dust and we will return to the dust. The Baal Shem Tov in Tzava'at HaRivash states " One must not think by worshiping with deep contemplation that that makes you better then another. We are equal to all other creatures who were created to worship Him." The only difference is we have intellect and have to use it, or we are lower then a worm which does its service perfectly.

In modern society there is a growing problem of arrogance. people have decided that some people don't deserve to live, others decide they are better then everyone else. They forget the bigger picture, they were just given bigger tools but that doesn't mean they are worth more. We all depend on each other, you can't unscrew a screw with a toothpick.

We need to find a balance as we all know that we can't have arrogance and humility. It says that G-d can't be found in a place where an arrogant person is.
Regard yourself as nothing, as the Gemara (Sotah 21b) interprets the verse “Wisdom shall be found from ‘nothing.’” (Job 28:12). This means that you are to regard yourself as if you are not in this world, thus “what is there to gain from people esteeming you?

We have to realize we have a job to do in this world. When we do what we are here to do then the world was created for us but when we fail then we have we are lower then any other creature.
We need to find a balance, we need to remember we have a job to do in this world but yet not to get carried away. When we start to get arrogant then we must remember that we were created from dust.


Adam said...

Very well written Rabbi! Its a great idea to think of that because of my actions the whole fate of the worlds depends, how could one sin with this in mind.

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