Look at the title; isn’t this what we all think? The world is in terrible shape; look at what happened in this year alone: People have become mean, hostile, distrusting, and contentious. Look at what happened with the presidential election; look at what’s happening with Covid-19; look at what’s happening on the streets, between Blacks and Whites, the super rich and, well, everybody else, between police and civilians, with unemployment and stimulus packages, and the list is endless. Wherever you look, you find nothing good. The only exception, of course, is me. People are terrible, but I? There is nothing wrong with me. Isn’t this what we all think? And if we all think so, except, perhaps, for very few, is it a wonder that our world is what it is?
In the wisdom of Kabbalah, we look at things quite differently: It is written in the Mishnah (Sanhedrin 4:5), “Each and every person must say, ‘The world was created for me.’” According to the book Likutei Moharan, “It follows that if the whole world was created for me, I have to look and delve into the correction of the world at all times, satisfy the needs of the world, and pray for them.”
In other words, the fact that the world is bad is not because other people are bad and I’m the only one who’s good. On the contrary, it’s bad because I have been negligent in my duty to “look and delve into the correction of the world at all times, satisfy the needs of the world, and pray for them.” That is, it is bad because I am not doing my job; it is my fault that people are suffering.
And when you look into the type of work we have to do in order to make the world a better place, you will find that our only work is to strengthen our cohesion. Nothing else is wrong with the world except for how we relate to one another and to nature as a whole. The wisdom of Kabbalah sees every single person as fully accountable to the state of the world, none excluded. We can tell ourselves a million stories about why we can’t do anything about the world, that powerful people or countries prevent us from connecting, or that they are the true destructors of the world.
These stories may be true, but we still have to ask ourselves if we did our very best where we could make a difference. Because if we didn’t, then we are to blame for the poor state of the world. If we all acted based on that premise, the world would certainly be a great place, and no tycoon or media mogul would be able to change it for the worse. The only thing required for the improvement of our world is our resolve to do so.
Happy New Year.