Imagine waking up one morning and seeing the main street in your community bedecked with banners and posters heralding the visit of an important person. As the days go on, a giant stage is constructed in the main plaza and large bleachers are installed to enable the citizens to partake in the welcome for the distinguished visitor. Great and dazzling lights are installed along with a state-of-the-art sound system. The greatest musicians and singers of the day are lined up to perform in honor of the guest.
Without knowing the identity of the person for whom all these arrangements are being made, one can nevertheless make the following assumptions: 1) This is for an important person. 2) Those behind the arrangements are enamored of the person. 3) The extensive arrangements are being made to convey to the dignitary how important and beloved he is to them. 4) Those in charge of the arrangements think beyond themselves and are focused on bestowing goodness on another.
Imagine waking up one morning and seeing the main street in your community bedecked with banners…Understanding that the above scenario is a Mashal, a parable, consider the import of the words of the Gemora in Sanhedrin (37a). After explaining reasons as to why Hashem created one man from whom all mankind descended, the Gemora says: Therefore, a person is required to say “The world was created for me.” Rashi explains that each of us is a singular creation and all of the cosmos was brought into being just for us, as it was for Adam HaRishon, the very first human being.
This is a concept that requires analysis. Rather than viewing ourselves as one among seven plus billion people sharing the land, water and other resources of the planet and the universe beyond, we are to feel that all of creation was brought into existence just for me, as if I am Adam Ha Rishon. When the sun comes up in the morning, the wind blows gently and the trees provide shade and fruit, it was all prepared just for me.
Therefore, a person is required to say “The world was created for me.”The message is clear – each individual is important, significant and enough of a distinguished and noble person that the works of creation are renewed each day just for him or her. Hashem values us and considers each of us a being of great significance. His love for us is what motivated Him to create everything just for us. He wants us to know and appreciate how highly He regards us. Along with being part of a family, a community, a city and a country, each of us is the singular individual worthy of the entirety of the world’s creation and continued existence.
Thinking of our children, and returning to the original scenario depicted above, we should feel empowered to adjust our attitude when challenges arise. Our impatient, stubborn and possibly annoying child or student is not merely an insignificant little inhabitant of a crowded world, but is a celebrity for whom Hashem has created mountains and oceans and planets and galaxies. Much more than even a royal welcome for a passing guest, Hashem has created a palatial universe to cater to the needs of this child.
…Hashem has created a palatial universe to cater to the needs of this child.When viewed through such a lens, we have a major paradigm shift. We are dealing with a little person whom Hashem deemed important enough to have created everything just for him. We may not be able to hold this thought through every encounter with our children, but this awareness in the back of our minds can be of great assistance as we go through the struggles and challenges of raising Hashem’s children.
With the Yomim Tovim behind us and the school year ahead of us let us recommit to maintaining and strengthening our connection to Hashem by emulating His attitude towards our children. By focusing on the esteem in which He holds them, we will better be able to guide them, nurture them and help them find their way in His world.
Best wishes for a wonderful Shabbos,
Rabbi Kalman Baumann