GOOD MORNING! Here is the second part of Rabbi Noah Weinberg's article on "REPAIRING THE WORLD!" If you would like to see the whole article online, go to: http://www.aish.com/societyWork/society/World_Repairs.asp.
If you are really serious about fixing the world, you won't just mail a check. Beyond the 10 percent commitment of money, there's another aspect: a 10 percent commitment of time. You'll join an organization. Many of the world's great revolutions have succeeded by strength in numbers: the civil rights movement, women's rights, or even Save the Whales.
What if no organization exists? Then create it. The Talmud (Baba Batra 9a) says: "Greater than one who does a Mitzvah, is one who causes others to do a Mitzvah." If you really want to be effective, wake others up to the problem, and mobilize their efforts.
Imagine that a child is sick with a rare disease. If it is an acquaintance, you'd probably say, "Oh, that's terrible." Now if you ask yourself: "Okay, what am I going to do about it?" your answer will probably be, "Me?! What can I do about it?" However, if you really care, you could truly do a lot. If it was your cousin, you'd take some personal responsibility, perhaps researching information on the Internet. If it was your own child, you'd leave no stone unturned.
I know a young couple -- he's a businessman and she's a doctor. They found out that their two young children had Gaucher disease, a debilitating condition that is handicapping for life, and sometimes fatal. So what did they do? Together they founded an organization, committed to finding a cure for Gaucher disease. She conducted the medical research and he raised the money.
There was no guarantee of success. But inasmuch as it was their own children, there was no alternative but to try. And the Almighty helped them. After six years, they developed a synthetic enzyme which can effectively treat the condition - and their two children became the first in the world to have a hopeful prognosis. If you want to make a difference, it's possible.
Beyond the basic responsibility of tzedakah is rachamim, "mercy" --caring about others personally and getting involved. You can walk around claiming to be a good person, but unless you feel it inside, you're not really there.
That is why the Torah juxtaposes the command to "Love your Neighbor," next to the prohibition "Do not stand idly by while another is in need" (Leviticus 19:16-18). Don't cruise through life as if it's some obstacle course: watch out, here's a human being, manipulate him, push him, score a point, one-upmanship. That's not the way. You have to share the burden of your fellow human being.
The Talmud asks, "Why was Adam created alone? So that every person should say, 'The entire world was created just for me.'" This is a recognition that everything -including the needs of every other human being - was created for you. We are all caretakers of this world and responsible to deal with the problems. Everything on earth, problems as well as beauty, offers an opportunity for you to connect and to grow. Every person you encounter is there for a purpose. If someone needs help, it is your challenge.
Look around at absolutely everything and ask, "What is this saying to me? Why was this sent as part of my path to perfection?" Empathize with the victims of society. Empathize with the victims of crime. Empathize with the victims of terrorism. Empathize with the victims of discrimination. Feel the suffering of people you will never meet - the plight of strangers halfway around the world.
How do you become real with the suffering of others? To understand the problems encountered by a blind person, for example, try blindfolding yourself for a day. Or go to the hospital and visit patients who have lost limbs. Share the burden.
Ultimately, every human being is striving for universal perfection. We have a Divine Spark that yearns to make a difference in the world. We all care. We just need to focus our attention. Tikkun Olam means committing oneself to solving the world's problems. If everyone would give 10 percent, there would be no problems in this world -- no hunger, no cancer, no homelessness.
Once you acknowledge that you are responsible for the whole world, only one question remains: What will you do about it?
For starters, here are a few places to make a diffence:
When you care about problems, you'll set priorities, organize, and make the sacrifice. And with the Almighty's help, you will change the world.
Portion of the Week
This week's Torah reading is an architect's or interior designer's dream portion. It begins with the Almighty commanding Moses to tell the Jewish people to bring an offering of the materials necessary for the construction of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary.
The Torah continues with the details for constructing the Ark, the Table, the Menorah, the Tabernacle (the central area of worship containing the Ark, the Menorah, the Incense Altar, and the Table), the Beams composing the walls of the Tabernacle, the Cloth partition (separating the Holy of Holies where the Ark rested from the remaining Sanctuary part of the Tabernacle), the Altar and the Enclosure for the Tabernacle (surrounding curtains forming a rectangle within which was a large area approximately 15x larger than the Tabernacle).
based on Growth Through Torah by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin
The Torah states, "And the Almighty spoke to Moshe saying, 'Speak to the children of Israel that they take for me an offering" (Exodus 25:1,2). What lesson can we learn from the Torah portion of Trumah following the Torah portion of Mishpotim?
Rabbi Yosef Dov Soloveitchik, comments that Mishpotim teaches that a person's money must be his according to the dictates of justice and the letter of the law. Trumah deals with donations to charity. Before a person gives money to charity, he must be very careful that his money was not acquired by cheating anyone else. If a person gives charity by stealing from others, his charity is not considered charity. A Mitzvah that someone would fulfill by means of violating other commandments is not considered a good deed.
When it comes to doing good deeds, the ends do not justify the means. Both the ends and the means must be in accordance with the dictates of the Torah.
CANDLE LIGHTING - February 15:
(or go to http://aish.com/candlelighting)
Guatemala 5:48 Hong Kong 6:02 Honolulu 6:12
J'Burg 6:32 London 4:57 Los Angeles 5:19
Melbourne 8:00 Miami 5:56 Moscow 5:16
New York 5:13 Singapore 7:03
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
Sometimes the only reward
of taking the easy path
is that it's easy...
For All Your