“If I am not for myself, who will be? But if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?”
These Jewish words date back some 2000 years and summon us to reach beyond ourselves with caring and kindness. In Hebrew we call it Tikun Olam-“fixing the brokenness of our world.”
A congregant has written the following:
“This election has really put me in a bad state of mind. And I’ve been thinking of how I can get involved in things that matter and make a difference. (What can I do) to do something and feel a part of something positive? I need to get proactive and make a difference now…!”
Yes, there is something positive that we all can do that will make a difference. On Sunday morning we will come together for Mitzvah Day. We will share in a number of activities that involve outreach to local organizations that address the needs of so many unfortunate and needy people. Join us, young and old, as we affirm that goodness will prevail and that we can surely make a difference in one another’s lives, and in the lives of those beyond our walls.
And there is something else that we can do that will take us out of ourselves and connect us to other well-intentioned people. This coming week our congregation will be preparing close to 1000 Thanksgiving meals for people who are not so blessed as us. Join us for cooking, chopping, and all of the other activities that are involved in this great mitzvah of feeding the hungry. While meal preparation will be taking place each evening throughout the week, we especially need people on Wednesday and Thursday morning. Come alone. Come with your children. Come and feel a part of something significant and worthy.
No, none of us can solve the compelling need and problems of our world alone. But each of us can make a difference, and need to make a difference for our own “state of mind.” For it is not possible to help someone else without helping oneself at the same time. The sage, Hillel, recognized that truth when he wrote: “If I am only for myself, what am I?”