The Entire World was Created Solely for Me
The holy Torah ends with the words, “That Moses performed before the eyes of all Israel” (Deuteronomy 34:12), and it begins with the words, “In the beginning [bereshith] G-d created.”
From this we learn what the Sages have said in various places (Bereshith Rabba 1:4 et al.), which is that the world was created for the Torah (which is called reshith) and for Israel (which is called reshith). This is the meaning of the expression, “before the eyes of all Israel – In the beginning [bereshith] G-d created.” All Creation is for Israel.
Just where do these words of our Sages lead us? In Sefer Yetzirah, it is stated that man is a microcosm of the world, meaning that everything found in the world is found in the body of man. The Sages have also mentioned this in the Talmud (Nedarim 32b). Consequently, a person should realize this fact and constantly be engaged in personal introspection with a humble and contrite heart. He should think, “I am like a world, and if I want the world to be in a good state, I myself must properly maintain my own world. But is that possible? Can I accomplish my task in this world? Was G-d correct in having created me? Perhaps it would have been better had my soul remained under the Throne of Glory?” Now we know that the soul does not want to descend into this world, yet G-d forces it to do so, for it is written: “He established it [the earth]. He did not create it for emptiness; He fashioned it to be inhabited” (Isaiah 45:18). Hashem created all living beings in order for the world to be inhabited.
Created beings were therefore not made without reason, but to fulfill the will of the Creator. How can we achieve this? When a soul descends into the world, it is nourished by spirituality, leaving materiality for the body. However the role of man is not to make this materiality the main thing in life, but instead to give priority to the spiritual. What is the primary thing? It is the Torah! The mitzvot! This is the goal of man’s creation. When a person accomplishes them, he thereby connects to G-d and the Torah, and everything becomes one. As the Zohar states, “The Torah, Israel, and Hashem are one.” This is why the Torah ends with the letter lamed and begins with the letter beit, which together form the word lev (heart). This teaches us that a person must put his entire heart into serving Hashem.
We learn something else from the letter beit at the beginning of the Torah. The letter beit resembles a container, which means that if a person wants the Torah to enter his heart, and if he always wants to do his Creator’s will, he must resemble a container that holds blessings. He must do everything necessary for blessings to remain in him. He must prepare himself and be open to the Torah, for in this way the Torah and mitzvot can find a home in him. In the opposite case, how can blessings rest upon him?
True, everyone can claim that it is sometimes difficult to resemble a container that can hold blessings. This is because the evil inclination lies within him and constantly tries to make him sin. What can we do in that case? How can we conquer it? The Holy One, blessed be He, grants His blessings to everyone for this purpose as well, a fact alluded to in the word keli (container). How does this occur?
Before each mitzvah we say, “For the sake of the union of the Holy One, blessed be He, with His Shechinah…in the name of all Israel.” Why do we add the words “in the name of all Israel”? It is because each person alone cannot perform all the mitzvot, for some can only be performed in Eretz Israel, others can only be performed by Kohanim, others only apply to Levites, and so on. Nevertheless, everyone is obligated to perform all 613 mitzvot. How is that possible?
This is why we say before each mitzvah, “in the name of all Israel.” It is in this way that we connect ourselves to the entire Jewish people, including the Kohanim and Levites, thus enabling us to perform all 613 of the Creator’s mitzvot.
This is the keli that Hashem has given each person. The word keli is formed by the first letters of the words Kohen, Levi, and Israel. This means that Hashem gives us all this keli in order that, by means of the entire Jewish people, we can all carry out the 613 mitzvot and the entire Torah. If it is sometimes difficult for someone in particular to become a container that holds blessings, then by means of the mitzvah “You shall love your fellow as yourself” – by helping one another – we can become such a container and reap all the benefits of the precious abundance that comes from the Creator. We therefore come to the conclusion that studying Torah alone is not enough. We must also give to others and love them, for in this way the world will continue to exist.
However if Adam and Eve sinned through the Tree of Knowledge, what can we accomplish? Adam was created on the sixth day in order for him to enter Shabbat and find everything ready for him, yet he still sinned! Imagine that a sumptuous meal had been prepared for someone, yet instead of appreciating it, he despised it. Such ingratitude is hard to imagine. Now where ingratitude exists, no container able of holding blessings can exist.
Let us draw a lesson from Adam and his wife, who sinned by the Tree of Knowledge, by the tree of the Torah. Let us strengthen our Torah study, for in this way we will ensure the existence of the entire world. We will then have achieved the goal of Creation, namely that the entire world was created solely for Israel.