In a previous letter, we cited the following teaching of our sages: “Each human being is obligated to say: ‘For my sake, the world was created.’ ” (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5). We also cited the following commentary on this teaching by the noted Chassidic Rebbe, Reb Zushe of Annipoli:
Each person is sent down to this world in order to fulfill a specific Divine task, to carry out on earth a lofty, heavenly purpose. (Hamodia, Cheshvan 10, 5759)
In the above commentary, Reb Zushe of Annipoli has helped us to understand that the world was created for the sake of each human being – for the sake of the unique contribution that each has to offer. Those human beings who internalize this universal Torah truth will be able to pray for their personal needs with a universal consciousness. They will realize that Hashem – the Compassionate and Life-Giving One – placed them on this earth for a unique and universal purpose within the creation. They will therefore pray for the wisdom, well-being, and resources which will enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. In other words, they will pray for Divine assistance, because they want to serve and to give.
Within this series, we also cited teachings regarding the seventy primary peoples that are the roots of the diverse national groups and cultures which we have today. As we discussed, the number “seventy” represents the diversity within the Divine creation, and the seventy primary peoples that emerged from Noah are one manifestation of this diversity. Each of these peoples therefore has a unique role within the creation, and this insight can give us a deeper understanding of why we brought seventy offerings on behalf of the seventy peoples during the Festival of Succos. In this spirit, Rabbi Shlomo Wolbe, a noted sage, wrote in his essay, “The World Community,” that Torah students should recognize and appreciate the purpose of each people within the Divine plan, and he states:
“We should not negate the peoples of the world to say that they have no place in the universe or that their wisdom is not really wisdom. For they were ‘created,’ and without them, the creation cannot reach its goal!” (Alei Shur).
Yes, each people has a unique role within the Divine plan for creation. Those peoples that internalize this universal Torah truth will be able to pray for their collective needs with a universal consciousness. They will realize that Hashem placed them on this earth for a unique and universal purpose within the creation. They will therefore pray for the wisdom, well-being, and resources which will enable them to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. They will pray for this Divine assistance in order to serve and to give.
Within this series, we have begun to discuss how the story of our people represents the human story and how the Creator of all humankind chose us for a universal mission. If we internalize the consciousness that we, as a people, have a universal mission, then the prayers on behalf of our people can become universal prayers. For example, we will pray for the wisdom, well-being, and resources which will enable us to fulfill our universal mission. We will pray for this Divine assistance in order to serve and to give.
Yosef Ben Shlomo Hakohen (See below)
1. There is a mitzvah to bring seventy offerings during the Festival of Succos (Numbers 29:12-34). The Talmud explains that these seventy offerings are on behalf of the seventy primary peoples of the earth (Succos 55b). A copy of our letter on this subject is in the archive of our series which is found on our website. The direct link to this letter is:
2. A beautiful reference to the universal goal of our story can be found in the following Divine proclamation to our people:
“Thus said the God, Hashem, Who created the heavens and stretched them forth; Who firmed the earth and its produce, Who gave a soul to the people upon it, and a spirit to those who walk on it. I am Hashem; I have called you on behalf of righteousness; I will strengthen your hand, and I will preserve you; I will set you as a covenant for the people, as a light for the nations.” (Isaiah 42:5,6)
“I will set you as a covenant for the people” – The classical commentator, Radak, interprets these words in the following manner: “I will set you as a covenant for the existence of each and every people.” Radak explains that the Hebrew term for “covenant” – bris – is an expression of existence.
According to Radak, this Divine promise is a reminder that the goal of our path is to preserve the existence of the seventy primary peoples of the earth. Radak explains that the People of Israel will achieve this goal in the following two ways during the messianic age:
A. The existence of the peoples will be preserved through shalom – peace and harmony. When the People of Israel will serve as a universal model of the unifying Divine Teaching, the nations will then beat their swords into plowshares (Isaiah 2:3,4).
B. The People of Israel will inspire all the peoples of the earth to fulfill the universal life-giving path within the Torah – those mitzvos which applies to all humankind. Two letters which discuss this path are in the archive of this series which appears on our website: The direct links are: