What is the secret to the survival of the Jewish people? What can each individual Jew do to make sure his nation flourishes and grows instead of diminishes?
Survival of the Jewish People
Of course, the survival of the Jewish people depends on G-d. But that does not absolve a Jew of his responsibility to help his people flourish. Human effort needs to be put in. G-d wants us to put in our effort while also relying on Him. It is the combination of the two that truly ensures success.
Rabbi Jonathan Sacks’ commencement speech is so powerful. Although it is from the year 2017, he felt that it needed to be heard due to the unique “graduations” that students of all ages had this year because of COVID-19.
And even for those who are not graduating, Rabbi Sacks’ words are powerful and relevant.
The Power of the Individual
This commencement speech points to the power of an individual. It shows the impact that every decision can make not only in one’s own life but in the survival of his nation and people as well. What a responsibility!
Every Jew matters to the Jewish nation. G-d cares about each and every one of us as individuals as well as part of the whole. The founder of the Hasidic movement, the Ba’al Shem Tov, said that each Jew represents a letter in the Bible, in the Torah scroll. If one letter is missing or damaged, the Torah scroll is not usable. So to, if one Jew is missing, if one letter of the scroll isn’t there, something is wrong. Every Jew matters.
This message should empower us to be proud of who we are and what we are capable of accomplishing.