Weekly Letter: The Uniqueness of Man

These parshios are about Avraham Avinu, the father of the Jewish people and a very unique individual, of whom it is said “Echad haya Avraham,” Avraham was one. He was indeed just one person, yet was able to change the world.  The Rebbe’s letter this week discusses exactly this point: the uniqueness of man and and the great power which just one person has to affect and change the world. The letter, written originally in English, is from the archives of the Rebbe’s trusted secretary Rabbi Nissan Mindel.

By the Grace of G-d
Days of Selichot, 5724
Brooklyn, N.Y.
Greeting and Blessing:
….. One of the main distinguishing features of the creation of Man is that Man was created single. Unlike other species which were created in large populations.
This indicates emphatically that one single individual has the capacity to bring the whole world of Creation to fulfillment, as was the case with the first Man, Adam. No sooner was Adam created on the first Rosha Hashana, than he called upon and successfully rallied all creatures in the world to recognize the Sovereignty f the Creator with the Call:
Come, let us prostate ourselves, let us bow and kneel before G-d our Maker! For it is only through “prostration” – self abnegation – that a created being can attach itself to and be united with the Creator and thus attain fulfillment of the highest order.
Our Sages of blessed memory teach us that the first Man, Adam, was the prototype and example for each and every individual to follow: “For this reason was Man created single, in order to teach you – one person equals a whole world,” our Sages declared in the Mishnah.
This means that every Jew, regardless of time and place and personal status, has the fullest capacity (hence also duty) to rise and attain the highest degree of fulfillment and accomplish the same for the Creation as a whole.
Rosh Hashana – the anniversary of the first and single human – reminds every Jew of this duty.
Rosh Hashana disproves the contention of those who do not fulfill their duty with the excuse that it is impossible to change the world; or that their parents had not given them the necessary education and preparation; or that the world is huge and one is so puny – how can one hope to accomplish anything?
Rosh Hashana offers the powers to fulfill this duty, because on this day the whole world of Creation is rejuvenated; a new year begins with renewed powers, as on the day of the first Rosh Hashana.
This is borne out by the prayer which each one of us prays in the evening, morning and afternoon prayers on Rosh Hashana:
“Establish Your reign upon all the world… that every creature shall know that You did create it.”
The fact that each one of us prays for total Divine Sovereignty and the identity of each created thing with its Creator is proof that the attainment of this is within each and every one of us.
There were times when the said idea, namely, the ability of a single individual to “transform” the world, met with skepticism and demanded proof, etc.
However, precisely in our generation, unfortunately, we do not have far to seek to be convinced of this. We have seen how one individual had brought the world to the brink of destruction, but for the mercies of the King of the Universe, Who ordained that “the earth shall be firm; shall not fall.”
If such is the case in the realm of evil, surly one’s potential is much greater in the realm of the good. For in truth, Creation is essentially good, and therefore more inclined towards the good than the opposite.
May G-d grant that everyone, man or woman, should firmly resolve on the day of Rosh Hashana to give full expression to the spirit of Rosh Hashana, as indicated above; and that these resolutions should be carried out in actual everyday life in the coming year.
This means that everyone should cultivate submission to G-d in all aspects of the daily life, through the fulfillment of G-d’s mitzvos, to the fullest extent of “Know Him in all your ways,” and may everyone accomplish this also for his environment.
With blessing,