God thinks more of you
than you think of yourself —
He holds you in high-esteem.
It's flattering, but also deeply significant, for it strongly suggests God expects more of you than you might expect of yourself. One trait in particular —
Human Empathy — requires active effort to bring it to it's potential.
Empathy is a foundation of civilization. In fact, it's a biblical imperative to have as much protective concern for another person's well-being & possessions as we have for our own ( "...and you shall love your fellow as yourself" -- Leviticus/Vayikra 19:18).
WHAT'S YOUR SITUATION?
Through Divine providence, God creates your life path with abundant potential, but also with abundant challenges as means to help you grow. God has placed you in a specific era in time, in a specific city, and in a specific community to maximize your personal growth as you take part in the world scene.
This raises a question: Do the missiles and other threats targeted at Israel pose a threat to you, if you live in Malibu, Montreal, Monsey or any other location?
A WIDER VISION OF COMMUNITY
In Hebrew, The Jewish Nation is called "Klal Yisrael," which literally means the "Unity of Israel." Simply explained, the Jewish People across the world are actually one spiritual entity, unified at their highest source, but "housed" in a multitude of physical bodies (male & female, you & me, etc.) to allow the Jewish presence to spread across the world and be a light to the nations. For the bookish among you, this is brought in the Medraish Tanchuma.
This concept is also found in the teachings of Kabbalah, Chassidut, and yes, even in the Torah itself. Our collective experience at Mount Sinai fused us together as a national entity in this world, and also unified us in the highest spiritual realms. Klal Yisrael (not to be confused with today's State of Israel, a political entity), is one "being" — one entity, created by God. What affects one Jew also has an effect on every Jew, even if the influence is not perceived or understood.
Though each individual Jew has his own life path and freedom of choice, the Nation as a whole is heading towards an ultimate shared destiny. The implications are astounding.
A WIDER RIPPLE
What is the practical meaning for Jews who live in today's tense, complicated world, where every news report and headline makes us want to retreat into a self-protecting shell? Many of us have become numb to world suffering, keeping our distance to limit the pain of involvement.
But as God's nation, Jews have a higher calling. We must not become indifferent and desensitized to the peril faced by other Jews, or the hardships experienced by any of God’s creatures. Human Empathy transcends all boundaries.
Years ago, someone came up with the slogan "One People, One Destiny" to describe Jewish life around the world. The phrase was quickly adopted by fund raisers (to tug on heart-strings as they solicited contributions), and became an annoying cliché. That's too bad — there is a lot of truth and wisdom in the statement for those who understand that the Jewish people are truly bound together.
To most of us, the concept of Jewish Destiny and making active efforts to enhance the Jewish future doesn't seem worthy of too much attention, given the demands and pace of this busy world. But when terrorists suddenly strike Jewish targets, or missiles rain down on Israel, we are forced to face the issue.
THE "DESTINY-THING" THROUGH HISTORY
Jewish destiny has been a hot topic since time began, and an especially bothersome topic to the world's other nations.
The Greeks and Romans tried to wipe us out. The Spanish Inquisition tried to erase the Jewish presence as well. The Germans in World War II killed us with technological efficiency, and today's Muslim threat has changed the very fabric of society, showing it's rage in the attacks of 9/11, as terrorist hits in Mumbai and as missiles aimed at Israel.
To the enemies who seek to destroy us, all Jews are the same, regardless of their level of Jewish knowledge, practice or self-identity.
God also considers all Jews to be the same, regardless of their level of knowledge, practice or self-identity, since each Jew plays an essential role in our nation's history. Each Jew is part of Klal Yisrael, and can add goodness and excellence to the Jewish people through their mitzvot and good deeds — or conversely, bring darkness and danger to the Jewish population through their misdeeds.
Based on the Torah's teachings, we can safely say God wants us to care for each other, and do what we can to enhance Jewish life on the planet. Our mitzvot and good deeds add holiness to the world and brings merit to the entire nation, to hopefully ease the tense drama now unfolding in Israel.
Human empathy requires Jews to relate to each other and care for each other, even if they don't live in our city, attend our house of worship, share our level of knowledge or agree with our point of view.
"I CAN RELATE -- NOW LEAVE ME ALONE"
Admittedly, it's not convenient to spend time pondering the troubling news in the mid-east, when there is so much troubling news closer to home: The world economy is in peril — we have seen trusted banks and financial firms stumble badly. We have also seen trusted financial personalities such as Mr. Medoff stumble & tumble too, creating massive questions about the effectiveness of the American SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission.)
The world is a busy place and the daily headlines overwhelm us. Even so, the biblical imperitive to "Love your neighbor as yourself" calls for a higher level of care and attention when Jews are in danger, since we are truly united as a nation, both in present times and in our future destiny.
Work towards Jewish enrichment at your own life's pace.
Learn to want what God wants.
That way, you know you're on the right team.