One Person

Parshat Va’era

It is easy to get disheartened when it feels like only you or a small group of people are doing the right thing. In this week’s parsha God instructs Moshe to tell the Israelites that the time has come, and God will free them from their labors, deliver them from bondage, redeem them with an outstretched hand, take them to be God’s people, and bring them into the land promised to their ancestors.

Rabbi Meir Simcha of Dvinsk writes in his book Meshech Chochma, that knowing Jewish history, the first four statements are true, but not the last one, bringing them to the Promised Land. All of the Israelites who were brought out of Egypt died in the wilderness, except two, Joshua and Caleb. It is possible to say then, that all the miracles performed in Egypt were done for just those two people.

He goes on to say, based on the Talmud in tractate Sanhedrin, that the same can be true about the coming of the Messiah. That the coming of the Messiah can be because of the merit of even one person. Just as a tiny spark can start a huge fire, the good deeds of one person can bring about great changes. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

So even if you look around and it is just you doing right, or just a small group of people, and you despair that more people are not pitching in, remember the power of a small group, of even one person. And remember that even if no one seems to notice the good that you do, God notices.
Shabbat Shalom,
Rav Sela

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