Continuing upon the theme of Tikkun Olam (mending the world), we read this fascinating passage in the Hayom Yom; ”A chassid creates an environment. If he does not, he had better check his own baggage carefully, to see whether his own affairs are in order. The very fact that he fails to create an environment should make him as broken as a splinter. He must demand of himself: What am I doing in this world?”.
What initially drew me to this paragraph was how unusual it initially seemed. I wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. What dors it mean, to create an environment?! I spent most of today thinking about it, until I remembered what I had spent a significant portion of last week writing about; Tikkun Olam!
There’s a saying that charity begins at home, and I think, in many ways, this applies to the Hayom Yom. Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t to say that we should rest on our laurels; rather, we should be constantly striving for bigger and better things. But we need to start with what’s closest to us; ourselves. Upon realising this, the previous sentence- ”…see whether his own affairs are in order,” made sense. It’s about self improvement. How can you mend the world when you haven’t mended yourself first?!
On a totally conflicting note, we shouldn’t wait until we’re perfect before we begin helping others. As the Rebbe zt”l said, ”If you wait until you understand the meaning of life, will there be enough left to live meaningfully?”. So let’s begin today. With ourselves. With our actions, our intentions, and our speech. And it may come as a surprise, but as we work on these very simple things, we will realise that we are in fact mending the world at the same time as ourselves…