Translated by Boruch Merkur
How does one summon such arrogance and self-indulgence to say that when the Jewish people need to be saved from exile, all the Jewish people remain as they are for a moment while the redemption begins to unfold for this individual?!
The Purim story unfolds in Shushan HaBira, the capital city of Achashverosh’s vast empire. Issuing forth from the royal palace there, in Shushan, were royal edicts and decrees that governed the subjects throughout the entire empire, “seven and twenty and a hundred countries.”
On a deeper level, Shushan HaBira symbolizes the capital city of the King, King of Kings, Alm-ghty G-d Himself. Now, since it is said of a Jew that “G-d stands with him,” therefore, he stands with the Divine strength of “Shushan HaBira,” wherever he may be. Thus, it is a Jew who establishes the conduct of the world’s inhabitants; it is within his power and capacity to rule over and have an impact upon the entire world, “seven and twenty and a hundred countries.”
Of course, the skeptics ask: Where is the legal precedent for this claim in the Torah? At first glance, this is merely a p’shetl (a loosely derived teaching) from Seifer HaTanya [Ch. 41, where it quotes the verse, “G-d stands with him”! What authority gives us the right to make the claim that a lone Jew possesses the power to change the entire world?]
The response is that it is a clear ruling in Rambam’s (purely legalistic work) Yad HaChazaka! There, in the Laws of Repentance, Rambam writes: “Every person must see himself … as well as the entire world as being half worthy and half liable … If one performs a single Mitzva, he inclines himself and the entire world to the side of favor, bringing to himself and to the others salvation and deliverance.”
This law establishes that it is within the capacity of every single Jew to have an impact on the entire world, to the extent that he can incline the judgment over the entire world to the side of favor, bringing about salivation and deliverance to all. Indeed, this ruling supports the notion that wherever a Jew is to be found, he is at the level of “Shushan HaBira,” which governs the conduct throughout all “seven and twenty and a hundred countries.”
Now, since the balance of power regarding judgment over the entire world is in the hands of the Jewish people – by means of their service of G-d (expressed in their action, speech, and thought) – clearly, “salvation and deliverance” is first experienced by the individual Jew who brings about the favorable judgment. Since each individual must acknowledge and proclaim, “the world was created for me” (Sanhedrin 37a), it is understood that when the redemption begins to unfold in a manner of “And you, the Jewish people, will be gathered one by one,” the process starts with this Jew!
At first glance, the question is begged: How does one summon such arrogance and self-indulgence to say that when the Jewish people need to be saved from exile, all the Jewish people remain as they are for a moment while the redemption begins to unfold for this individual?!
A Jew responds by saying that the connection of the essence of his soul with the very essence of G-d (the true Redeemer) is itself an essential bond. This bond is overtly expressed by means of Torah and Mitzvos. However, even prior to the consideration of his commitment to Torah and Mitzvos, there is an essential connection of the soul to the essence of G-d. It is not merely a bond between two distinct things, but a unity that is “kulo chad – entirely one” (in a manner that is superior to the unity described as one being a “chariot to G-d,” discussed earlier). Since a Jew and the essence of G-d are “entirely one,” a perfect union, there is absolutely nothing that comes between them; there is just the Jew and the Divine essence!
In this light it is readily understood that the entire world was indeed created for the individual Jew, to the extent that “G-d stands with him.” Thus, the redemption first unfolds for him.
(From the address of Purim 5742, bilti muga)