Keeping Perspective

For Jews, keeping perspective is very important. One should never feel too important, yet neither should one feel that what one does has no effect on the world. One must achieve a middle way of humbly trying to affect the world for the better. To implement this, the rabbis of old said that a person who is in need of perspective should carry a piece of paper in each pocket. One of the papers should read, "For my sake the world was created."1 The other should read, "I am but dust and ashes."2 Man was created singularly, showing us that creation is for each of us personally. The key, then, to leading a successful and righteous life is to know when to retrieve and read each phrase.

1 In the book of Genesis, man is created singularly. From this, it is interpreted that creation is for the sake of each and every individual, not the collective human race and not for any individual(s).

2 Additionally, in the book of Genesis, it is said that man is created from the dust of the earth.