What does today’s reality require of the individual Jew, the one who sits in the academy of Shem and Ever, the “Elder Israel” within each one of us?
When the world is as it should be, each person needs only to look after himself.
He gets up in the morning, works for eight hours, completes whatever other tasks need to be done, and at the end of the day he checks the Shulhan Arukh to make sure that he has not committed any transgressions.
In this way, he lives according to the dynamic of his own life.
But what if one feels more than his own distress, his personal pain; what if he feels that there is a sickness here that affects all of society?
This feeling is described in Tanakh as follows: “Truly it was our sickness that he bore, our suffering that he endured” (is. 53:4).
If one can bear the pain and suffering of others as though he feels it himself, one’s attitude toward the world will inevitably be affected.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz