The Talmud states, “The entire world was created only as company for this person” (Berakhot 6b).
Each person must see his life in this light – that he alone is the justification of the world’s existence, of its direction, and of its meaning.
“For this is the whole man” (Eccl. 12: 13) – this is the person on whom the world’s very existence depends.
The world is the framework in which every person has the responsibility to live a meaningful life.
When there are blemishes, this means that the ideal of “Israel, in whom I will be glorified” is not being realized.
What is required of man is that his image below should correspond to his image above, the image that is engraved on high.
This is a very difficult, very demanding requirement, and even those who work on this with all their heart and soul, without stopping for even a moment – even they are asked, “Is this Israel, in whom I will be glorified?”
This matter depends neither on the luminaries of Israel nor on the tzaddikim of the generations, neither on our great sages nor on our national leaders.
It depends on one man who, after years of spiritual work, steps outside for the first time.
He begins to see how the whole world hangs in the balance over him, how all of existence hinges on him.
Although, like the ladder in Jacob’s dream, his feet stand on actual ground, perhaps even entrenched in the earth, his head reaches up toward heaven.
There alone is the limit.
–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz