The World Was Created for Me

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Our goal at the Lev Lalev Orphanage in Israel is to help our girls succeed. When the girls arrive at the Home, they generally have extremely low self-esteem. But through the love and care our staff provides, and through the professional mental health intervention that the girls need, we are able to give them hope, and a pathway for a brighter future.At the same time, we create boundaries and healthy values with them. It says in the Talmud, “Bshvili nivra haolam – the world was created for me.” What we learn from this is to accept personal responsibility and to bolster our self-esteem. No matter where we come from and where we are today, we should not excuse away our weaknesses, but recognize that the Almighty Above has given us the opportunity to succeed and persevere. At the same time, it says in Genesis (Beraishis 18:27) “Anochi afer v’afar” – I am but dust and ashes. This is to ensure that I will not become too haughty or “full of myself.” The words of Simcha Bunim of Peshischa, a late 18th century scholar in Poland, explains this concept: “Everyone must have two pockets with a note in each pocket, so that he or she can reach into the one or the other, depending on the need. When one feels lonely, depressed, or discouraged, one should reach into the pocket and say, ‘it was for my sake that the world was created.’ But when one is feeling high and mighty, one should reach into his other pocket and find the words, ‘I am but dust and ashes’.” Israel stands for justice and chessed – kindess. Each Israeli is treated with respect and dignity, whether they are poor or rich, young or old, religious or secular. Israel is a melting pot with many success stories and fewer stories of failure. Unfortunately our orphaned and disadvantaged girls have had horrific experiences. We work with them, with tender, loving care as we proclaim, “B’shvili nivrah haolam.” My dear Israeli girls, the world was created for you.