Blogging Ellul: Being the change

Mahatma Gandhi (always a good place to start) tells us to be the change we wish to see in the world. It can seem difficult to imagine that the small actions of one person can ever make an impact, but of course we can only ever take responsibility for ourselves. Not for the actions of those around us. Jewish mystical philosophy takes a similar approach however, and encourages us to start with what is manageable - ourselves - before working out to our family, community, country, the world... this concept is at the heart of tikkun olam - repair of the world, and helps us get started, while remembering that to start with oneself is not to finish with oneself. Indeed Rabbi Elazar reminds us “the world is judged in accordance with the majority of its deeds, and the individual is judged in accordance with the majority of their deeds. Therefore, one person can tip the scales for humanity by performing a single act of kindness” (Babylonian Talmud Kiddushin 40b). This month of Ellul asks us to press the refresh button, and remember to begin by being the change we wish to see in the world, helping us to be the best version of ourselves we can be, and perhaps tipping the balance for humanity. I think Andy Warhol also puts this rather well: "They always say that time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself". If we don't make it happen, it won't just happen for us...


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