At some point in life, people get this idea in their heads that they want to “be somebody”. They want to be externally recognized, accomplished or distinguished in some way.
The want itself is not necessarily bad. To be the somebody who creates a new vaccine or who empowers a village of women? Wonderful. But the motivation is critical. If the motivation is fame, legacy or longevity, that is setting yourself up for disappointment.
Let’s say you’re the president of the United States – a title that most would agree makes you “somebody”. You might affect incredible change during your term and your life, but if it’s fame or legacy that you are after, who is going to remember you in 100 years? In 500 years? And will it really matter?
Compared to the history of the Earth and the cosmos, we’re all insignificant. Nevertheless, we can aspire toward greatness and make a positive difference in the world we are in today.
But it’s hard to aspire toward greatness if you feel like a speck in the universe. You need to feel as though you can achieve greatness.
That’s partly where the Jewish community comes in for me. There is something to being part of a smaller and distinct group of people that provides meaning, rhythm, comfort and acknowledgement in a way that might otherwise be missing.
Because we’re such a small people –
Because you’ll always know someone who knows someone –
Because you can so much more easily build a name for yourself in our tiny microcosm of a society –
Being even a peripheral part of the Jewish community more easily allows me to feel like a somebody.
posted by ayo