Shabbos afternoon, third meal at Yesh Ma L’asot. The table is laden with all kinds of fish, challa, dips and cakes. A feast suitable for Shlomo Hamelech (almost). Who sponsored this delectable repast?
Nobody. All it took was everybody bringing something small. One person brought a dip, one brought some herring, a third came with two challas. Presto! Everybody is feasting together.
This is a small illustration of the concept of community.
Every one of us is unique. We each have our own special blend of strength and weaknesses, life experiences and Torah knowledge, which combine to give each person a unique perception and revelation of HaShem in this world.
Every person comes to this world to reveal an aspect of truth that nobody has yet revealed and nobody else will reveal. It can take many years,
a lifetime, perhaps even several lifetimes, to bring out this “good point”. One who attains any measure of success in this quest certainly has accomplished a very great thing.
However we must recognize that this person has succeeded in revealing only one perspective of HaShem’s infinite greatness. HaShem’s Glory will only be fully revealed in the world when everybody’s aspects combine to form a more complete picture. When all the puzzle pieces are put together, a beautiful picture is revealed.
Let us now take a deeper look. Our current understanding is that the results of my private quest must combine with everyone else’s personal revelation, and thereby form a collective vision. One plus one is two, plus one is three, until 603,550. This is a very limited and two-dimensional understanding.
We must remember that no man’s journey of soul-searching and clarification is accomplished in a vacuum. The light that one seeks to reveal is constantly refracted through the lenses of one’s associates, and in fact reveals different aspects with each refraction. Though one’s first glimmer of awareness may be basic, by reflecting through other seekers the understanding becomes deeper and deeper.
In Likutey Moharan II:8 Rebbe Nachman speaks of the greatness of adding one soul to the holy assembly of Jews.
We find in the Sefer Yetzirah, “Two stones build two houses, three stones build six houses, four – twenty four houses, five – one hundred and twenty, six – seven hundred and twenty, and so on.”
Two stones: AB BA
Three stones: ABC ACB
And so on...
What we see here is that every soul that connects doesn’t add — it multiplies. Every “good point” that shines increases the light exponentially; both the points it connects to and it’s own revelation as well.
Example: Reuven has an idea, a good thought. He expresses it to Shimon. Shimon sends it back with his own spin on it. Shimon also relates it to Levi, who puts his stamp on it, and sends it back to Reuven.
Every new path, every new permutation reveals new insight in Reuven’s original idea. Instead of a simple jigsaw puzzle, we’re now looking at a multi-dimensional image.
In summary, what one person can accomplish by himself, while impressive, is almost nothing compared to what can be accomplished together with others.