We’re told, “Fix yourself first, then fix others.” The reasons usually given are these:
- You can’t help someone else without helping yourself first. In the words of flight attendants everywhere, “Make sure your oxygen is secured before helping others with theirs.”
- It’s hypocritical to explain the value of a certain habit while not practicing it yourself.
As usual, there’s more to it. Inspiring others, even by way of a living example, equals influencing from the outside. But each one of us has a person they can affect and influence from the inside: ourselves.
There’s one person in this world whom we can completely change, inspire, uplift, and totally remake. All we need to do is internalize our prayers, learning, lessons learnt from others, and in general strive constantly to be a bit better than we were yesterday. In this area, we are more effective, more powerful, than anyone else, so we should make it our #1 priority.
The truth is, on a spiritual level, by being who we should be we are already influencing others. “Kol yisrael areivim zeh lazeh,” means that the good we do automatically lifts up the collective Jewish soul.
May we continue inspiring each other these last days of golus until the time when “…no longer shall one teach his neighbor or one his brother… for they shall all know Me.”
Wishing you a wonderful Shabbos,