The world as it should be? Now how you gonna do that? Last week’s Torah portion describes Jacob’s dream (you know, the one with the ladder):
And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of Gd ascending and descending on it. And…the LORD…said: …The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.
Here Jacob gets a picture of the world “as it should be,” or perhaps will be. He then wakes up and realizes he’s still in the world – as it is! Jacob quickly understands that in order to realize “the world as it should be” he goes ahead and makes a deal with Gd (chutzpah?):
And Jacob vowed a vow, saying: ‘If Gd will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then shall the LORD be my Gd.” Gen 28:20-21
“Then shall the LORD be my Gd?” For real? Yeah it’s for real. You see Jacob is an activist in the purest form. He cuts deals with Gd, wrestles with Gd (Gen.32:25-31), and as a result is a bridge builder connecting the world as it is to the world as it should be.
We can’t simply imagine a better world and hope it happens. Like Jacob we must be the change. But in order to heal this fractured world we must first heal ourselves. You know the instructions you get when flying a plane: if oxygen masks are released and you are traveling with someone who needs help getting one on – you must first place the oxygen on yourself. You can then go ahead and place it on another. Tikun Israel precedes Tikun Olam and boy does Klal Yisrael need healing. Peace out from Israel.