New Year's Message from Peru

Dearest brother, dearest sister,

Happy birthday!

This past Rosh Hashana was 5,769 years to the day on which, on that
sixth day of creation, the first human being was created. And so it is
the birthday of all of humanity.

Only on the sixth day of creation, after creating the heavens and the
earth, the land and the sea, and all mineral, plant and animal life,
did G-d create Adam and Chava (as one originally and then later
separated). The whole universe was created in all its intelligence and
glory to be the theater in which G-d's sole actor, the human being,
would take center stage.

Why did G-d initially create just one human being? Surely the Creator
of the universe could have populated the earth, as He wishes it to be,
by creating many men and women at once? Or at the very least He could
have created Adam and Chava as two separate individuals? So why, then,
did G-d create the sum total of humanity as one singular being?

This, our sages teach, is to emphasize the supreme importance of a
singular life. To G-d it would have been worthwhile to create the
entire world if even for one single human being.

As Maimonides put it: "A person must see himself and the world as
equally balanced on two ends of the scale; by doing one good deed, he
tips the scale and brings for himself and the entire world redemption
and salvation." (Maimonides, Laws of Repentance, 3:4).

And in the words of the Mishne: "A person is responsible to say that
the entire world was created for me; when you save a life you save the
universe." (Sanhedrin 37a).

This emphasizes the Divine responsibility and indispensability that
each and every one of us has here on planet Earth. Each of us has
something wholly unique to contribute that no other human being can.

On a personal note, not only do each of you make up my world, but you
mean the world to me. You've taught me invaluable lessons, by deed and
by word. You have challenged me, questioned me, helped me to see
beyond myself. You have been a friend and a guide, knowing or

Whether we've been friends for years or only met briefly (perhaps on a
plane or in an airport) whether in the States or abroad, we've shared
a real moment together. Those precious encounters, brief though they
may have been, were meaningful and make up the days, the weeks, months
and years of my life.

You've given of yourself to me and allowed me to give of myself to
you. For this I am indebted and grateful to you.

As I dance with the Torah Scrolls with unbridled joy this Simchat
Torah here in Lima, Peru I will be one with all of you.

Peace and blessings,

Saadya Notik

For more on the unifying and joyous holiday of Sukkot and Simchat
Torah please visit:

I haven't been in contact with many of you for way too long. I'd love
if you would drop me a line and let me know how you're treating life.