There may have been a time when one country would invade another country and the rest of the world continued business as usual.

If there was, it is not now. There is no next door, because we’re all living in one house.

And if we are all affected, there must be something each of us can do. Something momentous. Because each of us is the entire world.

This has long been the case for the Jews. We are never afforded the comfort to be simply spectators of world events. A Jew sits at the vortex of all that happens in the world. Look at current events and tell me otherwise.

So what do we do? Traditionally, Jews have always looked for precedent. After all, with some 4,000 years behind us, we’ve pretty much seen it all.

In this case, we need to go back less than 40 years.

In the early 1980s, those who read the headlines were aware that things weren’t so cozy between America and the USSR. Few realized the dire volatility of the situation. Only in fairly recent years has the story been told—that a series of breakdowns in US-Soviet relations pushed the entire world to the precipice of nuclear disaster.

The free world condemned the USSR for their invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The USA provided support for the resistance, stockpiled its own nuclear arsenal and rehearsed maneuvers just outside Russian airspace.

The Soviets generals were convinced that America was preparing a ballistic onslaught. And indeed, at one most critical point, a glitch in surveillance systems brought both Russian and American forces within a hair’s breadth of an all-out nuclear catastrophe.

There was no Twitter, no viral images, no wikileaks. There were no cell phones and no Internet. Might as well have been two kangaroos fighting it out in the Australian Outback.

Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, was quoting the words of the Midrash at public gatherings, “Nations are provoking one another”1 —and, the Rebbe added, “in a most shocking way.”

In the Rebbe’s voice there wasn't a nuance of fear or panic, yet it was with grave seriousness that he told his listeners, “Every day, the situation becomes more dangerous.2 The world is shaking. True, these are the signs of Moshiach that our prophets and sages predicted.3 But we’ve had enough of the undesirable side of these predictions. It’s about time that we have only the good.”

“Furthermore, they are, G‑d forbid, trying to involve the Jewish nation in all this.”

Most significantly, the Rebbe insisted that it was up to every individual Jew to save the world.

In his own words, speaking in November of 1983, the Rebbe began by explaining the unique power a Jew has to affect the world around him:

Everything in the world revolves around and is dependent upon Jews and their conduct. A Jew’s service to G‑d has tremendous repercussions, and therefore the appropriate response to the increasing trouble in the world is to increase service to G‑d.

Our Sages note that, “The Holy One, blessed be He, says, ‘Whoever occupies himself with the study of Torah, and with deeds of loving kindness, and prays with the community, I account it to him as if he had redeemed Me and My children from among the nations of the world.’”4

As long as G‑d is in exile among the nations — they do not recognize His sovereignty — they do not act consonant to His will. When Jews, through an increase in their service, redeem G‑d from exile, the nations will automatically behave properly.

So how do we save the world?

The Rebbe made it as simple and practical as could be imagined:

Look at the Jewish world. Is there peace among Jews? Are there situations where Jews, too, are provoking one another? Repair that, and you will repair the world.

You don’t have to resolve every conflict between human beings. When you bring a little more love and harmony just between the Jews you know, you will bring enlightenment and peace to the nations.

But the Rebbe got far more practical: Make this part of your daily morning routine, he said. Before you start your prayers in the morning, make a commitment to show only love to every fellow Jew. And after completing your prayers, make another commitment to support the stability and harmony of the world around you.

Many prayer books already have the necessary insertions sitting there waiting for you. Mostly because, in sixteenth century Tzfat, Rabbi Yitzchak Luria taught his students:5

Before you begin your prayers in the synagogue, you need to make a commitment to fulfill the mitzvah of loving your fellow as yourself.6 That means you intend to have love for every member of the Jewish people just as your own self.

This is important, because in this way, your prayer will include all the prayers of all Jews and it will be able to rise above and bear fruit.

…Especially if you know and understand what’s going on in the soul of the other person. If another Jew has some trouble, everyone has to bear that load with him. The same with an illness, G‑d forbid, or childbearing issues…

The practice became ensconced in many prayer books, including the standard Chabad prayer book. Indeed, one of the foremost glosses on the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law), the Magen Avraham, instructs:

Before beginning your morning prayers, you should commit to the fulfillment of the mitzvah of “Love your fellow as yourself.”7

That was the first suggestion the Rebbe made: Before you start your morning prayers, commit yourself to the mitzvah of having love for every Jew. A little more love and caring between you and another Jew will generate more compassion and empathy in the entire world.

The other suggestion the Rebbe made comes at the other end of morning prayers.

Many prayer books (including the order of prayers as prescribed by Maimonides) have four verses to be recited after the conclusion of prayers. The first three are all in G‑d’s voice speaking to us. They are related by rabbinic tradition to the story of Purim:

Do not fear from sudden terror, nor from the destruction of the wicked when it comes.8

They will conceive a plot and it will be cancelled; they will say what they say, but it will not stand, because G‑d is with us.9

As you age, I will always be who I am, and as you get older, I will carry you, I will care for you and rescue you.10

And then, the last thing to be said (in some prayer books, just before walking out the door) is in our voice, speaking to G‑d:

Indeed, good people will praise Your name. Upright people will sit in Your presence.11

It is this line that the Rebbe asked us to make sure to include.

Why is that last line so important? How does it connect to peace in the world?

The answer is in a passage in the Talmud:

When you pray, you should linger for an hour before your prayer and another hour after your prayer.

From where is it derived that you should linger before prayer? As it is stated: “Happy are those who dwell in Your House.”

And from where is it derived that you should linger after prayer? As it is written: “Indeed, good people will praise Your name. Upright people will sit in Your presence.”

In other words, the conclusion of prayer is that there is no need to rush, to run, to be sucked back into the chaos of a dissonant world. The conclusion of prayer is to sit comfortably and peacefully, simply appreciating the presence of G‑d.

And by saying those words and taking that attitude in your little world, the Rebbe insisted, you will affect the whole big world in ways you could not imagine.

So now your morning prayers are enveloped and sealed from either end within a commitment to a harmonious, peaceful way of living and loving. If that’s real and sincere, your day follows suit as you steer far from friction with others and pursue collaboration and compassion in all your human interactions.

You may think that’s a small thing. The Rebbe is telling you that you are bringing powerful nations to lay down their arms.

Practically speaking: Whatever your prayer routine, whatever prayer book you use, whatever your background or beliefs—take the Rebbe’s advice and say these words before and after your prayers. Ponder them. Follow through on them.

As the Rebbe put it, with just a little love and kindness we can bypass any further suffering and welcome in the times of Moshiach right now.

1. Start each morning by saying, “I commit myself to fulfill the mitzvah of loving my fellow like myself.” הֲרֵינִי מְקַבֵּל עָלַי מִצְוַת עֲשֵׂה שֶׁל וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוךָ:

2. After your morning prayers, make sure to say, “Indeed, good people will praise Your name. Upright people will sit in Your presence.” אַ֣ךְ צַ֭דִּיקִים יוֹד֣וּ לִשְׁמֶ֑ךָ יֵשְׁב֥וּ יְ֝שָׁרִ֗ים אֶת־פָּנֶֽיךָ׃

3. Follow Hillel’s golden rule: “If you wouldn’t like it done to you, don't do it to the other guy.”

4. Speak only good about fellow Jews. Don’t even listen to a bad word, unless some real benefit will come through your conversation.

5. Care for the other guy’s property and possessions as you care for your own.

6. Always be on the lookout for opportunities to do a favor, especially for a fellow Jew.

7. Bring people together, especially Jewish people. Tear down the false barriers of age, affiliation and ethnicity.

8. Invite other Jews to share in the most precious thing we have, our Torah and mitzvahs.