I truly believe that everything I observe, every person I encounter and in every situation in which I find myself, there is a lesson to be learned and a purpose to be discovered.

Every moment contains a message, and to walk blindly through life untouched by one's surroundings would be to squander one's time; the equivalent to a lifetime spent turning over every page in the library without reading or understanding a single word.

I also believe that the Jewish people have an historical mission. For me, the purpose of existence, G‑d's ambition and compulsion to create, is for us to reveal the concealed G‑dliness implicit in creation and render the world a stage for Him to headline on.

From this, admittedly biased, Judeo-centric perspective, the shards and shades of world events take on a distinctively tribe-tinted hue. Every politician is judged by his attitude to Israel; every editorial is scanned for instances of latent or blatant anti-Semitism, and the vagaries of modern life are weighed on the scales of "is it good or bad for the Jews?"

We'll read this week of the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians in the effort to persuade them to "Let my people go"1 Fine, I'm sure the "Shock and Awe" campaign (to use contemporary terminology) was certainly persuasive and absolutely guaranteed to impose the requisite knowledge and fear of G‑d on all the Egyptians. This, however, was not the main purpose of the plagues. Rather, it was "So that you [the Jews] will tell your children … and you will know that I am G‑d."2

G‑d went to the trouble of punishing the Egyptians so that the Jews would learn a lesson? Reminds me of the old joke about the suburban Jewish mother who, on first day of school, is explaining to the teacher how her pampered darling is never to be subjected to corporal punishment, as the trauma might inflict long term damage to his delicate psyche. "If my bubele is naughty, pick up the kid at the next desk and spank him, and I promise you, my son will get the message." G‑d spanked the Egyptians so that those few Jews not yet persuaded would get the message!

If we're so important; if the deeds and creeds of every single Jew make such a difference to G‑d that He's prepared to cause such cataclysmic changes just to get our attention, imagine how every action we do has the capacity to affect the world.

If one has the ability to influence self or other to adopt a new observance or undertake a mitzvah—do it. It matters and will make a world of difference.