Translation by Yehoshua Siskin
”What can I do for Israel?” an eight-year-old child in a Jewish day school in New York innocently asked me. I told him about something that I once heard, many years ago, when I began to keep mitzvot.
Before we perform a mitzvah, there is a custom to say that we are doing it "for all of Israel." A mitzvah is not something private that we do. It’s something of public, national, and even worldwide significance. As Jews, we are all connected to one another; everything that we do connects us to the magnificent entity known as the nation of Israel.
Therefore, I told the child, you are our protective Iron Dome. Every little good deed that you do here protects me in Israel and vice versa; my good deeds also have an effect on you.
Such a perspective can elevate every mitzvah that we perform. It’s “the butterfly effect” where a single movement of a butterfly’s wings, for example, can ultimately bring about a tsunami. Lighting Shabbat candles in Alaska influences what happens in Sderot just as putting on tefillin in Sderot influences what happens in Alaska. Tzedakah, education, Torah study, volunteering, and acts of lovingkindness are all connected to each other. This is clear proof that our souls are bound together at their roots.
We do not always live with this awareness but it is worthwhile to remind ourselves that even a child of eight in New York aspires to act in a manner that will benefit all of Israel.