Nearly a week ago Sara and I were blessed with our second baby boy. While feelings of joy, thanks and a bit of exhaustion are usually what accompany such joyous occasions, it also comes with a tremendous sense of responsibility. A brand new human being will need to be cared for, loved and eventually educated, and most of this depends on his or her parents.

Earlier this week I was studying the weekly Torah portion with a friend in the community. As this week we read about the story of Noah, his ark and the flood, it was around that which our discussion revolved. We studied some of the Torah commentators which explain that the flood was meant to be a refining process for the world; to open the world up to more spirituality and holiness, with which us humans are tasked to do.

Why did God need a flood to begin refining the world, then leave the door open to mere mortals to finish the job? Couldn't he have created a perfect world, just the way he saw fit, to begin with?

The reason for this is that there really is only one thing we can add to the world. Our talents and skills are God-given, and any good we do God could have done as well. The one thing that we have which God does not have is... us. He created every individual as a priceless, irreplaceable part of his world. Sure he could do lots of things, but a true relationship with every individual he cannot forge. It is up to us to do that.

The question 'why couldn't God have done my part', or 'my friend does enough good, why do I need to add?' is really erroneous. Of course God, or anyone else, can do lots of good. But then what about you and me? What type of life would we have if we weren't involved in making the world a better place? When we want our children to lead successful, kind, moral, giving lives, is it because we need to get a job done and want our children to do it? Or because we want our children to be happy through leading successful, giving lives.

Our relationships and feeling for our children, each unique and special in his or her own way, can give us a glimpse into how God views every person. We are his children, and as such are endowed with the mission of 'Tikkun Olam' - bettering the world through the Torah and its Mitzvot, and acts of goodness and kindness. That mission is a means, not an end.

The reason why God asks of us to beautify his world is not because he can't do it himself. The reason is rather, that through living such a life we forge a connection with our father in heaven, and thereby gift ourselves with the most fulfilling life possible.

Rabbi Avrohom