"The stable is empty tonight— / The mares are asleep on the meadow"
According to Rabbi Bunim of P’shiskha, everyone should have two pockets, each containing a slip of paper. On one should be written: I am but dust and ashes, and on the other: For my sake the world was created. From time to time we must reach into one pocket, or the other. The secret of living comes from knowing when to reach into each.
The first phrase is spoken by Abraham when he realizes that he’s bargaining with God over S’dom (סדום) and `Amora (עמורה) – Sodom and Gomorrah:
וְאָנֹכִי עָפָר וָאֵפֶר
V’anokhi `afar va’efer
I am but dust and ashes
The second phrase is from the Talmud, illustrating that we are all unique individuals, though we are formed from the same mould:
בשבילי נברא העולם
bishvili nivra’ ha`olam
The world was created for me
Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 37B