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Thought for the Day: Each Moment In Olam HaZeh Worth More Than Current Share In Olam HaBa

He (R' Yaakov) used to say, one moment of t'shuva and good deeds in olam haze is worth more than all the vitality of the eternal pleasures of olam haba; one moment of the pleasure of olam haba is better than all the pleasures of olam haze. (Pirkei Avos, 4:17)

R' Dessler explains the apparent contradiction.  The second part of the mishna is talking about the enjoyment of life in olam haba.  Every "moment" (whatever that means, since there is no time) is better than the sum total of all the enjoyment that has been had and will be had by every person in this world from beginning to end.  On the other hand, that enjoyment is not unearned, the seeds of the enjoyment in olam haba are sown in this world.  The apparent overwhelming unbalance of work done vs reward received is because when there are no bounds of time, potential and realization of that potential are the same thing.  Think of a field of wheat.  The reason you plant a lot of seeds is because you want a certain crop for market.  If there we no time boundaries, one seed could easily (eventually) yield as much wheat and more than that whole field.  When you remove time altogether, each seed is essentially infinite potential and infinite production.  Moreover, each moment of t'shuva and good deeds reveals a new dimension of Kiddush HaShem, and therefore each new "seed" produces a new and different "crop" of olam haba that is more than all that one already has acquired.

Not a bad deal.


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