Skip to main content

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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Thought for the Day: Battling the Evil Inclination on all Fronts

Yom Kippur.  When I was growing up, there were three annual events that marked the Jewish calendar: eating matzos on Passover, lighting candles on Chanuka, and  fasting on Yom Kippur.  Major news organizations around the world report on the "surreal" and "eerie" quiet of the streets in even the most secular neighborhoods of Israel.  Yom Kippur.

As you know, I am observant of Jewish law.  Some have even called me "ultra orthodox" (not in a kind way).  Given that, I have a question.  How likely do you think that I would be tempted to eat on Yom Kippur, that most holy day of the year?  Let's make the scale zero to ten, where zero is "as likely as driving through McDonald's on Shabbos and ordering a Big Mac with extra cheese." and ten is "as likely as breathing regularly".  Take your time.  If you answered "zero"; thank you, but -- sadly and penitently -- no.  The answer is more like nine; I'd like to say lower, but i…

Thought for the Day: Using a Mitzvah Object for Non-Mitzvah Purposes

As I am -- Baruch HaShem -- getting older, I am more cognizant of the fact that I'd like to stay as healthy as possible right up the moment I leave this world.  Stuff hurting is not the problem (I am told there is an old Russian saying that once you are 40, if you wake up and nothing hurts -- you're dead), stuff not working, however, is a problem.  To that end, for several years now I commute to work by bicycle (weather permitting, 30 minutes on an elliptical machine when weather does not permit).  I recently took up some upper body weight training.  Not because I want to be governor of California, just simply to slow down loss of bone mass and extend my body's healthy span.  Simple hishtadlus.  I have an 18 month old grandson who is just the right weight for arm curls (yes... I am that weak), so I do about 10 reps when I greet him at night.  He laughs, I get my exercise; all good.  (Main problem is explaining to the older ones why zeidy can't give them the same "…

Thought for the Day: Thanking HaShem Each and Every Day for Solid Land Near Water

Each and every morning, a Jew is supposed to view himself as a new/renewed creation, ready for a new day of building his eternal self through Torah and mitzvos.  We begin the day with 16 brachos to praise/thank/acknowledge HaShem for giving us all the tools we need to succeed.  We have a body, soul, and intellect.  We have vision, mobility, and protection from the elements.  Among those brachos, we have one that perhaps seems a bit out of place: רוקע הארץ על המים/Who spreads out the land on/over the water.  After all, it's nice to have a dry place to walk, but does that compare to the gratitude I have for a working body and vision?  As it turns out, I should; as explained by the R' Rajchenbach, rosh kollel of Kollel Zichron Eliyahu (aka, Peterson Park Kollel).  Your best bet is to listen to the shiur; very distant second is to continue, which I hope will whet your appetite for the real thing.

First... since we have dry land, I don't have to slog to work through even a foot…