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Thought for the Day: The Meaning of Life

The last mishna of the fourth perek of Avos ends with this very cheery thought. Don't think of the grave as sanctuary (from judgement), because the following is all by force:
Your Creation -- A malach came to you in the in the olam ha'neshamos and showed you the womb.  You went, "Eyew!  No way!".  The malach went "Way!", and shlepped you into the womb.
Being Born -- A malach came to tell you that it was time to leave the womb to enter the world.  You went, "Eyew!  No way!".  The malach went "Way!", and shlepped you out of the womb.
Living -- Every night your neshama goes back to shamayim to get refreshed.  In the morning a malach comes to tell you that is time to go back to all the shalom bayis, parnassa, gidel banim, etc issues. You go, "Eyew!  No way!".  The malach goes "Way!", and hauls you back.
Dying -- At the end of your life, a malach will come to tell you it is time to leave this world. You will go, "Eyew!  No way!".  The malach will go "Way!", and hauls you out.
Standing Judgement -- The malach will come to tell you that the King -- the King of kings -- HaKadosh Baruch Hu will see you now.  You will go, "Please... no."  The malach will gently but firmly lead you to that final judgement.
(Elucidated according to Rashi; my free translation.)

Somehow I don't think the tanna meant to liken our existence to that of a two year old being dragged kicking and screaming from world to world throughout eternity by his Tati sh'b'shamayim.  But if not, then what did he mean to portray?

The Maharal on Avos opens this up for us.  The forcing here is not actually "against our will", but to allow us to live up what we really want to do.  The Maharal makes a very similar observation by matan torah (in Ohr Chadash, his pirush on Purim).  HaShem there held Har Sinai over our heads like a barrel and told us, "Accept the Torah or here is your grave."  We really wanted to accept the Torah (we had already said na'aseh v'nishma), but the responsibility and potential pitfalls are terrifying.  The Maharal says that the risks have to be so terrifying precisely so that we will need to be forced.  That way we are both making a free choice that we really want it, but also knowing and feeling that our entire existence depends only and solely on HaShem.

And that is what the tanna wanted us to know: Life is scary, but it is also being very well managed.  There is one more thing, by putting us into this position, HaShem has ensured that we will be close to him at all times; because He loves us.


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