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Thought for the Day: Seven Awesome Reasons To Do T'shuva At Least A Day Before You Die

Since this is cheshbon ha'income time, I figured I'd help ease the tax pain by reporting the G"ra's description of what happens when a person is leaving this world.  Once you see how much preparation is needed just to get to gehinom, you may want to rethink some of your plans to today.  There are seven steps from the moment one takes leave of this world to get to gehinom; of course, after that you are good to go on to olam habah, none the less, the way there may give pause.

First, as one is leaving this world, he is greeted by three malachim.  These guys are not even as cheery as Scrooge's ghost of xmas future.  They are more like your worst nightmare IRS agents doing an audit; not just the last few years, though... your whole life.  The first goes over with you every moment that was spent not doing Ratzon HaShem.  The second has a list of each of your aveiros -- none too big, none too small; he'll be to reviewing each with you.  The third is really scary; he's the one who taught you Torah while you were preparing to come into this world.  He's going to want to know what became of all that good teaching he gave you.

Second, as they are escorting you to the grave, you'll have a contingent wailing, "Woe to this one, who rebelled against his Creator."

As they lay your body into the grave (finally, right?), there will be a beis din convened to decide how to handle your case.  That's step three.

I always thought the worms eating the flesh of the corpse (which Chazal tell us feels the way needles feel to living flesh; nope, no rest for the weary... not yet).  I was wrong; that's five.  Step four is called "chibut ha'kever".  Basically each and every limb and organ is smacked around according to how it participated in the sins already recounted in general in step one.  I guess this is to tenderize the corpse for the worms.

At this point, only the spirit (who has been watching this being done to his physical partner, the body, all this time) is left.  After witnessing the preceding, she gets "kaf ha'kela"/the slingshot.  She gets shot up to the heights of what she could have attained in this world, then brought crashing down to what she actually did accomplish.  And you thought the roller coasters at Six Flags were scary.

Finally... the last level, number seven: gehinom.  This is where the records and analysis from all the above are now open and public to everyone.  Everyone.  What you did, in meticulous detail with each and every limb, each and every moment, each and every aveira.  Everyone.

By the way, I don't have this all memorized; I made a list to keep in my wallet.  I figure it's worth reviewing now and again, as this is the journey that is as certain as death and taxes.


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