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Thought for the Day: Why the Transition From This World to the Next Is So Darn Scary

One of the complaints that religions (xtianity, evolutionism, etc) have against reality is, "If your G-d is so nice, why is gehinom so bad?"  Xtianity and Muslim just defined the problem away by declaring -- with absolute blind faith -- that if are a member of their religion, the you get a free pass to heave (though their view of heavens have significant differences).  Evolutionism defined the problem away by declaring  -- with absolute blind faith --  "spirituality?  what spirituality?  next world?  what next world?"

Those of us who are more interested in dealing with reality than in sticking our head into an illusory sand pit, though, need to deal with the question: How dohard to es all this strict measure for measure punishment and depth of judgement go along with "v'rachamav al kol ha'ma'asim"/His mercy extends over all of His works (T'hilim 145:9)?  What, after all, is the point of eternal punishment and no chance for redemption?  Were we created to suffer?

What got me thinking about this topic more than usual (yes, I know, I have a morbid personality) was reaction to my post of the G"ra's disturbing/frightening depiction of our journey from death to gehinom in seven horrific steps.  But perhaps we could take another look at those steps.

First, as one is leaving this world, he is greeted by three malachim; each of which would like to discuss a different dimension of your life in this world.  These malachim are so excited to see you, as they have been waiting with bated breath since you entered this world. The first goes over with you every moment that was spent doing in avodas HaShem. The second has a list of each of your mitzvos -- none too big, none too small; he'll be to reviewing each with you. The third is really amazing; he's the one who taught you Torah while you were preparing to come into this world.  He has tears of joy streaming down his face, knowing how you took his lessons and applied them in unimaginably difficult circumstances.

As you progress through the steps, you get to "kaf ha'kela" -- but this time showing you how low you started and the dizzying heights that you reached.  It's an exhilaration beyond your wildest imagination.

So which is it?  This or that?  It's both.  This is why you were created, that is how you get to the goal.  That takes care of any vestige of shame or embarrassment that comes with a gift you didn't earn.  You've earned your reward, you've paid off all debts.

Then, finally, entry into Olam HaBah -- where you... the you that is the culmination of a life's work.. are finally able to experience the direct, beautiful relationship with HaShem Yisbarach that was the whole point of His creating you in the first place.


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