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Thought for the Day: Want to Understand Purpose of This World? Enjoy Your Grandchildren

When I first heard about the idea of putting cameras on phones, I thought is had about as much merit as putting cassette tape players on refrigerators.  However, since having grandchildren who live in different states than I do, I have recanted.  (On the phone/camera thing, not on the refrigerator/cassette thing.)  I woke up this morning to see a picture of my three year old grandson reading to his one year (and change) old sister.  I spoke to my daughter not long after and got the whole story: the younger sister loves to have someone read to her, her brother saw her looking at the books and said, "Do you want me to read to you?"  They sat down and the picture was snapped.

There are several old jokes regarding the relationship between grandchildren and grandparents; most of them are true in one way or another.  One is: If I'd known having grandchildren was so much fun, I would had them first.  The irony of the joke, of course, is that you can't have grandchildren without first having children.  I don't mean just physically,  I mean on a very fundamental level that the fun of grandchildren is a direct product of the trials of rearing their parents.  I am sure you also imagined how cute and heartwarming the above scenario was.  But you didn't get the same deep feeling of nachas that I did.  (Ok, ok, honey... except for you, of course.)

Why not?  Simple, because they aren't your grandchildren.  Which, of course, is why we need Olam HaZeh to enjoy Olam HaBah.  If HaShem had put us straight into Olam HaBah without any preparation.  It would be amazing and wonderful... and the experience would be like watching someone else's grandchildren, attending someone else's chasuna, attending someone else's lifetime achievement awards ceremony.  Know what's even worse than that?  Attending all that and knowing that it could have been you and yours, but you decided to be lazy and not put the effort into gaining those achievements yourself.  It's being a participant and knowing you chose with full knowledge and a clear mind, to throw it all away.  That's gehinnom.

One other thought about that beautiful scene with my grandchildren.  Neither one of them of course, knows how to read.  She probably doesn't even understand all the words he is saying (mostly made up anyway).  That doesn't make it any less adorable.  I just hope HaShem feels that way when He sees my sitting with my chavrusa mouthing the words of the gemara.

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