Thursday, April 22, 2010


The Past

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

Questions on the Infinite:

We are told that no one can change his past. But, if, as you say, G-d is infinite, couldn't He make it so we could change our past? And wouldn't it be better if everyone could design their own 'World to Come' instead of each of us only just sitting in G-d's Presence wearing crowns on our heads?


Both of these questions really have the same answer.

G-d makes things so we can get the best out of life. But this comes only according to our effort. At first He made angels. But angels are rather boring. They do exactly as they are told. Sort of like spiritual machines. They do not have free will so they cannot earn rewards. We, on the other hand, do have free will, so we can determine our futures.

It is true that we cannot change the past. But we can change the results of the past. When we return to the ways of righteousness, not only out of lower-level fear, but with higher-level love, our past transgressions actually turn into merit.

Lower-level fear comes when we are afraid that someone or something is going to hurt us. Repenting at this level of fear is still at a very low, even selfish level.

Repenting with higher love means that we turn from our transgressions because we love G-d with all our hearts and we do not want to do anything that He does not like. While lower-level love says, "I love you. I want you to be mine." Higher-level love says, "I love you. What can I do to make you happy?" When we repent with this love our world turns upside down and the holes that our sins dug turn around and become mountains that we stand on.

As for an individually designed "World to Come," the analogy of us sitting with crowns on our heads is not as passive as you think. Those crowns mean that we are enjoying the revealed holiness of Hashem's presence in our "heads." That will be our experience. There can be no greater joy, not in this world, nor in the next. If man would be free to design his own World to Come, he would end up trying to get the same things in Heaven that he tried to find while he was here on Earth.


    from a noahide

  2. Question: "What can I do to make you happy, HaShem?"

    Answer: "Remain in the mudpits of Goshen and continue making bricks for Pharaoh."

    With the Exile ending, this is probably not the response a Jew would receive from HaShem. However, it seems to be the response that many Noachides and would-be converts are getting from HaShem.

    How can one be content with that kind of answer? One wants to fly, yet one isn't given the wings to do so and no amount arm flapping (i.e., effort) is going to lift one off the ground. What can one do when one's back is against the sea and HaShem isn't sending a strong east wind?

    I'm guessing all one can do is to face certain death at the hands of Pharaoh or turn and start walking into the sea with a smile, eh? Though He slay me, etc. Is hoping that the next life will be an improvement a genuine comfort?

    Personally, I've never been too keen on the Afterlife. Reincarnation and Pie-In-The-Sky just doesn't appeal to me. I'm more concerned with the Here-And-Now.

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  4. Think of it like this.

    Say you have an individual who was given the short straw in life, their future prospects are bleak, they do not accept the role G-d gave them (let alone the way they were created) and barring a miracle that makes everything worthwhile are understandably unhappy with their lot, what do you think such people desire the most?

    The answer is not likely to be seeing previously deceased friends and family (even if the latter would satisfy ones curiosity on tracing their own family tree), neither world peace nor a world without evil or competition for that matter.

    For most, it’s to relive a rewritten and self-edited life, in a role one envisions being as within an imperfect world where evil (and hence free-will) still exists, not paradise but close enough.

    I do not intend to be hostile or anything like that, nor do I expect you to give me the answer I want. Speaking for myself, my idea of personal redemption is to relive life on one’s own terms in place of my current life instead going through life with irresolvable issues and a bleak future; before going on to the next world and finding I cannot change what I ended up becoming (due to the poor lot I was given to start with).

    In my mind, everyone deserves to receive what they lack the most in life from G-d, when effort alone is not enough.

    One of the things that really bothers me the most about the World to Come is that it doesn’t really address the fact that at the end of the day, most people are after “earthly” trivial things they were denied in life from experiencing, whether its: (meeting and) marrying ones Zivug-Rishon, having children, being a vanilla (normal) human rather than a person with disabilities, being the strongest, having innate talent, etc.

    If a person passes away without getting married for example (for whatever reason), do they still get paired with their soul mate in the world to come? What about if one is unable to fullfil their full potential in life?

    The reason I ask is that I cannot stand the idea of an infinite being not tying up such loose ends.

  5. Jester asked: If a person passes away without getting married for example (for whatever reason), do they still get paired with their soul mate in the world to come? What about if one is unable to fullfil their full potential in life?

    Well, one answer our beloved Rabbis teach is that all of us are not here for the first time, and therefore our souls are here to correct problems unsolved from past times. Our imperfections. And we don't know consciously what are the imperfections our souls need to correct. So we are not expected to to everything, just fix up our previous lacks.

    Therefore, it is possible that in the next world we have waiting for us the wonderful things we do not see in this life.

  6. Veryverylight

    I am well aware of the concept of Gilgulim, that everyone nowadays is “recycled” and have gone through many reincarnations (as well as this generation being the generation of the desert, etc), though the idea that we are more or less fixing another person’s mistakes is not exactly comforting.

    When it comes to Soul-Mates, I’m approaching from the point of view of what I’ve read so far on the subject (both on the internet and the Garden of Peace by Rabbi Shalom Arush).

    It is my understanding that every individual is essentially a “half-soul”, now if you have an individual who didn’t merit to marry their Soul-Mate (if they ever appeared let alone existed in the formers life at all), then how does an infinite being such as G-d tie up that loose end?

    After all, everything is suppose to be in a state of unity, whether it’s between G-d (Male / Creator / Giver / Sun) and the Jewish people (Female / Created / Receiver / Moon) or Man & Woman?

    And if G-d can suddenly match Souls up or create a suitable partner out of scratch just like that in the World to Come, then what is the point if there is no story behind it which would allow such feelings (between souls) to develop in way that doesn’t reassemble a “Bread of Shame” rather than a reward?


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