Thursday, April 08, 2010


You Better Be Happy…Or Else!

by Reb Gutman Locks at Mystical Paths

When a person dies their soul leaves their body. It is a liberating experience. The soul is no longer limited to the body. Actually, the soul does not die, the body dies.

When the soul travels back up to the entirely spiritual realm, one of the first things that happens is that it hears a bas kol (a voice from the Higher Heaven.) The Heavenly voice asks the soul, "Did you enjoy My world while you were there?"

If the soul answers, as many do, "What, are you nuts? That place is a madhouse. Why it's filled with murder, wars, cruelty ... how could you even ask such a question?"

That soul will have to come back to this lower world again, back to the same place (emotionally) that it was when it left its body. It will have to do this again and again until it figures out what its Creator wants from it.

Yes, the Torah teaches reincarnation, and yes, G-d wants us to have a good time.

Not only do the mystical books of Torah, the Kabalah and such, teach reincarnation, even the books of the literal law discuss it. Look in the explanations of the Torah's laws outlined in the Mishna Brurah. There, where it discusses the laws of Yom Kippur afternoon, there is a story of a man who refuses to repent. Everyone else is trying to repent before the gate of acceptance closes, but this man says, "I am so used to sinning that I am going to keep on sinning, and worse comes to worse, G-d will come and kill me."[i] The commentator there explains, "This man must repent, or he will have to come back to this world again and again until he does repent."

From this we learn that what we did in the past made us into what we are today. It also shows that our actions today will determine who and what we will be in the future.

All fathers, (and all the more so, our Heavenly Father), want their children to be happy. That is the very reason He put us here in the first place. He created a world of choice. He gives us a gorgeous world of opportunity, a Garden, and He also gives us a world of hell. We choose which world we live in.

When we count our blessings, we move into the Garden. When we dwell on the things that are wrong, we move out of the Garden and into the world of hard and sweaty work.[ii] Either way, it is the one world. We just live in it the way we choose.

[i] See Be'er Hateyv
[ii] Gensisis 3:19


Yonatan said...

Beautiful - and more to the point - absolutely true. Who is a rich man? The one who is happy with his lot!

Shabbat Shalom.

Anonymous said...

i struggle with this. on the one hand you make a good point at the end. however, the harshness of the first part makes me very uncomfortable and not what to have anything to do with religious judaism.

Yonatan said...

the harshness of the first part makes me very uncomfortable and not what to have anything to do with religious judaism.

Ignoring it is not going to make it any less true. Sometimes you NEED to be uncomfortable to shake you out of your comfort zone.

Anonymous said...

yonatan, thanks for your comment. i hope mr locks will respond. it is precisely the insensitivity that you display which is disturbing to me.
you have no idea why or what i struggle with. and, many jews have the same issues. it is a major problem for religious jews who want to mekarev people.
the main point is this: how do you communicate? G-d wants us closer to him. for some people 'harshness' is percieved as appropriate whereas for others is it repelling.
to say 'that's simply how it is' is not only inaccurate, it is a misrepresentation of the truth. one might say "but that's what the sages say"...again, which sages and how, according to what circumstances.
personally, i just am weary of this kind of language. it repels me, as does your apparent lack of any willingness to understand.

Anonymous said...

tehilim: the chesed of Hashem fills the earth (33).
amidah: the beneficent One, for never exhausted is Your compassions and the compassionate One for never ended is your kindnesses--always we have put our hope in You.
rebbe nachman of breslov says that the tender mercies and compassion of Hashem are inconceivable to us, beyond our comprehension.

this is not what i experience from the first part of the article; nor from yonatans comment.

i want all jews to do teshvah to bring moshiach. repelling them is not going to do it. judging them and telling them about their 'comfort zones'when you don't know them only pushes them away.

Gutman said...

With all due respect to your sensitivities, the harshness that you felt in the "beginning" of the article was from you, not from the words. The words were "spoken" softly and with a smile.
In truth, I had to ask Reb Akiva what you were referring to. Still, next time I will try to be more careful.
Here is part of a letter from a woman in Australia regarding that piece. She did not see anything harsh either.
"Thank you for your inspiring emails each week. I loved the most recent one about the importance of simply enjoying life. Great."
Have a good week.

Yonatan said...

Anonymous: I'm confused as to why you felt I was judging you at all. My words were said in a spirit of "if you' re having a hard time with something, Hashem is doing it for your very best interests" and thus we need to have it difficult sometimes.

If my words have offended you in any way, please accept my apologies for it and understand that I only meant to help, not hurt.

May Hashem help you find the answers you're looking for.

Anonymous said...

mr locks and yonatan, thanks for your responses. here's an example. in the first part of the piece it's described how a soul has to keep coming back to earth until it figures out what the Creator wants.
i don't think the kindness of Hashem works like that. wouldn't that kindness inform the soul what it needs? the sentence sounds quite harsh and depressing. i don't think that's how it really works.
respectfully to you, the harshness doesn't come from me. the title: be happy, or else; what is that? that is not encouraging, but threatening sounding. if a person is struggling (which many people do) and then they see a statement like that it is very very discouraging, threatening and harsh sounding! this, combined with a soul having to 'figure it out' paints a very bleak picture!!!
the truth is that the kindness of Hashem will help a person to see more clearly. the piece does not give the reader any emunah that Hashem will help them!!!
read 'restore my soul' by greenbaum and see how much love and kindness Hashem has for us.
my experience of this piece is feeling 'threatened' and bleak.
it doesn't help me, but does the opposite.

Yonatan said...

Anon: Thank you for your clarifications.

It is said that when Moshiach comes we will understand how all the apparent bad that happened in the world and in our personal lives will be exposed as being all good.

We cannot see it right now, but in the world of truth, after we pass on, we understand this. Don't you think that if you have a task to complete, you will want to come back and complete it? Especially if this is what Hashem wants for you, and in the end, you really want to do what Hashem wants.

The title of the post has a foreboding ring to it to you. I understand - I didn't see it until you wrote more about your feelings. But understand that writing a blog article involves a lot of time and careful thought about the subject matter and how not to say it to offend anyone while still getting the point across. A lot of times the title is a last minute summary of the finished work, although the reader may take it as the penultimate statement about the post.

Anonymous said...

thank you.
here's my understanding:
many teahcers i have met and read say that during these times, what worked in the past to bring people back doesn't work the same. if one reads mussar or other works from 100 years ago, or even 50 years ago, you will find many harsh, 'foreboding' statements.
but what i have read, heard and seen is that for the souls of today given that it is so difficult to return, there is so much negativity and stress in teh world...that much more kindness and understanding is needed for today's generations.
now, that doesn't apply to everyone. there are some who would have no problem with this article at all. however, as i stated, i find it very troubling, 'foreboding' and no way helpful to make me have any kind of trust, faith or good feeling of hope about G-d. this is not good, as far as im concerned for a religious blog.
mr locks is a very knowlegeable and kind person who does great work for the jewish poeple through his books, work at the kotel etc. i just felt it imoprtant to respond honestly to this piece.
re the times of moshiach. yes, i know this. my issue is more how we do or don't bring jewish people closer today. especially being very careful to not push anyone away.

Related Posts with Thumbnails