Friday, November 23, 2007

"The Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow"

(Picture courtesy of

Is our focus supposed to be on the rewards package after checking out of here after 120 years? This entire premise just pushed all my buttons – am I a child that I must be tricked into being a good boy? Is Yiddishkeit some kind of a game all about collecting the most brownie points? I think that reward gets too much airplay. I can just see it, "Well maybe I should smile at this old woman and say hello after all, you know I will have more of a reward in Olam Haboh, so it really is in MY best interest to do it." I think that all this emphasis on Olam Haboh has become confused.

Chabakuk Elisha: Warped Judaism


At November 23, 2007 at 12:28:00 PM EST, Anonymous Dovid Sears said...

Chabakuk Elisha:

You are absolutely right.

It seems that there are two "tracks" in Yiddishkeit when it comes to these issues in Yiddishkeit. For the person who is bogged down in the ego, he must be motivated to serve G-d by rewards and punishments -- like a child who doesn't know the dangers of playing in the street or the intrinsic reward of certain good behabiors. For the person who has attained a bit of da'as, there is what the Chovos HaLevavos calls "motivation from intellect (or enlightenment)."

Many years ago I asked Rav Eisenblatt, a"h, the Mashgiach of my yeshivah, how ostensibly frum people could be so detail-oriented about mitzvos but lack rachmanus and compassion for others. "Isn't rachmonus and sensitivity to other people what the Torah is all about?"

The Mashgiach agreed heartily.

Then he explained: "These people are not really so different than non-religious materialistic people. It is just that one day they suddenly realized that Hashem truly exists and they had better straighten out! So now they became a little smarter. But their basic self-centered motivation did not change.

"However, through the kedushas ha-Torah, they, too, will get beyond this and begin to serve Hashem and do mitzvos l'shmah (for the intrinsic worth of the mitzvos)..."


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