Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Why do we need to earn Olam HaBa?

The following interesting question was posed.

Shalom u'vracha! Here's my latest question: Why can't the Creator simply remove the possibility to experience any discomfort/embarrassment that would occur upon being given the "free gift" in the end (olam haba)? In fact, it's not even that much of a free gift at all in the end if the Creator simply removes the potential for evil that causes pain/suffering (because then He wouldn't have to remove much of the possibility to experience any embarrassment in the end). So why is there evil to the extent that there is?

Interestingly, someone I know pointed out that Daas Tevunos explains free will and the associated evil in terms of nahama d'kesufa - but in Derech Hashem Ch. 2 he explains both...WITHOUT ANY REFERENCE WHATSOEVER TO nahama d'kesufa. What do you make of that?


  1. I like Rav Tauber's approach the best - we don't really know what's going in regarding these issues. You can add that the same applies to anything relating to G-d. Theology is an exercise in explaining the inscrutable. As Rav Berel Wein put it, philosophy in general is a process of trying to cover two people with a sheet only large enough for one. Science does not purport to know what's going on in the observable world, so how can man know the workings of the invisible. Explanations like those of the Daas Tevunos are lishbor es ha'ozen and can never portray the ultimate truth.

  2. The ultimate good is G-d Himself. Therefore, we can not get the ultimate good unless we have an opportunity to be in the Image of the Creator, and to play a creative role in obtaining that good.

    Paradoxically, this means that the best good Hashem can give us is by not simply giving us all the good He can. Rather, it's by giving us enough that we can ourselves can become creative givers, just like He is. Then, we would end up having more good than could possibly be given. The ultimate good is being given the opportunity to ourselves be givers.

    (Talk about breaking ears!)

    The world is imperfect and we are imperfect because we would not be
    capable of having some image of G-d without having something for us to perfect ourselves.

    The existence of the tragic and of evil is offset by the fact that it's the only way we have a chance of obtaining that Greatest possible good.

    Of course, the above requires that G-d conform to logic. That since He is the Ultimate Good, being in his image is the greatest possible good, and this in turn requires being able to become who we want to be -- self-created. Even if that means some choose evil, if that means that there is evil and tragedy to overcome. But before that "even if", my argument is logical.

    But what if, as the Ramchal writes, logic itself is a creation that therefore Hashem is not subject to?



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