Let My People Know

Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz: “What will I get out of the next life?”

Men do not really know true happiness, because they have never experienced the release from sadness.

It is not a matter of contrasts, of course.

It is a matter of getting to the truth of experience, of breaking out of the self-delusion, entertained by many, that they are alive.

Something that only a genuine shock can bring about.

For a great number of civilized human beings live comfortably with the notion that they would like to know God.

And this is as much of a search for meaning they can indulge in.

They do not get beyond the daily obligations of ethics and religion.

Their search is, at best, the search for an earthly fortune, a matter of putting effort into something and getting a more or less just compensation.

However, using the same logic, there is a story of the rich man who asked the rabbi: “What will I get out of the next life?”

The rabbi answered: “At least as much as you invest in it.”

If you put a lot of money and effort into an earthly endeavor, you are likely to earn even more.

If you put a lot of thought and energy into your spiritual endeavors, you’re liable to gain more in the heavenly hereafter.

The trouble is that men are much more troubled about the loss of a ten-dollar bill on earth than about losing a spiritual opportunity to perform a kindness.

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz