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Thoughts On The End

What happens to us when we die?

I don't know. I have never died before. But I look into our sources and find out from people who had a tradition about such things. They told us what will happen so that we can prepare while we are still here.

The Zohar [Vayechi 218b] says something amazing. In this world we cannot see G-d and remain alive, "Ki lo yirani ha'odom va'chai". When we die we SEE G-D! That means that we see the unadulterated Truth. This world obfuscates and beclouds the Truth and it is only after we die that can we finally perceive absolute reality. [See Rav Desslers eulogy of Rav Isser Zalman Meltzer in his Sefer Zikaron, page 172]

Yochai, Yochai, my sweet friend. You are in such a world right now. You are experiencing bliss unimaginable to anyone constrained by the physical barriers of this world. King David SANG to G-d when he thought of the day of death. SONG and DEATH? What is their to sing about?? Cry yes. I have cried so much since I found out what happened to you. But to sing? This Shabbos I sang because the halacha says that one must be happy on Shabbos, but believe me my heart was not into it. Rav Kook [you studied in the Yeshiva that he founded!] explains [Ayn Ayah Brachos 1 page 51]
that when King David thought about how a person goes from the darkness of this physical world to the serenity and light of the world to come he was moved to SING G-d's praises. Wow! A human being can reach such exalted heights. That IS something to sing about.

I think about where you are now and the lessons I must learn. When a Jew confronts tragedy he must learn and grow from the experience.

What does G-d want? What matters to him? What doesn't He care about? What is His value system? He didn't keep it a secret. "Thus said Hashem: Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom, let not the strong man boast of his strength, let not the rich man boast of his wealth. But let the one who is praised boast of this: that he understands and knows me, for I am Hashem who administers kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth FOR THESE THINGS I DESIRED, declared Hashem." [Yirmiyahu 9/22,23].

What? Hashem doesn't care about a college degree?? No! I am sure that Yochai is not being asked to present a degree. What about money? Hashem doesn't favor the rich? The famous? Professional athletes? No! That is all part of this "Alma Di'shikra" - World of Falsehood. All he cares about is what type of person you were. Kind? Ahhh, that Hashem likes. Kindness! Learned? Yes, indeed! That is how we "understand and know Him ".

Yochai [and I am sure that the same is true of the other kedoshim] lived a G-dly life , filled with Torah and mitzvos. He died a death that merits him a place in Gan Eden that even the holiest tzaddikim cannot reach. He died because he was a Jew, not just a Jew - a Ben-Torah, while learning Torah. The Arabs know that the heart of the Jewish people is the Yeshiva. Without Torah we are not a people. That is why they shot him mercilessly [and the bullets pierced his pure heart].

May we also live lives of truth and may Hashem console his family and all of the families of the pure neshamos that are so sorely missed in this world.

Shavua Tov sweetest friends and Tomid Bi'simcha - even in the face of sorrow!

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Segula - 40 days at the Kotel

About me

  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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