Wednesday, February 2, 2011

In the Final Judgment

Who is rich? He who is happy with his lot, as it is written "When you eat of the labour of your hands, you are fortunate and all is well with you" [Psalms 128:2]. "You are fortunate (in this world); "and all is well with you" (in the world to come). [Avot 4:1]

In the world to come, says the Mishpat Tzedek, when a person who always desired more than he had is judged, G-d will say to him "On earth, you always wanted lots of money, lots of clothing, lots of food. Now, show us lots of Torah that you studied, lots of mitzvot that you performed." And the person will be judged with full strictness.

But if a person has the trait of contentment - if he accepts poverty and hardship with love while thanking G-d for all he has, and does not waste his life chasing after wealth - he will be judged leniently. When he comes to the final judgment, G-d will tell the Heavenly tribunal: "He was content with the little that I gave him, and he considered it much. I, too, am satisfied with the little Torah he learned and the few mitzvot he performed."

We see from here that a person who considers his lot ample, even if it is minimal, will reap profits in the world to come, where his merits will also be considered ample. He benefits now, in this world also, for he is spared the anguish of a person who feels he has less than others.

When you eat of the labour of your hands - when you are happy with what you have and don't look at what others have - you are fortunate and all is well with you. "You are fortunate in this world" for you are not eaten up by worry and jealousy; "and all is well with you in the world to come" - for you will be judged favourably.

Source: from the writings of the Ben Ish Hai

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