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Section:  Avodah   Category: Innocent Observations
Scientifically Speaking, The Good Life of Torah & The Misery of Sin

We find that whenever the Torah warns us about not keeping the Mitzvos, the consequences are always earthly punishments. Similarly when the Torah speaks about the rewards of Torah observance it is always about prosperity, security, and happiness. Yet in our minds when it comes to matters of religion we generally link reward and punishment to our after life. Rav Chatzkel Levenstein (Ohr Yechezkel 6 -Yirah UMussar) says based on the Mesials Yesharim that thinking about the consequences of the after life does not move of to change. The only thing that can actually make an impression on us is our status in this world, our pain and suffering and our rewards. Therefore the Torah encourages us through words that can have an impact.

The problem is that our minds eye does not really believe that our actions, both for good or bad, have a direct physical impact on the good and bad that we face in our daily lives, be it in matters regarding health, wealth, or happiness. We view the connection as purely cosmic and not rooted in science. After all what does shaking a lulav or wearing tefilin have anything to do with how my year or day goes?

Yet Chazal tell us that this is absolutely so. Hashem made the world based on the Torah, and matters of the world spin on the axis of Torah. If the world spins on science, then it is precisely this science that revolves around the words of the Torah, so indeed it must be true that our mitzvos and aveiros affect us in a worldly manner. So how does this work?

Rav Chaim Vital in Shaarei Kedusha asks why is it the Torah doesn't command us to have good Middos? There is no explicit Mitzva or Aveiros among the Taryag that demands good character. He answers that Middos are the foundation upon which the Torah is built. It goes without saying, says Rav Chaim Vital, that with bad character keeping the Torah will be quite a struggle, while if you have good character Torah observance will naturally flow from you. Moreover says Rav Chatzkel, if you have bad character even you Mitzvos stem from a bad place. So for example if you do a Mitzva because you are seeking honor, although the deed is what is commanded by Hashem, in essence you are not doing his mitzva but rather a strange manifestation of your lust after honor.

With this we can better perceive the link between our mitzvos or aveiros and our lot in life on this world. True we would be challenged if we were to tie our fate to individual commandments which we don't even understand their significance. However if we dig deeper and look at our health, wealth, and happiness in light of our character, we can probably see a correlation. Have you ever tried eating a full meal after blowing up at someone? Can you enjoy Shabbos and Yom Tov and your children for that matter if chasing money is your most importnat goal? Can you enjoy a geshmakeh davening if you are busy looking around shul to see who has what, is saying what, and who is getting all the attention and honor. How long can you maintain good health no matter much you work out, if you lack emunah and spend day and night worrying or if eating is a sport rather than a health ritual.

In this generation many of us have slightly skewed impressions of happiness and a good life when we are younger. But as we get older and experience the trials and tribulations of life, it doesn't take a deep thinker or a big tzaddik to look around and see all the really happy and satisfied people. These are the same people that we used to laugh at wondering how they sit in the darkness and let the world and its "real" pleasures pass them by. These are the people that saw the correlation between doing Hashem's will and achieving happiness while they were still young enough to change themselves. For the rest of us it's never to late, only a lot harder, especially as we bemoan all those precious years gone by and the hard work we put in that brought us only misery and suffering.

RELATED ARTICLES:gan eden  mitzva  observation  Rav Chaim Vital  Rav Chatzkel Levenstein  suffering

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