By way of preface:
The "Jewish Spirituality" mailing list is an outgrowth of several conversations in which people told me that they felt "alone" in their quest to develop their relationship with Gd. I knew they weren't alone, just from my own interactions with other people, and so I extended an invitation to the Jewish community of Rhode Island to join in a weekly mailing list exploring issues within their relationship with HaShem.
Many of the messages posted on the list reflect people's personal struggles and sensitivities. As a result, some of the people who post remarks on this list opt to do so anonymously; they send me the e-mail, and I drop their names. The list is "blind cc'd," as well, so that no one knows who else is on the list. Our goal is that the members of this list should draw strength and inspiration from the words of their peers, and thereby continue to develop as Jews.
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Jewish Spirituality - Volume 14
It's OK to be Dissatisfied
From "Mesilas Yesharim"
Title: It's OK to be Dissatisfied
By: Mesilas Yesharim (R' Moshe Chaim Luzzato)
[This is a somewhat loose translation of a passage from the first chapter. The title is my own; the chapter's true title is, "A person's obligation in his world." - MT]
…And you will see, in truth, that no thinking person could believe that the purpose of creating humanity was for the sake of human existence in this world.
What is a person's life in this world? Who is truly happy and at peace in this world? Our years here are 70 years, with strength 80 years, and their periods of great achievement are struggling and painful, suffering various types of pain, illness, aches and stresses. After all of this, a person dies. You won't find 1 in 1000 for whom the world will provide great benefits and true peace. Even if a person reaches 100 years, he is already gone, lost from the world.
Further, if the purpose of one's creation were actually this world, there would be no need for a person to receive such a great and elevated soul, which is greatrer than the angels, themselves!
Certainly, one's soul will not find any satisfaction in the enjoyments of this world. That is what our sages taught us in the Midrash on Koheles:
"Koheles states, 'And the soul will not be filled.' To what may this be compared? To a villager who marries a princess. Even if he brings her everything in the world, it will not be significant to her, for she is a princess.
Similarly, if one gives the soul all of the delicacies of this world, it is nothing to the soul. Why? Because the soul is from the upper worlds."
Similarly, our sages said, "You are created against your will, and you are born against your will." The soul has no love for this world, at all. Just the opposite, the soul despises this world. If this is so, the Creator surely would not have created an entity for a purpose which is antithetical to its very nature, and which is abhorrent to it!
Rather, a person is created for his role in the next world. This is why the soul is placed within him; it is appropriate for the soul to work for the next world, and one can receive his reward through it, at the proper time and in the proper place. If one follows this path, then this world will be abhorrent to the soul. Just the opposite, it will be beloved and cherished. This is obvious.
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