Monday, July 14, 2008

The World to Come

Someone once asked the Chofetz Chaim zt”l, “If every Jew has a portion in the world to come, why do we have to work so hard to keep all the details of the Torah?”
The Chofetz Chaim answered, “In Kiev lives a wealthy Jew named Brodsky who owns many businesses employing hundreds of different types of workers with different sets of skills and levels of expertise. And each is paid accordingly. Brodsky is a charitable man and also supports a number of poor relations, all of whom appear on the payroll. At times, Brodsky visits one of his factories or offices and speaks with his workers in front of the others, asking detailed questions about what they do and how much they are paid.
“Once, a worker answered his questions with a simple statement: ‘I receive a salary.’ All the others burst out laughing. How could the man not even feel enough shame to hide the fact that he was being paid for doing nothing at all?
“This is your answer: We all have a portion in the world to come, but isn’t it shameful not to have worked for it?”


chaim dovid said...

what about the story where the man goes to the rich man to get something to eat and he tells him go work and chop wood etc. he comes back and he ells him go next door where he complained he worked so hard and all the people told him here we all eat for free

Micha said...

Nice point.
The Midrash you refer to signifies that although we choose how we act,everything is still totally from Hashem. In essence we can only choose what we want to do and make whatever efforts we are able, but the ability to do anything is entirely from Hashem.
Many sources for this such as the Ramchal, Ba'al Shem Tov and Chasam Sofer.
This is one way to understand the Chazal: "A person is lead the way he wishes to travel."