We had a customer service fiasco at the clothing store yesterday, and I realized that my job is tenuous: one severe customer complaint and I could be unemployed. The incident put Yirat Shemayim in my face. I admitted that I hate being poor. I am poor because I’m not working a full-time job anymore, nor am I working in my high-paying career field. I am not working full-time because I had a nervous breakdown recently (17 months ago). I had a nervous breakdown because of the narcissist and the yerida (leaving Israel). Therefore, I could say that I’m poor today because of the narcissist and what he did to me. However, I am unsure about the time limit. At what point does the responsibility to recover fall back on my shoulders and leave him in the past?
Which brings me to thoughts about Gehinom.
Gehinom is the Jewish word for hell – except that this is completely not true. In the Torah, which is God’s Word, ordinary people do not suffer any kind of eternal damnation. It is not a Jewish idea. Instead we have Gehinom, which is similar to the Catholic idea of Purgatory, a place where souls have to be cleansed before they can go before the Lord God. Here’s how it is explained by the Sages:
Imagine you are called to have an audience with the King. His attendants would take you to a special wing of the palace to be made ready. They would bathe you and perfume you. Then you would be dressed in regal clothes and given new shoes. Your hair would be styled and you would be indistinguishable from the noble people who were privileged to be in the palace every day. Only then would you be ready to stand before the King. This is Gehinom.
…Only the part where they bathe you (i.e. purge your soul of the filth of this world), that part could mean a few years of incredible pain. We don’t really know. That is probably the source of the false idea that people could burn in hell. But Torah says no.
What happens to people like Hitler? May his memory be erased. Well, we do have the example of Haman. He was hanged on the public gallows, next to all ten of his sons. Did he suffer more after death? I have no idea.
The explanation of Gehinom that I most resonate with is this one: After I die, I will be shown what I could have become if I had lived my life in the best way (which is obedient and loving service to Hashem), then I will be shown what I actually accomplished by doing things the Rivka way. The Sages suggest that Gehinom will be the suffering I will experience when I see what I could have become versus what I became.
And now the grand finale… fireworks… Bang! Bang!
I have 30 years left in this body. I still have time.
I can get back on track.
I can start working and stop being poor.
I can recover… and I am. Slowly. Can anybody spare a dime?
©18mitzvot. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
You must log in to post a comment.