4/19/2007

Selling Olam Haba

Earlier this week, my wife made a comment about something that she’s currently negotiating, saying that she wants to get a specific thing accomplished and would give a certain person and reward she might get in Olam Haba as long as she does the thing on her own.

I said that was funny. She said she was serious. I said that’s what makes it funny. She asked why.

I asked her if she really thinks that Olam Haba is a commodity that can be bought, sold, or traded. She accused me of not believing in Olam Haba.

I responded that I did, but not in an Olam Haba that can be bought or sold. I used the example of memory; can one transfer his memories to someone else? Can they be exchanged? Same kinda thing. I don’t know exactly what the afterlife is, but I tend to think that it forms an organic whole with this life, that some sense of consciousness or identity remains after bodily demise.

I also sense that this is the meaning behind certain statements that make light of the cause-effect relationship between mitzvot and their reward, statements like “Torah is so geschmak that it’s worth going to Gehinnom for.” It’s a sense of humor which downplays the role of Olam Haba in everyday decisions and also jokes about the causality between actions in this world and their results in the next.

Post a Comment