“If you will follow My decrees and observe My commandments and perform them…I will turn My attention to you, I will make you fruitful and increase you, and I will establish My covenant with you.” (Vayikra/Leviticus 26:3,9) G-d promises the Jewish nation abundant blessing when they choose to enrich their lives with Torah and mitzvos, and warns of the national desolation that will result from the spiritual vacuum caused by choosing otherwise. How do we understand the component of this guarantee, “I will turn My attention to you”?
The Chofetz Chaim (1) quotes a parable in the Sifra (2). A king hired many workers, but one employee in particular expended extraordinary effort over a lengthy period of time. When the day came for compensation, the king told that one employee, “The majority of these workers did limited work and will receive limited payment; then my face will turn toward you, for you have a burgeoning account that I will later settle with you.” So, too, is G-d’s response to the righteous who inquire as to the reward for their Divine service while living in this corporeal world. G-d, the King, responds, “Those who lived their lives outside the realm of my service did, indeed, serve me at times and I will give them [in this world] their transient limited reward for their limited service. But you, my children, I will eventually turn to you to settle the great account you have amassed. When I am finished with them I will turn to you.”
Thus, concludes the Chofetz Chaim, those who maintain their G-d consciousness and fulfill the Divine will should not harbor any bitterness for challenges and difficulties they face in this world. They are far better doing without for the [relative] short term [during their physical lives in this world], receiving their great wealth in the future [in the world to come], than to enjoy short term riches now only to spend eternity impoverished.
Our challenge is maintaining our perspective, remembering in which world the wealth is merely a mirage and in which world the riches are genuine and lasting.
Have a Good Shabbos!
(1) Rabbi Yisrael Meir HaKohen Kagan of Radin; 1838 -1933; author of basic works in Jewish law, philosophy and ethics and renowned for his saintly qualities
(2) Halachic Medrash of the Tannaitic era on the Book of Vayikra; also known as Toras Kohanim
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