19 September 2012

The Jewish View of the Afterlife

This point came up recently in a class, and it is worth sharing:

While there are people who find their jobs fulfilling, many conceive of work as a way to earn a paycheck, which is cashed into a number of options, from which they can then choose. The reward of the work hasn't much to do with the content of the work itself: you design programs for Intel; you don't get to keep them.

People tend to assume that the Jewish view of the afterlife is similar: you do good in this world, which racks up brownie points with God, and then you cash them in in the Next World for some spiritual-bliss commodity.
Not so. In this world, you strive to perfect yourself. And at the end of the day, when the job is over -- that is what you keep: what you've made of yourself.

In proportion to how much one has become a more divine person, one will find the next world, a place of closeness to the ultimate Good, a great pleasure.

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