Sunday, September 28, 2008

u'bacharta bachaim

Commenting on “u’bacahrta ba’chaim”, the Netzi”v cites a Sifri in Parshas Re’eh which illustrates the lesson of the pasuk with a comparison to a fork in the road where one path is covered with thorns and brambles and one path looks smooth and passable. Although the clear road appears to be the better route, in actuality the path which appears impassable will become a smooth highway further along and the smooth path will become clogged with obstacles. Taking the easy road is sometimes a shortsighted error. Similarly, when one comes to a fork in the road of life, choosing the path of torah and morality may appear to make the going more difficult, but will ultimately prove more rewarding.

The Netzi”v is not satisfied with this simple lesson alone as the moral of the Sifri's analogy. In the analogy, both paths ultimately lead to the same destination. In the choices faced in life, the choices of the saint and choices of the sinner carry them to quite different destinations. How does the analogy fit?

The message of the Sifri is that our assumption about the destination of the sinner is wrong. No soul is lost forever. A person may have to undergo suffering in this world and the next to purge the soul of its sins, but ultimately every Jewish sould can be and will be rehabilitated and restored to its splendor and rightful place close to Hashem. Precisely because no soul can ever be lost are we exhorted "u'bacharta bachaim". Why take a circituitous and long route to one's destination that requires suffering and punishment when one can choose the correct path and arrive at one's destination with ease?

1 comment:

  1. Barzilai11:06 AM

    At the risk of sounding like the chorus at Yeshiva World, Very Nice!