Dreaming of Moshiach

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Day of Judgment

Chaim, a devout, religious Jew, was a political party member of Pedel in the Israeli Knesset. He passed away and his soul was brought to the Heavenly Tribunal.

The Malach (angel of the Heavenly Court) asked Chaim to judge another Jew seeking to enter the Heavenly Gates. He told him that this Jew lead an exemplary secular life and sometimes attended a non-Orthodox synagogue on Shabbat and in the afternoon, after "prayers", he would work. He also failed to keep a Kosher home.

Chaim, without hesitation, expressed reservation about the man since he works on Shabbat and failed to keep a Kosher home.

The Malach, hearing Chaim’s reservations, tells him that he has been appointed to defend this man. He tells Chaim that the Heavenly Tribunal has asked that Chaim consider his, the angel’s, pleas on the man’s behalf. Chaim beams due to the import of the honor bestowed upon him.

The Malach tells Chaim that this man has some very honorable qualities: when they needed a minyon at his synagogue to say Kaddish, the man always helped out; when he faced anti-semitic ridicule at work, he always stood up and defended his Jewishness; while he did not keep a Kosher home, he never hid his Jewishness and made it known that he would not eat pork, and this caused him to compromise his business and social standing among business peers. The Malach relays to Chaim that the man has genuine love for the holy Torah and it brought him to the synagogue nearly each Shabbat and hearing the Rabbi’s sermons.

Chaim, however, declared that although the man has admirable qualities, he chose the secular road, failing to make the sacrifice to commit to the religious tenets provided by the Torah. Before Chaim can say anything more, two additional Malachim (angels) from the Heavenly Tribunal appear, and all three angels tell Chaim that the man will be admitted to the Heavenly Gates. The angels tell Chaim that the man has shown love for G-d, love for Torah, and the willingness to protect G-d’s name.

They tell Chaim that he should recognize that while he, Chaim, lived in a community where it was routine and expected that a man such as himself attend an Orthodox shul (synagogue), keep Kosher, daven (pray), and study Torah daily, the man Chaim was judging lived in opposite environment which compelled him to sacrifice his personal interests to uphold his Jewishness and preserve G-d’s name. The angels further tell Chaim that the man’s faults were personal in nature, denying himself and thus his family the benefits of a Jewish religious lifestyle as provided by Torah, but that he showed to Hashem willingness to stand out as a Jew and defend G-d’s name.

“You, on the other hand, Chaim,” the angels declared, “ have not shown Kavod (respect) to Hashem.” Chaim gasped, and asked the angels to explain.

“You, an Israeli Knesset, stood silently when the greatest gifts HaShem bestowed the Jews, the land of Eretz Yisroel, was handed over to Arabs. Hashem gifted the Holy Land to the Jewish as promised in the Torah.”

“I abstained,” said Chaim, explaining that as a member of the Knesset he never voted for anything remotely connected to the return of Hashem’s gift. The angels echoed in, “Your abstention allowed the course for the return of Jerusalem, the Holy City, and Eretz Yisroel.”

“We are members of the Heavenly Tribunal,” the angels continued. “Would you dare to think we are mislead with the implications of your deed? Do you for a moment think we should be forgiving because you blindly follow your peers in such a wrong? Do you for a moment think the Heavenly Tribunal cannot recognize the folly of masking the deed with frivolous rationalizations regarding Pedel educational programs, when the leadership defiles Hashem’s gift to the Jewish people while accepting favors and rewards? Did you not with your ancestors spend two thousand years in a Diaspora studying why ten of the twelve tribes were destroyed before the loss of the First Temple? Thus you tell us how you can compare yourself with the man whom you judged today, whom we tell you would have sacrificed everything to preserve the Holy City and Land given by Hashem Himself?”

With that, Chaim awoke in his bed, with great shame that his years of study, davening, and commitment to Hashem and Torah, made him nothing better than a man who blindly followed his peers and elders in a road which demeaned Hashem and His name to the peoples of the world. Here he was ready to implicate a man without comparative Jewish experience and background, when such a man would have served Hashem far better than he.

Chaim recognized that he journeyed that night to the borders of the next life, and with his heart and soul thanked Hashem for opening his eyes and giving him the opportunity to take the correct road to enter the Heavenly Gates.

Written by By Joseph Ehrlich

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והיה השם למלך על כל הארץ, ביום ההוא יהיה השם אחד - ושמו אחד ישתבח שמו לעד לנצח נצחים בכל העולמות Blessed is His name for eternity in all worlds אין עוד מלבדו