I have been thinking about a conversation I had with an e-friend a few weeks ago. We were discussing how we both learned a very basic fact of life, that was previously unknown to us, in the sefer Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh.
In volume 1, in the 39th and 53rd Perakim, the author points out that most people think that even if they do not get very much enjoyment and ta’anug from the Deveikus with Hashem that comes from learning Torah and doing mitzvos in life, we will get pleasure from our Deveikus in the higher levels of the world to come. This is exactly what I thought before learning Bilvavi.
I learned in Derech Hashem that the purpose of life is to attain Deveikus with Hashem and that this is the ultimate pleasure. I learned from there in the Ramchal that this is attained by doing mitzvos and learning Torah. When he said that this was the ultimate pleasure, I figured that since learning Torah and doing mitzvos do not currently give me ultimate pleasure, that the pshat was as follows: One’s neshama gets closer to Hashem whether he feels it or not. Due to the clouded perspective of this world, I may not feel that pleasure of closeness with Hashem, but it is indeed there. And when I leave this world and my neshama is no longer encumbered by the confusion of my physical body, then I will feel this pleasure from the Deveikus with Hashem that is created by Torah and Mitzvos.
Boy was I in for a shocker when the Bilvavi author taught that this was an ultimate mistake! He taught that the ta’anug from Kirvas Hashem that results from Torah and mitzvos that we have learned about is meant to exist DURING OUR LIFETIMES! And that if you’re neshama is so desensitized that it cannot feel the ta’anug of Kirvas Hashem in this life, you will not attain the Kirvas Hashem and hano'oh meziv Hashechina in the higher levels of Gan Eiden either.
At first I thought that this bomb that the Bilvavi author dropped on me was the product of his own thinking and logic. However, my friend shared with me that he asked Rav Avraham Schorr and Rav Moshe Weinberger whether the yesod that whether or not one feels that ta’anug from Kirvas Hashem in THIS WORLD is the test to see whether or not that closeness is, in fact, even extant, in terms of enjoying the higher levels of Olam Haba. They both answered him that not only was it true, it was so pashut that they thought it virtually did not require proof!
I am sharing this information so that people understand that it is important for each person to take steps to bring themselves closer to the place where he can say that his greatest pleasure in his life in Olam Hazeh his Kirvas Hashem from Torah and Mitzvos. Hatzlacha raba in that journey. This is why I am working on the path outlined in the seforim Bilvavi Mishkan Evneh. Although other paths may work for different people, we’ve all got to work on it somehow!
(Picture of Melitzer Rebbe courtesy of R' Lazer Brody)