Pleasure

Day 20: The Afterlife

Daily Quotes

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life”

– Golda Meir

“My soul can find no staircase to Heaven unless it be through Earth’s loveliness.”

– Michelangelo

One is not idle because one is absorbed. There is both visible and invisible labor. To contemplate is to toil, to think is to do. The crossed arms work, the clasped hands act. The eyes upturned to Heaven are an act of creation.”

– Victor Hugo

Daily Reading

Daily Sources

וַיְבָ֤רֶךְ אֱלֹהִים֙ אֶת־י֣וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֔י וַיְקַדֵּ֖שׁ אֹת֑וֹ כִּ֣י ב֤וֹ שָׁבַת֙ מִכׇּל־מְלַאכְתּ֔וֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָ֥א אֱלֹהִ֖ים לַעֲשֽׂוֹת׃
בראשית ב׳:ג׳

And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.

– Genesis 2:3

שמות כ׳: ח׳ – י׳

– Exodus 20:8-10

Fire is one-sixtieth of the fires of Hell; honey is one-sixtieth of manna; Shabbat is one-sixtieth of the World to Come; sleep is one-sixtieth of death; and a dream is one-sixtieth of prophecy.

– Brachot 57b

He rested from all His work which He created out of nothing; to make from it all the works mentioned on the six days. Thus the verse is stating that G-d rested from creating and forming — from the creation… and Rabbi Abraham Ibn Ezra said that the blessing signifies additional well-being, that on the seventh day there is a renewal of procreative strength in the body, and in the soul, a greater capacity in the functioning of the reasoning power…The truth is that the blessing on the Sabbath day is the fountain of blessings and constitutes the foundation of the world. And He sanctified it that it draw its sanctity from the Sanctuary on high. The seventh day which is the Sabbath alludes to the World to Come, “which will be wholly a Sabbath and will bring rest for life everlasting.”

– Ramban on Genesis 2:3

Daily Goals

The Midrash says that when the Jewish people were gathered at Mount Sinai to receive the Torah, God told them that Heaven would be their reward for keeping the commandments. 

The Jews asked God, “How do we know that Heaven is so great?

In order to show them that Heaven is where we experience the pure and unadulterated pleasure of the Infinite, God granted Israel a small taste of that ultimate, blissful state – the gift of Shabbat, so that they would know the taste of heaven. 

The Talmud writes that Shabbat is 1/60th of the World to Come (Brachot 57b). If Heaven is pure spirituality, then Shabbat is a taste of that experience.

The Torah says, “and God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done. (Genesis 2:3). Then it says, “six days you shall work, and the seventh day is Shabbat to the Lord your God. [On that day] you shall not do any creative work” (Exodus 20:9).

On Shabbat, we emulate the Creator; we “rest”, just like He ceased to create on the seventh day. The world reverts in a small way to its perfected state – to a fully functional and harmonious earth, requiring no human effort or intervention. Man does not have to labor to sustain himself.  

Thus, physically complete creations, in attesting to God’s glorious handiwork, become spiritually charged as well. They allow spiritual forces to flow unobstructed from the heavens, infusing and energizing the physical world with spiritual vitality.

Shabbat, a time in which the physical universe is perfect, is a time of enormous spiritual potential as well. It is a time when the physical and spiritual worlds become aligned. On Shabbat the world is not only in harmony with itself; it is in harmony with God as well.

Shabbat is a time of both spiritual and physical enjoyment – a time in which the two types of experiences coalesce in complete harmony and together enhance our appreciation of God. The physical and spiritual all merge into one magnificent whole, serving as a reflection of the one all-encompassing God who created them.

Today, consider incorporating elements of Shabbat into your family life by instituting a weekly Friday night dinner. Unplug from the world of technology; no electronic devices, no television, no cell phones, no internet. Light the candles, make Kiddush, sing some songs, and share words of Torah. Try it for a few hours, and increase the amount of time as you feel more comfortable. The key is to relinquish control of the universe and get in touch with the Almighty, with our loved ones and with ourselves.

Rabbi Noah Weinberg

Around CLE

Regular Torah study has changed my life. The more I learn the greater the thirst to learn more, understand more. But I struggle to find the best way to light the spark in others so that they can share in the joy of Torah learning. The daily learning during the month of Elul may just light that spark. It introduces so many easy to understand concepts of Judaism that many of us have overlooked for far too long. Start today; you’ll be happy you did!

Bill Heller, Board Chair of Partners Cleveland Tweet

Regular Torah study has changed my life. The more I learn the greater the thirst to learn more, understand more. But I struggle to find the best way to light the spark in others so that they can share in the joy of Torah learning. The daily learning during the month of Elul may just light that spark. It introduces so many easy to understand concepts of Judaism that many of us have overlooked for far too long. Start today; you’ll be happy you did!

Bill Heller, Board Chair of Partners Cleveland Tweet

Around CLE

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