A #TuesdayTorahTutorsTidbit for the beginning of 2022, about goals and what we need to achieve them; real Torah, from real TorahTutors sessions.
According to Rambam (in his Introduction to Perek Chelek), the ultimate good to which a human’s soul might aspire transcends this world and consists in full knowledge of, and thereby unity with, God. He points to a Talmudic statement (Berachot 17a) that describes the world to come as a totally non-physical realm, where “the righteous sit and their crowns are on their heads and they derive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Presence.”
How, then, are we to understand the Torah’s promises of physical comforts as rewards? In Rambam’s view, worldly promises such as prosperity and peace are offered as a means of assistance for those who take the first steps. It is difficult to focus on mitzvah observance or (in Rambam’s perspective) intellectual advancement when one’s basic physical needs are not met; those who make the effort will therefore be rewarded with what they need to be able to pursue further growth. As Avot 4:2 states, “The reward for a mitzvah is [the ability to do] another mitzvah.”
Heavy stuff, but a teenage TorahTutors student rose to the challenge and engaged in thoughtful discussion of these ideas and more with her tutor.
On that note, TorahTutors wishes all of our students, teachers, and friends a year filled with all you need to be able to focus on achieving your goals.
And if your goals (for yourself or a child) include studying Jewish texts, we are happy to offer support towards achieving those goals!