The Battle of the Generation - Day 14
Our weekly excerpt from the book "The Battle of the Generation"
Chapter 5 – Hashem’s Relationship With Us
Before discussing belief in the Torah, we must consider an important question: Are we better off if G-d exists or not?
Unfortunately, some people feel they would be better off if there were no G-d because then they could do whatever they want without having to worry about consequences. Some even imagine Hashem as a harsh, uncaring dictator who is always fed up with them. They feel that He demands that they be perfect and that He will never be happy with them no matter how hard they try. This is so tragic because being religious frustrates them when it could make them happy.
We must learn the proper perspective in life by answering the question: Why did Hashem create us? He is infinite and does not need us, so why did He create us? We must answer this question if we want to get anywhere in our relationship with Hashem.
In Chapter 1 of Mesillas Yesharim, Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (the Ramchal) explains that the only reason Hashem created us was to grant us kindness. Hashem put us in this world and gave us the Torah and mitzvos so we could earn the ultimate happiness — drawing pleasure through a direct connection to Him — which we receive in the Next World. This experience is by far the most enjoyable feeling we can experience; nothing in this world comes close. Our mitzvos are opportunities to earn that experience, and that is why Hashem put us in this world.
This knowledge grants us a different perspective toward the mitzvos and restrictions Hashem gave us. We can recognize that every single thing Hashem does and every system He runs the world with, including restrictions and even punishments, is done out of love for us. When we know that Hashem has our best interests in mind and never does anything except out of concern for us, we can realize that the restrictions He gave us are for our gain so we can accomplish. And even in this world, the Torah lifestyle is supposed to be the most enjoyable and happy way to live. One of the benefits is that when we are not chasing after passions and don’t feel lacking, we can appreciate life and be happy. Also, the mitzvos enable us to live with excitement about what we are achieving. The main reason Hashem created passions was so they would challenge us and enable us to earn the ultimate pleasure — the pleasure of the Next World. Every mitzvah we fulfill earns us more and more.