Beit Midrash

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To dedicate this lesson
based on Ein Ayah, Shabbat 12:43-44

Purgatory – Hands Off!


Beit Din Eretz Hemda - Gazit

Elul 4 5780
Gemara: [We continue with lessons learned from pairs and then groups of three letters.] "YaM kol" – the officer of gehinom (purgatory) said to Hashem: "Master of the Universe, everyone should come to the sea" (the great pool into which most souls enter- Rashi). Hashem responded: "Achas betah gif" – I have mercy on them because they kicked (in disgust) promiscuity.

Ein Ayah: All creations were created not in their complete form, in which they will be in the future when the whole world will be morally repaired and all will be prepared for the feast (see Avot 3:16). For this reason, in the beginning of existence, there is a point of breaking, and worlds that were previously destroyed, because Hashem was not pleased with them, needed to be recreated. Finally, a world in which Hashem is pleased was created.

However, even this improved world will also be turned into a new world, as the pasuk says: "The new heavens and the new earth that I am making" (Yeshayahu 66:22). Certainly, even in this world of ours, which our Creator wants to continue, still all creations, whether the spiritual ones or the physical ones, are slated to receive a new form, which is grander, more complete, and more illuminating. The completion of the process will come by turning that which was missing into something new.

Gehinom is the smelting cauldron of souls and spirits, who, due to their sins, left the physical world in a blemished state. Gehimon is that which will create the new and improved creation. The impurities will be "burnt out of the pure silver" of the former living beings and all that is connected to them. That is why this power of destruction that is connected to gehinom has such a powerful desire to bring everyone into its realm and have its power of destruction act on them so that they can emerge more complete. The officer thus asks Hashem to bring all into the "great sea," which inundates its inhabitants who came in with different forms. For that reason, despite all of the pain involved, the process is still one of completing matters.

The following is behind Hashem’s refusal to send everyone through the process of gehinom. The foundation of spiritually completing man’s form is that he should turn the depths of his life to the lofty goal of sanctification, which is what keeps all generations standing. In man’s higher spirit, there is an inclination toward keeping the species going through a means that embraces all of the inclinations of life. When the concentration of inclinations is done in a pure and ideal manner, it turns out that the foundation of sanctity, including removing spiritual filth from his inclination of procreation, is set in the center of the soul. Then the whole character of the person is completed in a manner that does not require it to be elevated by being broken, which can only be done by the fearsome fire of gehinom.

Within the holy lineage of Israel, to whose males Hashem attached a sign of the covenant in their flesh, this inclination is controlled in a manner that the purity can be intrinsic. This allows the soul to remain as it was. It can then be elevated even further after death without the need for destruction and being turned into a certain nothingness, as the fire of gehinom is able to do. Therefore, because Israel kicks away promiscuity, they do not need gehinom.
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