I think about this question alot.
I think about a world – where our parent’s would be perfect. Where they understandevery need of ours. Where they are physically available. Where they are emotionally capable. Where they can provide for their children in any way that is humanly possible.
But (as you and I have found out) life is not like that.
We were put into this vast and confusing world as infants. We had no idea about anything. The very first day of life we had to learn how to eat. Then as time went on we had to learn how to sleep! (Some of us are still learning!) And then,as we moved on in life we needed to learn many more things. Like walking and talking and playing and learning….
Some of us had help during this process, and some of us had to learn it alone. We had to navigate the twists and turns of life. All the nuances that we may not have even realized we needed to learn. So many ideas! So many concepts! So much material – in such a short amount of time!
What does G-d want from us in all of this?
Why did G-d make us like this? Why couldn’t we have just been born to a world with all of our needs met? Why couldn’t we have just been born to a world with no pain? Why couldn’t we just understand everything the second we were born? Why couldn’t we have just been born to a perfect world?
You may tell me – “Because it’s not possible to live in a perfect world.” So I ask you – “Why didn’t G-d create this world to be perfect?”
So – as Orthodox Jews – we are all familiar with the concept of the next world. We all know that the ultimate goal of this world is not to enjoy this world in itself (although we also do enjoy this world) because if that was the goal – then how hard would it be for G-d to create a perfect world. Why did He have to go through the whole trouble of putting all these imperfections into place to begin with?
There are probably a million answers you can get to this question. I’ll just give you the one that popped into my head first.
Now this answer really speaks to me! So listen carefully ‘cuz it’s deep.
Hashem wants us to feel the gift of HAPPINESS! OF TRUE HAPPINESS!
What is happiness?
Is it freedom? Is it the ability to do as you wish when you wish? Is it about having no obligations to tie you down? Is it a big jacuzzi? (Well, maybe sometimes it is….) Is it a chocolate bar? Is it a trip to the Bahamas? I can go on and on and on.
It can’t be that these are happiness because what happens when the movie is over? Then what? Does the happiness last? Happiness can’t be a temporary fix because there are (some) smart people in this world. And these people are not running after the above. They are looking for more. They want more!
So what are smart people seeking?
As I write this topic, my 20 month year old baby comes to mind. You think she walks? Right? Well don’t all babies her age walk? Wrong. She doesn’t walk. So we’re trying to help her get to that milestone.
I put her next to a stool and stand a foot away from her. I tell her to come. She lifts out her hands but is too scared to move. She’s all safe holding onto that stool. Why should she leave go of her grip? Of her security?
Then she sees me. Her mother. The one she’s trusted from the day she was born. The one whom she relied on for everything. So she leaves go. And makes a step towards me. And then – the cruel mother that I am – you know what I do? I do something so cruel, your heart will break when you hear!
I take another step away from her! And she whimpers. How could you mommy?! How could you do this to me?! Why are you making me suffer so?! And she takes another step. And we continue the process………. Until she learns how to walk!
ON HER OWN!
Now she’s REALLY HAPPY!
She really wants her independence. She’s really happy with her independence. She’s really ready for her independence. She’s just afraid to let go! She’s holding on to all her mock securities thinking that the stool is what will give her happiness. But it doesn’t get her anywhere.
So, I’m sure you’ve heard before, that happiness comes from accomplishing. From setting out to do a hard task and actually GETTING IT DONE!
But I’m saying more!
Im saying that happiness comes from TRUST! Happiness comes from letting go of all your securities and moving a step towards Hashem ( G-d) It is of knowing that Hashem is right there waiting for you with open arms! He’s waiting for you!
BUT YOU HAVE TO LET GO!
YOU HAVE TO TAKE A STEP.
So back to our question that we started off with. Why does Hashem make an imperfect world? Why aren’t our parents perfect? Why couldn’t He take the time to create a more perfect environment for me? Why can’t I have all the money in the world? It’s not so hard for G-d He can just throw a whole wad of bills down!
Because if it was perfect, I wouldn’t be HAPPY. I wouldn’t have gone through the struggle of figuring out how to walk ON MY OWN! I wouldn’t feel good holding on to all my CLUTCHES and SECURITIES.
I WOULDN’T BE WALKING INDEPENDENTLY!!!
Now, can you see that toothless grin of satisfaction? Wouldn’t you call that the ultimate in happiness?