Chapter 4: Mishna 19: Don’t let this world fool you
By Chaim Coffman
“Rabbi Yannai said: It is not in our power to explain why the wicked are at ease, or why the righteous suffer”
This is the age-old question of why evil people seem to have it easy and the righteous suffer. This world is a world of falsehood because we see many things that don’t make any sense to us.
Someone who spends their lives learning Torah and integrating its ideals in their lives, why should they have it so hard in this world? If after all, if they are doing their best to serve G-d, then they should have abundance in their world so they can devote their time to learning! Unfortunately we see them suffer and have a hard time!
One reason that the righteous suffer is because G-d wants to give them greater reward in the next world. If they have suffering in this world then they get atonement for whatever transgressions they may have done and go to the next world with a clean slate ready to get the just reward they deserve.
At the same time, the evil ones seem to have it easy in this world without worries. The reason for this is that they are essentially receiving their reward from the next world in this world. That means for whatever mitzvos they did in this world, they will get the reward now and not have a portion in the world-to-come.
This is because a person has to earn a portion in the world-to-come. The Talmud tells us if you didn’t prepare yourself spiritually in this world then there will be no opportunity to have the next world.
Even though the Mishna at the beginning of every chapter of Ethics of our Fathers starts out by saying that every Jew has a portion in the world-to-come, nonetheless there are things a person could do to lose it! One thing that we have to keep in mind is that it is not in our power to explain this.
We have to realize that G-d runs the world and gives each person their trials and tribulations to help them reach their true potential. Some have it easier, some harder, each one according to what spiritual goals they can reach. They help us grow and strengthen ourselves.
We may question things as not being fair because of our own struggles and others who seem to have it easy. We have to realize though at the end of our lives we will have to give an accounting for what we did in this world.
We can’t worry about why someone else may have had it easier or anything else but we will have to answer for what we have done! As we see from the end of the book of Job, we can’t understand what goes in this world.
G-d takes care of nature at every second of every day taking care of its needs to make sure that things run properly. We can’t even imagine everything that goes into that! So too, how can we begin to imagine what goes on here with regards to how things appear!
This world is like a mirage. We have to navigate ourselves through it but through the blueprint which He gave us. This is indeed a formidable challenge which we have to constantly work on to strengthen.