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Now browsing: Hometown News > Religion > Zvi Konikov

Zvi Konikov
This Week | Archive

Heaven on earth
Rating: 2.9 / 5 (262 votes)  
Posted: 2009 Dec 11 - 01:56

In accordance with Jewish tradition, out of respect, I do not write G-d's name, even an English substitute, in a place where it may be discarded or erased.

I remember someone saying, "I want to go to Heaven. But, not right now."

Well, you can be "in" Heaven without going "right now." Some people say they had a heavenly or hellish experience to describe an extreme condition although we do not believe we are actually in Heaven, or the opposite. But, what is Heaven? At its core, it is a condition of closeness, a state of a soul being enveloped in the Oneness of the Divine - beautiful, tranquil and comforting to the 'nth degree. Purgatory would be the opposite, a condition of distance and disconnect.

We can feel we are "in" Heaven by doing a mitzvah - a good deed.

What if we got up this morning and prayed? What if we saw someone such as a co-worker or friend in need, and offered help because that is what G-d wants of us? We will have done a mitzvah. We will have embraced our life's purpose and, in doing so, we will have embraced the Divine.

However, a mitzvah is more than a good deed. A mitzvah is a connection with G-d. It is an awesome connection so when we do a mitzvah, we are actually experiencing Heaven. And then some. However, we cannot feel it and that's a bummer.

Our inability to feel something, though, does not mean it is not there. Sometimes you need to see things in your mind's eye, to close your eyes and see things with your soul. No, you will not experience the Heaven sensation to its fullest; that is reserved for a disembodied state or the "World to Come" in the Messianic Era. But it is not "all or nothing."

The Mishnah (Talmudic teaching), Avos 4:2, teaches us that "the reward of a mitzvah is the mitzvah itself, the recompense of a transgression is the transgression itself."

The very act of the mitzvah is the medium whereby man forges a timeless relationship with G-d. Conversely, every sin or transgression causes the opposite impact: it draws the person away from G- d.

So, in essence, Heaven and Hell are, aside from their conventional meanings, a daily experience. We can experience Heaven now; we just have to correctly align our lives and allow ourselves to appreciate what we have done. When we are living a purposeful life, fulfilling G-d's desire in our existence, we are in Heaven.

Rabbi Konikov is director of Chabad of the Space and Treasure Coasts and can be reached at contact@jewishbrevard.com.

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