When a rasha is dying from AIDS and suffering, is that an atonement for him so that he should suffer less in the next world?
It could be. If he would utilize the opportunity to do some teshuva, then of course it would be a kaparah for him. But if he remains an atheist then nothing will help. He could be suffering the worst forms of torture but if he has no G-d then there is no atonement for him at all. There’s no such thing as atonement for a person who doesn’t believe in Hashem.
Now, if somebody would come to the hospital and teach him emunah, teach him about Hakodosh Boruch Hu, then he can utilize his last moments. But without that ingredient, without Hashem, there’s no such thing as teshuva. Teshuva means to come back to Hashem, not to come back to morality. It’s not enough to come back to decency; that’s not teshuva – you have to come back to Hashem otherwise it’s worthless. And don’t let anybody tell you anything different because it’s sheker v’chazav; it’s totally false.
That’s why the greatest of all errors is to forget about Hakodosh Boruch Hu. That’s the sin of all sins. And therefore, the biggest benefit you can do to people is to teach them emunah. Emunah is the ingredient that makes a man’s life worth living, and it even makes his suffering worth enduring. Because he can utilize his suffering and accomplish coming back to Hashem. And that’s the success of yessurim, of suffering. But just to suffer and remain an atheist, that’s nothing at all. If he doesn’t say, “I’ve sinned before You Hashem. I’ve been a wicked man and I’ve committed many abominations. Please forgive me,” then his suffering is nothing. It’s just the beginning of the real suffering that’s waiting for him in Gehenim.
TAPE # 606