What would you say is the purpose of this world?
Now this world, we have to realize, was made for the purpose of having pleasure. One of my great rebbes zichrono livracha – I remember it like yesterday in Slabodka – he was saying as follows; the first words of the Mesilas Yesharim. Pay attention. העולם לא נברא אלא להתענג על השם – The world was made only for the purpose of enjoying the pleasure of Hashem. Now where is that? In the next world. That’s how everybody learns pshat. The world was made להתענג על השם, to have pleasure from Hashem in the next world. We prepare here, la’asos, for the pleasure in the next world. That’s the plain meaning.
But there’s another meaning, also true. העולם לא נברא אלא להתענג – The world was made only for pleasure. Stop. It’s absolutely true. Tzaddikim don’t like that. Pleasure? Pleasure in the next world, yes. They’re not tzaddikim, though. A tzaddik has to understand that Hakodosh Boruch Hu made this world for pleasure.
It’s such a good world that the Mesilas Yesharim in one place works hard to convince us that this is not the final place. You hear that? We think it’s a waste of time. He spends time convincing us this world is not the final place. He proves it because you’re not here forever. It comes to an end. Sometimes there’s unhappiness. We’re surprised at him! העלה על הדעת, who would think this is a final place?
But he knew the world is such a happy place; life is very sweet! It’s so good to be alive! It’s such a great pleasure to be alive. The ta’anug of Olam Hazeh! And therefore there’s a possibility of making the error of thinking, that this is it. He says, “No. There’s a bigger pleasure than here.”
Now people not accustomed to thinking about this won’t appreciate that. You have to spend part of your lives studying the subject, how good this world is. You have to study that.
TAPE # E-262 (January 2001)