The brutal truth about Reward and Punishment

Yeah, I don't believe in that one the way most people do. The sages state that the reward for performing Mitzvot is not "in this world". Also, all those rewards and punishments that appear in Tanach - their all collective ones, not for individual deeds (2 exceptions). And of course there's the ultimate proof - the world doesn't work that way. Good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people and vice verse. I don't buy the concepts "we don't know who's really good and bad", and "it's deducted from their future reward". Those both seem geared more at coping with the harsh reality than actual explanations of it. I prefer to think of the Torah a bit like a cucumber (yeah, that's what I wrote). What is the reward for eating a cucumber? being healthy. It isn't divinely decreed that way on the spot; the system is set up that way. Eat veggies – healthier immune system, less sickness, less depression, etc… Similarly, Torah – and Halacha – teach us what is good for us, what "fits" our individual and collective predispositions. If you're smart – you listen, which carries with it an emotionally, psychologically and spiritually healthier life (and hopefully a happier one as well). But it doesn't mean you can't get stung by a bee, have your house broken into or fail at work. You may be better fit – physically, emotionally and psychologically – to deal with those hardships but they can happen none the less. (248)

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