The Jewish Eye

Who Cares About Olam Haba?

Home | What's Nu? | Bookstore | Reviews | Resources | About

Postcards from Kotzk
3: Who Cares About Olam Haba?

Provided by Revach L'Neshama (

Revach L'Neshama

Reb Menachem Mendel of Kotzk once asked his friend Reb Yizchok Vorki, what is a person's purpose in this world? Reb Yitzchok answered to be MeTaken their Neshama. Reb Menachem Mendel thundered back, "Is this what we learned in Peshischa?" Our job in this world to serve our creator and further His interests not our own. Not our physical desires and not even our spiritual interests.

In Kotzk the ego is nonexistent. Reb Menachem Medel once read the pasuk "V'Ahavta L'Reiacha Kamocha", You must love your friend like yourself. Rav Menachem Medel paused and then asked bewilderedly "Like yourself??" Since when does one love himself?

Rav Aharon Fried a talmid of the Chassam Sofer asks in his sefer Tzel HaKesef, what is so great about someone willing to die Al Kiddush Hashem. The Kol Bo in Hilchos Teshuva says that someone whoever accepts to die Al Kiddush Hashem feels absolutely no pain whatsoever. Moreover he gets free passage straight into Olam Haba. So what great sacrifice has he made? He answers that Mesiras Nefesh means giving up your spirit and soul to the point of absolute nullification. To be willing to give up your olam habah for a heavenly cause. Any remnants of your being ceases to exist for all of eternity in order to make Hashem's name great. Total nullification is the worst fate of all for your ego since it is, no longer.

That is what Reb Mendel strove for. Total nullification of the "I". Your whole being is dedicated to serving Hashem. You don't want or need anything because "You" simply aren't. Total "true" Mesiras Nefesh. In Kotzk your level of existence is inversely proportional to the level of your ego. A person did not have his own agenda not even to achieve spiritual heights. A Kotzker's lifelong struggle was to become a transparent pawn on Hashem's chessboard. Only a person who didn't exist in his own right was considered a person.

Revach L'Neshama
A Different Kind of News
Back to top

Questions or Comments? Send an email to:

Copyright The Jewish Eye 2008 All Rights Reserved