Mamar 2-Teshuvah only works in this world

Tzav Es Bnei Yisrael Veamarta Aleihem…”

[Likkutei Torah p. 150]

Teshuvah can only be performed in this world:

It states that, Hayom Lasosam Ulemachar Lekabel Sechara, that today we are commanded to do the Mitzvos and tomorrow we will receive their reward. It is only in this world below that we have ability to perform the Mitzvos through our freedom of choice to perform good deeds. Furthermore, if one did a sin he can repent and return to serving G-d. However, in the world to come [in the afterlife] one no longer has freedom of choice, and rather the way he comes into the next world is the way he remains.


The experience of a sinful soul in the next world:

In the next world, man sees revelation of G-dliness and is surrounded by this G-dliness. This causes total subjugation and submission of all the souls towards G-d. Even the Kelipos exist there in a way of Bittul, as they too recognize G-dliness. Nevertheless, one who comes to the next world soiled with sin is unable to control himself to remove his soul from its investment within material matters and animalistic desires. It hence re-experiences all of its emotions and desires that it had when it was invested within the body and animal soul in this world. This is referred to as Kaf Hakele [the slingshot purgatory], as one experiences the lowly thoughts, speech, and action that he had in this world, while experiencing G-dliness at the same time. This is a most embarrassing and shameful moment for the soul above. The reason that this occurs is because the thought, speech, and action of this world garb the soul and become its soiled garments in the world to come, which cover the soul from head to toe. This is the meaning of the Sages that sin accompanies and sticks to the person in the next world.

 A parable:

A man wins a leadership position in his country. But there are aspects of his character that are in need of much improvement. He loses his temper easily and can speak words of threat and show anger that even at times leads to physicality on his part. He is fully aware of this fault and knows that he must completely dismiss it from his public life if he desires to remain in a public position with dignity. However, he never properly worked on his character, so when his first challenge arrived when he was in public office against another minister he lashed out and lost his cool. In the midst of the moment, and out of loss of control, he hit the other minister. After calming down and watching the episode on the national news, he was filled with remorse and shame, although not knowing how to fix his actions. He ended up leaving office in shame and disgrace. This is a parable of the experience of the soul in the next world. The sin forces the soul to act in ways that are shameful and against its own will. It is now experiencing the greatest gift of being shown G-d’s light, of being in a revealed relationship with G-d but unable to control his character and forced to do things that shame and embarrass him in the relationship.

 The reason why one can no longer repent for his sins in the next world -Understanding the anatomy of the two worlds:

The basic difference between the order of this world and of the world experienced in the afterlife is that in this world good and bad are entangled and mixed. There is no bad without good mixed in with it. This allows for the bad to be turned over into a good purpose. Thus the bad can actually be used for good. This is the power of Teshuvah – that one uses an act that was against G-d’s will for the betterment of serving Hashem. However, in the next world good and bad are distanced and separated. Every level is given its own distinct place, without having another aspect mixed into it. Therefore, where evil exists there is no good that can co-exist there. So if one entered the next world with sin, he remains within that sin and cannot free himself from it. He cannot use it to garner remorse and better his relationship with Hashem and must constantly experience the sin despite the shame involved, as explained in the parable above.

This is similar to the difference between a child during the days of conception and after birth. During conception, the potential child can receive any gender, whether male or female. The seed can be formed in different ways, as is seen from the ruling[1] that within 40 days of conception one can pray for the child to be a male. However, once the child is born its gender is set and unchangeable. Similarly, in this world it is possible to constantly change from bad to good, and one’s bad state is not permanent or set. However, in the next world, one is considered a final product and the way he enters cannot be changed or fixed.

A reflection from daily life:

In a marriage, if a person offended his spouse, it is possible that this offense will create the greatest animosity and distance between the couple. On the other hand, if the couple is mature and serious about their relationship, this offense will create dialogue between them and a plan for change and improvement, thus leading to a stronger and healthier bond between the two. Similarly, in this world, when a man sins he has offended Hashem. However, since in this world good is mixed into the bad, the offense can be used for a reckoning of the soul and repentance from the depths of the heart. This in turn leads the person to a greater bond with Hashem than he had even prior to the sin. The next world, however, is similar to the person that is so stuck to his faulty character that he is not ready or willing to make any improvement or admission of fault, and hence the matter causes great distance and suffering in his marriage. In the next world, one cannot change his sinful character.

Understanding the difference in G-dly revelations between this world and the next world:

The reason why in this world even evil and sin contain potential good through Teshuvah, while in the next world they do not is due to the difference in the spiritual programming of the two worlds. There exist two forms of Divine vitality and life-force behind the creations. One is  limited, contracted, and contains an internal G-dly revelation that is suited and fits exactly to that particular creation. This called Mimalei Kol Almin. The second is a boundless and powerful Divine revelation that is above and beyond the capacities of any creation and hence is not found internally within it, but merely in an encompassing mode. This is called Soveiv Kol Almin. Every creation and level receives from both the Soveiv and Mimalei aspects of Divine vitality. However, in general, only the level of Mimalei is revealed within them. This is the difference between the two worlds: In the world to come, in Gan Eden, they receive a revelation only from the level of Mimalei Kol Almin. In Gan Eden, there exists a revelation of G-dliness on behalf of the souls found there in order for them to receive their Divine reward and pleasure. Being that the souls are bound and limited, so too is the revelation in their world, as otherwise they could not internalize or appreciate it. However, in this world, through fulfilling the Torah and Mitzvos, there is a revelation of Soveiv Kol Almin. This infinite and boundless revelation on the one hand is above our capacities of comprehension, and it is hence not recognized or appreciated. Nevertheless, it gives us the ability to change our ways from bad to good and repent, as to the infinite light darkness is like light and even darkness can be turned into light.

How does one accomplish this? It is not enough to simply perform Torah and Mitzvos to rectify the sin, as this reveals only a general level of Soveiv that does not address the sinful act. To rectify the sin, a person must do Teshuvah. When a person performs Teshuvah, he sends a revelation of Soveiv Kol Almin to the particular sin that he performed. This revelation allows the good within the sin to be revealed, and elevates the evil to its root and source found within holiness. Thus, the above explanation is complementary to that which was explained previously regarding how in this world evil is also mixed with good. This means that due to the aspect of Soveiv Kol Almin, we have the ability to reveal the good source and root of the evil.

 A parable:

A wife bought a beautiful 100% silver Kiddush cup for her husband. The cost of the cup was very high, as it was handmade with a special design and engravings. The husband was negligent and caused the cup to become dented and bent out of shape. It eventually became unusable. Needless to say, the couple was not very happy with the outcome of the expensive gift. They tried various methods and ways to try to bang the silver cup back into shape, but nothing would work to regain its original form. The couple saw an ad for a silversmith that did welding of silver, and they decided to bring him the cup. The silversmith used a very high temperature torch to melt the silver and then shape it back into the desired shape. He even offered the couple to handpick the exact shape and designs they desired on the refurbished cup, and in the end they came out with a nicer cup than they had started with. This is a parable of the difference between the two worlds. Metals will retain their specific shapes and cannot be molded until they reach a certain temperature. If one does not have the ability to bring the metal to this temperature, it will remain damaged forever. Once, however, it reaches a certain temperature, the metal will return to a liquid state and be able to be molded to whatever shape one desires. When one sins, he damages the soul. In this world, we have access to a torch, called Teshuvah, Torah, and Mitzvos, that express very “high temperature G-dliness” called Soveiv Kol Almin. This allows one to take a damaged soul, a soiled and sinful soul, and refurbish it to an even better state than it was to begin with. In the next world, however, such a spiritual torch does not exist and hence the soul retains its damaged state.


[1] Michaber 230/1

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