Searching for Meaning
Experiencing Olam Haba in Olam Hazeh
Religion and spirituality are big business. Really big business. Billions are spent in this pursuit each year. Even those who can barely make ends meet are willing to spend a considerable portion of their income in their quest for spirituality. Striving to find meaning in one’s life, to live for a ”greater cause,” may in fact be the primary, most elementary motivating force in humans.
What drives this need?
Mesillas Yesharim gives us insight with a mashal from a Midrash: A princess somehow found herself married to a common villager. Her husband tried his hardest to make her happy but she was miserable. She remembered the delicacies she enjoyed in her father’s home, the gold and diamonds, the splendid fineries and luxuries. Whatever her husband brought her - even if well intentioned - was nothing compared to the standard of opulence she had enjoyed in her father’s home.
The Midrash explains that this is the meaning of the verse: וְגַם הַנֶּפֶשׁ לאֹ תִמָּלֵא , The soul is never satiated.
Physical gratification can never satisfy the soul. It remembers the true pleasure of being close to Hashem and sees earthly pleasure as meaningless. Instead, it seeks desperately to go back to its roots, to be in the King’s palace, to be close again with Hashem.