Hope and Encouragement for Tough Times

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'Shaping a Meaningful Life'

In tough times, it is helpful to remember the core values that lead to a life well-lived. Although eschatology is not emphasized in Judaism, there is a recurring metaphor in rabbinic literature of a heavenly tribunal, an accounting of one’s actions on earth. For two thousand years, rabbis have imagined what questions might be asked at such a trial. These questions lead to a life review, and because we get to know the questions now, we can work on our own "answers" as we strive for a life of purpose. Astonishingly, one sage, Rava, imagines the very first question you are asked in heaven is "Nasata v'nata b'emuna?" - “Were you honest in your business dealings?” Why on earth…or rather, why in heaven’s name… would the first question you're asked in heaven be about business? Because it’s not just about business. The question is about honesty, integrity, faithfulness. If you are not honest in your business dealings, can you be trusted to be honest in other relationships? If you are not honest with others, can you be honest with yourself? If you are not faithful with others, can your faith in God be trusted? The temptations of dishonesty are legion, especially in a difficult economic climate, but Rava is reminding us that honesty and trust are foundational values. In my book, The Seven Questions You're20Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth, I explore six more questions, just as provocative as this first, all of which lead us to examine how we are shaping a meaningful life.

Dr. Ron Wolfson
Fingerhut Professor of Education, American Jewish University
President, Synagogue 3000
Author, "The Seven Questions You're Asked in Heaven: Reviewing and Renewing Your Life on Earth (Jewish Lights Publishing)

Related Topics: Jewish, Optimism, Hope, Tough Times, Rabbi

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