Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Do all Jews go straight to Heaven? Is there a life in the next world for one who takes his own life? The Avner Institute presents a unique letter of the Rebbe, discussing the tragic consequence of suicide in the World to Come; and stressing the importance of a Jew’s responsibility in this world. Included is a newly released photo of the Rebbe, courtesy of Rabbi Goldstein and The Rebbe Archive.
By the Grace of G-d
10th of Nissan, 5721
Greeting and Blessing:
I received your letter, in which you write about your efforts to implement my suggestion in connection with Purim. I trust that you have also been active in the matter of distribution of Shemura Matza before Pesach, together with our friend Mr. Fisher.
With regard to the question of Gehinom and how it affects sinners in general, and suicides in particular, you can well imagine that this is a subject about which I do not encourage discussion, especially in the case of a young man whose whole life is ahead of him and who has to utilize the years which G-d bestows upon him, and utilize them with energy and joy and complete trust in G-d.
Thus, this and similar morbid topics are not conducive to the proper attitude and activity which should fill one’s life. However, in order not to leave your question altogether unanswered, let me say briefly this. Besides the fact that one who takes his own life has no share in the world to come, and this is a result which few transgressions bring about, there is the added consideration that there is no escape from G-d, and, as it is written (Psalm 139:8): Im osek shomayim sham atah ve’etziah shaul hincha (If I ascend up into heaven You are there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.)
Therefore, one who takes his own life in the hope of avoiding suffering actually adds to his woes in that in addition having to go through all the things which he had hoped to escape, he has to suffer also the consequence of having tried to escape his duties and obligations, etc. However, the main point is, as mentioned above, this is not a topic to be delved in, but one should be totally immersed in Torah, which is called Toras Chaim, the Law of Life, and the Mitzvoth whereby Jews live, and to do one’s utmost to spread the light and life of the Torah and Mitzvoth in the environment at large.
Hoping to hear good news from you, and wishing you a Kosher and happy Pesach.
Posted by The Avner Institute / Menachem M Kirschenbaum at 11:11 AM