Most people I know don’t like to think about dying. Death is taboo, especially when talking to ninety-five year-old’s. When people are depressed, when they have nothing to look forward to, they think about death, and usually it makes them feel even worse. Today, I asked myself, what is so scary or sad about dying?
My conclusion was, that it’s what millennials call FOMO, [Fear Of Missing Out].
Think about it, if you are irreligious and don’t believe in the afterlife, than there’s nothing particularly scary about not existing. You disappear into nothingness, end of story.
If you are a man of faith, and have some concept of the afterlife, than, death can actually be quite liberating. After all, there’s a lot of suffering in the world, there’s sadness disease etc., death redeems you into a sphere where there’s no pain, no depression and no guilt. Now I know what you’re thinking what about Judgment and Hell? Well to be honest, from all the people I met, very few of them have a conscious fear or idea of hell. Its punishment is too abstract for most people to relate to. So in my opinion [you can disagree, but be honest with yourself] when people talk about death with a heavy heart, it’s not about meeting their Maker or the Judgment. You have to have a very vivid and real concept of a Soul and of God. Remember, the body doesn’t suffer, the body is history in a rotten grave, it’s the spirit which lives on.
On the other hand, think about the World of Souls [where you’ll eventually get to, even if you have to pay Hell a visit], if you have loved ones that passed, you will meet them there. True love is not a physical thing, it is pure spirit. Think about uniting with your parents, spouses, teachers, and everyone that you missed. I think about meeting Rashi and Maimonides and telling them how much of a difference they made in my life. My father and paternal grandparents whom I love and miss so much, and had a significant impact on my life.
I once heard from a very wise man, a scholar and teacher who is always depressed. He told me “all my personal suffering is worthwhile when I meet a random person who tells me how I changed their life!” I have it all the time, where people approach me many times with tears in their eyes and tell me how much my father changed their life, and they didn’t even know him personally.
Imagine being in the World of Souls and God shows you all that you’ve accomplished unknowingly. The people that are stronger because of you, the people that are productive because of you, the people that woke up in the morning happier and better because of you, that is spiritual accomplishment, and spiritual pleasure.
Moreover, think about how redeeming it is to finally understand the meaning of suffering. We cling to our faith when things seem upside-down. I would love to know why there are children of seven years old who go through chemotherapy, why six million of my people were annihilated in the most inhumane manner, why my father was killed at the peak of his life and left so many people broken and lost. As a man of faith, I wholeheartedly believe that I’ll have answers.
Moreover, most people of faith who use their brains occasionally, have doubts. Inner conflict about traditions and laws, customs and culture. We spend our lives sifting through the right and wrong, only to revise it the next day. We wish we had a prophet or an angel that would appear and tell us what we should o, to reassure and reinforce. But we’re alone and sometimes feel that God abandoned us to our fate. Is God real? Is there proof? Is there meaning for the restrictions we accept in the name of an invisible and God? Who says God demand all this from me, maybe He doesn’t care and I’m just missing out for nothing? Just think of how liberating it is to meet God face to Face. For a man of faith, it is indescribable.
That’s why the only thing I think makes people sad or scared when thinking about death, is that there will be so much going on in this world, which they will not live to see. There will be laughter and celebration and they won’t be there to experience it. People will cry and bury them and move on, they will be abandoned to the deserted cemetery in cold nights, in rain and snow. People that you invested so much, so selflessly, will leave you behind. That’s quite sad.
Nevertheless , I still think that death is quite something to be excited about. And I would actually recommend sad people to think of death in the right context, it can give them hope and meaning, it can grant them the gift of something which to look forward. Yes, it might be sad for your body to rot six-feet below, but it’s a small price to pay for the eternal light and harmony that’s awaiting you. I’m not talking about heaven, I’m talking about love, about clarity, about peace.