By Dr. Bernie Kastner
There is a stage in the afterlife in which the soul is sitting in front of a screen and undergoes a review of its just completed life on earth. The review flashes back to all kinds of life events, significant and less noteworthy, for the explicit purpose of learning. The soul learns what it did well and what it did not do well; it is given a chance to analyze situations and to contemplate how things could have been handled better. With the equivalent of a remote control in the hand of the soul’s Guide, he could rewind and fast forward to the exact moment he feels the soul needs to focus his attention. All of this learning can be painful, but its aim is to bring the soul closer to its ultimate tikkun.
A fascinating facet of this review is the ability for the Guide to facilitate the soul’s involvement in acting out the part again. The Guide can literally re-create the situation and supplant the soul into it to see how the soul would handle a previously mishandled matter. This training is good practice for the soul should it choose to reincarnate. He will then be better prepared to face a similar situation in his next incarnation. Likewise, the Guide can actually take the soul into the future and set up a situation that he will ultimately encounter in its next incarnation. While this method is less desirable, for reasons beyond the scope of this article, the idea remains intact as a solid arena for working on “getting it right” next time.
What a great way to learn. Could you just imagine going through this in your next life? If so, why wait until then? Why not apply what we have just learned from the afterlife life-review exercise and incorporate it into our present lives?
OK, then, where do we start? How about at tackling the sinat chinam in our midst? And it exists—big-time. Especially in Israel. And I can say this because I have lived here for 18 years and, unfortunately, I see it and feel it daily. Generally speaking, secularists hate chareidim, chareidim hate the dati leumi, the dati leumi are looked upon warily by secularists, and the dati leumi have monumental issues with both the secularists and chareidim. I am not a political pundit, nor is this the space to delve into supporting one opinion over another. What I am struggling with is identifying a formula (from the afterlife) by which we can begin to resolve the mutual feelings of sinat chinam with the hope of obliterating them.
Recognizing that everything that we have down here on earth has a parallel in the next world (just on a higher spiritual plane), it makes sense that the life review in the afterlife has its place here in this life as well.
So let’s plug in an example that I alluded to earlier. What if there is an allowance for changes in the chareidi educational system to include a basic core of general studies? What will happen if more young men enlist in nachal chareidi? After all, it already exists and is doing well. It does not compromise the religious observance of anyone. These young men will then be able to decide whether they want to continue learning a trade in order to support a family with dignity instead of living off of handouts from bituach leumi as a pauper. Integration into the larger society would then become an option, but not a requirement. Chareidi families would be eligible for benefits for housing just by having served in the army. The more chareidi men enter the workforce, the stronger our economy becomes.
So we can see from this new projection into the future that what is feared today by the chareidi leadership is not necessarily a self-fulfilling prophecy. By honestly looking at a situation and seeing if there is another way to conduct ourselves, perhaps the outcome would not be the utter disaster thought of at the outset.
And just to be fair, given the above example, what would have been so bad if Yesh Atid allowed for chareidi parties to be part of the government instead of insisting they be outsiders? By being more considerate, a feeling of mutual respect could have prevailed, leading to goodwill negotiations and new understandings without feelings of being forced into a corner.
I can go on plugging in each of the sides and then project the more positive outcomes that ideally would follow. Let’s take an extra step in our planning and take an honest look at what could be if we just allowed ourselves to be free of our insecurities and preconceived notions and boldly moved ahead with initiatives that could benefit all.
It is a tall order. We don’t always allow ourselves the time or have the luxury to do this exercise. But if we don’t do it now, we’ll see how much regret we will each personally feel when we see how faulty our actions were when we view our past lives on the “big screen.” We need to be able to stop for a moment and change our acting roles in order to see if maybe, just maybe, there is a better way. We owe it to ourselves, our families, and to our community at large. v
Dr. Bernie Kastner is a psychotherapist in private practice with offices in Jerusalem. He is also the author of “Understanding the Afterlife in This Life” and “Masa El Haor.” His latest sefer, entitled “HaOlam She’acharei,” was published in Hebrew by Dani Sefarim and is available in major bookstore chains in Israel. Feel free to visit his website at drbkastner.com. Dr. Kastner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.