Re: Reward and Punishment Is It Justified??

Bernard Laufer (
Mon, 17 Feb 1997 22:54:56 -0500

I wrote:
> >E dies and he says to Hashem (G-d) that he doesn't deserve any
> >punishment in the World to Come for his evil deeds because He gave
> >him an inferior soul, and if he was given a soul identical to G then
> >he would not have become an evil person.

> Mr. Yehoshua Kahan wrote:
> Why not just say that both E and G had free will, and one
> chose to do bad, as one chose to do good, vis-a-vis Rabbi Dessler's
> bechira point? Therefore, since one chose to degrade himself, and one
> chose to elevate himself, it's only natural that one must now suffer...

I thank Mr. Kahan for his response to this question. Since I put forth
this problem, I hope he doesn't mind if I avail myself of the privilege of
playing the devil's advocate.

If E is given a soul identical to G, doesn't he in fact become G since we
learn that the body is only a garment for the soul so how do you know that
E's argument is invalid? The choices that E will now make with Free Will
will be very different than before, and he may or may not succeed in
becoming righteous. Have we then disproved E's argument (which is the
objective of this problem)? I think not!

I think it would help if we make E and G real people. Let E = Esau and let
G = Avraham Avinu. So putting this problem in concrete terms, Esau is
saying that if he were given Avraham's soul he would have succeeded in his
environment, and he would have turned out to be righteous.

Bernard Laufer