Rabbi R. Bulka is head of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa and host of Sunday night with Rabbi Bulka on 580 CFRA.
Keep away from anyone who claims to know with absolute certainty the answer to this question. The only people who could know are those who have been there and have come back. That only happens in the movies, or in fictional literature.
The first ingredient we link to heaven is that it is the most desirable place to be, even though we should not be in a rush to get there. It is the place where all our questions will be answered, where the ultimate meaning of existence will become clear.
There are, as is to be expected, differing views of what goes on in heaven.
Some see it as a purely spiritual place, wherein we bask in the ambience of God. Others picture heaven as the epitome of tranquillity and bliss, with nature in full bloom and its bounty in full supply.
Heaven is the reward for a life well lived, a life that justified being created and put on this Earth.
But is heaven restricted to heaven, or is it possible to have heaven on Earth?
The Talmud states that there are certain fulfilments in this world that surpass anything in the world-to-come, world-to-come being another way of referring to heaven.
Repentance and good deeds are better than the entirety of future life.
This is a nice way of saying that there are deeds that are even more heavenly than heaven.
Heaven is the end result of a value-filled life, but the value-filled life is more imbued with meaning, and hence preferable. The pro¬duct is more important than the by¬product.
So, even though we do not know with certainty what happens in heaven, there is a way, here on Earth, to actualize that which will make us feel even better than the feeling engendered by being in heaven.
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