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    incentive for being good

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    Adi

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    incentive for being good

    Post  Adi on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:20 pm

    I was wondering about Sin and being Jewish. The Christians have the heaven/hell principle. With Jews some believe in heaven/hell, some don't.
    I was asked once what the incentive is to be good on earth when there's no punishment for being bad at the end.
    Thoughts?
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    Arik
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    Re: incentive for being good

    Post  Arik on Thu Dec 16, 2010 1:32 am

    Well who ever asked you that, you may want to ask them what gives them the impression that somehow being "bad" means there is no consequence for their actions. You haven't really been specific on what "bad" is.

    This came up in Talmud Study several months ago when we were studying Sanhedrin. The subject of G-d personally punishing people in this world and/or the next came up. One thing I said that I noticed was how when people did things that were wicked, dishonest ot criminal, it often seems G-d doesn't have to punish them personally, through their actions they often will punish themselves. I mentioned this because working in Corrections, often I see the wicked reaping the fruits of their labors.

    The T'nach gives us instructions on what is just and what is unjust rarely does i really go into any details of rewards punishments in the next life but often refers to them in this life. When one looks at society as a whole, when we see how in America, people have become their own "gods" all making their own moral code and removing the idea of G-d from many if not all aspects of life you see the results. Crime is high, poverty, corruption, child neglect, full prisons, bad economy, "natural" disasters, etc.. To me it is society as a whole reaping the rewards of being their own gods rather than to seek what G-d wants, which most of all is that we pursue justice and do acts of kindness and treat one another with love and respect.
    Many times, through our Prophets, Hashem warns us about saying that the wicked do well and that basically what is the point of doing the will of Hashem when the wicked seem to do better. In the end, the wicked never prosper. I have seen this in my personal life I see this at work, I see it on the news.

    As for "being good" just like "being bad" you haven't really been specific. What does one mean by "Being good" is it in following Hashem's commandments, or is it just in "being a nice person"
    One thing we learn in The Talmud and it was read recently again by me in Avot, one should not serve the King just for the purpose of receiving a reward but rather do a mitzvah for it's own sake. Often times, we don;t see the reward because too often, as humans, we are often too busy complaining about what we don't have to see the good that Hashem has done for us. We have to trust that G-d gives measure for measure. That we receive well for doing well and receive bad for doing bad.
    This is not always so obvious. We do not always see the immediate reward for giving to charity, for keeping Shabbat, for refraining from eating non-kosher food, for Torah study, etc. In reality though, I asked this question to a co-worker just the other night. Do I really think what i have in this life is something I am entitled to? Am I so good that I deserve a nice home, to have a good job, to have money in the bank, to drive a late model car, to have food in the fridge? Every day I wake up, it is a gift from G-d. Surely everything I have is not based on my own merits. I could always be a better person, yet Hashem in his kindness is good to all. Even to the wicked, Hashem is good. For us it is important to look at what Hashem gives us even when we don't have merit.
    One main incentive for doing good is one mitzvah leads to another. The reward of performing one mitzvah is another mitzvah. When one has a relationship with G-d, things that seem like no big deal to others is a great reward to you. It is or at least should be, a joy to keep commandments, to perform acts of kindness, to study Torah, to pray to Hashem, not only does it bring blessings, but it makes life more enjoyable, brings deeper meaning to our lives and to me i believe that yes it does bring rewards either in this world or the next. The important thing is to be able to see those rewards and be thankful. Like during morning prayers when we thanks got for restoring our soul to us, for the ability to distinguish between day and night, for making us free, etc. Thse themselves are also gifts. G-d does not have to give us sight, he does not have to give us another day of life, If we only live long enough to take one breath, that one breath was a gift. We cannot demand that G-d just simply take care of all our needs. Yet G-d is good and gives us many gifts that more often than not, we really don't merit due to our being human and often failing to do the right thing or often doing the wrong thing.

    juggy4711

    Posts : 46
    Join date : 2011-08-09

    Re: incentive for being good

    Post  juggy4711 on Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:35 am

    Arik wrote:...One thing I said that I noticed was how when people did things that were wicked, dishonest ot criminal, it often seems G-d doesn't have to punish them personally, through their actions they often will punish themselves. I mentioned this because working in Corrections, often I see the wicked reaping the fruits of their labors.

    Those are basically my thoughts as well. Personally I think that living a life as God has laid down the way one should, increases the statistical probability of that individual having a good life. Living a bad life statistically leads to a bad one. To me that makes perfect sense when taking quantum behavior into account. It's not a guarantee however. If it was it would be too easy, too certain in reward and would lead to a lack of appreciation of one's circumstances.
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    Yehudah

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    Re: incentive for being good

    Post  Yehudah on Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:30 am

    juggy4711 wrote:
    Arik wrote:...One thing I said that I noticed was how when people did things that were wicked, dishonest ot criminal, it often seems G-d doesn't have to punish them personally, through their actions they often will punish themselves. I mentioned this because working in Corrections, often I see the wicked reaping the fruits of their labors.

    Those are basically my thoughts as well. Personally I think that living a life as God has laid down the way one should, increases the statistical probability of that individual having a good life. Living a bad life statistically leads to a bad one. To me that makes perfect sense when taking quantum behavior into account. It's not a guarantee however. If it was it would be too easy, too certain in reward and would lead to a lack of appreciation of one's circumstances.
    Yup +1


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