A PARABLE

How could there be life after death?

Twins

Imagine that a woman is soon to give birth to twin boys. Imagine that these unborn babies had conscious awareness of their surroundings, and could communicate with each other. Assume that one is an optimist, the other a pessimist. One has faith in the future; the other, realistically, only believes what he can see before him.

The optimist says, “I can feel we will be leaving this place soon. I don’t know where we are going, but I am certain that our mother, who gave us life until now, will not forsake us. We may be leaving the security of the sac, but I am sure there is another, a better kind of existence awaiting us.”

The pessimist replies with scorn: “There you go again, sprouting your outrageous religious beliefs. Here, and here alone, we have the tube that feeds us. Here, we are in our protected home. Leave here, and we are goners. Admit it, there can’t be anything after this. If you think there is, then I defy you to describe to me what it looks like.”

The optimist, never having seen life on earth, knowing nothing about air or food, about life apart from his mother, cannot respond to the challenge. Yet, he refuses to acknowledge defeat. “I just know I’m right, and I will continue believing,” he says.

With that, the mother goes into labor. The optimist is the first to be born. The pessimist, still in the womb, strains to hear what is going on, on the other side. Suddenly he’s shocked by a cry. He knows it is the scream of his identical twin brother Sadly, he says, “I was right after all. My poor, poor brother. I have just heard his cry of death and he is obviously is no more.”

At that very moment (closed off to the pessimistic brother’s sight) rejoicing parents are now welcoming their first newborn child (the optimist brother), as the doctor slaps him and elicits his first cry of life.

Just as those before their birth wouldn’t have been able to describe life after it, so too we on this earth are ignorant of the details of the world to come. But our ignorance isn’t reason enough to deny its validity. At the very moment when we hear the dying take their final breath on Earth, it isn’t hard to imagine relatives and friends who have preceded the person to death, welcoming his or her soul to the world of the infinite being.

Source: the Complete Idiots Guide To Understanding Judaism by Rabbi Benjamin Blech, Chapter 16, page 217

Harvey as a child


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