For the week ending 6 November 2021 / 2 Kislev 5782

Perek Shira: The Song of Existence - The Song of Gehinnom

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by Rabbi Shmuel Kraines

Gehinnom says: “For He has satisfied a lustful soul, and a hungry soul He has filled with goodness.” (Tehillim 107:9)

After the soul completes its mission in this world, it is hungry for its portion in the World to Come. However, it must first be cleansed in Gehinnom, which is a tremendous kindness since the soul would otherwise be tainted and imperfect forever. This is the sole purpose of Gehinnom, and it yearns only to fulfill it.

For this reason, Gehinnom sings, “For He has satisfied a lustful soul” — Hashem satisfies Gehinnom’s lust for the wicked. “And a hungry soul He has filled with goodness” — after the sullied souls are willingly cleansed in Gehinnom, Hashem satiates them with their deserved goodness in Gan Eden, forever.

Gehinnom's song sheds welcome light on the gloom of all suffering in this world, which functions similarly to Gehinnom. One should realize that any suffering experienced in this world is surely well-deserved, decreed by the merciful and just G-d. This realization removes much of the brunt of the suffering. Moreover, the perception of all of Hashem's deeds as being for a singular, good purpose reveals His unity in His universe. The righteous see reason to praise Hashem with all their hearts every day of their lives. For indeed, all of creation — including Gehinnom and suffering — was created for the sake of Hashem's glory.

  • Sources: Tractate Shabbos (104a), Chasam Sofer, and Yitzchak Yeranen; cf. Malbim, Pi Eliyahu and Peh David

*In loving memory of Harav Zeev Shlomo ben Zecharia Leib

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