Cycle of Life by Moshe Zharnest


The beginning of Parshat Tazria describes the laws concerning childbirth, to which the Midrash comments, “What wonders God performs for a child! If a man is in jail for one day he grows impatient and wishes for his freedom, the child is imprisoned within his mother’s womb for nine months, yet he does not want to leave, for God protects him there.”

Rabeinu Bechaye writes that a man lives through three worlds. The first world is within his mother’s womb, where God shows him wondrous things; a candle shines above his head, and he knows the entire Torah. He is shown Gan Eden and all of its chambers, and he is told that if he is pious in the world into which he shall be born, he will ultimately come to Gan Eden and will be honored with the righteous people there. However, he is also told that if he is wicked he will go to Gehenom with the other evil men.

Even after hearing this, the child does not want to leave his mother’s womb. When the time comes for the child to be born he cries, “don’t send me out to that world full of sorrow.”  If he comes out into this world, and develops his mind and recognizes the Torah and Mitzvot and Hashem’s wonders, his reward will be very great. When the time comes for him to leave this world, when he must die, he once again weeps for he does not want to leave.

These two worlds are each limited in time. In his mother’s womb he may stay for nine months, and the most this can be extended to is one year. In this world, a man’s time is also limited. But in the third world, the World to Come, there are no limits for it is eternal. 

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