All of life is a great mystery (if not a tragedy) when we don’t know why we exist. The best idea I heard is from the Sages telling us that G^d wants to be as generous as can be and that is by creating a creature that has free will and who can through effort be meritorious.
G^d is called generous because He gives all that we deserve. That doesn’t sound generous but rather just. However, He gives according to our feelings after the good deed. Often beforehand, we don’t feel like it, but afterward, we’re glad we did it. (Never regret a good deed because that wipes out its virtue.)
The Sages recommend not to serve G^d as a slave who serves his master to get rewarded. It might be G^d’s intention to reward us but that’s His concern. We don’t need to check up on His bookkeeping.
Meritorious and wicked deeds don’t cancel out before the Heavenly Court. The former gets rewarded, the latter one gets cleansed of.
The Sages also tell us that the [best] reward for a good deed is that you got to do a good deed. How good to have been honest, respectful, optimistic, raising the next generation, etc. Do we really need a price on top of that?
The famous Rabbi Dessler writes that all of Judaism is meant to turn a baby who knows how to receive into a grownup who knows how to give.
It’s all a gift. I think that you can’t be called religious if you’re not grateful or say ‘thank you’ all the time.
Happy are those who are satisfied with their lot. The rich never have enough because who has 50 wants 100, who has 100 wants 200, etc. Not only is it never enough; the more one has, the more one lacks.
We look most godly when we give. We need nothing special to give. It costs nothing to smile, give a hug, nod, say sorry or thank you, or listen. Don’t be too timid to request, but don’t demand, any of those things.
The greatest gift we get is what we feel when we give freely.
The best part of giving is not receiving in return (that’s just an investment). The best is not even to give to have another receive. A better argument to give is because you want the world to be a place of generosity. The best reason to give is that it’s the highest expression of you.
The greatest thing in the world is to do someone else a favor.
To enable someone to harm themselves is not generous. Offer a junkie a good meal instead of money to buy more drugs.
Partners who both freely give what the other needs, each live in Paradise. Buddies who try to take as much as they need, each never have enough.
Most of us who receive will be eager to return a favor. But not all people.
And kids must be expected to chip in to get the brainpower to see others and their needs and not become selfish brats.
If you have not taken upon yourself a long-term commitment to support and guide younger people than yourself, you don’t know what is giving.
Life is not giving and taking; it’s giving and receiving.
What can I do today to make your life more wonderful?
If I don’t take care of me, who should do that instead? If I only take care of me, what do I live for? If I’d postpone this, until when exactly?
When we partner with G^d to complete Creation, He will let us accomplish the impossible and let us get all the credit.
We can accomplish anything if we team up with others, if needed over many generations. Important new things cannot be done without making mistakes. No setback can prove that now all is lost.
Each of us can choose our purpose to live for. We have all the basic talents we need to accomplish that. When we progress toward our self-chosen goal, we get very happy. We only need to do what makes us very happy.