Better Off Not Created

Why did God create the world? I thought the answer was that in God's kindness, He wanted to give people the opportunity to come close to Him. But I understand the Talmud says we'd have been better off not having been created. Doesn't that imply that creating us was actually a disservice?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

Your idea regarding the creation of the world is correct - so that God could give of His goodness to another.

Yet the Talmudic teaching you cite does not contradict this. Rabbi Yonasan Eibshitz (18th century Prague) explains:

Although the phrase is commonly translated as "We'd have been better off not created," a closer look at the original Hebrew more accurately translates as: "We'd have been more COMFORTABLE had we not been created." In other words, had a person's soul stayed with God in Heaven, he would have had an effortlessly close relationship with God.

Now that we are created, we must deal with many earthly situations - which may distract us from the more crucial task of getting close to God. This presents a great challenge - one that each person struggles with (on his/her own level) throughout a lifetime. In that sense, it would have been more "comfortable" had we not been created.

Nevertheless, being created is ultimately for your benefit - because working to earn a relationship with God is ultimately more satisfying than getting it for free.

More Questions

Due to limited resources, the Ask the Rabbi service is intended for Jews of little background with nowhere else to turn. People with questions in Jewish law should consult their local rabbi. Note that this is not a homework service!

Ask the Aish Rabbi a Question

See More

Receive the Daily Features Email

Sign up to our Daily Email Jewsletter.

Our privacy policy