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.