By: Rabbi Dovid Markel
This short but powerful thought was said in Kotzk:
When the soul comes into this world it comes down on a ladder. Upon entering the world though, the ladder is removed, and the new soul is given the mandate of returning back to heaven and living a spiritual life.
The task is a difficult one and there are three different reactions to the mission:
- There are those that say: “How can we even attempt to reach heaven again when the ladder which connects our world to spirituality has been removed?” This group gives up without trying and does not even attempt to live a spiritual life.
- There is another group who upon seeing that the ladder is gone, and that they cannot ascent to heaven gradually, attempts to jump there. After attempting to do so numerous times, and each time falling, they too give up from ever making the ascent.
- There is a third group that says: “The ladder is not here, yet we were given the mission to ascend to heaven…obviously, no matter how much we try and fail, we must never give up on our mission.” When G-d sees their unwavering commitment, He has mercy on them and He Himself brings them up to him.