The Five Greatest Gifts of Life

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Among the greatest gifts that Hashem gave us in this world are our five senses that are the sense of sight, taste, hearing, touch and smell. With them we’re able to detect the things around us and enjoy some of the many marvels that Hashem has surrounded us with.

Yet, while man was granted these five wonderful gifts, in truth he received only a very limited amount of each one of them. The colors man can see are limited to only a few different colors making up the electromagnetic spectrum. Our eye can see only certain wavelengths of light. All the rest of the electromagnetic spectrum such as those waves that are longer than red light called infrared, or those that are shorter than violet light called ultra violet, cannot be seen by the human eye. Scientists believe that there are bees and other creatures whose eyes are very different then ours and that they can see certain colors that we cannot. One wonders what beautiful colors we are missing out on.

The same is true about our hearing. Our hearing is not all that great and many animals, birds, and fish can hear lots of sounds that we can’t seem to hear. Our ears can only pick up certain frequencies. We can only hear sound vibrations from about 50 cycles to about 20,000 cycles per second. Anything below or above is inaudible to our ears. Dogs as well as dolphins and many other creatures have far better hearing than man. The same is true about our sense of smell. A bloodhound can smell far better than even man’s most sensitive nose. In fact, scientists have found that even a small ant is able to detect thousands of different smells that we are unable to smell.

Yet man, using his intelligence, has been able to build instruments and machines to detect and explore much of the world that he can’t see, feel, hear, taste or touch with his very limited five senses. He has built a tape recorder that can detect many of the sounds that his ear cannot hear. He has built large radio telescopes that can listen to signals from outer space that no ear is able to detect. He has built a Geiger-counter to sense radiation that his senses never knew existed. He has built a compass to detect the earth’s electromagnetic field that he could never have known existed if not for the fact that the compass’s needle points it out to us.

And so, while man has been granted these great gifts, he must be very careful that they are not taken away from him. When the snake sinned by convincing Chava to taste from the forbidden fruit, it was punished by losing its own sense of taste and would now find its food tasteless. Certainly a horrid punishment for anyone who enjoys the millions of different delicacies that are out there. When Shimshon used his eyes to look at what he wasn’t permitted, he lost his great gift of sight and was blinded by the Plishtim.

Yet the Mishnah in Pirkei Avos tells us that all the pleasures that one can enjoy in a lifetime on this world, don’t come close to even one hour of the pleasures awaiting us in the World to Come. No prophet has ever been able to see or describe these pleasures to us because it would be impossible for him to comprehend them with the five senses.

The only pleasures man can comprehend are those derived from seeing, tasting, feeling, touching or smelling. Try explaining to a blind man the great joy of seeing a beautiful painting or scenery. Try explaining to a deaf person the great joy one gets when listening to a great symphony orchestra. Try explaining to someone who has no taste buds the great pleasure derived from eating food. No matter how well you could explain it to them they will not understand what you are talking about.

In order to properly understand the great sensations and pleasures found in Gan Eden, one needs certain senses that we don’t presently possess. Words or descriptions alone cannot properly convey their meaning.

This may be why the Torah does not describe the great reward that awaits those who study the Torah and keep the mitzvos properly.

To better understand the great pleasurable sensation of Gan Eden, our Chachomim describe it as “tzadikim sitting with crowns upon their heads and enjoying the presence of the Shchina.” The great pleasurable sensation of love for Hashem will be so intense that it simply cannot be described with words.

But in order to merit this unbelievable world, one must make the proper preparations for it right now. Only through the study of Torah and the performance of the mitzvos will we merit this spectacular world. Only those who have prepared during the week will merit to enjoy the World to Come. So let’s all make sure that we too will have a share.