by Rabbi Avigdor Miller
Anything you get that you didn’t get from Hashem is illegal gains. That’s a great principle in the Torah. Like the gemara says, there are two pesukim (verses). One is “Haaretz nasan l’bnei adam — The world He gave to men.” Another pasuk states “L’hashem haaretz u’meloah — To Hashem belongs everything in the earth.” So it’s a contradiction. In one verse it says He gave it to man, the earth belongs to man. In the other verse it states the earth and its fullness belong to Hashem. The gemara explains, certainly it belongs to Hashem, but when people recognize that He is the giver, then He gives it to them.
Now there are plenty of people who seem to possess the earth without having ever recognized the Giver. You must know these people are losers, they’re not gainers. Of course there’s an evil inclination in the world that tries to cover up the failures and turn our gaze away from the people who died young, who were ruined, and who didn’t succeed with their desires eventually, because it’s important for us to be tested.
It’s a lot of fun in the vestibule, and that’s part of the preparation
Therefore we are deceived many times. But if you look keenly in this world you’ll see very many cases where they end up as failures. At a moment they flourish and their names are in the headlines and everyone envies them, but when they’re sitting on the dumps nobody thinks anymore about them and the lesson is lost on the world. But we have to realize it’s a lesson, it’s a rule that holds good.
If it ever happens that these people seem to continue to succeed all their lives, then you should know that’s the greatest failure for them because the Next World is the world. This world is only a vestibule for the next world. Anybody who tries to understand This World in terms of This World is like a baby, a baby who goes into a vestibule and he thinks that’s the house. It’s only a way of going into the house. That’s a fatal error of mankind, to try to live without any awareness of the World to Come. The World to Come is the world. That’s the fundamental teaching. This world is a preparation, and a very important preparation.
As you have heard many times, it’s a lot of fun in the vestibule and that’s part of the preparation. If we enjoy what’s in the vestibule and we appreciate that it comes from the Giver, then we are preparing to enter the great banquet hall, and there we are going to be rewarded for this recognition that we gained in the vestibule. — Bitachon and Emunah (#334)