From the Rebbe: On Life and Death

Why is there death in the world? So that evil will not live forever.

Because, since we ate of the Tree of Knowledge, no one walks forward without stumbling, no one climbs without falling, no one does good all his life without causing some damage along the way. Until, at the end, our lives are an absurd muddle of good and evil inextricably bound.

With death, evil dies as well. The failures, the ugly acts and the damage done–all these wither and eventually perish. But the good we have accomplished–and that we truly are — this lives forever.

A Daily Dose of Wisdom from the Rebbe
-words and condensation by Tzvi Freeman

Wow. I never stopped to think about it this way, but it makes perfect sense. It accounts for why even good people die, though it may not be something we may wish to acknowledge. I think this teaching needs to go hand in hand with this one: we are in this world to perform a mission, and once that mission is performed, our time here is done.

I mean, what about a, G-d-forbid, newborn baby that dies? They really had no chance to do any “evil” in this world. But maybe they fulfilled their mission just by being born; their soul, thus realized, simply returns to Heaven, where it truly longs to be.

I’m not saying it’s not a hard lesson to grasp and internalize, especially because we can all think of cases where death was almost random, perhaps even wanton, but there is sense and logic to it. G-d grant us the ability to understand and accept His ways.