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The World to Come: Part I

What in the World is the World to Come?

n this three-part series on the World to Come, we will discover that there is more
to the world than meets the eye. Fundamental to the Jewish worldview is the
understanding that a spiritual reality exists beyond what we experience in the physical
world. When a person dies, only his body is buried while his soul enters a spiritual
realm where it continues to live and have self-awareness. During the Messianic Era the
soul rejoins the body during the Resurrection of the Dead in a world that has a clearer
recognition of God.
Just as the individual experiences different phases of existence that ultimately end up
in a higher reality, so too the human race as a whole. The present state of existence is a
temporary stage in the unfolding development of mankind toward a utopian future.
In this first of a three-part series on the World to Come, we will explore the
following questions:
What is the World to Come is there life after death?
Where does the Torah talk about a World to Come?
What happens after death?
What does one experience in the World to Come?
Is the World to Come in any way similar to this world?
What is the purpose of the World to Come?

Class Outline:

Section I. The Existence of a World to Come


Part A. Biblical Sources
Part B. Talmudic and Midrashic Sources
Section II. What is the World to Come?
Part A. The Two Phases of the World to Come
Part B. The Spiritual Delight of the World to Come
Part C. A Taste of the World to Come
Section III. The Purpose of the World to Come
Part A. The Place for Reward, Accountability, and Spiritual Perfection
Part B. The Natural Consequence of Ones Actions
Part C. The Purpose of Creation

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The World to Come I

Section I. The Existence of a World to Come


Before getting into the specific definition of the World to Come and how it is attained, we will start by
demonstrating from the Chumash (Five Books of Moses), Prophets, and Talmudic sources that Judaism
definitely affirms belief in the afterlife. The Chumash does not directly refer to the afterlife or the World to
Come for reasons discussed in the Morasha class World to Come Part II.

Part A. Biblical Sources

1. Bereishit (Genesis) 25:8-9; 35:28-9 The term gathered to his people, which comes after
death and before burial, hints at an afterlife.
Avraham (Abraham) expired and died at a good
age, mature and content, and he was gathered
to his people. His sons, Yitzchak (Isaac) and
Yishmael (Ishmael), buried him in the cave of
Machpelah, in the field of Ephron, son of Zohar
the Hittite, which borders Mamre




:


...

Yitzchak lived to be 180 years old. He expired


and died, and was gathered to his people, old
and in the fullness of his years. His sons, Eisav
(Esau) and Yaakov (Jacob), buried him.

The phrase gathered to his people reflects joining the souls of others in a soul world.

2. Toldot Yitzchak, ibid. The disembodied soul attaches itself to other souls after death.
And he was gathered to his people this refers
to the soul which is gathered together with the
souls of its righteous ancestors; for when the soul
is in the body it is separated from the rest of the
souls that are not connected to a body. Yet when
it leaves the body, the soul attaches itself to the
rest of the souls that are similarly separated from
their bodies.

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3. Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 12:7 After death the soul returns to God.


And the dust returns to the earth as it was, and
the spirit returns to God, Who gave it.

4. I Shmuel (Samuel) 28:3; 11-15 After his death, the prophet Shmuel was raised up in a
vision.
Shmuel had died and all Israel eulogized him and
buried him in Ramah, in his home town

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The World to Come I

And the woman said, Whom shall I raise from


the dead for you? And he [King Shaul/Saul] said,
Raise up Shmuel for me And the woman
said to Shaul, I saw a great man ascending
from the earth. He then said to her, What
does he look like? She said, An elderly man is
ascending, and he is garbed in a cloak. Shaul
realized it was Shmuel and he bowed down with
his face to the ground, and prostrated himself.
And Shmuel said to Shaul, Why did you disturb
me, to raise me up?





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5. Vayikra (Leviticus) 18:5, with Sifra, parshasa 9:10 The Torah promises eternal life for
keeping mitzvot.
You shall observe My statutes and My ordinances,
which a person shall do and thereby live. I am
the Lord.

And thereby live in the World to Come.


Perhaps you might think that this phrase refers
to this world. But eventually everyone will die
and therefore what would be the meaning of live
by them? [Hence it must refer to the] World to
Come

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Part B. Talmudic and Midrashic Sources

1. Bereishit Rabbah 1:10 At the beginning of existence, two worlds were created: this world
and the World to Come.
Why was the world created with the letter beit
[i.e. in the word bereishit]? To teach you that
there are two worlds this world and the World
to Come [since the letter beit has the numerical
value of two].

2. Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:16 This world is compared to a corridor that leads into
a banquet hall, which is the World to Come.
Rabbi Yaakov said, This world is like a lobby
before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the
lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.

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3. Rambam (Maimonides), ibid. If an individual acquires the proper attributes in this world,
he merits life in the World to Come.
The analogy is understood and the purpose is
well-known: In this world a person acquires the
attributes that enable him to merit life in the
World to Come, and this world is the path and
passageway.

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4. Mishnah, Peah 1:1 The principal place for the reward of our efforts is in the World to
Come.
These are the precepts whose performance have
no set measure: leaving the corner of a field for
the poor, the first fruit offering, pilgrimage to
the Temple in Jerusalem, acts of kindness, and
the study of Torah. These are the precepts whose
performance derives benefit in this world, but
the principal reward awaits a person in the World
to Come: honoring ones father and mother,
acts of kindness, bringing peace between two
individuals, and the study of Torah is equivalent
to them all.


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:

Key Themes of Section I:


HH Judaism affirms the existence of life after death and a World to Come.
HH The Chumash (Five Books of Moses) does not directly refer to the afterlife or the World to Come
for reasons that will be discussed in the Morasha class World to Come Part II.
HH Nevertheless, the Talmud contains many references to life after death and the World to Come, and
the Prophets record communicating with the souls of the dead.

Section II. What is the World to Come?


We demonstrated above that the Torah affirms the existence of an afterlife, and that the soul continues to live
even after it has left its earthly abode. In this section we will discuss what the World to Come actually is, and
what place it takes within the context of the Jewish worldview.
Part A. The Two Phases of the World to Come
As discussed in the Morasha Introduction to the Messiah and World to Come, The World to Come is split into
two phases. The first phase is experienced after death when the soul goes to the Olam HaNeshamot, the World
of the Souls, and is already in existence. This stage is referred to by the Talmud as Gan Eden (The Garden of
Eden). The second phase of the World to Come will be a future era beginning with the Messianic period.

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After the arrival of the Mashiach there will be two separate resurrections of the dead. A first resurrection will
take place immediately following the arrival of the Mashiach. However, only people who were completely
righteous during their lifetime will rise at that time. A second resurrection for the rest of mankind will follow
at the end of the period of Mashiach. At that time, known as the Great Day of Judgement, God will settle
every score of injustice and determine precisely the level of eternal life to be granted to each body/soul unit.
This will be an entirely new form of existence, unlike either this world or the World of the Souls.

1. Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto), Maamar HaIkarim The World to Come has two
stages.
The reward of the World to Come is, in
accordance with ones deeds in this world, a fixed
degree of the true good, i.e. attachment to God,
which will then be enjoyed for all eternity. This
in turn is also divided into two parts, one being
in the World of the Souls, and the other in the
World after the Resurrection


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2. Ramban (Nachmanides), Torat Adam, Shaar HaGemul The World to Come follows a
progression of events and is ultimately an eternal existence.
The reward of the souls and their existence in
the World of the Souls is called Gan Eden by our
rabbis


...

After the World of the Souls will come the era of


the Messiah, which is a part of this world.

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At the conclusion thereof, the Great Judgment


and the Resurrection of the Dead will occur. This
is the period of reward that includes the body
and soul.

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This is the World to Come, in which the body


will become like the soul and the soul will cleave
to the knowledge of God, just as it adhered to it
in the Gan Eden of the World of the Souls. Now,
however, it will be elevated to an even greater
degree and everything will continue to exist
forever and ever.

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3. Ramchal, Adir Bamarom, Part I The ultimate World to Come is an entirely new form of
existence.
At that point God will judge each and every detail
that happened since the beginning of Creation,
all six thousand years of it. Then will come the
seventh millennium to break the mold then
the eighth millennium, that is, the new world. At
that point a new structure [of Creation] will be
built of which we have no concept at all.

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For the sake of simplicity, we will use the term the World to Come to refer to the experience of the soul
after death in general, although some of the sources below may refer specifically to one stage rather than the
other.

Part B. The Spiritual Delight of the World to Come


The details of immortality and the World to Come are not mentioned explicitly in the Written Torah. The
prophet therefore says when speaking of the World to Come, No eye has seen it, other than God, that
which He will do for those who hope in Him (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 63:4). Nevertheless, as we shall see in the
following sources, the Oral Torah contains descriptions by way of analogy and metaphor.

1. Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud), Berachot 17a The World to Come is a spiritual delight.
A favorite saying of Rav was: The future world
is not like this world. In the future world, there
is neither eating, nor drinking, nor propagation,
nor business, nor jealousy, nor hatred, nor
competition. Rather, the righteous sit with their
crowns on their heads enjoying the radiance of
the Divine Presence.

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2. Talmud Bavli, Taanit 31a The righteous will rejoice in the Presence of God.
Ulla Biraah said in the name of Rabbi Elazar,
In the future the Holy One, Blessed be He, will
make a circle for the righteous, and He will sit
among them in the Garden of Eden, and each
one will point to Him with his finger, as it is
written: And men will say on that day, this is our
God for Whom we have waited and He will save
us; this is the Lord for Whom we have waited
and we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation
[Yeshayahu, 25.9].



) (

:

3. Ramchal, Derech Hashem (The Way of God) 1:3:12, Translation by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan,
Feldheim Publishers, p. 57 The disembodied soul experiences delight in the World of the
Souls similar to what it will experience in the World to Come (after Resurrection).
However, when the soul leaves the body and
enters the World of the Souls, it can then radiate
freely with a brightness that befits it as a result of
its good deeds [while associated with the body].
Through both this and what it can attain in the
World of the Souls, the soul is able to regain the
power it lost while associated with the body.

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The World to Come I

4. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Strive for Truth, Vol. III, p. 191 A person will delight in the
appreciation of Gods love and acknowledgment, and get satisfaction from his own
contribution to the fulfillment of the purpose of Creation.
Upon entering the state known as the World to Come the tzaddik (righteous person), as we saw
above, begins to enjoy the splendor of the Shechinah (Gods Presence). God raises, so to speak, a
corner of the curtain, and the tzaddik experiences a little of Gods greatness, of His overwhelming,
many-faceted love for His creatures. He gets an inkling of the majestic universal plan which God has
for all His creatures, and derives unimaginable joy from the realization that his struggle with his yetzer
hara (Evil Inclination) in his previous state has significantly contributed to the fulfillment of that plan.
His soul is suffused with unutterable delight.
And another thing, the very fact that he is granted such revelations, the very fact that he is privileged
to experience so much pleasure must mean [i.e. he realizes] that his past efforts are appreciated. To
know that God, Whom he served, is pleased with him adds immeasurably to his satisfaction.

Part C. A Taste of the World to Come

1. Talmud Bavli, Berachot 57b Certain things are a taste of the World to Come.
There are three things which are a taste of the
World to Come: Shabbat, the sun, and usage.
What does usage mean? Usage of the bed
[i.e. marital relations]? But that weakens the
body. Rather it means usage of the orifices [i.e.
emptying ones bowels].

2. Rabbi Reuven Leuchter Physical sensations of a higher reality are a taste of the World to
Come.
Each one of these things [in Berachot 57b] is a feeling of spiritual awareness that a person experiences
with his physical senses:
1. Shabbat: a sense of the nature of spirituality experienced by the body.
2. The sun: a sense of the influence of celestial bodies on the body.
3. Marital relations: the continuity of the Jewish people experienced with the body. But since the
physical sensation weakens the body it fails to parallel the experience of the World to Come,
therefore the alternative version:
4. Emptying ones bowels: the bodys experience of expelling the bad.
Any awareness of a higher existence that a person can sense with his own body is a taste of the
World to Come.

3. Maharsha, Berachot 57b Shabbat is a faint yet discernable trace of the World to Come
Five things are one-sixtieth of another: Shabbat is
one-sixtieth of the World to Come.
Just as we find in regard to forbidden mixtures
that one part in sixty maintains its identity and
is not nullified so too here, all the things
mentioned retain faint traces of the original.

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4. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Michtav MEliyahu, Vol. V, p. 96 Shabbat reveals some of the hidden
spiritual light that awaits us in the World to Come.
Shabbat is a taste of the World to Come,
meaning that it is an aspect of the World to Come
right here in this world, [it is a piece of] the
hidden spiritual light [that exists in the World to
Come].

Similarly, observing Shabbat ceasing all physically creative activity and efforts to improve the physical
world instills a sense that the true purpose of life is spiritual and that our involvement with the physical
world is not all-important.

Key Themes of Section II:


HH Certain experiences in this world hint to the nature of existence in the World to Come. The main
feature, though, is that the World to Come will be experienced as the spiritual delight of being in
Gods Presence.
HH One will delight in the appreciation of Gods love and acknowledgment, and get satisfaction from
his own contribution to the fulfillment of the purpose of Creation.
HH Physical sensations of a higher reality are a taste of the World to Come.
HH Shabbat reveals some of the hidden spiritual light that awaits us in the World to Come.

Section III. The Purpose of the World to Come


The World to Come is the ultimate purpose of Creation to be eternally attached to the Will of God. By
using our free will and utilizing the opportunities for spiritual growth in this world, we create a meaningful
World to Come. The World to Come is also the time we are rewarded for our positive actions in this world,
learn from our mistakes, and become spiritually purified. As will be explained in the third Morasha class
on the World to Come, The New Me, Resurrection of the Dead, it is where we will experience the greatest
spiritual delight and connection to God.

Part A. The Place for Reward, Accountability, and Spiritual Purification


In the World to Come we will be rewarded for the goodness we accomplished, learn from our misdeeds, and
become spiritually purified.

i. Reward for the Righteous


1. Devarim (Deuteronomy)7:11, with Rashi citing Talmud, Eruvin 22a The World to Come is
the place of receiving reward for keeping the mitzvot.
Keep the commandment, the decrees and the
laws that I command you today to do.

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Rashi
Today to do and tomorrow, in the World to
Come, to receive the reward.

2. Ramchal, Derech Hashem 1:3:3 In the World to Come a person reaps the eternal reward for
the effort he made to perfect himself in this world.
Gods goodness decreed that there be a limit to
mans effort required to attain perfection. After
his period of effort is completed, he attains his
level of perfection and is then allowed to enjoy it
for all eternity. God therefore created two distinct
periods, one as a time of earning and the other as
a time of receiving reward. However, the trait of
goodness is stronger since the time for earning is
fixed according to Gods Will, while the time for
receiving the reward has no end. Rather, a person
will derive pleasure forever from the perfection
that he achieved.

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3. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah (Laws of Repentance) 8:1 Righteousness is rewarded with life
in the World to Come.
The goodness that awaits the righteous is the
World to Come. This is life which has no death,
and goodness which has no element of bad. This
is the meaning of the verse: In order that it will
be good for you and you will have length of days
(Devarim 22:7). We learn from tradition that
it will be good for you in the world which is
all good [this world] and you will have length
of days in a world which is limitless [lit. all
long]. This is the World to Come.

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The reward for the righteous is to merit this


pleasantness and be part of this goodness. The
punishment for the wicked is that they will not
merit this life, but will die.

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ii. Accountability and Spiritual Purification


As the last source indicated, it is possible for a person to miss out, even entirely, on the experience of life in
the World to Come. But the alternative to reward in this instance is not punishment, but rather simply lack
of existence. Judaism does not believe in eternal damnation.
The World to Come has a mechanism to maximize the number of those who will be awarded eternal life. It is
called Gehinnom, a spiritual cleansing process that prepares the soul for entrance to the World to Come.
Imagine standing completely visible before God, with your memory wide open, completely transparent without

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any jamming mechanism or reducing valve to diminish its force. You will remember everything you did and see
it in a new light. You will see it in the light of the unshaded spirit, or, if you will, in Gods own light that shines
from one end of Creation to the other. The memory of every good deed and mitzvah will be the sublimest of
pleasures, as our tradition speaks of Olam Haba. But your memory will also be open to all the things of which
you are ashamed. They cannot be rationalized away or dismissed. You will be facing yourself, fully aware of
the consequences of all your deeds. We all know the terrible shame and humiliation experienced when one
is caught in the act of doing something wrong. Imagine being caught by ones own memory with no place to
escape. This indeed, may be what Daniel is alluding to when he says (Daniel 12:2), And many of them that
sleep in the dust shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to reproach and everlasting shame. (From, If
You Were God, Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, NCSY Publications, pp. 30-31.)

1. Ramchal, Derech Hashem 2:2:4 Gehinnom is a spiritual cleansing process to ensure the
maximum attendance in the World to Come.
In his kindness, God maximized mans chances
of successfully attaining his ultimate goal.
He therefore decreed that there should be a
secondary way to attach oneself to God for those
for whom such attachment is fitting, namely
those who were overcome by evil, but not to
such an extent that they should lose existence
entirely. These people therefore experience the
punishment of Gehinnom, the purpose of which
is to recompense the person according to his
transgression in a way that he will be left with no
debt to pay for his misdeeds. He will then be able
to achieve his ultimate reward in accordance with
the good acts that he performed.
By virtue of this system, the actual number of
those who are lost completely is minimized.
[Such a severe consequence] only applies to
those who have so completely been taken over
by evil that it would be impossible for them to
experience the true reward and eternal delight.

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The following is an example from the Mishnah of one who needs the spiritual cleansing of Gehinnom.

2. Talmud Bavli, Kiddushin 82a, with Maharsha A haughty doctor is destined for Gehinnom.
The best of doctors are destined for Gehinnom.

Maharsha
That is, someone who considers himself to be
the best of doctors, the most expert of whom
there is no equal. He relies too much on his own
intelligence, and in his arrogance sometimes
makes an incorrect diagnosis and ends up killing
the patient by prescribing something that was
actually harmful for him. He should rather have
consulted with other doctors since he is dealing
with matters of life and death.

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The Mishnah is not picking on doctors. They are highlighted here since they have great responsibility in
dealing with matters of life and death. Nevertheless, the principle of accountability for ones actions, whether
in our careers, interpersonal relationships, or to God, applies to everyone.

iii Reward in this World and the Next


One of the classic answers that Judaism offers to the question of why the righteous suffer or the wicked
prosper is that the righteous suffer in this world in order to avoid any suffering in the next; so too the wicked
are given their reward in this world rather than receive any share in the World to Come for whatever mitzvot
they might have performed.

1. Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), Peah 1:1 (5a) The wicked are rewarded in this
world for whatever good they do, while the righteous are punished here for whatever sins
they commit.
If someone has a majority of merits and a
minority of sins, he will be punished for the few
sins in this world so that he can receive his full
reward in the World to Come. But if someone
has a majority of transgressions and a minority of
merits, he is given the reward for his few mitzvot
in this world and will be held accountable for his
misdeeds in the World to Come.

2. Devarim 7:10, with Rashi God gives the wicked their reward in this world.
And He repays those who hate Him, to their face,
to cause them to perish; He will not delay the one
who hates Him, but he will repay him to his face.

Rashi
And He repays those who hate Him to their face
during his lifetime, God pays him his good
reward, in order to cause him to be lost from the
World to Come.

:
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The following two stories illustrate the inverse relationship between reward in this world and reward in the
World to Come:

3. Talmud Bavli, Taanit 25a It is preferable to receive reward in the World to Come.
[Rabbi Eliezers] wife said to him, How long
must we go on suffering so much from poverty?
What should I do? he asked her. Pray that
Heaven give you something. He prayed and a
shape of a hand came from Heaven and handed
him a golden table leg. In a dream he saw that in
the future all the righteous would be eating on
tables that have three legs and he and his wife
would be eating on a table with two legs.

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He asked his wife, Is it alright with you that


everyone else will be eating at a complete table
and we will be eating at an incomplete table?
She said to him, What can we do? Pray that they
take it back. He prayed and they took it back.
It was taught that the second miracle was greater
than the first miracle because we have a tradition
that Heaven can give things, but does not take
them back.

[ ]



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4. Shemot (Exodus) Rabbah 52:3 Reward in this world can deduct from reward in the World
to Come.
It once happened that a student of Rabbi Shimon
ben Yochai left Israel [to earn money] and
returned very wealthy. The students saw him and
were jealous. They also wanted to leave Israel [to
make money]. Rabbi Shimon understood and
took them to a certain sloping valley. He prayed
and said, Valley, valley, fill up with golden
coins. It began to flow with golden coins. Rabbi
Shimon said to his students, If you want gold,
here is gold. Take for yourselves whatever you
want. But you should know that whatever you
take now will be deducted from your portion in
the World to Come, for the real compensation for
learning Torah is only in the World to Come.

Note: One should not get the impression that Judaism idealizes poverty as a sign of righteousness. Earning a
living and providing for ones family are basic responsibilities. The point being made here is that ultimately
the goal of life is to accrue spiritual accomplishments. Moreover, we can never know whether or not we are
destined for life in the World to Come. Hence, there is no way of telling if our fortunes in this world are due
to reward for the minority of our mitzvot or for some other reason altogether. Sometimes God gives us things
that we have not yet earned just for the sake of giving us the chance to do a mitzvah. Similarly, we cannot
know if our misfortunes are a punishment for the minority of our transgressions. Maybe they are just a test of
our virtues, an opportunity to earn greater reward!
Practically speaking, the advice of our Sages has always been not to spend our time fretting about the
implications of our fortunes or misfortunes, rather to do the utmost to attach ourselves to God in this world.
This is the only real assurance of life in the World to Come.
Part B. The Natural Consequence of Ones Actions
Viewing the World to Come as a reward for our actions does not quite capture the causal relationship
between the two. In reality, the World to Come is less of a reward granted by Divine grace than it is the
natural product of ones effort to grow spiritually in this life through Torah and mitzvot.

1. Meiri, Chibbur HaTeshuvah 541 The World to Come grows out of this world.
The World to Come is not a reward for ones
actions but their fruit. In other words, it is
produced from them like a fruit from a tree.

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2. Nefesh HaChaim 1:12 We create our World to Come with our deeds.
The reason that the Sages said that all Israel have
a portion to the World to Come and not in the
World to Come is because it is not something
that was created during the Six Days of Creation.
It is not a separate entity such that if a person
is righteous they will give him his reward from
it. The truth is that the World to Come is built
by the person himself. Each person expands,
adds, and determines his own portion through
his actions. Each member of Israel has his own
portion in holiness, light, and radiance that is
fixed and added to the World to Come through
his good deeds.

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3. Rabbi Zev Leff, Audio Tape The more effort we expend on something, the more we
appreciate it.
If a person receives a watch as a gift and then loses it, the person may feel badly, but not as badly as if
he actually purchased the watch. However, lets say the person manufactured the watch himself from
scratch, toiling endless hours in crafting it. If the watch were to get lost now, how would he feel? The
idea is that those projects which we invest effort in, bring us the greatest appreciation and meaning.
Consequently, our effort in this world actually builds our World to Come.

4. Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Gateway to Judaism, p. 61 The World to Come is really the
World that Comes out of our actions.
The condition of the souls existence in Olam Haba, its degree of closeness and connection to God, is
directly determined by its previous activities in the physical world; it is the world that comes the
state that results directly from what happens in this world.

An illustration that death reveals whatever spiritual state already exists in the person is found in the following
Talmudic excerpt, as explained by Rabbi Dessler in the subsequent source.

5. Talmud Bavli, Berachot 18b The dead maintain the same concerns as when they were alive.
A man went and spent the night in a cemetery,
and he heard two spirits conversing with one
another. Said one to her companion, My dear,
come and let us wander about the world and let
us hear from behind the curtain what suffering
is coming on the world. Her companion said
to her, I cannot go since I am buried in matting
of reeds [she was ashamed to be seen in such
attire Ritva]. But you go, and whatever you
hear tell me

13

. ...
, : ,

: .
,
...

Spirituality & Kabbalah

The World to Come I

6. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Michtav MEliyahu, Vol. II, p. 62 The transition from life in this
world to life in the next world (the World of the Souls) does not change the essence of a
person, it just reveals it.
A persons desire is his essence And you
should know that death does not change the
internal state of the person. The wicked person,
who in his lifetime was attached to the illusion
[of this world], so too after death will be attached
to this very illusion; but since he will not be
able to satisfy his desires, he will lust after them
all the more and develop an enormous appetite
for them. The Talmud records how the spirits
were interested in the affairs of this world.
Furthermore, there was even one spirit that was
embarrassed by the fact that she was buried in
reeds. See how her sensitivity for self-respect
remained in death just as it was in life!

...

, .
. ,
,
. ,
,
,
,

.

Part C. The Purpose of Creation


The World to Come is the ultimate goal for each individual and humanity as a whole. Only by utilizing every
opportunity for spiritual growth in this world can we create a meaningful World to Come. Therefore, while
in this world we need to focus our efforts to earn the greatest good by striving to fulfill the Will of God with
all our energy and resources.

1. Pirkei Avot 4:16-17 Each world has its advantages.


Rabbi Yaakov said, This world is like a lobby
before the World to Come. Prepare yourself in the
lobby so that you may enter the banquet hall.

He used to say, Better is one hour of repentance


and good deeds in this world than the entire
life of the World to Come. Better is one hour of
spiritual bliss in the World to Come than the
entire life of this World.

,
;
.
,
; ,
. ,

Which world is better?


On the face of it, the two statements above seem to contradict each other, but they were said in the same
breath by the same person. The resolution is as follows:
Gods purpose in Creation was to give the ultimate good to another, namely man. That good, closeness
to God Himself, is only experienced in the World to Come. As such, this world is secondary, a mere
antechamber, to the World to Come.
But in order for it to be the greatest possible good, the closeness to God must be earned rather than simply
handed over on a silver platter. Life in this world is the opportunity for earning the true good of the World to
Come, and in that sense it is more valuable.

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14

The World to Come I

2. Ramchal, Derech Hashem 1:2:1-2 This world is an opportunity to earn the greatest good,
attachment to God.
Gods purpose in Creation was to bestow of His
good to another His wisdom therefore decreed
that the nature of this true benefaction be His
giving created things the opportunity to attach
themselves to Him to the greatest degree possible
for them.



,
...

Gods wisdom, however, decreed that for such


good to be perfect, the one enjoying it must be its
master. That is, he must earn it for himself

, ,
- .
...

3. Ramchal, Mesillat Yesharim (Path of the Just), Ch. 1 The delight of attachment to God in
the World to Come is the very purpose of Creation.
Our Sages of blessed memory have instructed
us that man was created for the sole purpose
of reveling in the Eternal and delighting in the
splendor of the Divine Presence, this being
the ultimate joy and greatest of all pleasures in
existence. The true place for this pleasure is in
the World to Come, which was created solely for
this purpose.

,


, .
.

However, the path that helps us reach our


desired goal is this world. That is what our Sages
meant when they said that this world is like an
antechamber to the World to Come (Avot 4:21).
The means that lead to this goal are the mitzvot
that God commanded us to observe, and the
place for doing the mitzvot is in this world alone.
Therefore, man was first placed in this world
to use the methods available to him in order
to reach his intended destination, the World to
Come. There he will enjoy the good which he
acquired by virtue of these means. That is what
our Sages of blessed memory meant when they
said, Today to do and tomorrow, in the World to
Come, to receive the reward (Eruvin 22a).

. ,
) : (
.
,
.
.

,
,
:) ( , .
:

The following story demonstrates how the possibility of reward in the World to Come invests life in this
world with limitless value.

4. Rabbi Aharon Pollack, The Laws of Tzitzit, p. 6 This world is an opportunity for earning
the reward of the next.
It is told that the students of the Vilna Gaon, in the last hours of his life, gathered around his bed,
eager to hear their great masters last words. They expected to see him joyous at the prospect of his
reward in the World to Come, but were surprised to see him with tears on his face. He held up his
tzitzit and said, How beautiful this world is! For just a few coins one can buy threads and tie tzitzit,
and so come close to the Shechinah. But in the World to Come it is impossible to do any of this.

15

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The World to Come I

Key Themes of Section III:


HH The reward for spiritual development in this world is life in the World to Come, first in the World
of the Souls and ultimately in the post-Resurrection world.
HH That reward, a connection to God, is infinitely more valuable than anything that can be
experienced in this world. More than just a payoff for good behavior, though, a share in the World
to Come is the direct consequence of our actions during this lifetime. Death only removes the
outer shell, revealing the soul in whatever state it reached during its brief stay in this world.
HH The experience of closeness to God in the World to Come is the ultimate reason that God created
the universe. Only in the World to Come is Gods purpose in Creation the giving of good to
another actually realized. Nevertheless, it is only through utilizing every opportunity for
spiritual growth in this world that we can create a meaningful World to Come.

Class Summary:
What is the World to Come is there life after death?
Yes. Judaism affirms belief in life after death and in a phase of history called the World to Come.
Where does the Torah talk about a World to Come?
The Torah refers to the World to Come indirectly (for reasons discussed in part II). It talks about the soul
being gathered to its people after death, returning to God, and records accounts of communicating with the
dead.
What happens after death?
The soul leaves the body and enters the World of the Souls (Olam HaNeshamot). It remains there until the
Resurrection of the Dead, at which time the soul is re-united with its body and the world assumes a totally
new form of existence, referred to as the World to Come.
What does one experience in the World to Come?
A person enjoys the level of personal perfection and closeness to God that he managed to build with the
good deeds he accomplished in this world. The pleasure of the experience in the World to Come is greater
than anything available in this world.
Is the World to Come in any way similar to this world?
Physical sensations of a higher reality are a taste of the World to Come. However, the main feature will be
taking pleasure in the radiance of Gods Presence.
What is the purpose of the World to Come?
The World to Come is the ultimate purpose of Creation to be eternally attached to the Will of God. By
using our free will and utilizing the opportunities for spiritual growth in this world, we create a meaningful
World to Come. The World to Come is also the time when we are rewarded for our positive actions in this
world, learn from our mistakes, and become spiritually purified. It is where we will experience the greatest
spiritual delight and connection to God.

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16

The World to Come I

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & SOURCES


Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Handbook of Jewish Thought, Vol. II, Ch. 23, Immortality and the Soul
Section I.
Rabbi Yaakov Astor, Soul Searching, Appendix A
Section II.
Ramban, Shaar HeGemul
Ramchal, Derech Hashem, Part 1, Ch. 3
ArtScroll Tractate Sanhedrin, Vol. III, Appendix A
Ner Leelef Books, This World and the Next, pp. 39-49

Written by Rabbi David Sedley


and Edited by the Morasha Curriculum Team

17

Spirituality & Kabbalah

The World to Come: Part II


How Can I Secure a Front Row Ticket?

n the first Morasha class on the World to Come, we saw that life after death is
fundamental to Jewish thought. We presented the two phases of life after death:
the transition of the soul into the World of the Souls, and the return of the soul to the
body during the Resurrection. We discussed the concept of the World to Come as a
place where one enjoys the level of personal perfection and closeness to God that one
achieved in this world.
In this second class we will discuss how each person can earn a share in the World to
Come. Finally, we will address why explicit mention of the World to Come is omitted
from the Written Torah.

In this class we will address the following questions:


What can we do to ensure that we get a place in the World to Come?
Do non-Jews have a place in the World to Come?
Why is there no explicit mention of the World to Come in the Torah?

Class Outline:

Section I. How to Earn a Share in the World to Come


Part A. Mitzvah Observance
Part B. Torah Study
Part C. Specific Acts Rewarded in the World to Come
Part D. Good Character
Part E. Core Beliefs and Attitudes
Part F. Non-Jews
Section II. Why Is There No Explicit Mention in the Torah?
Part A. Its Obvious
Part B. Trivialization
Part C. Correct Motivation
Part D. Falsifiability

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The World to Come II

Section I. How to Earn a Share in the World to


Come
Some people focus strictly on life on this planet and do not entertain the concept of life after death, or a soul
world. In the following case, the New York Times buried a time capsule at the turn of the millennium filled
with memorabilia from our civilization for those in the year 3,000 to look back on us, much the same as we
look back on those from the Year 1,000:
Who or what will open the Times capsule a thousand years hence? Correct predictions are considered the
ultimate test of the hard sciences like physics and chemistry. For those of us in the so-called soft sciences
like historians, evolutionary biologists, and stock-market investors our predictions are constantly derailed
by independent variables and the impact of unpredictable events like assassinations or asteroid collisions
Today, for the first time in human history, we could all be done in at once by a nuclear war, an environmental
catastrophe, an epidemic that flashes around the globe or some entirely unforeseeable calamity. Even so, while
prediction may be difficult, it is possible to sketch out several alternative scenarios about who will open the
capsule.
New Yorkers
The simplest scenario is one of business as usual, one that assumes that there will be no worldwide disaster
to undermine civilization. In that case, I confidently predict the continuing primacy of the same underlying
geographic factors that made the United States and Europe the powers of the present world. Those factors
are their large areas, environmental diversity and resilience, rich natural resources, relatively stable climates,
historical inheritance, and efficient population concentrations of which New York, site of the Times Capsule,
remains the foremost manifestation.
New Zealanders
What could halt business as usual? One obvious possibility is a nuclear war ... Nuclear conflict, for all its
horror, might not kill everybody. Still, bombs or fallout might destroy every big city on every continent. The
only targets that no one will bother to bomb are remote oceanic islands. Their populations will most likely
survive, but they will face a problem: almost all of those remote islands are formed of volcanic lava or coral;
they are completely without metal deposits. Perhaps there will be enough salvageable scrap metal, but if not,
the island populations could, imaginably, relapse into the Stone Age. Only New Zealand has metal deposits
and is sufficiently large and populous to retain books and knowledge of metal technology. Whoever those postnuclear New Zealanders are, it is they who in this scenario would eventually visit the bombed-out and lifeless
continents, poke around in the ruins and discover and open the Times Capsule.
Japanese
There is another type of catastrophe, even more likely to halt business as usual. Already, today, we live amid
an accelerating environmental calamity as we destroy the worlds remaining natural forests, wetlands and
fisheries, pollute its air, soil, and water and approach the limits of our planets photosynthetic capacity. It
already seems likely that all the accessible supplies of fresh water will before long bump up against the needs
of the growing world population even if that growth rate continues to slow. The way things are going now,
we may not have many decades left to get our environmental act together. If we fail, then most of the world,
including not only the continents but also New Zealand and other habitable islands, could come to resemble
barren Somalia today.
Over the last several thousand years, humans have already exhausted the worlds major shallow iron and
copper deposits, which stone-tool users of the remote past dug up to develop metal tools. The remaining major
ore deposits are deep, and their extraction requires high technology far beyond the organizational capacity of

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The World to Come II

scattered and stateless human groups to reinvent. With only salvage metal on hand, much of humanity would
be reduced to the state of hunter-gatherers. Who, in that case, would be best off? Thats another no-brainer: it
would be the same ones who were already best off in the Neolithic era.
Living in the worlds most productive temperate environment of high rainfall, fertile volcanic soils and mild
climate, the Japanese led the worlds hunter-gatherers millenniums ago as early developers of pottery and
permanent villages. For those same reasons, Japanese hunter-gatherers would be likely to once again lead the
worlds hunter-gatherers in 3,000. Like stone-tool-using Polynesians of the past, those Stone Age Japanese
would build oceangoing canoes, venture across the seas, reach New York and stumble across the Times Capsule.
(From Jared Diamond, To Whom It May Concern, www.nytimes.com, December 5, 1999.)
A civilization whose goal is to reach some distant future date must consider which factors such as natural
resources, technology, and survival skills best prepares it to do so. However, Judaisms conception of the
World to Come has nothing to do with calendar years, which only exist in this world. In contrast, preparing
for the World to Come a dynamic eternal existence beyond this world is not dependent on such factors.
Rather, the ability to reach the World to Come is accomplished by involvement in such pursuits as perfecting
ones character, helping others, studying Torah, and performing the mitzvot. And the Talmud relates that this
is the potential for every Jew:

1. Talmud Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) Sanhedrin 90a The default position of every Jew is that
he will have life in the World to Come.
All Israel have a portion in the World to Come.

Exactly how big that portion will be essentially depends on our connection to Torah and mitzvot, and the
extent to which we refine our character and help others, a sampling of which is illustrated below.

Part A. Mitzvah Observance


The mitzvot (generally translated as commandments) were given by God to the Jewish people as the
comprehensive framework within which to live a Jewish life, and enable each person to build a personal,
meaningful relationship with God. The mitzvot are the means by which we can emulate God, develop and
refine our character, strengthen Jewish belief, and infuse every action with purpose. (See the Morasha class,
The Mitzvot and Why They are Detailed).

1. Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene, Set in Stone, p. 31, Targum Each mitzvah we fulfill intrinsically
connects us with God.
Judaism is not as much a religion as it is a relationship. It is only through mitzvah observance that man
can build a deep, enduring, and meaningful relationship with God
That a mitzvah is the very process of forging the bond [with God] is contained within the very word
, commandment, closely related to the word , meaning a connection or a binding.

2. Talmud Bavli, Sotah 3b Ones mitzvot accompanies him to the World to Come.
Rabbi Yonatan says, If one performs a mitzvah
in this world, it precedes him into the World to
Come, as the verse states: His righteousness will
go before him (Yeshayahu/Isaiah 58:8).


( )
.

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The World to Come II

3. Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 4b Mitzvot testify on our behalf in the World to Come.
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi said, All mitzvot that
the Jewish people perform in this world will
come and testify for them in the World to Come.

4. Rav Yosef Albo, Sefer HaIkarim 4:40 Observing the mitzvot, unlike any other system of law,
offers eternal life.
And you shall observe My statutes and My
ordinances, which man shall do and thereby
live [Vayikra/Leviticus 18:5]. This is without a
doubt referring to the individualized spiritual
reward that each person will receive, as follows:
God ordered each person to observe His statutes
and ordinances even though it would involve
more effort than observing the laws of the land
of Egypt or Canaan [i.e. some form of modern,
secular law].


,
,

,

Even though the laws of Egypt and Canaan


successfully maintained those societies,
nevertheless they did not offer the individual
true life eternal existence for the soul such
as that which the laws of God offer. This is what
it means when it says, And you shall observe
My statutes and ordinances, etc. It means to
say that you should observe them even though
it may be difficult to do so because they have an
additional virtue not found in any other system
of law, for [besides benefitting society] they also
benefit the individual by bringing him life in the
World to Come. This is what it means when it
says, Which man should do and thereby live
something not true of any other legal system.


,

,
,
,
,
,
,
.

5. Rabbi Chaim Volozhin, Ruach Chaim 4:15 Like an entrance ticket, mitzvot determine
whether one may enter and precisely where one will sit in the World to Come.
This world is compared to a corridor that leads
into a hall. Prepare yourself in the corridor so
that you can enter the banquet hall [Pirkei Avot/
Ethics of the Fathers 4:16] It is well-known,
as our Sages have stated in many places, that
the mitzvot a person performs in this world are
the very reward that a person makes for himself.
That reward is experienced as the pleasure of
delighting in the radiance of the Divine Presence.
The greater the person, the closer the proximity
to God, and the greater the true delight. Bringing
oneself close to God is achieved through Torah
study and doing mitzvot.

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[
.]

.
.

.
.

The World to Come II

Each of the 613 mitzvot corresponds to one


of mans limbs or sinews. [When a mitzvah is
performed, its parallel spiritual limb is clothed
in a spiritual garment] so the more one is dressed
the closer he may come to his Creator and delight
in His Presence. Hence, man makes his clothing
in order to be able to enter [the banquet hall] and
receive his reward: the better dressed the further
he will go. But if a person shows up unclothed,
the guards will not let him enter at all. However,
when he is properly dressed, he has the seal of
the King and will be shown to his appropriate
place.



.
...
,
.
,
.

Part B. Torah Study


Torah is the blueprint for the world and its study is the foundation for the entirety of Jewish life. Torah is
the wisdom of God that is revealed to man. Therefore its study brings us to the World to Come. The Jewish
people experience heartfelt joy in appreciating the connection it provides to God and the wisdom we gain
from its study. As Rabbi Yitzchak Berkovits from the Jerusalem Kollel asks, What nation do you know that
dances with its books? Which scientists do you know who dance with their books? In this context we can
appreciate the following story.
One night, the Sanzer Rav, author of the Divrei Chaim, was on his way to the mikvah. As he passed the house
where his friend Reb Isaac was lodging, the sound of a voice teaching Torah wafted out into the cold night
air. When he heard how Reb Isaac was teaching, the Sanzer Rav stopped in his tracks, settled himself in the
doorway, and for a full hour he stood in front of the closed door listening to the Torah class. Meanwhile, the
snow swirled around him, blown in great gusts by the strong wind, and the Ravs beard became coated with
frost. The Rav did not realize that his frozen beard had become stuck to the doorknob in front of him. When the
members of the Ravs family realized that he had not come home yet, they went out to look for him and found
him standing outside, with his beard stuck to the doorknob. They immediately brought hot water and carefully
poured it over the frozen beard to thaw the ice and free the Rav from where he stood.
What could I do? asked the Rav rhetorically. I heard the voice of Torah, and followed my heart in its
direction. Believe me, even if they had opened the gates of Gan Eden to me at that moment, and bid me enter,
I would not have left my place (See Avot [4:17], One hour of teshuvah and good deeds in this world is
worth more than an entire life in the World to Come.) (From Glimpses of Greatness, Rabbi David Koppelman,
Moznaim Publishers, p. 117.)

1. Pirkei Avot 2:7 Effort to learn Torah is rewarded in the World to Come.
If a person acquires a good name, he does so for
himself [i.e. he enjoys it in this world Tosafot
Yom Tov]. But if he acquires Torah, he acquires
life in the World to Come.

, ; ,
.

2. Talmud Bavli, Niddah 73a Learning Torah guarantees a place in the World to Come.
It was taught in the house of Eliyahu: Anyone
who studies Torah law every day is guaranteed


( )
5

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The World to Come II

a place in the World to Come, as the verse states:


The ways of the world are His [Habakkuk 3:6].
Do not read it as halichot (ways) but rather as
halachot (laws).

3. Talmud Bavli, Chagigah 12b God will be kind to those who studied Torah.
Reish Lakish said, Each person who is involved
with Torah in this world, which is similar to
night, God will grace him with kindness in
the World to Come, which is similar to day, as
the verse states: By the day the Lord gives His
merciful command, and by night His song is with
me [Tehillim/Psalms 42:9].

4. Talmud Bavli, Bava Metzia 85b Those who exert themselves in Torah study will experience
freedom in the World to Come.
What is meant by, The small and great are there
[in the World to Come] and the servant is free
from his master [Iyov/Job 3:19]?
It means that he who humbles himself [lit. makes
himself small] for the sake of the Torah in this
world will be great in the next, and he who
makes himself a servant to the study of the Torah
in this world will be free in the next.

( )
...?

,
.

5. Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 92a One who teaches Torah here will teach it there too.
Rav Sheshet said, Anyone who teaches Torah in
this world will merit teaching it in the World to
Come.

6. Talmud Bavli, Eruvin 54b Teaching Torah with dedication, care, and unending patience
earns a place in the World to Come.
Rav Preida had a student to whom he would have
to repeat the lesson four hundred times before
he understood it. One day Rav Preida needed to
rush out to perform a mitzvah [immediately after
the class]. Rav Preida taught him [four hundred
times], but the student could not understand
it. He asked, Why is today different? [The
student] replied, From the time they said to
you that there is a mitzvah which you must do
[afterwards] my mind became confused I kept
thinking that you would leave at any minute.
[Rav Preida] said, Calm your mind and let me
teach you again. He repeated it another four
hundred times.

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] [

The World to Come II

A voice came out of Heaven and said, Would


you prefer to have another four hundred years
added to your life [as reward] or that you and
your whole generation should merit the World
to Come? He replied, That I and my generation
merit the World to Come. God said to them,
Give him both [rewards].

Part C. Specific Acts Rewarded in the World to Come


Until now we have spoken only generally about earning a place in the World to Come through the
observance of mitzvot and by studying and teaching Torah. But are there specific mitzvot or deeds that one
may employ to increase his share in the World to Come?

1. Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), Peah 1:1 (3a) Giving tzedakah (charity) pays off in
the World to Come.
King Munbaz gave away all his money to the
poor. His relatives sent him messages saying,
Your ancestors added to what they had, but you
have given away what is yours and what belongs
to your ancestors. He replied, I have done
better than them they stored it on earth, but I
have stored it in Heaven My ancestors put it
in storehouses that do not earn interest; I have
placed it in a storehouse that gives interest My
ancestors stored it in a place where it could be
stolen, but I stored it in a place where it cannot
be stolen My ancestors saved money, but I
saved lives My ancestors saved for others, but
I saved for myself My ancestors saved in this
world, but I saved for the World to Come.




...

...
...
...
. ...

The following case illustrates the results of investing ones time and efforts to assist those in need:
As well as being an esteemed sage, Rabbi Chaim Tsanzer of Brode was a great, caring person who would
personally go door-to-door, collecting money for charitable causes. One such time, he was trying to raise
money for a prominent businessman who had fallen on hard times and was in dire need of assistance. Rabbi
Tsanzer approached Mr. Nellstein (name changed), a well-to-do member of the community, and asked him for a
donation. Mr. Nellstein seemed interested in the cause, and invited Rabbi Tsanzer to sit down and make himself
comfortable.
Who is this person for whom you are collecting? he asked.
I cannot reveal his name, responded Rabbi Tsanzer. You must trust me when I tell you that he is a fine,
prominent man. This did not seem to satisfy Mr. Nellsteins curiosity.
I believe you, answered Mr. Nellstein, and I am willing to donate $1,000. Just tell me his name.
Rabbi Tsanzer shifted his position in the chair. The person for whom I am collecting used to give huge sums

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The World to Come II

to tzedakah. Now his business is failing and he is in need of immediate assistance. How dare I shame him by
revealing his name?
Mr. Nellstein became more insistent. I will give you half the sum you need if you reveal his identity to me. I
promise to keep it a secret.
I appreciate your generosity, said Rabbi Tsanzer, but the honor of this unfortunate man is too precious to
me. Even if you give me the whole sum at once, I will not reveal his name. I would rather go door-to-door for
the next week and collect small amounts than compromise his trust. Mr. Nellstein looked down, and when
he raised his head again there were tears in his eyes. Rabbi, he said in a strangled voice, I, too, am in
great trouble. Due to a string of unfortunate decisions and circumstances, I have lost my entire fortune. Ive
been afraid to confide in anyone because, were word of this to get out, my creditors would overwhelm me and
my shame would be unbearable. I do not have the means to live from day to day, let alone to repay my debts.
Rabbi, he said imploringly, I see that you are eminently trustworthy, and my secret will be safe with you. I
must confess that I need financial help, but am too ashamed to go peddling, or collecting on my own behalf.
Rabbi Tsanzer listened to his recital with sympathy and respect, and promised to help the unfortunate man.
Two weeks later, Rabbi Tsanzer once again was collecting funds for a prominent businessman who had lost
all his money. He succeeded in helping Mr. Nellstein get back on his feet, with no one the wiser regarding his
plight, his reputation as a successful businessman untarnished. (From Glimpses of Greatness, Rabbi David
Koppelman, Moznaim Publishers, p. 60-61.)

2. Talmud Bavli, Ketubot 111a Living or even walking in the Land of Israel demonstrates that
one will also live in the World to Come.
Rabbi Yirmiya bar Abba said in the name of Rabbi
Yochanan, Anyone who walks four cubits in the
Land of Israel is guaranteed a place in the World
to Come.

Part D. Good Character


Refining ones character and treating others with respect leads to the World to Come.

1. Talmud Bavli, Tamid 32a, with Rashi Being humble is a strategy for earning a place in the
World to Come.
He [Alexander of Macedonia] asked them [the
Sages of the South], What should a person do
to live [in the World to Come]? They replied
Kill himself [i.e. diminish himself]. And what
should a person do to die? Awaken himself
[i.e. glorify himself and become arrogant].


( )
.) (

2. Rabbeinu Yona, Shaarei Teshuvah 2:17 Deadening oneself to the desires of this world leads
to life in the World to Come.
How hard is death for the person who does not
divorce the desires of this world from his soul
until death separates him from them! Our Sages

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!
? :

The World to Come II

have said in tractate Derech Eretz, Is it your


desire not to die? Then die so that you do not
die. That is, one who wishes his day of death
to lead to eternal life will resolve that since he
is destined to leave this world and his bodily
desires, and, in the end, to despise and reject
them, he will abandon them in his lifetime and
make use of this world only in the service of God.
Then his day of death will lead to life without
end.

: !
,
,
,
. ,

3. Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler, Strive for Truth, Vol. III, p. 215 Orienting oneself toward spiritual
values ensures that one will earn a share in the World to Come.
If your wish is not to die, die before you die [Shaarei Teshuvah 2:17]. The meaning of this epigram
is that if you wish to live in the true life of the spirit, die to those false desires which deflect you from
that goal. Try to acquire in this world something of the outlook you will inevitably have when you pass
over to another state.

4. Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 88b Humility and modesty are rewarded in the World to Come.
They sent word from Israel, Who is destined for
the World to Come? He who is meek, humble,
bows upon entering and upon going out, and
who constantly learns Torah without claiming
merit for it.

Part E. Core Beliefs and Attitudes


The Rambam (Maimonides) codified thirteen core beliefs that summarize the essence of Judaism. Believing in
these principles, listed in source 2 below, brings a person to the World of Come.

1. Rambam, Commentary on the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 10:1 Belief in the Thirteen Principles of
Faith makes one worthy of the World to Come.
When a person believes fully and genuinely
in all the [Thirteen Principles of Faith], he is
considered part of the Jewish people and it
is obligatory to love him, to have mercy on
him, and to relate to him according to all the
mitzvot that God has commanded concerning
interpersonal relationships of love and
brotherhood; and he has a share in the World to
Come.


, ,

.

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The World to Come II

2. Rambam, Thirteen Principles of Faith The Thirteen Principles are part of the daily liturgy;
and each principle is preceded by the affirmation, I believe with complete faith that
1. the Creator, Blessed is His Name, creates
and guides all creatures, and that He alone
made, makes, and will make everything.

, .1
,
.

2. He alone is our God, Who was, Who is,


and Who always will be.

, .2
,
. ,

3. He is not physical and is not affected by


physical phenomena, and that there is no
comparison whatsoever to Him.

, .3
, ,
.

4. He is the very first and the very last.

, .4
.

5. to Him alone is it proper to pray and it is


not proper to pray to any other.

, .5
. ,

6. all the words of the prophets are true.


7. the prophecy of Moshe Rabbeinu (Moses),
peace be upon him, was true, and that he was
the father of the prophets both those who
preceded him and those who followed him.
8. the entire Torah now in our hands is the
same one that was given to Moshe Rabbeinu,
peace be upon him.

, .7
,
. ,
, .8
.

9. this Torah will not be exchanged nor will


there be another Torah from the Creator,
Blessed is His Name.

, .9

.

10. He knows all the deeds of human beings


and their thoughts, as it is said, He fashions
their hearts all together, He comprehends all
their deeds.
11. He rewards with good those who observe
His commandments, and punishes those who
violate His commandments.
12. I believe with complete faith in the coming of
the Messiah, and even though he may delay,
nevertheless, I anticipate every day that he
will come.
13. there will be a Resurrection of the Dead
whenever the Creator wills it, Blessed is His
Name and exalted in His Mention forever and
for all eternity.

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, .6
.

10

, .10
: ,
. ,
, .11
.
, , .12
. ,
, .13

.

The World to Come II

Part F. Non-Jews
Unlike most other religions, Judaism does not claim that one must convert in order to be eligible for life in
the World to Come. According to Meiri and Rambam, the way for a non-Jew to earn his share in the World
to Come is by observing those commandments that are relevant to him, namely the Seven Noahide Laws.
The Talmud (Sanhedrin 56a) enumerates these Laws as follows: to refrain from blasphemy, idolatry, adultery,
bloodshed, robbery, and eating flesh cut from a living animal, and to establish a legal system.

1. Talmud Bavli, Avodah Zarah 10b A moral non-Jew has a place in the World to Come.
He [the Roman Caesar Antoninus] asked him
[Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi]: Will I have a share
in the World to Come? He replied Yes. But
doesnt the verse state: There will be no remnant
of the house of Eisav? [Ovadiah 1:18] This
only refers to one who acts like Eisav [i.e. who
follows in his evil ways].


( )
.

2. Rambam, Hilchot Melachim (Laws of Kings) 8:11 A non-Jew must keep the Noahide Laws
for the right reasons.
Anyone who accepts upon himself and carefully
observes the Seven Noahide Laws is considered
to be one of the righteous gentiles and has a
portion in the World to Come. But that is on
condition that he accepts to abide by these laws
because they were commanded by God in the
Torah, and taught to us by Moshe But a nonJew who follows these laws merely for logical
reasons is neither one of the righteous of the
nations nor one of their wise men.


, ,
,
...
,
. ,

Key Themes of Section I:


HH Every Jew starts out with the opportunity to receive eternal life in the World to Come. The quality
of that life is determined by how we live here. The main currency of the World to Come is mitzvah
observance and a connection to the Torah.
HH However, certain acts, such as giving charity and being in the Land of Israel, are particularly
potent ways to earn a share in the World to Come. Additionally, developing good character traits
and clarifying ones philosophical beliefs grants one a portion in the World to Come.
HH Even non-Jews will earn eternal life through fulfilling the Noahide commandments.

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The World to Come II

Section II. Why Is There No Explicit Mention in


the Torah?
As we pointed out in the first Morasha class on the World to Come, the Torah only hints to the existence
of an afterlife, yet makes no explicit statements about it. Many of the classical commentators have been
bothered by the obvious omission of something so central to Jewish thought. Why doesnt the Torah
explicitly mention spiritual reward for observing mitzvot or reveal the ultimate purpose of Gods Creation?
By exploring a few of the answers, we will find that the Torah tells us much more about the World to Come
simply by being quiet about the subject.

Part A. Its Obvious


There is a basic principle that the Talmud applies when deriving information from the Torah: if the principle
is logical, then it does not need to be located in an actual Biblical verse. This principle applies to the reward
of the World to Come.

1. Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, Emunot ve-Deot, 9:2 Logic dictates that there is reward in a World to
Come.
One may wonder why the Torah makes no
mention of reward other than in this-worldly
terms? One explanation for this is that since
the reward in the World to Come is something
that reason can demonstrate, the Torah did not
mention much about it, as is the case with many
mitzvot. For example, God did not explicitly
command Adam not to murder, commit adultery,
or steal because these things are demanded by
the dictates of reason. Rather, He told him not to
eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil
because that was not so intellectually obvious.
So too, the Torah did not speak about ultimate
reward, but rather relied upon the logic that
necessitates it.

,
, ... ? ,

, ,
,
, ,
,
. ,
,
.

When one witnesses the injustice of this world, when the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer, it only
makes sense that there exists another world where all will be justified. In the following source, we see the
example of the Patriarchs who seemingly went unrewarded for their deeds, unless one considers that they
will be rewarded in the World to Come.

2. Kli Yakar, Vayikra 26:12 In what way were the forefathers rewarded more than any other
people in history? They were rewarded in the World to Come.
We can see with our own eyes how great Gods
love was for our forefathers, Avraham (Abraham),
Yitzchak (Isaac), and Yaakov (Yaakov). Now, if
their achievements in this world were all that
they achieved, then what would be the advantage

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12

...
.


,

The World to Come II

of Avraham over the wicked Nimrod, for he was


king of a vast domain while Avraham wandered
his whole life from one tent to the next, from one
nation to the next.
So too, when it comes to Yitzchak and Yaakov
we have no idea what their true reward was.
Even if we factor in the reward given to their
descendants [i.e. the Land of Israel], the question
remains: of what good was such a reward to them
since others would inevitably inherit their land
when they die and they will leave this world
with no recompense for all their labor? And even
if you point to the Jewish peoples inhabitance
of the Land on the whole, nevertheless, even in
times of peace, how is it any better than any of
the other nations who succeed and rule as they
do on much greater territory than do the Jewish
people?




,


,

Rather, it must be that the great good hidden


away for the righteous [in the World to Come] is
the real reward of the forefathers, and likewise for
all their descendants, for they have all kept the
same Torah.

Part B. Trivialization
Rabbi Mordechai Becher tells the story of the time he came home with a big folding table packaged in
a square box on top of his car. His three-year-old son came out to greet him and when he saw the box,
exclaimed, Abba, big pizza!
We can only describe things within the bounds of the conceptual and linguistic categories familiar to our
experience. Since we lack the vocabulary to describe the World to Come, the Torah omitted talking about it
for fear of trivializing this very deep concept.

1. Talmud Bavli, Berachot 34b No mind can fathom the World to Come.
Rabbi Chiya bar Abba also said in the name of
Rabbi Yochanan, All the prophets prophesied
only for the days of the Messiah, but as for the
World to Come, No eye has seen it, God, besides
You (Yeshayahu 64:3).

:
,
): ( . -

2. Rambam, Hilchot Teshuvah (Laws of Repentance) 8:6-7 Any comparison to the pleasures of
this world would cheapen the World to Come.
The great goodness which the soul experiences in
the World to Come is beyond any means of

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The World to Come II

comprehension in this world. In this world we


know only the physical pleasures to which we are
tied, but that goodness [in the World to Come]
is exceedingly good, and has no rating when
compared to the pleasures of this world, except
figuratively.



....

The earlier Sages have already made it known


that it is beyond ones capabilities to comprehend
the goodness of the World to Come at all, and
that one cannot know its greatness, beauty and
very essence; only the Holy One, Blessed Be He,
can understand it. All the good things which the
prophets prophesied to Israel are only physical
pleasures from which they will benefit in the days
of the Messiah and when the monarchy has been
returned to Israel. The goodness of the World to
Come, however, has no limit or size, and was not
discussed by the prophets so as not to cheapen it
by comparison.

...

,




.

3. Ibn Ezra, Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:39 The World to Come is too deep a concept to be
mentioned in the Torah.
Rabbeinu Hai [Gaon] says that the Torah did not
need to speak explicitly about the subject of the
World to Come because it was something taken
for granted in the ancient world. But I say that
the Torah was given to everyone, not just to an
individual [generation]. Rather, [the reason the
Torah omits it] is because no one understands it,
for it is a very deep matter indeed.

,
, . ,
. ,
. ,

4. Rabbi Mordechai Becher, Gateway to Judaism, p. 63 The dangers of oversimplification.


The World to Come is purely spiritual, but it is impossible for us to describe it without resorting to
metaphors from our physical world. These metaphors easily take on the character of reality in peoples
minds, so that the more Olam Haba is described the further it is diminished by our finite imagination.
You can see the disastrous results of oversimplification and metaphors by observing the popular
western notions of Heaven and Hell with their respective scenes of angels strumming harps and devils
with pitchforks!

Part C. Correct Motivation


The Torah did not mention the World to Come because we are not supposed to keep Torah and do mitzvot
for the sake of receiving reward; we must do them simply because God says so.

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14

The World to Come II

1. Pirkei Avot 1:3 One should not serve God in order to receive reward.
Antignos of Socho received the tradition from
Shimon the Righteous. He would say, Do not be
as servants who serve their master for the sake
of reward. Rather, be as servants who serve their
master not for the sake of reward. And the fear of
Heaven should be upon you.

2. Maharal, Tiferet Yisrael, Ch. 58 Mention of the World to Come would be sending the wrong
message.
Had reward been written in the Torah, it would
have wrongly implied that a person should serve
God in order to receive that reward and that
would be out of the question. Therefore, the
Torah does not mention the World to Come, for
it would have implied that one is to serve God for
the sake of receiving reward, and that is not so.

Part D. Falsifiability
In science, a theory is deemed unscientific if it is not falsifiable. That is, if the theory is compatible with
all possible observations then there is no way of constructing an experiment to either prove or disprove
the truth of the theory. Similarly, as evidenced in the next source, Jewish philosophers have argued that
promising a reward that no one could ever verify does not lend credence to the Torah.

1. Maharal, Tiferet Yisrael, Ch. 58 Torah is not a matter of speculation.


It is only fitting that the words of the Torah be
clear and recognizable to the eye, so as not to
erroneously compare it to any other religion
that promises a reward that is uncertain and
outside the realm of experience. Something that
is outside of mans experience and is uncertain is
not fit to be called Torah because anyone could
claim that the reward is this or that. Therefore,
the Torah only promised physical things [like
peace and prosperity], things that are clear and
apparent. But it would not be right for the Torah
to mention a spiritual reward that would have to
be taken on faith alone.

...


,

,

,
.

Key Themes of Section II:


HH Considering the centrality of belief in the World to Come in Jewish thought, it is surprising to
find that the Torah says nothing of it explicitly. Nevertheless, there are specific reasons for this.
First of all, the Jewish understanding of a just God contrasted with the obvious injustice of this
world necessitates the existence of a World to Come where all will be justified. Furthermore, any

15

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The World to Come II

attempt to describe spiritual reward in physical terms can do nothing but cheapen it. And besides,
the focus of life should be a relationship with God, not awaiting reward in another life.
HH The Torah further avoided any mention of a spiritual reward because this could detract from
the Torahs credibility, since no one can verify something that occurs outside the realm of our
experience. The Torah therefore only promises things like peace and prosperity, a claim that we
can attest to with our own experience.

Class Summary:
What can we do to ensure that we get a place in the World to Come?
Every Jewish person has a share in the World to Come. The size of that share depends on:
1. His quantity and quality of mitzvah performance (including giving charity and being in the Land of Israel)
2. The study and teaching of Torah, and supporting those who are learning it
3. Developing good character traits, especially humility, modesty, and self-control
4. Understanding and knowing the Thirteen Principles of Belief

Do non-Jews have a place in the World to Come?


Yes, if they fulfill the Seven Noahide mitzvot.

Why is there no explicit mention of the World to Come in the Torah?


There are a number of reasons:
1. The existence of the World to Come is obvious, since how else do we reconcile the fact that many
righteous individuals suffer?
2. It was omitted from the Torah so that it should not be oversimplified or cheapened.
3. The focus of life should be a relationship with God, not awaiting reward in another life.
4. Since no one has been there, claims as to the true nature of the World to Come are easily falsifiable and
therefore are to be avoided.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & SOURCES

Section III.
Commentaries of Abarbanel and Kli Yakar, Vayikra 26:12

Written by Rabbi David Sedley


and Edited by the Morasha Curriculum Team

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16

The World to Come Part III


The New You! Resurrection of the Dead

t may be surprising to discover that the concept of resurrection is central to Jewish


thought, given the fact that many people are familiar with it through other religions.
But in fact, Techiat HaMaitim (the Resurrection of the Dead) in the future World to
Come is one of the most fundamental principles of Judaism, and is the subject of this
third part in the series of classes about the World to Come.
As discussed in Parts I and II of this series, the World to Come is the time and place
in which we will experience closeness to God commensurate with our actions and the
choices we made during our lifetime. The first stage of this reward is in the entirely
spiritual World of the Souls. But that is not the highest level of existence. Ultimately,
the body will be resurrected and the soul will be reunited with the body to experience
a new dimension of reality and attachment to God.

In this class we will seek to answer the following questions about this littleknown fundamental of Jewish faith:
Does Judaism really believe in a resurrection?
What is the purpose of resurrection?
When will the Resurrection take place and how will it happen?
What will life be like in the post-Resurrection World to Come?
What lesson can we learn for our lives today from the Resurrection and
World to Come?

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The World to Come III

Contents:

Section I. Belief in Resurrection


Part A. Resurrection is Essential to Jewish Belief
Part B. As Reflected in Prayer
Part C. Biblical Sources for the Concept of Resurrection
Section II. The Purpose of Resurrection
Part A. The Necessity of Death
Part B. Judgment of the Whole Person
Part C. Perfection of the Physical World
Section III. The Process of Resurrection
Part A. The Stages of Resurrection
Part B. How the Resurrection Will Happen
Part C. Which Body will be Resurrected?
Part D. Healing of Defects
Part E. Where the Resurrection Will Take Place
Section IV. The Nature of the Post-Resurrection World to Come
Part A. Overview
Part B. Mans Alternative Physical Nature
Part C. Levels of the World to Come
Part D. Economy of the World to Come
Part E. Time in the World to Come
Part F. Spiritual Growth in the World to Come
Section V. The Lesson of the World to Come for This World

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The World to Come III

Section I. Belief in Resurrection


Dear young man,
You wrote to me and asked whether a fetus that was miscarried in your family will come to life at the
Resurrection of the Dead.

In the Talmud (Sanhedrin 110b) it is asked: From what age does a child gain a place in the World to Come?
And the answer: From the moment the fetus is conceived. In his commentary, Rashi adds that this is true even if
the fetus does not reach full term.

We see that it is explicitly written that at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead, even fetuses will live. And
furthermore they will have the status of tzaddikim (righteous ones) since they are clean and pure of any
wrongdoing. Therefore you can be sure that at the time of the Resurrection you will have righteous brothers.

May you be blessed with peace of soul and body. May you become great in Torah wisdom and deeds of kindness,

Rabbi Moshe Feinstein


(From Igrot Moshe, Yoreh Deah 3:138, slightly adapted)
Belief in the Resurrection of the Dead is fundamental to Judaism. As we shall see below, Rambam (Maimonides)
classifies it as one of the Thirteen Principles of Faith and it is referred to daily in the prayer book (siddur).

Part A. Resurrection is Essential to Jewish Belief

1. Rambam/Maimonides, Thirteen Principles of Faith, Principle 13 Resurrection is one of the


thirteen fundamental beliefs of Judaism.
I believe with complete faith that there will be a
Resurrection of the Dead, at the time when the
Creator, may He be blessed, wills it to happen

,
...

2. Maimonides, Treatise on the Resurrection of the Dead (Maamar al Techiat Hamatim)


Resurrection is a universally accepted tenet of Judaism.
The concept of the Resurrection of the Dead
universally acknowledged by our people,
incorporated in our daily prayers, which were
composed by prophets and great wise men full of
knowledge of the Talmud and Midrash refers
literally to the returning of the soul to the body
after it has been separated from it It requires
no [allegorical] explanation





...
...

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The World to Come III

Part B. As Reflected in Prayer

1. Nusach HaTefillah, Birkat HaGevurot (second blessing of the silent Amidah) We praise God
daily for His ability to resurrect the dead.
You are eternally mighty, my Lord, the
Resuscitator of the dead are You. You are
abundantly able to save.

:
.

He sustains the living with kindness. He


resuscitates the dead with abundant mercy. He
supports the fallen, heals the sick, releases the
confined, and maintains His faith to those who
sleep in the dust.

. .
.
.

Who is like You, Master of mighty deeds, and


who is similar to You? A King Who causes death
and resurrection, and Who causes salvation to
sprout.

.

: :

: ,

And You are faithful to resurrect the dead.


Blessed are You, God, Who resurrects the dead.

2. Nusach HaTefillah, Morning Blessing We thank God for our soul, knowing that He will take
it away and restore it to us in the World to Come.
My God, the soul which You have placed within
me is pure. You created it and You preserve it
within me. You will eventually take it from me,
and restore it to me in the future. As long as the
soul is within me, I offer thanks to You Master
of all works, Lord of all souls. Blessed are You,
God, Who restores souls to dead bodies.

... , ,
, ,
,
...
. ,

Part C. Biblical Sources for the Concept of Resurrection


In the following sources we will examine some of the allusions to the Resurrection found in the Torah and
Prophets.

1. Shemot (Exodus) 6:3-4 God promised the Land of Israel to the Patriarchs, yet the promise
went unfulfilled in their lifetimes.
And I [God] revealed Myself to Avraham
(Abraham), to Yitzchak (Isaac), and to Yaakov
(Jacob)

...

And I have also established My covenant with


them, to give them the Land of Canaan, the land
of their dwellings, where they dwelled.

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The World to Come III

2. Talmud Bavli, (Babylonian Talmud), Sanhedrin 90b This promise implies that the
Patriarchs will be resurrected. Since the promise went unfulfilled in their lifetimes, it will be
fulfilled after they are resurrected.
Rabbi Simai said, Where in the Torah is the
Resurrection of the Dead mentioned? In the
verse, And I have also established My covenant
with [the Patriarchs], giving them the Land of
Canaan [Shemot/Exodus 6:4]. The verse does
not say to give you but to give them. Hence
[we learn that] the Resurrection is from the
Torah.

,
? ( )
.
. ,

Rashi:
To give them The verse implies that God
promised the Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzchak, and
Yaakov, that He would give them the Land of
Israel. But was it actually given to them? No, it
was given only to their descendants. Hence, the
verse teaches us that it has yet to happen; in the
future God will give them the Land of Israel.

.
,
-

.

3. Devarim (Deuteronomy) 32:39; Talmud Bavli, Pesachim 68a God takes lives and grants life
again in the future.
See, now, that I, I am He and no god is with
Me. I put to death and I bring life, I struck down
and I will heal, and there is no rescuer from My
hand.

Pesachim 68a
I put to death and I bring life The Holy One,
Blessed be He said, Whoever I cause to die, I
shall resurrect.

4. Yeshayahu (Isaiah) 26:19 The dead shall live.


Your dead shall live; corpses shall arise; awaken
and sing, you who dwell in the dust

...

5. Daniel 12:2 The dead shall yet awaken once more.


And many who sleep in the dust of the earth will
awaken

...

Key Themes of Section I:


HH Although many may find it surprising, belief in the Resurrection of the Dead is a fundamental
principle of Judaism, universally acknowledged by all classical sources, and codified as a tenet of
Jewish faith by the Rambam.

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The World to Come III

HH This fact can be seen in the many references to the Resurrection found in the standardized prayers
of the Jewish people.
HH While the Torah does not make specific reference to the event of the Resurrection, it is hinted to
in a number of verses. The concept is made more explicit in the writings of the Prophets and the
Talmud.

Section II. The Purpose of Resurrection


In this section we will explore the purpose and deeper meaning behind the Resurrection. In the previous
class we discussed the spiritual experience of attachment to God found in the World of the Souls after death.
Is this experience as a disembodied soul not a sufficient reward? Why must the soul and body be reunited for
the purpose of Creation to be fulfilled?
By way of answering the above questions, let us ask a more fundamental question: why must man die in the
first place only to be resurrected in the future? Why couldnt his soul remain with his body forever?
Part A: The Necessity of Death
The phase of life called death which is the parting of the soul from the body was never part of the
original plan of Creation. Death only became a necessary component of mans experiences after Adams
transgression in the Garden of Eden.

1. Bereishit (Genesis) 3:17-19 Adam was originally destined to live forever. After he ate from
the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, death was decreed upon man.
God said to Adam, Because you listened to the
voice of your wife and ate of the tree about which
I commanded you saying, You must not eat of it,
accursed is the ground because of you. Through
suffering will you eat from it all the days of your
life. Thorns and thistles will it grow for you, and
you will eat the herb of the field. By the sweat of
your brow shall you eat bread until you return to
the ground, from which you were taken. For you
are dust, and to dust shall you return.

-
-


.
.

-

-

. -
-

2. Ramchal (Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto), Derech Hashem (The Way of God) 1:3:9, translated
by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Feldheim Publishers, pp. 51-53 After Adams transgression, man is
in a non-perfect state. To re-attain the perfection for which man was destined, his body and
soul each undergo a purification process.
[After Adams mistake] justice decreed that
neither man nor the world will ever be able to
rise to perfection while still in their current fallen
state. Because they remain in this spoiled, nonideal condition, and evil in the meantime has
increased, both man and the world must go

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, ,
- ,
,
.
, ,
.

The World to Come III

through a stage of destruction before either can


arrive at perfection.
Man must therefore die, and everything else
that was corrupted with him also must perish.
The soul cannot purify the body until the body
dies and deteriorates and a new structure is
composed, that the soul can enter and purify

,
, ,
...

It was therefore decreed that man should die and


then be brought back to life. This is the concept
known as the Resurrection of the Dead

,
...

The true time and place of reward will therefore


be after the Resurrection in this renewed world.
Man will then enjoy his reward with both body
and soul. The body will be purified by the soul,
and will therefore also be in a proper state to
enjoy that good.

, ,
...
, ,
,
.

Death is the process by which the soul and body are temporarily separated and return to their sources. The
soul returns to the World of the Souls and the body returns to the ground. This is so that a new, purified
structure can be built at the time of the Resurrection, when the soul will re-inhabit the body, free from the
deficiencies caused by Adams transgression.

Part B. Judgment of the Whole Person


Another purpose of the Resurrection is so that the body and soul can be reunited for the purpose of standing
in judgment before God. The following incident in the Talmud is explained more fully by Rabbi Yaakov
Weinberg in the subsequent source.

1. Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 91a-b Body and soul must be judged as one unit.
Antoninus said to Rabbi (Yehudah HaNasi), The
body and the soul can both free themselves from
judgment. Thus, the body can plead: The soul
has sinned, [the proof being] that from the day
it left me I lie like a dumb stone in the grave
[powerless to do anything]. While the soul can
say: The body has sinned, [the proof being] that
from the day I departed from it I fly about in the
air like a bird [and commit no sin].
Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi replied, I will tell you
a parable to explain this. To what may this be
compared? To a human king who owned a
beautiful orchard which contained splendid figs.
He appointed two watchmen for the orchard, one
lame and the other blind. [One day] the lame
man said to the blind man, I see beautiful figs

:
, : ? ,
. -
- , :
.

: , ,
, , ,
. ,
. :
.

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in the orchard. Come and take me upon your


shoulder that we may take and eat them. So the
lame man rode on top of the blind man, and took
and ate them.
Sometime later, the owner of the orchard came
and asked them, Where are those beautiful figs?
The lame man replied, Have I then feet to walk
with? The blind man replied, Have I then eyes
to see with? What did he do? He placed the
lame man upon the blind man and judged them
together. So will the Holy One, Blessed be He,
bring the soul, [re]place it in the body, and judge
them together. This is referred to in the verse, He
will call to the heavens above and to the earth, to
judge His people [Tehillim/Psalms 50:4]. He will
call to the heavens above refers to the soul; And
to the earth, that he may judge his people refers
to the body.

. ,
- ? : .
: - ? :
- ?
.
. ,
.
. - , -

2. Rabbi Yaakov Weinberg with Rabbi Mordechai Blumenfeld, Fundamentals and Faith The
body is just as much a part of us as the soul.
The relationship of body and soul is like that of a blind man and a lame man (Sanhedrin 91b). Just
as there could be no punishment for the lame man alone, there can be no reward or punishment for
the soul. Alone, it cannot sin. A soul only sins in its body. Reward and punishment can only apply to
the entity that is the person, the body and soul together. Only thus can justice be meted out. The soul
cannot enter the World to Come without the body. Is it possible that once the entity of body and soul
achieves a place in the World to Come, the body is discarded? A soul is not an image of God. A body
is not an image of God. The soul doesnt have free will. Only the two together have free will, only the
two together are the image of God.
This ultimate experience of being connected with actual, absolute Existence requires the whole
being, the body as well as the soul. Without resurrection, without mans knowing that he, as he now
perceives himself, will experience this pleasure, the idea of the World to Come is irrelevant. People
are not impressed with their soul existing in the World to Come. They cant relate to such an existence
because they feel that their soul alone is just not their whole self.
The principle of resurrection implies that the body is not merely an object but a subject. The body is
part of the person himself.

Part C: Perfection of the Physical World


Another purpose of the Resurrection of the Dead is that it is a time when everything in existence reaches its
tikun (perfected state), fulfilling its ultimate purpose in Gods plan. At this time, the whole physical creation
will join the spiritual world in a new unity.

1. Rabbi Ehud Rakovski, Daat Tefillah: Kedushah The entire world will be renewed along with
man in the service of God.
The Resurrection of the Dead will not be for

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man alone, but rather for every force in the entire


universe that came into actualization at any time
since Creation they will all be renewed and
perfected at the time of the Resurrection of the
Dead. The whole idea of man being resurrected
is that he is a microcosm of the world, but the
whole world will likewise experience the same
thing. This is what Rabbi Shlomo Elyashiv wrote
in HaDeah (Vol. II, Ch. 2), The central principle
of the Resurrection of the Dead, as it has been
revealed to us by the Arizal, is continuously
taking place even in this world as we find more
and more of the physical world being harnessed
for the good of man. It is all to be used in the
service of man and when he uses the world
in the service of God both he and it rise up
higher and higher, each and every force according
to its intrinsic nature


. ,
.
.
: [] ,][



. ] , ,[



... ,

Key Themes of Section II:


HH After Adam ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, it became inherently impossible
for man to achieve perfection in his current state. The purpose of the Resurrection, therefore, is
for man to transition through a stage of death, after which the soul will be reunited with a purified
body.
HH Like a lame man on the back of a blind man, neither can claim the reward nor accept responsibility
on his own. Similarly, since man is composed of body and soul, the Resurrection is the time when
they will be reunited to receive reward and accept responsibility for their actions together.
HH Resurrection is not just for man alone; he is the microcosm of the universe at large. Ultimately, the
whole physical world will be renewed along with man in a new, elevated form of existence.

Section III. The Process of Resurrection


Part A. The Stages of Resurrection
After the arrival of the Mashiach (Messiah), there will be two separate resurrections of the dead. A first
resurrection will take place following the arrival of the Mashiach. However, only people who were completely
righteous during their lifetime will rise at that time. A second resurrection for the rest of mankind will follow
at the end of the period of Mashiach.

1. Responsa of Rabbi David ibn Zimra (Radbaz), Vol. III, #1069 The Resurrection will take
place in two stages, first for the righteous and then for everyone else.
You, my dear friend, asked me about the time

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of the Resurrection, for you claimed to have


received a tradition from your forefathers
that it will take place close to the time of the
seventh millennium [which begins in 2240 CE],
along with the Shabbat of the world, which
will be a time of complete rest. Secondly, you
were bothered by the possibility that the great
righteous people, who died for the sake of Gods
name during the period of exile, would not see
the good fortune of Israel and will not be able to
rejoice in their joy [during the Messianic times].

The answer: All my life I was bothered by this


question, until I saw the words of the Ritva
(Rabbi Yom Tov Asevilli) in the name of his
rabbis that there will be two resurrections. The
first will be a private one for the righteous that
died during the period of exile, and that will
be close to the time of the coming of Mashiach.
They will merit to experience the good fortune of
Israel in both body and spirit, as well as [to see]
the building of the Beit HaMikdash (Temple), and
they will rejoice in joy, etc. And the second, more
general resurrection will be close to the time of
the Shabbat of the world, just as you and I have
received the tradition. That is what is referred to
as the World of the Resurrection, and upon it was
it said, Many of those who sleep in the dust shall
awaken [Daniel 12:2].







[]

:

A second resurrection will take place at the end of the Messianic era, at a time that is known as the
Yom HaDin HaGadol, the Great Day of Judgment. At that time, all people, both good and evil, will rise.
However, the evil ones will be judged and punished while the righteous will be awarded their portion in the
eternal World to Come.

2. Ramchal, Maamer HaIkarim, BeGeulah All will be judged after the final Resurrection.
At the time of the Resurrection, both the
righteous and the wicked shall arise. The wicked
who sinned but did not receive the full measure
of their punishment will receive it then.

,
.

However, after the Resurrection will be the Great


Day of Judgment on which God will determine
who deserves eternal life and who will be lost
Those who deserve to remain in existence will
be assigned an appropriate level according to the
system of justice in the newly created world.



...
.

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The World to Come III

Part B. How the Resurrection will Happen


We find differing opinions in the Midrash as to exactly how the physical resurrection of bodies will take
place. Will the body be reconstructed from its original matter or will God create a new body into which the
soul will be resurrected?

1. Bereishit Rabbah 14:5 Will the resurrection mimic the growth process of a new fetus or will
it reverse the process of decay after burial?
And He formed [Bereishit 2:7 is written with
two letter yuds] representing two formations of
the body: one in this world and one in the World
to Come.

, , ,

The School of Shammai and the School of Hillel


had a dispute. The School of Shammai maintains
that mans formation in the World to Come will
not be like that of this world. In this world skin
and flesh are formed first, the sinews and bones
last; but in the future mans formation will begin
with sinews and bones and finish with the skin
and flesh, for thus it says in connection with
the prophecy of the resurrection of the dead
by Yechezkel (Ezekiel): And then I looked,
and behold, upon [the skeletons of dry bones]
were sinews, and flesh had come up on them
(Yechezkel 37: 8)

, ,
,
,
,
( )
...

The School of Hillel said that just as man is


formed in this world, so will he be formed in the
World to Come. In this world the skin and flesh
come first, the sinews and bones last; so in the
future will his formation begin with the skin and
flesh and end with the sinews and bones.

,
,
,
.

2. Ibid. 28:3 Man will be resurrected from an indestructible bone in his spine.
Hadrian may his bones rot once asked
Rabbi Yehoshua ben Chanania, From what
part of the body will the Holy One, Blessed be
He, cause man to blossom forth in the future?
From the luz, the nut of the spinal column
[the prominent bone just below the back of the
neck], he replied. How do you know that? he
asked. Bring me one and I will prove it to you,
he replied. He ground it in a grinder but it did
not get ground; he threw it into the fire, yet it
was not burnt; he put it in water, but it did not
dissolve; he placed it on an anvil and hit it with
a hammer, but the anvil split and the hammer
broke, yet the nut was not damaged at all.

11


,

, ,
, ,

.

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Part C. Which Body will be Resurrected?


Judaism affirms the belief in reincarnation and therefore one soul might have lived many lifetimes in
different physical bodies. The prospect of resurrection raises the question: which body will be the one to be
resurrected? This question is asked by the Zohar, in the next source.

1. ZoharI, 131a Man will be resurrected in the body in which he achieved the greatest degree
of self-perfection.
Rabbi Chizkiah asked, If all the dead bodies
rise up from the dust, what will happen when
a number of bodies shared the same soul in
succession?

Rabbi Yose answered: Those bodies which were


unworthy and did not achieve their purpose will
be regarded as though they had not been: just as
they were a withered tree in this world, so will
they be regarded at the time of the Resurrection.
Only the last one that had been firmly planted
and took root and prospered will come to life,
as it says, He will be like a tree planted near
water whose leaves are ever fresh (Yirmiyahu/
Jeremiah 17:8). This alludes to the body that
struck deep root, produced fruit, and prospered.
But of the former body which remained fruitless,
which did not take root, which was unworthy
and did not achieve its end, it is written, He will
be like a lone tree in the desert, and will not see
when goodness comes (ibid. 17:6), i.e. he
will not be included in the Resurrection, and will
not see the light stored up at the Creation for the
enjoyment of the righteous




( ) ,
,

(
) ()
,

...

Part D: Healing of Defects


There are two seemingly conflicting prophecies about what will happen to physical defects during the
Resurrection that are reconciled by the Talmud below.

1. Yimiyahu 31:7 The resurrected will come back with the same physical defects with which
they died.
Behold, I shall bring them from the land of the
north, and gather them from the far reaches of
the earth. Among them shall be the blind and the
lame, the pregnant woman and the woman in
labor; a great assembly will return to there.

2. Yeshayahu 35:6 The resurrected will be healed of their original defects.


Then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the

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The World to Come III

tongue of the mute shall sing, for waters shall


break forth in the wilderness and streams in the
desert.

3. Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin 91b The resurrected will arise with defects and then be
healed of them.
Reish Lakish contrasted two verses: It is written,
Among them will be the blind and the lame, the
pregnant woman together with the woman in
labor. And yet another verse states, Then shall
the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of
the mute shall sing, for waters shall break forth
in the wilderness, and streams in the desert
(Yeshayahu 35:6). How can these verses co-exist?
They shall rise with their defects and then be
healed.

( )
.
( )
.
?
.

Why is it necessary to first resurrect the body with its defects and then heal it? Why not just resurrect the
healed body?

4. Zohar III, 91a One will be resurrected into his previous state in order to be recognizable.
When they awaken from the dust, they will rise
up as they went in lame or blind, so that no
one will be able to say it was a different person
who was revived.

, , ,
.

, ,
...

Then, the Holy One, Blessed be He, will heal


them so they will be whole before Him

Part E. Where the Resurrection Will Take Place

1. Zohar I, 131a Those bodies buried in the Diaspora will have to travel through subterranean
tunnels to get to Israel. The soul will only be restored to the body in the Land of Israel.
Observe that it has been laid down that the dead
of the Land of Israel will be the first to rise, and
of them it is written, Your dead will come to life
(Yeshayahu 26:19). On the other hand, the words
My dead bodies shall arise (ibid.) allude to the
dead of other lands, since instead of saying, shall
come to life it says shall arise. The living spirit,
in fact, will only infuse the bodies in the Land
of Israel. But the bodies buried in other lands
will rise without the spirit of life, and only after
they have rolled underground and reached the
Land of Israel will they receive souls and be truly
resurrected only there, but not in other lands.

13



,




,

.

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Because the Land of Israel is the place of the ultimate Resurrection, Jews as far back as the Patriarchs have
always longed to be buried there, as the next source illustrates.

2. Bereishit 47:29-31, with Rashi The Land of Israel was always the desired burial place of the
Forefathers, since they would be resurrected easily at the time of the Resurrection.
When Israel (Yaakov) realized that he would soon
die, he called for his son Yosef (Joseph), and said
to him, Please if I have found favor in your
eyes, please place your hand under my thigh
[to swear] and do kindness and truth with me
please do not bury me in Egypt.
Rashi
Please do not bury me in Egypt because
the process of resurrection for those who die
outside the [Holy] Land will necessitate rolling
through underground passages

, ,
-
; -
,
-
,

... -
... ( ) ...

Similarly, Yosef requested that his bones be brought out of Egypt during the Exodus and buried in the Land
of Israel (Bereishit 50:24-26).

Key Themes of Section III:


HH There will be two stages of resurrection: first, the completely righteous will be resurrected when
the Messiah arrives to share in the experiences that will occur at that time. Second, everyone else
will be resurrected at the end of the Messianic Era.
HH While belief in resurrection is universal, we find different opinions as to how the physical process
of resurrection will take place: either a new body will grow organically or bones will rise and
recover their flesh.
HH If a person is reincarnated, the body in which the soul achieved the greatest self-perfection will
be the one in which it shall be restored. Any defects the body may have had will also be visible at
first, so that everyone will recognize each other in the World to Come. After this, all defects will
be healed.
HH While physical resurrection may happen anywhere in the world, the actual restoration of the soul
to the body will only take place in the Land of Israel.

Section IV. The Nature of the Post-Resurrection


World to Come
Part A. Overview
The post-Resurrection World to Come will usher in an entirely new form of existence. The nature of the
post-Resurrection world flows from its purpose to provide a venue for experiencing a closeness to God

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The World to Come III

achieved in ones previous lifetime. As such, spirituality and awareness of God will be much more apparent
than it is today. The laws of the physical world, the awareness of time, and the manner of spiritual growth
will all be drastically altered in the World to Come. As we shall see below, the physical world will be
governed by laws of nature that facilitate the receiving of reward rather than earning it. This is Judaisms
utopian vision for the future.

1. Ramchal, Derech Hashem 1:3:4, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Feldheim Publishers, pp.
47-49 The World to Come will function according to laws of nature conducive to receiving
reward.
Since the period of earning and that of reward are
different, it is appropriate that mans environment
and experiences be different in the two. While
he is striving toward perfection, he must be in a
setting containing elements necessary for such
effort. The period of earning must therefore be
one [where a maximum challenge exists and]
where the spiritual and physical are in constant
strife. In this environment there must be nothing
to prevent the material from prevailing and
doing what it can, and conversely, there must
be nothing to prevent the spiritual from doing
likewise. Nothing should exist that would give
either one an inappropriate advantage. Although
it might seem best to make the spiritual stronger
than the physical, in the light of mans true
purpose and what God desires of him, namely,
that he earn perfection through his own effort, it
would not be good at all.

,
.
,
- .
,

,
.
,
.
,
,
. ,

In the period of reward, however, the exact


opposite is appropriate. The more the physical
would prevail, the more it would darken the
soul and prevent it from being drawn close to
God. During the time of reward, it is therefore
appropriate that the soul prevail and that the
physical be totally subjugated to it and not
restrain it at all. And that is why God created two
worlds, this world and the next: this world is the
place that runs according to the laws of nature
conducive to mans effort while the World to
Come functions according to laws of nature that
are fitting for receiving reward.


,
,
,
,
.
, ,

,
:

Part B. Mans Alternative Physical Nature


After the Resurrection, when the soul will be reunited with the body, our new bodies will have a spiritual
composition. We will no longer need food and water; rather, we will be nourished from spiritual energy
alone. The level of our bodies then will be similar to the level of our souls now, while our souls will be higher
still.

15

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The World to Come III

1. Ramban (Nachmanides), Torat HaAdam, Shaar HaGemul Just as we are sustained by food
and drink in this world, we will be sustained by the radiance of Gods Presence in the World
to Come.
In the World to Come, God will cause people
to be satiated from the radiance of his Divine
Presence (Bava Batra 10a).


) (

This means to say that those that merit it will be


sustained by the splendor of [Gods] glory just as
their bodies had been sustained in This World by
food and drink.


...

We have seen the proof of the above


phenomenon in regard to the pure of soul
whose bodies were sustained by little physical
sustenance; the more pure the person, the less
sustenance he required. For example, manna was
absorbed easily and was created by a supernal
light that came into physical form only by virtue
of Gods Will. It was only eaten by those who
experienced the tremendous spiritual elevation
at the Splitting of the Reed Sea, as it is said, The
maidservant at the Sea saw more than Yechezkel
in his prophecy (Mechilta, Parshat Beshalach).

,
,

,
,
( )
.

2. Talmud Bavli, Sanhedrin 91a We will live forever.


[The] Tanna dvey Eliyahu [states]: The righteous,
whom the Holy One, Blessed be He, will
resurrect, will not revert to dust, for it is said,
And it shall come to pass that he that is left in
Zion and he that remains in Jerusalem shall be
called holy, every one that is written among the
living in Jerusalem (Yeshayahu 4:3). Just as the
Holy One endures forever, so shall they endure
forever.

:
) : ( ,

- ,
.

Part C. Levels of the World to Come


This new state of existence will not come about overnight; rather, mankind and the world will proceed
through various levels of existence as spirituality slowly but surely overcomes and then replaces physicality.

1. Rabbi Chaim Freidlander, Sifsei Chaim, Pirkei Emunah UBechirah, Vol. II, pp. 226-7 In
the first level of the World to Come the soul will be in control and the body will be nourished
from spirituality.
The first level of the world of reward is the
seventh millennium, which the Sages described
as a millennium of desolation after which

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,
) . (
,

16

The World to Come III

God will renew His world (Sanhedrin 92b).


The world of the seventh millennium will be
temporal, but unlike the first six millennia
in which physicality rules like the master of
the house, in the seventh millennium, while
physicality will still exist, it will be as a wanderer
from place to place, a guest looking for lodging
(as Ramchal has described it in Daas Tevunos, p.
83). That is, the body will not have control.

,
,
,
(
, ,)

Rather, everyone will be on the level of Moshe


(Moses) when he ascended the mountain: who
did not eat or drink. This does not mean that
he fasted for forty days, but rather that his body
was completely drawn after the spiritual and
sustained by the spirituality of the soul. As such,
there was simply no need to eat or drink. That is
why the Sages have referred to this type of world
as a day that is entirely Shabbat and tranquil
for eternal life (Sanhedrin 97a). The body will
not be entirely nullified by the soul but rather
the soul will be free of the necessity of physical
needs. That is what the Sages meant when they
said that there would be one millennium of
desolation desolation of physical needs, that is,
physicality shall not dominate. Clearly, though,
the desolation of the physical is an empowerment
for the soul, for by virtue of the cessation of
physical needs the soul is able to develop and
build itself up for the future elevation of the time
after the seventh millennium.


, ,
,
,
,
,). (
,
,
, ,
,
,
,
.

2. Ibid. In the second level of the World to Come the soul increases its dominion, yet the body
still has some influence.
The second level the eighth millennium will
see the universe transformed into a world of
pure spirituality with only the slightest trace of
physical influence. At this stage the body will
be completely secondary and subservient to the
soul. This will facilitate the ability of both of
them to receive their spiritual reward.

,
,
, ,
.

3. Ibid. In the third level of the World to Come the soul will be only slightly burdened by the
body.
In the third level the ninth millennium the
body and soul combination that ascended to the
level of the eighth millennium will be further
refined, the body having even less dominion,

17

,
,
,

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The World to Come III

as Ramchal has written (Daas Tevunos, p. 79),


The soul will not be able to develop all of its
potential. Rather, it will feel an ever so slight
burden without being able to pinpoint quite what
is holding it back. In this world the soul will still
be somewhat bound by the body.

:)(
,
, ,
.

4. Ibid. The fourth stage of the World to Come is when the body is completely subservient to
the soul.
The fourth level, which is the highest level in
the world of reward the tenth millennium is
when the body will be completely and utterly
subservient to the soul. From then on, the body
and soul will together take delight in God in
perfection forever and ever. This level is far
beyond what man can fathom


, ,

,
...

Part D. Economy of the World to Come


As man develops through these elevated stages of existence, the physical world too takes on more spiritual
properties. However, since mans need for the physical world will decline in proportion to his spiritual
growth, why should the world present such bounty? The answer, symbolized by the following two Talmudic
excerpts, is that the physical world will effortlessly provide for mans sustenance in contrast to the Old World
order when man had to toil. (Rabbi Reuven Leuchter).

1. Talmud Bavli, Ketubot 111b There will be overflowing natural bounty, no food preparation
necessary, and no scarcity of resources.
The World to Come is not like this world. In this
world there is difficulty involved in harvesting
and treading [grapes], but in the World to Come
a man will bring one grape on a wagon or a
ship, put it in a corner of his house and use its
contents as [if it had been] a large wine cask,
while its timber would be used to make fires for
cooking. Each grape will contain thirty kegs of
wine. This is hinted to in the verse, And you
would drink the blood of grapes like delicious
wine [Devarim 32:14]. Do not read it as
chamer (delicious wine) but rather as chomer
(a volume measure of 30 seah).


.

.
(
.)

2. Talmud Bavli, Bava Batra 122a There will be unlimited real estate in the World to Come.
The division of land in this world is not like the
division of land in the World to Come. In this
world if someone has a grain field he cannot have
an orchard. If he has an orchard he does not have

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18



.
.

The World to Come III

a grain field. But in the World to Come, everyone


will have a hill, a valley, and a flat field.

3. Rabbi Yerucham Levovitz, Daas Torah, Bereishit p. 28 Ones physical portion in the World
to Come is limitless.
I was once with HaGaon Rav Naftali Amsterdam
when someone related an incident to him. One
person said to another, You want me to do
something for you? Well, if you give me your
portion in the World to Come I will do what you
ask. The other person didnt agree. When Rav
Naftali heard this he exclaimed, This person
does not understand; he is an ignoramus and
a fool. What does it matter to him if he gives
part of his portion to someone else? He will still
have more than enough for himself! This person
doesnt understand the World to Come. This
is complete ignorance. One could give away
portions to a hundred different people and it
would still make no noticeable difference to him
or to his portion, for each portion in the World to
Come is limitless, without end.


,
,
,
.
, ,
,
, ,
,
,
.

Part E. Time in the World to Come

1. Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, Sifsei Chaim: Emunah UBitachon, Vol. II, p. 190 Time will be
perceived differently than it is currently.
The World that is eternally long [Kiddushin
39b] means that even the first moment of it will
have limitless length, for even one moment of
eternity is itself an eternity.

,
,
.

Part F. Spiritual Growth in the World to Come


Although the time for earning reward will have ended, the World to Come will not be a static situation. A
person will continue to grow, acquiring greater heights of spirituality as time progresses.

1. Talmud Bavli, Berachot 64a Torah scholars will go from strength to strength.
Rabbi Chiya bar Ashi said in the name of Rav,
Torah scholars have no rest, neither in this world
nor in the World to Come [for they continually
delve further into the pleasure of Gods Presence
Maharsha],as it says, They go from strength to
strength, every one of them appears before God
in Zion (Tehillim 84:8).

19

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,
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2. Ramchal, Derech Hashem 1:3:13, translated by Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, Feldheim Publishers,
p. 59 Even in the post-Resurrection World to Come man will still be able to elevate his
spiritual level.
When the soul is recombined with the body
after Resurrection it will no longer be bound
or restricted and it will enter the body with all
its brilliance and strength. The body will then
experience a great enlightenment, and it will not
have to develop gradually as a child does now.
The soul will immediately shine forth and purify
the body to a very great degree.
This does not mean, however, that resurrected
man will not be able to continue to elevate
himself.

,
, ,
,
,
. ,

,
.

The instant that the soul reenters the body, the


individual is raised to a high spiritual level and
the body experiences its initial enlightenment.
At this point, the body will immediately be on a
higher level than it could ever possibly attain in
its first life.

,
, ,
.

The degree of enlightenment will depend on


the individuals good deeds in his first life, and
accordingly he will be placed on an appropriate
level among those worthy of enjoying this
ultimate perfection. [This level, however, is not
permanent,] and the complete person, both
body and soul, will still be able to elevate himself
in relation to the initial level upon which he is
placed.


,
, .
:

Key Themes of Section IV:


HH The World to Come after the Resurrection of the Dead will be governed by laws of nature that
facilitate the receiving of reward rather than the earning of it.
HH As the ultimate purpose of Creation, it will be designed to provide the greatest spiritual delight
and connection to God. Just as man is sustained here by food and drink, there he will be sustained
by the radiance of Gods Presence.
HH It will be a physical world, yet there will be overflowing natural bounty, endless resources, no
death, an altered sense of time, and continual spiritual elevation. The soul too will not be bound
by the limitations of the body and man will experience an awareness of God beyond that which we
can currently imagine.

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The World to Come III

Section V. The Lesson of the World to Come for


This World
1. Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, Sifsei Chaim, Pirkei Emunah UBchirah, Vol. II, pp. 230-1 The
World to Come teaches us the meaning of our lives in this world.
The subject of the World to Come and belief in it
are not just fundamental principles of faith that
teach us the greatness and kindness of God. As
Rabbi Saadiah Gaon said, There is nothing more
spectacular about the Resurrection than there is
about Creation itself. (This sentiment is based on
the Talmud, Sanhedrin 91a: If that which at one
time did not exist came into existence, then all
the more so will that which already exists come
into existence again.) That is, the actual existence
of man testifies no less to Gods greatness and
kindness than does the Resurrection of the Dead.

,

: ,
. (
,) - ,

,

Rather, since the reward of the World to Come is


a function of mans effort and toil, we can learn
that the purpose of man in this world and the
way in which he prepares himself [for the World
to Come] is through the fulfillment of the Torah
and the mitzvot. The soul elevates the body
and purifies it, and therefore it too is elevated
and further elevates, according to the effort of
a person in this world. To whatever extent the
body is able to become a receptacle for receiving
the reward of the World to Come together with
the soul, it is a function of mans efforts in this
world. To the degree to which man purifies his
body in this world, it will be fit to participate in
the reward of the World to Come.


,
,
, ,
, ,

,
,
.

It turns out, then, that we are here in this world


to prepare our bodies and souls for eternal
reward, for the body too needs to be prepared for
the World to Come by the power exerted over
it by the soul. The body should function as an
assistant in the service of the soul. Accordingly,
also in the World to Come the body will merit to
be in the service of the soul; as the soul receives
supernal splendor so too will the body, forever
and ever.

,
,
,
,
,
,
.

2. Pirkei Avot (Ethics of the Fathers) 4:16 This world is a chance to prepare for the next.
Rabbi Yaakov would say, This world is
comparable to the antechamber before the World
to Come. Prepare yourself in the antechamber, so
that you may enter the banquet hall.

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The World to Come III

Key Themes of Section V:


HH Belief in a future life in the World to Come should not seem any more miraculous than life itself: if
God can give us life in this world then He can certainly grant life again in the World to Come.
HH Belief in the World to Come is not simply a statement about our faith in God and His attributes.
Rather, this belief imparts to us a perspective on the meaning of our lives in this world that
we are here to prepare ourselves for the next world through Torah study and the performance of
mitzvot.
HH Since the body too must be prepared for the spiritual existence of life in the World to Come, we
must start the process of making the body subservient to the soul. To the extent that we can do
that in this world, we will have life in the World to Come as well.

Class Summary:
Does Judaism really believe in a resurrection?
Yes, this is a fundamental principle of Judaism, universally acknowledged by all classical sources, and is
codified as a tenet of Jewish faith by the Rambam.

What is the purpose of the Resurrection?


The post-Resurrection World to Come will usher in an entirely new form of existence. It will provide a venue
for experiencing a closeness to God achieved in ones previous lifetime.

When will the Resurrection take place and how will it happen?
After the arrival of the Messiah, there will be two stages of resurrection. At the beginning of the Messianic
Era completely righteous individuals will arise. Later, at the end of the Messianic Era, everyone else will be
resurrected for the Great Day of Judgment, followed by the World to Come.

What will life be like in the post-Resurrection World to Come?


As the ultimate purpose of Creation, it will be designed to provide the greatest spiritual delight and
connection to God. Just as man is sustained here by food and drink, there he will be sustained by the
radiance of Gods Presence.

What lesson can we learn for our lives today from the future Resurrection
and World to Come?
The World to Come teaches us that the ultimate goodness is attachment to God. Since we know where we
are headed, we can use our time here to prepare for the existence in the World to Come by studying Torah,
performing mitzvot, refining our character, and helping others. This is the ultimate tikun olam.

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The World to Come III

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING & SOURCES


Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, The Handbook of Jewish Thought, Vol. II, Ch. 23, 25
Rabbi Chaim Friedlander, Emunah UBechirah, Vol. II, pp. 179-252

Section I. Belief in Resurrection


Rabbi J. David Bleich, With Perfect Faith, pp. 619-681
Sanhedrin 90b, citing Bamidbar 18:25-28
Sanhedrin, beginning of Ch. 10

Section II. The Purpose of Resurrection


Rabbi Yochanan Bechhoffer, Even Shetiah, pp. 100-101

Section III. How the Resurrection Will Happen


Bereishit Rabbah 96:5
Zohar I, 113b (Midrash HaNeelam)

Section V. The Post-Resurrection World to Come


Rabbi Eliyahu E. Dessler, Michtav MEliyahu, Vol. I, pp. 284-295

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