Jewish Views on the Afterlife
By Juan Marcos Gutierrez Jewish eschatology concerns itself primarily with two areas of interest. Those two ideas, the messianic redemption of Israel and life after death, are often intertwined in various Jewish sources. The exact nature of life after death is a matter of considerable discussion in later Jewish thought and it appears that from the Maccabean period onward such discussions entailed the consideration of competing notions of bodily resurrection and the immortality of the soul. Jewish perspectives on life after death have evolved over time and each era of Jewish history beginning with the Biblical period has contributed to the contemplation and understanding of death and the status of the individual after having passed this life. Ancient Israelite Views of the Afterlife The literature of the biblical period is quite varied on the question of life after death and while a few biblical passages do refer explicitly to the resurrection of the dead, many more appear to allude to it in vaguer terms or indirectly. Other biblical passages may be viewed as supporting the idea of life after death, but such views are not typically derived immediately from a simple reading of the text.1 The Torah (i.e. the Pentateuch) itself for example, largely remains silent on explicit references to life after death, though certain passages appear to refer to it indirectly. This fact may be, as Louis Jacobs contends, tied to the importance of and approach to the afterlife in the religious life of ancient Israel’s two primary contemporaries, Egypt and Babylon.2 In contrast to the official Babylonian cult which did not maintain a belief in an afterlife, the official Egyptian religion whole heartedly embraced belief in an afterlife as is well attested to by the large number of inscriptions in Egyptian tombs and various objects buried with the dead intended for their journey in the afterlife. The Egyptian view is based upon the death of Osiris, his resurrection, and his subsequent deification and elevation and authority over the netherworld.3 While Babylonian religion did not endorse an official position, it appears that popular belief in an afterlife was found among the masses of Babylon. Jacobs argues that the model of Babylon is that embraced by the official documents of ancient Israel which do not directly establish a definitive position on the afterlife, yet include prohibitions and episodes which certainly appear to allude to or assume its existence.4 Yehezekiel Kaufmann adds that part of the silence of the Torah on the matter of the afterlife is in actuality a response to then day contemporary religious views that were generally connected to achieving immortality by identifying oneself with the gods.
E.g. Ecclesiastes 12:7; Job 19:25-26; Psalm 48:15; Jeremiah 31:14-15; Genesis 25:8. Louis Jacobs, A Jewish Theology, ( Springfield: Berhman House, 1973), 300 3 Ibid. 302. 4 Ibid 301-302.
Egyptian religion saw the realm of death as the realm of the gods and this explains in part perhaps, why the sphere of death in Israelite faith was consequently regarded as impure and why it was not afforded a notable place in official Israelite religion. Kaufmann suggests that the lack of a definitive view of the afterlife in early Israelite faith was related to its inability to communicate a position that was not exemplified by the death of divine beings. Furthermore, Kaufmann holds that belief in an afterlife was not an evolutionary event in later Israelite faith, but rather that the articulation of the soul’s return to G-d from the sphere of death is the key point of development.5 Necromancy The prohibition against necromancy in Deuteronomy 18:9-12, is an example of a biblical passage that does not refer explicitly to the resurrection of the dead but does upon closer examination led credence to the idea. “When you enter the land that the L-rd your G-d is giving you, you shall not learn to imitate the abhorrent practices of those nations. Let no one be found among you who consigns his son or daughter to the fire, or who is an augur, or a soothsayer, a diviner, a sorcerer, one who casts spells, or who consults ghosts or familiar spirits, or one who inquire of the dead. For anyone who does such things is abhorrent to the L-rd…” The condemnation of such practices, as Louis Jacobs points out, does not in fact argue against the efficacy of these rituals or imply that these practices were to be considered mere trickery on the part of their practitioners.6 Rather such practices were unacceptable for the Children of Israel since their guidance was through the medium of the Urim and Thummim or a designated prophet. Consequently, this passage provides an indirect reference for the view that the dead continue to exist in some form, state, or place in which they are accessible. Another passage, this time from the prophets provides further reference to the issue of necromancy: “Now should people say to you, “Inquiry of the ghosts and familiar spirits that chirp and moan; for a people may inquire of its divine beings- of the dead on behalf of the living…”7 While the exact state of the dead remains unknown and necromancy is clearly condemned as a pagan practice in subsequent verses, the passage is clear in its assertion of the ability of the dead to be accessed or engaged. Perhaps the most striking passage from the Tanakh regarding the existence of an afterlife which also entails necromancy is the episode of I Samuel 28:13-19, which entails the fallen King Saul using the forbidden practices of a sorceress to “bring Samuel up.” While later
Ibid. 303. Ibid. 306. 7 Isaiah 8:19
Jewish commentators of the medieval period sought to discredit the abilities of the witch of Endor, the simple reading of the text appears to support the case for this supernatural event.8 Samuel questions Saul on why he has disturbed him and why he has “brought him up” and Samuel ends his conversation with a sobering warning that the following day, because of Saul’s rebellion, he and his sons will die and join him. Sheol The incident of the Witch of Endor provides a transition to another characteristic of “popular” Israelite belief in the afterlife, the idea of Sheol. The word, whose meaning remains elusive, appears in the Psalms and in the prophetic literature (e.g. Amos 9:2, Ezekiel 32:21-30). Louis Jacobs suggests two possible meanings for the word Sheol. The first is derived from the word sha’al, which means “to ask.” Sheol may thus refer to “the place where inquiry of the dead is made.” An alternative meaning is that Sheol refers to a state of “hollowness” or “vagueness”, which in turn may refer to the shadowy region of the underworld where the dead reside.9 The exact nature of Sheol is never explicated by the Scripture and a contradictory image of it exists. The remoteness from G-d for those in Sheol is declared on the one hand (e.g. Psalm 30, Isaiah 35:18-19), while another passage asserts the all encompassing nature of G-d’s presence even in the depths of Sheol. “I ascend into heaven, Thou art there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold Thou are there.”10 While Sheol refers to the abode of the dead, it also appears to have also been a synonym for death itself as David alludes to in Psalm 30: 3-4. What is also striking about Sheol is that is appears to be a place for both the righteous (e.g. Samuel) as well as the unrighteous (e.g. Korach and his entourage Numbers 16:30) though passages such as Ezekiel 32:18-30 emphasize it as the residence of those who have transgressed against G-d. Ezekiel 32:18 also suggests that there are different levels to Sheol which in turn may suggest that Sheol was perceived to have different degrees for different people and who committed different transgressions. “O mortal, wail [the dirge] along with the women of mighty nations over the masses of Egypt, accompanying their descent to the lower part of the netherworld, among those who have gone down to the Pit…Their graves set in the farthest recessed of the Pit, all her company are round abut her tomb, all of them slain, fallen by the sword –they who struck terror in the land of the living…” Perhaps the harshest description of Sheol noting the separation of the dead is found in the book of Isaiah 35:18-19:
Louis Jacobs, A Jewish Theology, (Springfield: Berhman House, 1973), 305-306. Ibid. 304. 10 Psalm 139:8.
“For Sheol cannot praise Thee, Death cannot celebrate Thee; they that go down into the pit cannot hope for Thy truth, the living the living he shall praise Thee.”11 Karet: Cutting of Souls from Israel Louis Jacob provides an additional possible reference to life after death in the Torah. The Torah stipulates the “cutting off” of a soul for a number of violations (e.g. violation of the Shabbat, idolatry, necromancy, etc. see Leviticus 18:29). This view is partially based upon Isaac Arama‘s work Akedat Yitzhak. This “cutting off” may suggest divine punishment including some type of excommunication in the hereafter but the since other passages from the Torah explicitly render the death penalty for these transgressions, the exact implications for its relation to life after death remain unclear. The Prophetic Literature In contrast to the passages from the Torah and the Psalms which provide indirect support, there are several biblical passages which do provide a much clearer portrait on the certainty of the afterlife as understood by at least some in ancient Israel. Isaiah 26:13, 19 contrasts the fate of those who conquered Israel or possibly the false gods Israel embraced with the redemption and fate of the Jewish people. “O L-rd our G-d! Lords other than You possessed us, but only Your name shall we utter. They are dead, they can never live; Shades, the can never rise…We were with child, we writhed…Oh let your dead revive! Let corpses arise! Awake and shout for joy You who dwell in the dust! For you dew is like the dew on fresh growth; You make the land of the shades come to life.” Louis Jacobs comments that is it uncertain whether individual or national resurrection is actually envisioned. While the context of the passage and the central theme of Isaiah certainly pertain to the national fortunes of Israel, it seems likely for the author to reference such an event in terms which were already familiar to or understood by his audience as pertinent to the eventual expected resurrection of individuals. That fact seems more apparent when a much more striking image of national resurrection is clearly depicted in Ezekiel’s vision of the Dry Bones. The strikingly vivid portrait of bodily resurrection is given in terms of individuals: “The hand of the L-rd came upon me. He took me out by the spirit of the L-rd and set me down in the valley. It was full of bones….He said to me, “o mortal, can these bones live again?” I replied “O L-rd
See also Psalm 31:17;Eccl 9:10;Psalm 146:4; Ecclesiastes 9:6; Psalm 6:5;Psalm 30:9 ;Psalm 88:11 Psalm 115:17 Isaiah 38:17-19 ; Job 17:13-16 .
G-d, only you know…Thus said the L-rd G-d to these bones: I will cause breath to enter you and you shall live again.” Ezekiel’s response to G-d that He alone knows whether the bones can come to life again may, nevertheless suggest that such a physical resurrection was not a common place idea by all, but may refer specifically refer to the question of Israel’s redemption in light of its sins. Daniel While scholarly consensus dates this passage as one of the latest of the Biblical texts, Daniel 12:2-3 provides the most articulate view of a resurrection from the biblical era and also encompasses the idea of eternal damnation or eternal reward. “At that time, the great prince Michael, who stands beside the sons of your people will appear. It will be a time of trouble, the like of which has never been since the nation came into being. At that time…Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence. And the knowledgeable will be radiant like the bright expanse of the sky, and those who lead the many to righteousness will be like the stars forever and ever.” The text does not explain why only certain individuals are resurrected and in what state these individuals actually exist, though the connotation of a “bodily” resurrection can be derived. If the resurrected righteous and the knowledgeable are identical, then the reference to them being “radiant like the bright expanse of the sky” may be tied to a new body brought about by the resurrection. Daniel’s portrait of eternal punishment and eternal reward reflect the perspectives of other likely contemporary works in the late Second Temple period. Resurrection and Immortality in the Second Temple Era Israel’s increased exposure to foreign religious elements as a result of the Babylonian exile and the successive rise of Persian and Greek hegemony may have influenced Jewish views on the afterlife during the Second Temple era since the concept of the immortality of the soul and bodily resurrection are typically identified as having originated in the aforementioned areas. The Second Temple era reveals a number of views on the subject and provides the modern reader with insight into competing perspectives of various groups on the matter as evidence by the literature of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.12 The Maccabean struggle provides us with a clear expectation of the resurrection by the martyrdom Hannah and her seven sons as depicted by II Maccabees 7:9-11.
See 4th Maccabees, I Enoch 22:1-7, Jubilees, Psalms of Solomon, 2 Baruch, 4 Ezra.
“And when he was at the last gasp, he said, Thou like a fury takest us out of this present life, but the King of the world shall raise us up, who have died for his laws, unto everlasting life. After him was the third made a mocking stock: and when he was required, he put out his tongue and that right soon, holding forth his hands manfully. And said courageously, These I had from heaven; and for his laws I despise them; and from him I hope to receive them again….now when this man was dead also, they tormented and mangled the fourth in like manner… So when he was ready to die he said thus, It is good, being put to death by men, to look for hope from God to be raised up again by him: as for thee, thou shalt have no resurrection to life. The martyrdom of Razis, a Jewish leader, as depicted in II Maccabees 14:46 also continues this elaboration of Maccabean era views of a bodily resurrection. “When as his blood was now quite gone, he plucked out his bowels, and taking them in both his hands, he cast them upon the throng, and calling upon the Lord of life and spirit to restore him those again, he thus died.” II Maccabees reveals then a number of theological features which includes the resurrection of the body which is limited to the just. In 12:43 the intercession of the living for the dead is also noted by Judas Maccabee who submits a sin offering on their behalf, a ritual perhaps partly echoed in the practice of reciting Kaddish for father or mother. The resurrection of the body in II Maccabees 7:11 and 14:46 in conjunction with other depictions of physical resurrections such as 4 Ezra 7:31-9: “And it shall be after seven days that the Age which his not yet awake shall be aroused, and that which is corruptible shall perish. And the earth shall restore those that sleep in her, and the dust those that are at rest therein, and the chambers shall restore those that were committed unto them. And the Most High shall be revealed upon the throne of judgment….deeds of righteousness shall awake, and deeds of iniquity shall not sleep. And then shall the pit of torment appear, and over against it the place of refreshment; the furnace of Gehenna shall be made manifest and over against it the Paradise of delight.” 13 In contrast to this are the views of another author and commentator of the Second Temple era Philo of Alexandria, who adopted along Neo-Platonic lines, the immortality of the soul rather than the resurrection of the body. Philo viewed the body as the housing for the soul. At death, the soul would return to G-d’s abode from where it originated from.
Louis H. Feldman and Meyer Reinhold, Jewish Life and Thought among Greeks and Romans, (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1996), 223-224.
The Pharisees and Sadducees The Pharisees who appear to have emerged during the post Maccabean era were possible the first group to have embraced both the resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul as Josephus indicates. But Josephus indicates that they held that only the souls of good men would pass into another body as where the souls of the evil were doomed to suffer everlasting punishment. Hence is seems that Josephus regarded the Pharisees as maintaining that the resurrection applied only for the righteous.14 Interestingly Josephus notes that not all Jewish groups (i.e. the Sadducees) embraced the idea of a resurrection. The rejection of a resurrection of the body and the immortality of the soul by the Sadducees is also recorded in a later Talmudic passage.15 The resurrection of the dead and the immortality of the soul also bring to light the matter of divine punishment and reward. While II Maccabees views resurrection as the gift of the righteousness alone, other sources such as Enoch I and 4th Ezra view the resurrection of the dead as inclusive of the wicked as well. The fate of the wicked resides in the flames of Gehenna/Gehinnom while the abode of the righteous is Gan Eden. The Rabbinic Period By the Talmudic period, it appears that the Pharisaic view of bodily resurrection in conjunction with the immortality of the soul was a well accepted belief among the Sages and the certainty and affirmation of this concept and hope was partially based upon previous resurrection events in the Tanakh. “That which has been long ago, and that which is to be hath already been” (Ecclesiastes 3:15). If man says to you “The Holy One will quicken the dead for us,” say in reply, “This has already been done by the hand of Elijah, by the hand of Elisha, and by the hand of Ezekiel.” For as Rabbi aha said in the name of Rabbi Eliezer be Halafta, all that the Holy One intends to do or to renew in the time to come, He has already done in part by the hands of His righteous prophets in this world.” 16 The rabbinic period also saw the resurrection of the dead articulated in connection to the advent of the Messiah though there is certainly evidence that the Qumran community embraced these ideas.17 The tension existing between the immortality of the soul and its abode, and its return the body were encompassed in the term Olam Haba, which is used extensively in rabbinic literature of the period and arguably includes reference to either aspect of the afterlife. At death, the individual’s soul lives on in Heaven or Gan Eden and at the coming of the Messiah the body and soul are joined and resurrected.
Josephus Antiquities XVIII, I, 3. Josephus Antiquities XVIII: 2; Babylonian Sanhedrin 901a. 16 Leviticus Rabbah 27:4. 17 Genesis Rabbah 100:2.
Berachot 17a states that in the World to Come the pleasures and activities associated with human life are not practiced by the righteous. The reward of the righteous is instead to dwell in the presence of G-d which of course raises the legitimate question of what role a resurrected body serves. The rabbis of the Talmudic period appear to have revised and reassessed the tendency of earlier literature in ascribing eternal punishment to the wicked. While II Maccabees viewed the resurrection as an event for the righteous alone, and while Daniel and 4 th Ezra viewed the wicked as enduring eternal suffering, the the literature of the Talmud era introduced a view that saw the wicked punished for a duration of twelve months.18 Rabbinic thought also saw the World to Come extend to the righteous of the nations.19 The certainty and affirmation of the resurrection, even in somewhat questionable texts of the Tanakh by later Sages, is made quite clear in the following Talmudic passage: The Minim [sectarians] asked Rabban Gamliel, ‘Whence do ye prove that the Holy One, Blessed be He, revives the dead?’ He said to them, ‘From the Torah, from the Prophets, and from the Writings.’ And they did not accept his answer. ‘From the Torah,’ as it is written in [Deuteronomy 31:16], Behold thou shalt sleep with thy fathers and arise.’ ….’From the Prophets,’ as is it written [Isaiah 26:19], Thy dead shall live; my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and since, ye that dwell in the dust; for thy dew is as the dew of herbs and the earth shall cast forth the shades. ..From the Writings,’ as it is written [Shir HaShirim 7:9], and thy mouth like the best wine, that goeth down smoothly for my beloved, causing the lips of them that are asleep to speak.’20 The certainty of the resurrection, with its implications of divine reward and punishment express G-d’s concern for the individual.21 The general affirmation of this by the rabbis of the Talmudic era is preserved in later Jewish prayer which inculcates this hope by stressing daily, G-d’s ultimate control and destiny of one’s mortal life and immortal soul. The Elokai Neshama for example, acknowledges man temporal nature and the connectedness of the soul and the body: “My G-d, the soul that you placed within me is pure. You created it, You fashioned it, You breathed it into me. You safeguard it within me and you will eventually take it from me and restore it to me in the Time to come… Blessed are you O L-rd, who restores souls to dead bodies.” This theme continues in the morning liturgy as the Amidah confidently states:
Louis Jacobs, A Jewish Theology, ( Springfield: Berhman House, 1973), 308. Tosefta Sanhedrin 13:2. 20 B. Sanhedrin 90b 21 Byron L. Sherwin, Towards a Jewish Theology, (Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press: 1991), 163.
“He sustains the living with kindness, resuscitates the dead with abundant mercy…And You are faithful to resuscitate the dead. Blessed are You, O Lrd, who resuscitates the dead.” The Medieval Period: Saadia, Rambam, Ramban The intensity of belief in the afterlife was highlighted in the medieval period by a number of philosophers, though their conclusions on the exact nature of the afterlife differed considerably. Saadia Gaon his Belief and Opinions, rejected the idea of a pre-existent soul and heavily emphasized bodily resurrection. Saadia embraced the idea of two resurrections, one for Israel at the advent of the Messiah and another one for all men in the Olam Haba. 22 In Saadia’s view, the souls of the righteous were separated from their bodies at death and dwelt under the Throne of G-d until the resurrection when their bodies and souls would be reunited. In contrast to this, the souls of the wicked are condemned to wanderer aimlessly on earth.23 Saadia’s emphasis on bodily resurrection is highlighted by his declaration that in the first resurrection, resurrected individuals would marry, eat and drink. They would not suffer death again and instead would be translated in the Olam Haba to a place reserved for all those subsequently resurrected at the final resurrection. In contrast to the normal continuation of life’s pleasures, the residents of this place would not eat, drink, or marry, however. They would instead be like Moses who according to Exodus 34:28 sat in the presence of G-d for forty days and forty nights engrossed in the words of the Torah. Saadia’s belief in a resurrection in the Olam Haba was also characterized by the idea that all men would face eternal reward or punishment: Gan Eden for the righteous and Gehinnom for the wicked.24 The righteous would also be afforded the opportunity for continued divine service in the Hereafter.25 The greatest Jewish philosopher of the medieval period Maimonides also embraced the notion of bodily resurrection but appears to have held the immortality of the soul, and the specifically man’s acquired intellect, as the ultimate goal.26 The Rambam was firmly convinced as to the biblical foundation of the resurrection and includes it in his famous Thirteen Principles of faith. He went as far as to state that anyone who denied the veracity of the concept forfeited any connection with the “Torah of our Master Moses.” 27 Maimonides addresses the critiques of those who question why the Torah remains vague and elusive on the question of the resurrection and the immortality of the soul. To this
Beliefs and Opinions 7:1-7 Beliefs and Opinions 6:1 24 Belief and Opinions 9:7 25 Belief and Opinions 9:10 26 Hilchot Teshuvah VIII.3 See also Louis Jacobs, Principles of Jewish Faith, ( New York: Basic Books, 1964), 398-394. 27 From Maimonides’ Essay on the Resurrection, Abraham Halkin, Epistles of Maimonides: Crisis and Leadership, (Philadelphia: JPS, 1985), 214. See also, Mishna Sanhedrin: 10:1 “The following are those who do not have a portion in the world to come: the one who says there is no resurrection of the dead, the one who says the Torah is not from heaven and the apiqoros.”
Maimonides responds, that just as G-d guided the generation of the wilderness in an indirect path towards the land of Canaan for fear they would lose heart against the Philistines, so too were they incapable of grasping and accepting the idea of the resurrection in their then spiritual state.28 And hence, Maimonides argues G-d responded: “The L-rd has not given you a mind to understand or yes to see or ears to hear.”29 But Maimonides struggled, in contrast to Saadia with the idea that a resurrected “physical” body would dwell in eternity.30 Louis Jacobs correctly suggests that Maimonides philosophical convictions allowed him to accept the rabbinic portrait of a physical resurrection, but not that man’s ultimate state would be physical existence.31 Maimonides’ view on the resurrection was it was connected to Israel’s redemption sometime after the coming of the Messiah and. those who had been resurrected would enjoy long life and the physical pleasures associated with life (i.e. marriage, procreation, food, and drink). The ultimate aim, however was the immortality of the soul. Maimonides supported the Talmudic saying in Berachot 17a that there is no body or corporeality in the world to come but the disembodied souls of the righteous alone like the ministering angels. Maimonides emphasis on the immortality of the soul despite his endorsement of a physical resurrection led to considerably criticism, by among others Abraham Ibn David who argued that Maimonides emphasized resurrection for the soul, stood in opposition to the traditional view of the Sages.32 Abraham Ibn David argued against Maimonides “limited resurrection” by appealing to various Talmudic texts (e.g. Ketubot 111b, Shabbat 114a, Sanhedrin 72a, Sanhedrin 91a) which collectively emphasized a lasting bodily resurrection. The mystically inclined Moses ben Nachman held a view more in keeping with Saadiah’s position on the question of punishment. He viewed Hell or Gehenna as an actual place and saw a multilevel Gan Eden as the abode of the souls of the righteous after their deaths.33 The Olam Haba, was not synonymous with Gan Eden but rather with the resurrection of the dead. Like Saadiah, Nachmanides held the view that the souls of the righteous would return to their resurrected bodies in a time following the Messianic Age but would not partake of physical pleasures for they would be like Moses before the presence of G-d.34 Metempsychosis A variety of other ideas on the status of the soul are also existent in Jewish sources. Three forms of metempsychosis (i.e. reincarnation) are known: Gigul (i.e. the transmigration of the soul); Ibbur (i.e. whereby one soul assists another soul in a body here on earth); Dibbuk refers to the a guilt-laden soul which invades a human body to escape its demonic torment.35
Ibid. 230. Deuteronomy 29:3 30 Louis Jacobs, A Jewish Theology, ( Springfield: Berhman House, 1973), 313. 31 See also Louis Jacobs, Principles of Jewish Faith, ( New York: Basic Books, 1964), 398-394 32 Ibid. 313. See also Louis Jacobs, Principles of Jewish Faith, ( New York: Basic Books, 1964), 398-394 33 Ibid 314. 34 Ibid 315. 35 Ibid 317.
The earliest reference to the idea of gigul is found among the Karaites in the 8th century and a variety of later rabbinic sources adopted differing positions on the idea. The Zohar rejected it as superstitious while the prominent Spanish rabbi Don Isaac Abarbanel of the 15th and 16th centuries accepted it. Manasseh Ben Israel accepted the veracity of the antiquity of this idea. 36 Summary Louis Jacobs surmises that the majority of modern Jews gravitate towards a view that more heavily embraces the immortality of the soul rather than a bodily resurrection. Jacob argues that this lies in the inability to rationalize the purpose of the body in eternity is the critical element. The dogmatic certainty of eternal punishment has also been largely dispelled by concerns over the reconciliation of G-d’s mercy with this idea. Whatever the case, the centrality of the hereafter in Jewish life is aptly noted by the great Kabalist Moshe Luzzato notes his conviction on the afterlife: “An in truth, no reasoning being can believe that the purpose of man’s creation relates to his station in this world. For what is a man’s life in this World…Man was created then for the sake of his station in the World to Come. Therefore his soul was placed in him.”37 While the nature of the afterlife and incorporation of evolved through Jewish history, the expectation of a World to Come whether as an immortal soul or a reunited soul and body, has nonetheless remained firm.
Ibid 317. Shraga Silverstein, Meshillat Yesharim, The Path of the Just, Moshe Hayyim Luzzato, ( New York: Feldheim,1966),27.