The World to Come

As to the World to Come, according to classical sources, little can be said about it as it’s wholly other-worldly — a phenomenon that “since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither has (any) eye seen, O God, beside You” (Isaiah 64:3). Nonetheless we’re told that three things offer a “sample” of it: the Shabbat, sexual intercourse, and a sunny day (though the sages were unsure whether sexual intercourse should be included. since it weakens the body) (Berachot 57b).

There are, though, some things we know about it (though it might be said that the incomprehensible implications of what’s offered detracts from the advantage of having it). We’re told that “In the World to Come there’s no eating, drinking, procreation, commerce, jealousy, antagonism, or rivalry’ which constitute the whole of life, “instead, the righteous sit with crowns on their head and enjoy the radiance of the Shechina there” (Berachot 17a), which is inexplicable.

Nevertheless, “all Israel have a portion in the World to Come” (other than those who “maintain that the resurrection of the dead isn’t a biblical doctrine, that the Torah wasn’t divinely revealed, and heretics”) (Mishna Sanhedrin 10:1); and righteous gentiles also have a place in the World to Come (Tosefta, Sanhedrin 13:2).

(c) 2012 Rabbi Yaakov Feldman

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