Chapter 9ט׳
1 א

מֵאַחַר שֶׁנּוֹדַע שֶׁמַּתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת וְהַטּוֹבָה שֶׁנִּזְכֶּה לָהּ אִם שָׁמַרְנוּ דֶּרֶךְ ה' הַכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה הִיא חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כב ז) "לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ יָמִים". וְהַנְּקָמָה שֶׁנּוֹקְמִים מִן הָרְשָׁעִים שֶׁעָזְבוּ אָרְחוֹת הַצֶּדֶק הַכְּתוּבוֹת בַּתּוֹרָה הִיא הַכָּרֵת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו לא) "הִכָּרֵת תִּכָּרֵת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִיא עֲוֹנָהּ בָּהּ". מַהוּ זֶה שֶׁכָּתוּב בְּכָל הַתּוֹרָה כֻּלָּהּ אִם תִּשְׁמְעוּ יַגִּיעַ לָכֶם כָּךְ (ויקרא כו יד) "וְאִם לֹא תִּשְׁמְעוּ" יִקְרֶה אֶתְכֶם כָּךְ. וְכָל אוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. כְּגוֹן שֹׂבַע וְרָעָב וּמִלְחָמָה וְשָׁלוֹם וּמַלְכוּת וְשִׁפְלוּת וִישִׁיבַת הָאָרֶץ וְגָלוּת וְהַצְלָחַת מַעֲשֶׂה וְהֶפְסֵדוֹ וּשְׁאָר כָּל דִּבְרֵי הַבְּרִית. כָּל אוֹתָן הַדְּבָרִים אֱמֶת הָיוּ וְיִהְיוּ וּבִזְמַן שֶׁאָנוּ עוֹשִׂים כָּל מִצְוֹת הַתּוֹרָה יַגִּיעוּ אֵלֵינוּ טוֹבוֹת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה כֻּלָּן. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁאָנוּ עוֹבְרִין עֲלֵיהֶן תִּקְרֶאנָה אוֹתָנוּ הָרָעוֹת הַכְּתוּבוֹת. וְאַף עַל פִּי כֵן אֵין אוֹתָן הַטּוֹבוֹת הֵם סוֹף מַתַּן שְׂכָרָן שֶׁל מִצְוֹת וְלֹא אוֹתָן הָרָעוֹת הֵם סוֹף הַנְּקָמָה שֶׁנּוֹקְמִין מֵעוֹבֵר עַל כָּל הַמִּצְוֹת. אֶלָּא כָּךְ הוּא הֶכְרֵעַ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים. הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא נָתַן לָנוּ תּוֹרָה זוֹ עֵץ חַיִּים הִיא. וְכָל הָעוֹשֶׂה כָּל הַכָּתוּב בָּהּ וְיוֹדְעוֹ דֵּעָה גְּמוּרָה נְכוֹנָה זוֹכֶה בָּהּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וּלְפִי גֹּדֶל מַעֲשָׂיו וְרֹב חָכְמָתוֹ הוּא זוֹכֶה. וְהִבְטִיחָנוּ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁאִם נַעֲשֶׂה אוֹתָהּ בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְטוֹבַת נֶפֶשׁ וְנֶהְגֶּה בְּחָכְמָתָהּ תָּמִיד שֶׁיָּסִיר מִמֶּנּוּ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הַמּוֹנְעִים אוֹתָנוּ מִלַּעֲשׂוֹתָהּ כְּגוֹן חלִי וּמִלְחָמָה וְרָעָב וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. וְיַשְׁפִּיעַ לָנוּ כָּל הַטּוֹבוֹת הַמַּחֲזִיקוֹת אֶת יָדֵינוּ לַעֲשׂוֹת הַתּוֹרָה כְּגוֹן שֹׂבַע וְשָׁלוֹם וְרִבּוּי כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב. כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא נַעֲסֹק כָּל יָמֵינוּ בִּדְבָרִים שֶׁהַגּוּף צָרִיךְ לָהֶן אֶלָּא נֵשֵׁב פְּנוּיִים לִלְמֹד בַּחָכְמָה וְלַעֲשׂוֹת הַמִּצְוָה כְּדֵי שֶׁנִּזְכֶּה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. וְכֵן הוּא אוֹמֵר בַּתּוֹרָה אַחַר שֶׁהִבְטִיחַ בְּטוֹבוֹת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה (דברים ו כה) "וּצְדָקָה תִּהְיֶה לָּנוּ" וְגוֹ'. וְכֵן הוֹדִיעָנוּ בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁאִם נַעֲזֹב הַתּוֹרָה מִדַּעַת וְנַעֲסֹק בְּהַבְלֵי הַזְּמַן כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים לב טו) "וַיִּשְׁמַן יְשֻׁרוּן וַיִּבְעָט", שֶׁדַּיַן הָאֱמֶת יָסִיר מִן הַעוֹזְבִים כָּל טוֹבוֹת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה שֶׁהֵן חִזְּקוּ יְדֵיהֶם לִבְעֹט וּמֵבִיא עֲלֵיהֶם כָּל הָרָעוֹת הַמּוֹנְעִים אוֹתָן מִלִּקְנוֹת הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא כְּדֵי שֶׁיֹּאבְדוּ בְּרִשְׁעָם. הוּא שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים כח מז) "תַּחַת אֲשֶׁר לֹא עָבַדְתָּ אֶת ה'" וְגוֹ', (דברים כח מח) "וְעָבַדְתָּ אֶת אֹיְבֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר יְשַׁלְּחֶנּוּ ה' בָּךְ". נִמְצָא פֵּרוּשׁ כָּל אוֹתָן הַבְּרָכוֹת וְהַקְּלָלוֹת עַל דֶּרֶךְ זוֹ, כְּלוֹמַר אִם עֲבַדְתֶּם אֶת ה' בְּשִׂמְחָה וּשְׁמַרְתֶּם דַּרְכּוֹ מַשְׁפִּיעַ לָכֶם הַבְּרָכוֹת הָאֵלּוּ וּמַרְחִיק הַקְּלָלוֹת מִכֶּם עַד שֶׁתִּהְיוּ פְּנוּיִים לְהִתְחַכֵּם בַּתּוֹרָה וְלַעֲסֹק בָּהּ כְּדֵי שֶׁתִּזְכּוּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְיִיטַב לְךָ לְעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב וְתַאֲרִיךְ יָמִים לְעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ אָרֹךְ וְנִמְצֵאתֶם זוֹכִין לִשְׁנֵי הָעוֹלָמוֹת, לְחַיִּים טוֹבִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה הַמְּבִיאִים לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שֶׁאִם לֹא יִקְנֶה פֹּה חָכְמָה וּמַעֲשִׂים טוֹבִים אֵין לוֹ בְּמָה יִזְכֶּה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (קהלת ט י) "כִּי אֵין מַעֲשֶׂה וְחֶשְׁבּוֹן וְדַעַת וְחָכְמָה בִּשְׁאוֹל". וְאִם עֲזַבְתֶּם אֶת ה' וּשְׁגִיתֶם בְּמַאֲכָל וּבְמִשְׁתֶּה וּזְנוּת וְדוֹמֶה לָהֶם מֵבִיא עֲלֵיכֶם כָּל הַקְּלָלוֹת הָאֵלּוּ וּמֵסִיר כָּל הַבְּרָכוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּכְלוּ יְמֵיכֶם בְּבֶהָלָה וָפַחַד וְלֹא יִהְיֶה לָכֶם לֵב פָּנוּי וְלֹא גּוּף שָׁלֵם לַעֲשׂוֹת הַמִּצְוֹת כְּדֵי שֶׁתֹּאבְדוּ מֵחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְנִמְצָא שֶׁאִבַּדְתֶּם שְׁנֵי עוֹלָמוֹת. שֶׁבִּזְמַן שֶׁאָדָם טָרוּד בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה בְּחלִי וּבְמִלְחָמָה וּרְעָבוֹן אֵינוֹ מִתְעַסֵּק לֹא בַּחָכְמָה וְלֹא בַּמִצְוֹת שֶׁבָּהֶן זוֹכִין לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

Now, after it is known that the reward and the good which we will acquire for observing the precepts and the way of the Lord according to what it is written in the Torah consist of life in the World to Come, even as it is said: "That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest prolong thy days" (Deut. 22.7), and that the punishment inflicted upon the wicked who abandoned the righteous paths described in the Torah consists of excision, even as it is said: "That soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him" (Num.15.31), what is this which it is written throughout the Torah, if ye will hearken you will be overtaken by thus, but if ye will not hearken you will be met with such, and all those things are in this world, for instance, plenty, famine, war, peace, government, oppression, permanency in the land, exile, success in undertakings, its failure, and other similar text in the Covenant? All those things were and will be true, and as long as we observe the precepts of the Torah all the good of this world will overtake us, and as long as we transgress them we will be met by those evil things described therein. Nevertheless, neither are those good things the end of the reward for observing the commandments nor are those evil things the end of the punishment to be inflicted upon one who violates the precepts. For so are all these matters balanced: The Holy One, blessed is He! bestowed upon us this Torah as a tree of life, and whosoever conducts himself after the prescribed order therein, and studies to know it with a complete and upright knowledge, he acquires therewith life in the World to Come. And, in the measure of his works and wisdom he obtains his acquisition. We were moreover, assured in the Torah that if we will observe it in joy and out of goodness of soul, and constantly meditate in its wisdom, He will detach from us all such things which prevent us from observing it, such as sickness, war, famine and the like. He will, in addition thereto, be bountiful unto us by giving us all good which sustain our hands to observe the Torah, as plenty, peace, and an increase in silver and gold, so that we be not occupied all of our days in the things that are of bodily need, but, instead, be at leisure to study wisdom and observe the precept in order to acquire life in the World to Come. Even so it is said in the Torah: "And it shall be our righteousness, if we observe to do all these commandments, before the Lord our God, as He hath commanded us" (Deut. 6.24–25). He made likewise known to us, that if we will purposely abandon the Torah, and busy ourselves with the vanities of the times, as the subject is spoken of, saying: "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked (Ibid. 32.15). The True Judge will detatch from the forsakers all the good of this world which had strengthened their hands so that they kicked, and bring upon them all the evil to prevent them from acquiring the World to Come, so that they be lost in their wickedness. This is as it is written in the Torah: "Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, by reason of the abundance of all things; therefore shalt thou serve thine enemy who the Lord shall send against thee" (Ibid. 28. 46–47) Consequently, the interpretation of all those blessings and curses is this way: As if saying, if you have served the Lord with joyfulness and observed His way, he will bestow in abundance these blessings upon you and set at a distance the curses from you, so that you be at leisure to grow wise in the wisdom of the Torah, and to busy yourselves therein, and so that you will merit life in the World to Come, and to do you good in the world which is all good, and prolong your days in the world which is unending, and you will find yourselves acquiring two worlds, to good living in this world, which will bring to a life in the World to Come, for if one does not acquire wisdom and good works here he has nothing else to acquire it with, even as it said: "For there is no work, no device, no knowledge nor wisdom in the grave (Ecc. 9.10). But if you have forsaken the Lord, and did err in eating drinking and prostitution, and their like, he will bring upon you those curses and detach from you all blessings until you will end your days in confusion and dread, and your will have neither a heart of leisure nor a sound body to perform the precepts, so that you lose the life in the World to Come, as a consequence whereof you will have lost two worlds; for, as long as a man is occupied in this world with sickness, war and hunger he can not be engaged either in wisdom or in precepts, by which to acquire the World to Come.

2 ב

וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה נִתְאַוּוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל נְבִיאֵיהֶם וְחַכְמֵיהֶם לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ כְּדֵי שֶׁיָּנוּחוּ מִמַּלְכֻיּוֹת שֶׁאֵינָן מְנִיחוֹת לָהֶן לַעֲסֹק בַּתּוֹרָה וּבַמִּצְוֹת כַּהֹגֶן. וְיִמְצְאוּ לָהֶם מַרְגּוֹעַ וְיִרְבּוּ בְּחָכְמָה כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּזְכּוּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. לְפִי שֶׁבְּאוֹתָן הַיָּמִים תִּרְבֶּה הַדֵּעָה וְהַחָכְמָה וְהָאֱמֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה יא ט) "כִּי מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ דֵּעָה אֶת ה'". וְנֶאֱמַר (ירמיה לא לג) "וְלֹא יְלַמְּדוּ אִישׁ אֶת אָחִיו וְאִישׁ אֶת רֵעֵהוּ". וְנֶאֱמַר (יחזקאל לו כו) "וַהֲסִרֹתִי אֶת לֵב הָאֶבֶן מִבְּשַׂרְכֶם". מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאוֹתוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁיַּעֲמֹד מִזֶּרַע דָּוִד בַּעַל חָכְמָה יִהְיֶה יֶתֶר מִשְּׁלֹמֹה. וְנָבִיא גָּדוֹל הוּא קָרוֹב לְמשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ. וּלְפִיכָךְ יְלַמֵּד כָּל הָעָם וְיוֹרֶה אוֹתָם דֶּרֶךְ ה'. וְיָבוֹאוּ כָּל הַגּוֹיִם לְשָׁמְעוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ישעיה ב ב) "וְהָיָה בְּאַחֲרִית הַיָּמִים נָכוֹן יִהְיֶה הַר בֵּית ה' בְּרֹאשׁ הֶהָרִים". וְסוֹף כָּל הַשָּׂכָר כֻּלּוֹ וְהַטּוֹבָה הָאַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁאֵין לָהּ הֶפְסֵק וְגֵרָעוֹן הוּא חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. אֲבָל יְמוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ הוּא הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְעוֹלָם כְּמִנְהָגוֹ הוֹלֵךְ אֶלָּא שֶׁהַמַּלְכוּת תַּחֲזֹר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. וּכְבָר אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים אֵין בֵּין הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ אֶלָּא שִׁעְבּוּד מַלְכֻיּוֹת בִּלְבַד:

Because of this, all Israel their prophets and their scholars craved for the Messianic era so that they may rest up from tyrannical government which do not give them the tranquility to study the Torah and observe the precepts as they ought to, and so that they may find the peacefulness of mind to increase wisdom in order to acquire life in the World to Come. For, in those days knowledge and wisdom and truth will increase, even as it is said: "For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord" (Is. 11.9); and it is again said: "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother" (Jer. 31.34); and it is yet again said: "And I will take the stony heart out of your flesh" (Ez. 36.26), as that king who will arise from the seed of David will be gifted with wisdom more than Solomon, and great in prophecy nigh unto Moses our Master. He will, therefore, teach the whole people and point out to them the Lord's path, and all nations will come to listen to him, even as it is said: "And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains" (Is. 2.2). Nevertheless, the end of the whole reward, and the last good which has neither interruption nor diminution is life in the World to Come. As for the Messianic era, it is in this world, and the world goes on after its fashion, save only that Israel will again have a government. Indeed, the ancient sages have long since said: "There is no difference between this world and the Messianic era, save alone in the oppression of government.1