Chapter 8ח׳
1 א

הַטוֹבָה הַצְּפוּנָה לַצַּדִּיקִים הִיא חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא וְהִיא הַחַיִּים שֶׁאֵין מָוֶת עִמָּהֶן וְהַטּוֹבָה שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהּ רָעָה. הוּא שֶׁכָּתוּב בַּתּוֹרָה (דברים כב ז) "לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ יָמִים". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ לְמַעַן יִיטַב לָךְ לְעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ טוֹב וְהַאֲרַכְתָּ יָמִים לְעוֹלָם שֶׁכֻּלּוֹ אָרֹךְ. וְזֶה הוּא הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. שְׂכַר הַצַּדִּיקִים הוּא שֶׁיִּזְכּוּ לְנֹעַם זֶה וְיִהְיוּ בְּטוֹבָה זוֹ. וּפִרְעוֹן הָרְשָׁעִים הוּא שֶׁלֹּא יִזְכּוּ לְחַיִּים אֵלּוּ אֶלָּא יִכָּרְתוּ וְיָמוּתוּ. וְכָל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ זוֹכֶה לְחַיִּים אֵלּוּ הוּא הַמֵּת שֶׁאֵינוֹ חַי לָעוֹלָם אֶלָּא נִכְרַת בְּרִשְׁעוֹ וְאָבֵד כִּבְהֵמָה. וְזֶהוּ כָּרֵת הַכְּתוּבָה בַּתּוֹרָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו לא) "הִכָּרֵת תִּכָּרֵת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִיא". מִפִּי הַשְּׁמוּעָה לָמְדוּ הִכָּרֵת בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה תִּכָּרֵת לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁאוֹתָהּ הַנֶּפֶשׁ שֶׁפֵּרְשָׁה מִן הַגּוּף בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה אֵינָהּ זוֹכָה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֶלָּא גַּם מִן הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא נִכְרֶתֶת:

The hidden good in store for the righteous is, life in the World to Come, which is a life connected with no death and a kind of good connected with no evil; such as is described in the Torah: "That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest prolong thy days" (Deut. 22.7), which was traditionally deducted to mean, "That it may be well with thee" in a world which is entirely good; "and that thou mayest prolong thy days"—in a world existing forever; and this is the World to Come. The reward of the just is, that they will acquire the sweetness thereof, to be in such goodness; and the punishment of the wicked is, that they will not share in such life, but will suffer excision and eternal death. And, whosoever does not earn such life, is to be dead, without coming to life forever; for he is severed from life by his iniquity and goes to oblivion like a cattle. This is the meaning of excision described in the Torah, saying: "That soul shall utterly be cut off" (Num. 15.31), which was traditionally deducted to mean, "utterly cut of," both in this world and in the World to Come.1The translation here can not be literally given on account of the English text of the quotation. “Utterly”, stands for the Hebrew word “Hikorat” and “cut off”, for “Tikorat”. The Talmud (Sanhedrin, 64b) defines “Hikorat” literally, being cut off of itself, to refer to this world; and “Tikorat”, literally, being cut off by another, refers to the World to Come. G. as if saying: "That soul which was separated from the body in this world shares not in the life of the World to Come, for even from the World to Come is it cut off".2Baba Mezi’a, 58b-59a; Kiddushin, 39b-40a; Hullin, 142a. C.

2 ב

הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֵין בּוֹ גּוּף וּגְוִיָּה אֶלָּא נַפְשׁוֹת הַצַּדִּיקִים בִּלְבַד בְּלֹא גּוּף כְּמַלְאֲכֵי הַשָּׁרֵת. הוֹאִיל וְאֵין בּוֹ גְּוִיּוֹת אֵין בּוֹ לֹא אֲכִילָה וְלֹא שְׁתִיָּה וְלֹא דָּבָר מִכָּל הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁגּוּפוֹת בְּנֵי אָדָם צְרִיכִין לָהֶן בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְלֹא יֶאֱרַע דָּבָר בּוֹ מִן הַדְּבָרִים שֶׁמְּאָרְעִין לַגּוּפוֹת בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. כְּגוֹן יְשִׁיבָה וַעֲמִידָה וְשֵׁנָה וּמִיתָה וְעֶצֶב וּשְׂחוֹק וְכַיּוֹצֵא בָּהֶן. כָּךְ אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים (גמרא ברכות יז א) "הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֵין בּוֹ לֹא אֲכִילָה וְלֹא שְׁתִיָּה" וְלֹא תַּשְׁמִישׁ (גמרא ברכות יז א) "אֶלָּא צַדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִים וְעַטְרוֹתֵיהֶם בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶן וְנֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה". הֲרֵי נִתְבָּרֵר לְךָ שֶׁאֵין שָׁם גּוּף לְפִי שֶׁאֵין שָׁם אֲכִילָה וּשְׁתִיָּה. וְזֶה שֶׁאָמְרוּ צַדִּיקִים יוֹשְׁבִין דֶּרֶךְ חִידָה אָמְרוּ. כְּלוֹמַר הַצַּדִּיקִים מְצוּיִין שָׁם בְּלֹא עָמָל וּבְלֹא יְגִיעָה. וְכֵן זֶה שֶׁאָמְרוּ עַטְרוֹתֵיהֶן בְּרָאשֵׁיהֶן כְּלוֹמַר דַּעַת שֶׁיָּדְעוּ שֶׁבִּגְלָלָהּ זָכוּ לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא מְצוּיָה עִמָּהֶן וְהִיא הָעֲטָרָה שֶׁלָּהֶן כָּעִנְיָן שֶׁאָמַר שְׁלֹמֹה (שיר השירים ג יא) "בָּעֲטָרָה שֶׁעִטְּרָה לּוֹ אִמּוֹ". וַהֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר (ישעיה לה י) "וְשִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם עַל רֹאשָׁם" וְאֵין הַשִּׂמְחָה גּוּף כְּדֵי שֶׁתָּנוּחַ עַל הָרֹאשׁ. כָּךְ עֲטָרָה שֶׁאָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כָּאן הִיא הַיְדִיעָה. וּמַהוּ זֶה שֶׁאָמְרוּ נֶהֱנִין מִזִּיו הַשְּׁכִינָה. שֶׁיּוֹדְעִים וּמַשִּׂיגִין מֵאֲמִתַּת הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַה שֶּׁאֵינָם יוֹדְעִים וְהֵם בַּגּוּף הָאָפֵל הַשָּׁפָל:

The World to Come harbors neither body nor aught of a concrete form, save only the souls of the righteous divested of body as are the ministering angels. Inasmuch as it harbors no concrete forms there is no need there for eating, drinking, or other of the bodily necessities of the sons of man in this world; neither will any of the many things which happen to bodies in this world come to pass there, as, for instance, sitting down, standing up, sleep, death, sadness, mirth or the like. Thus did the ancient sages say: "In the World to Come there is no eating, no drinking, and no family life, save that the righteous are sitting, graced with garlands upon their heads, and indulge in feasting upon the luminousness of the Shekinah".4Berakot, 17a. C. Herefrom, 10, it is clear to you that no body exists there, seeing that there is neither eating nor drinking. That expression of "sitting" herein employed, is figurative, as if saying that they are there without effort or fatigue, and the phrase they employed, saying: "graced with garlands upon their heads", means that they have conscious knowledge of the reason why they have merited to be in the World to Come, and this is their crown of garlands, as, for example, Solomon said: "The crown wherewith his mother hath crowned him" (Songs. 3.11). Moreover, it was said: "And everlasting shall joy be upon their heads (Is. 35.10); now joy is not a body to rest upon one's head, even so the crown spoken of by the sages refers to knowledge. But what is the meaning of the phrase, "and indulge in feasting upon the luminousness of the Shekinah"? It is that by which they know and attain part of the Truth of the Holy One, blessed is He! something they do not know while in the dark, low body.5Ibid. G.

3 ג

כָּל נֶפֶשׁ הָאֲמוּרָה בְּעִנְיָן זֶה אֵינָהּ הַנְּשָׁמָה הַצְּרִיכָה לַגּוּף אֶלָּא צוּרַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ שֶׁהִיא הַדֵּעָה שֶׁהִשִּׂיגָה מֵהַבּוֹרֵא כְּפִי כֹּחָהּ וְהֶשֵּׂגָהּ הַדֵּעוֹת הַנִּפְרָדוֹת וּשְׁאָר הַמַּעֲשִׂים וְהִיא הַצּוּרָה שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ עִנְיָנָהּ בְּפֶרֶק רְבִיעִי מֵהִלְכוֹת יְסוֹדֵי הַתּוֹרָה הִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת נֶפֶשׁ בְּעִנְיָן זֶה. חַיִּים אֵלּוּ לְפִי שֶׁאֵין עִמָּהֶם מָוֶת שֶׁאֵין הַמָּוֶת אֶלָּא מִמְּאֹרְעוֹת הַגּוּף וְאֵין שָׁם גּוּף נִקְרְאוּ צְרוֹר הַחַיִּים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א כה כט) "וְהָיְתָה נֶפֶשׁ אֲדֹנִי צְרוּרָה בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים". וְזֶהוּ הַשָּׂכָר שֶׁאֵין שָׂכָר לְמַעְלָה מִמֶּנּוּ וְהַטּוֹבָה שֶׁאֵין אַחֲרֶיהָ טוֹבָה וְהִיא שֶׁהִתְאַוּוּ לָהּ כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים:

The term soul employed on this subject refers not to the breath of life necessary for the body, but the form of the soul which is the intelligence by which it attained knowledge of the Creator's Being according to its intellectual power, and by which it attained knowledge of the non-concrete intelligences and other works of God, even it is the form which we have explained in the fourth chapter of the treatise concerning Fundamentals of the Torah, and it is called soul for the purpose of this subject. The life herein spoken of, because there is no death connected with it, seeing that death is only incidental to the happenings which befall a body, and as there exists no body, is called a collection of life, even as it is said: "Yet the soul of my lord shall be bound in the bundle of life" (I. Sam. 25.29). And, this reward is such that there is no reward higher than it, and the kind of good after which no other good exists, and it is for it that all of the prophets craved.6See Pesahim, 54a. G.

4 ד

וְכַמָּה שֵׁמוֹת נִקְרְאוּ לָהּ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל. הַר ה'. וּמְקוֹם קָדְשׁוֹ. וְדֶרֶךְ הַקֹּדֶשׁ. וְחַצְרוֹת ה'. וְנֹעַם ה'. וְאֹהֶל ה'. וְהֵיכַל ה'. וּבֵית ה'. וְשַׁעַר ה'. וַחֲכָמִים קָרְאוּ לָהּ דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל לְטוֹבָה זוֹ הַמְזֻמֶּנֶת לַצַּדִּיקִים סְעֻדָּה. וְקוֹרִין לָהּ בְּכָל מָקוֹם הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:

And this reward is known by many figurative names: The Lord's Mountain; His Holy Place; Holy Path; the Lord's Courts; the Lord's Graciousness; the Lord's Tent; the Lord's Temple; the Lord's House; and the Lord's Gate. And the sages, figuratively, named this Good which is in store for the righteous, Banquet. But its universal name is, the World to Come.

5 ה

הַנְּקָמָה שֶׁאֵין נְקָמָה גְּדוֹלָה מִמֶּנָּה שֶׁתִּכָּרֵת הַנֶּפֶשׁ וְלֹא תִּזְכֶּה לְאוֹתָן הַחַיִּים שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (במדבר טו לא) "הִכָּרֵת תִּכָּרֵת הַנֶּפֶשׁ הַהִיא עֲוֹנָהּ בָּהּ". וְזֶה הָאֲבַדּוֹן הוּא שֶׁקּוֹרִין אוֹתוֹ הַנְּבִיאִים דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל בְּאֵר שַׁחַת וַאֲבַדּוֹן וְתָפְתֶּה וַעֲלוּקָה וְכָל לְשׁוֹן כְּלָיָה וְהַשְׁחָתָה קוֹרְאִין לוֹ לְפִי שֶׁהִיא הַכְּלָיָה שֶׁאֵין אַחֲרֶיהָ תְּקוּמָה וְהַהֶפְסֵד שֶׁאֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר לְעוֹלָם:

The vengeance, than which there is none greater is, that the soul will be cut off and will obtain no share in that life, even as it is said: "That soul shall be utterly cut off; his iniquity shall be upon him" (Num. 15.31). As for hell, it is what the prophets call figuratively by different names, such as, pit of destruction, burning flame, leech, and by every word which means decay and destruction is it called, because it is an expression of terminating decay from which there is no regeneration and a loss which remains forever unreturned.

6 ו

שֶׁמָּא תֵּקַל בְּעֵינֶיךָ טוֹבָה זוֹ וּתְדַמֶּה שֶׁאֵין שְׂכַר הַמִּצְוֹת וֶהֱיוֹת הָאָדָם שָׁלֵם בְּדַרְכֵי הָאֱמֶת אֶלָּא לִהְיוֹתוֹ אוֹכֵל וְשׁוֹתֶה מַאֲכָלוֹת טוֹבוֹת וּבוֹעֵל צוּרוֹת נָאוֹת וְלוֹבֵשׁ בִּגְדֵי שֵׁשׁ וְרִקְמָה וְשׁוֹכֵן בְּאָהֳלֵי שֵׁן וּמִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בִּכְלֵי כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב וּדְבָרִים הַדּוֹמִים לְאֵלּוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁמְּדַמִּין אֵלּוּ הָעַרְבִיִּים הַטִּפְּשִׁים הָאֱוִילִים הַשְּׁטוּפִים בְּזִמָּה. אֲבָל הַחֲכָמִים וּבַעֲלֵי דֵּעָה יֵדְעוּ שֶׁכָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ דִּבְרֵי הֲבַאי וְהֶבֶל הֵם וְאֵין בָּהֶם תּוֹעֶלֶת וְאֵינָהּ טוֹבָה גְּדוֹלָה אֶצְלֵנוּ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאָנוּ בַּעֲלֵי גּוּף וּגְוִיָּה, וְכָל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ צָרְכֵי הַגּוּף הֵם וְאֵין הַנֶּפֶשׁ מִתְאַוָּה לָהֶם וּמְחַמְּדָתָן אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי צֹרֶךְ הַגּוּף, כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּמְצָא חֶפְצוֹ וְיַעֲמֹד עַל בֻּרְיוֹ. וּבִזְמַן שֶׁאֵין שָׁם גּוּף נִמְצְאוּ כָּל הַדְּבָרִים הָאֵלּוּ בְּטֵלִים. הַטּוֹבָה הַגְּדוֹלָה שֶׁתִּהְיֶה בָּהּ הַנֶּפֶשׁ בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֵין שׁוּם דֶּרֶךְ בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה לְהַשִּׂיגָהּ וְלֵידַע אוֹתָהּ. שֶׁאֵין אָנוּ יוֹדְעִים בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה אֶלָּא טוֹבַת הַגּוּף וְלָהּ אָנוּ מִתְאַוִּין. אֲבָל אוֹתָהּ הַטּוֹבָה גְּדוֹלָה עַד מְאֹד וְאֵין לָהּ עֵרֶךְ בְּטוֹבוֹת הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה אֶלָּא דֶּרֶךְ מָשָׁל. אֲבָל בְּדֶרֶךְ הָאֱמֶת שֶׁנַּעֲרֹךְ טוֹבַת הַנֶּפֶשׁ בָּעוֹלָם הַבָּא בְּטוֹבוֹת הַגּוּף בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה בְּמַאֲכָל וּבְמִשְׁתֶּה אֵינוֹ כֵן. אֶלָּא אוֹתָהּ הַטּוֹבָה גְּדוֹלָה עַד אֵין חֵקֶר וְאֵין לָהּ עֵרֶךְ וְדִמְיוֹן. הוּא שֶׁאָמַר דָּוִד (תהילים לא כ) "מָה רַב טוּבְךָ אֲשֶׁר צָפַנְתָּ לִּירֵאֶיךָ" וְגוֹ':

Peradventure you will consider this Good lightly, and imagine that no reward for observing the precepts and for man to be following wholly the paths of truth is of any worth save if he be eating and drinking good food, enjoying beautiful faces, dressing in garments of embroidered linen, lounging in tents of ivory, being served in dishes of gold or silver, and similar things, as these stupid, silly, licentious Arabs imagine. But scholars and sensible people should know that all such things are idle and vain, wherein there is nothing consequential, and if they are considered of the greatest good by us in this world, it is because we are owners of bodies and concrete forms, and all such things are bodily necessities, and the soul neither craves nor desires for them save because of bodily necessity, so that it may satisfy its desire and remain normal. But when there is no body, all these things are found to be completely nullified. But as to the great Good in which the soul will be in the World to Come, there is no way in this world to attain or know it, for in this world we know of no other good, save that of the body, for which we crave; but that Good is exceedingly exalted and has no estimate alongside the good of this world save as a figure of speech; but by the way of truth to draw a comparison between the Good in store for the soul in the World to Come and the good of the body by eating and drinking in this world is impossible. Forsooth, that Good is so great that by no search can it be attained, and by no form of estimate and comparison can it be comprehended, even as David said: "Oh how great is Thy goodness which Thou hast treasured up for those that fear Thee" (Ps. 31.19).

7 ז

וְכַמָּה כָּמַהּ דָּוִד וְהִתְאַוָּה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים כז יג) "לוּלֵא הֶאֱמַנְתִּי לִרְאוֹת בְּטוּב ה' בְּאֶרֶץ חַיִּים". כְּבָר הוֹדִיעוּנוּ הַחֲכָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים שֶׁטּוֹבַת הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֵין כֹּחַ בָּאָדָם לְהַשִּׂיגָהּ עַל בֻּרְיָהּ וְאֵין יוֹדֵעַ גָּדְלָהּ וְיָפְיָהּ וְעַצְמָהּ אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְבַדּוֹ. וְשֶׁכָּל הַטּוֹבוֹת שֶׁמִּתְנַבְּאִים בָּהֶם הַנְּבִיאִים לְיִשְׂרָאֵל אֵינָן אֶלָּא לִדְבָרִים שֶׁבַּגּוּף שֶּׁנֶּהֱנִין בָּהֶן יִשְׂרָאֵל לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ בִּזְמַן שֶׁתָּשׁוּב הַמֶּמְשָׁלָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל. אֲבָל טוֹבַת חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא אֵין לָהּ עֵרֶךְ וְדִמְיוֹן וְלֹא דִּמּוּהָ הַנְּבִיאִים כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִפְחֲתוּ אוֹתָהּ בַּדִּמְיוֹן. הוּא שֶׁיְּשַׁעְיָהוּ אָמַר (ישעיה סד ג) "עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ יַעֲשֶׂה לִמְחַכֵּה לוֹ". כְּלוֹמַר הַטּוֹבָה שֶׁלֹּא רָאֲתָה אוֹתָהּ עֵין נָבִיא וְלֹא רָאָה אוֹתָהּ אֶלָּא אֱלֹהִים, עָשָׂה אוֹתָהּ הָאֱלֹהִים לָאָדָם שֶׁמְּחַכֶּה לוֹ. אָמְרוּ חֲכָמִים כָּל הַנְּבִיאִים כֻּלָּן לֹא נִבְּאוּ אֶלָּא לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ אֲבָל הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא עַיִן לֹא רָאָתָה אֱלֹהִים זוּלָתְךָ:

How David longed and craved for the life in the World to Come! even as it is said: "If I had not believed to look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living" (Ibid. 27.13). We were long since informed by the ancient sages that it is not within the power of man to attain clearly the good of the World to Come, nor to know its grandeur beauty and quantity, save only the Holy One, blessed is He! and that all the good the prophets did prophesy for Israel are none else save corporeal matters, of which Israel will enjoy during the Messianic era, when government will be restored to Israel; but as the good in the life of the World to Come has neither estimate nor comparison, the prophets did not compare it to aught so as to not lessen it by comparison. This is what Isaiah said: "Neither hath an eye seen a God besides Thee, Who worketh for him that waiteth for Him" (Is. 64.3), as if saying: "The good which the eye of a prophet had not seen, and none save God saw it, did God make for man who waits for Him. The sages declared: "All of the prophets combined prophesied not save concerning the Messianic era, but the World to Come no eye saw, O God, besides Thee".8Shabbat, 63a; Sanhedrin, 99b; Abodah Zarah, 65a. C. G.

8 ח

זֶה שֶׁקָּרְאוּ אוֹתוֹ חֲכָמִים הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא לֹא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מָצוּי עַתָּה וְזֶה הָעוֹלָם אוֹבֵד וְאַחַר כָּךְ יָבוֹא אוֹתוֹ הָעוֹלָם. אֵין הַדָּבָר כֵּן. אֶלָּא הֲרֵי הוּא מָצוּי וְעוֹמֵד שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהילים לא כ) "אֲשֶׁר צָפַנְתָּ לִּירֵאֶיךָ פָּעַלְתָּ" וְגוֹ'. וְלֹא קְרָאוּהוּ עוֹלָם הַבָּא אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי שֶׁאוֹתָן הַחַיִּים בָּאִין לוֹ לָאָדָם אַחַר חַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה שֶׁאָנוּ קַיָּמִים בּוֹ בְּגוּף וְנֶפֶשׁ וְזֶהוּ הַנִּמְצָא לְכָל אָדָם בָּרִאשׁוֹנָה:

As for the reason why the sages called it "the World to Come": it is not because it is not now in existence, so that it might be inferred that this world will be destroyed and thereafter will come that world; the matter is not so, for that World is and ready, even as it is said: "Oh how great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee; which thou hast wrought for them that take their refuge in Thee" (Ps. 31.19–20). They called it not World to Come, save alone because that life comes to man after the life of this world wherein we exist with a body and soul, and this life is found by man first.