All Jews have a share in the world to come: I have seen [fit] to speak here about many great and especially weighty fundamentals of faith. You should know that masters of Torah have had differences of opinion regarding the good that comes to a person when he does the commandments that God commanded us through Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - and regarding the bad that will find him if he transgresses them - very many disagreements according to the difference in their intellects. And the reasonings about them have become greatly confused to the point that you will almost not find anywhere a man for whom this matter is clear. And you will not find a definitive thing about it with any person, excepting with much confusion: The [first] group reasons that the good is the Garden of Eden and that it is the place where one eats and drinks without physical exertion and without effort; and that there [one finds] houses of precious stones and beds fitted with silk and rivers that flow with wine and fragrant oils and many things of this type. And [they reason] that the bad is Gehinnom and it is a place burning with fire, in which bodies are burned and people are afflicted with all types of afflictions, that are recounted at length. And this group has brought a proof for their reasoning from the words of our rabbis, may their memory be blessed, and from verses of Scripture, the simple meaning of which - completely or partially - fits with what they are saying. And the second group reasons and thinks that the anticipated good is the days of the Messiah - may it speedily be revealed - and that in that time, people will all be angels, all living and existing forever and they will become of larger stature and multiply and be powerful until they inhabit the whole world forever. And that Messiah - according to their thinking - will live [forever] with the help of God, may He be blessed. And [they reason] that in those days the earth will produce woven clothes and baked bread and many such things which are impossible. And [they also reason] that the bad is that a person not be in existence during those days and not merit to see it. And they bring a proof from many statements that are found with the sages and from many verses in Scripture, the simple meaning of which is in agreement with what they are saying or with some of it. And the third group will think that the good that is hoped for is the revival of the dead, and that is that a person will come to life after his death and will come back, together with his relatives and the members of his household, and eat and drink; and that he will not die again. And [they think] that the bad is that he will not come to life after his death, together with the ones that come back to life. And they bring a proof for this from many statements that are found in the words of the sages and from many verses in Scripture, the simple meaning of which indicates what they are saying or some of it. And the fourth group will think that the intention of that which is to come to us for doing the commandments is physical rest and the attainment of worldly desires in this world, like the fat of the lands and many properties and many children and physical health and peace and security, and that the king will be from Israel and that we will rule over the ones that troubled us. And [they think] that the bad that gets to us if we deny the Torah is the opposite of these things, like that which we [experience] today during the time of the exile. And they bring a proof - according to their reasoning- from all of the verses in the Torah, from the curses and the other [sections], and from all of the stories that are written in Scripture. And the fifth group - and they are many - join all of these matters together and say that that which is anticipated is that the Messiah will come and bring the dead back to life, and they will enter the Garden of Eden, and they will eat there and drink and be healthy all the days of the world. But [about] this amazing issue - I mean, the world to come - you will find few that in any fashion bring it to their mind to think [about it] or [ponder over] this fundamental or determine upon which matter this word applies - if it is the objective or one of the previous opinions is the objective; or to differentiate between the objective and the cause that leads to the objective. Rather what the entire people - the masses and the intelligentsia - ask about is how the dead will arise - naked or dressed; and whether they will arise with the same shrouds with which they were buried, with their embroidery and designs and beautiful stitchery, or with a cloak that only covers their bodies? [And they ask] when the Messiah will come whether there will be rich and poor and if there will be the strong and the weak in his days, and many question like these, all the time. And you who looks into this book, understand this parable that I am drawing for you and then prepare your heart and listen to my words about all of this. Place it in your mind that when a they bring a young boy to a teacher to teach him Torah - and that is the greatest good for him as to what he can attain of wholeness - but due to his few years and the weakness of his intellect, he does not understand the level of this good and that which will come to him of wholeness from it. And therefore it is necessary perforce for the teacher who is more whole than he to encourage the study with things that are beloved to him due to the smallness of his years. And [so] he says to him, "Read and I will give you nuts or figs; and I will give you a little honey." And through this he will read and exert himself; not for the actual reading - as he does not know its value - but rather so that they will give him that food. And the eating of these delights is more precious in his eyes than the reading and great good - without a doubt. And so he thinks of the study as labor and effort; and he labors in it so that he will receive through this labor the objective that is beloved to him, and that is a nut or a portion of honey. And when he grows and his intellect becomes stronger, and that thing that was (that will be) weighty for him before becomes light in his eyes and he goes to loving something else, they encourage him and arouse his desire for that thing that is beloved to him. And his teacher says to him, "Read and I will buy you fine shoes or lovely clothes." And through this, he makes efforts to read, not for the actual study, but rather for that garment; and that clothing is more weighty in his eyes than the Torah. And that is for him the objective of its reading. And when he becomes more whole in his intellect and this thing becomes negligible in his eyes, [his teacher] will also place his mind on that which is greater than this. And then his master will tell him, "Learn this section or this chapter and I will give you a dinar or two dinars" And through this, he reads and exerts himself to get that money - and for him, that money is more weighty than the study, since the objective of the study for him is that he get the gold that they promised him for it. And when his intellect is greater and this amount becomes light in his eyes and he knows that this is something insignificant, he will desire that which is weightier this this. And his master will tell him, "Study so that you will be a leader and judge, and people will honor you and rise in front of you - like with so and so and so and so." And he will read and exert himself in order to achieve this stature and the objective will be the honor; that people will honor him and raise him up and praise him. And all of this is despicable. And, nonetheless, it is necessary because of the smallness of the human intellect that he make the objective of wisdom something else besides wisdom, and say for what thing he is learning, and that is that honor will come to him. And this is [making] a laughingstock of the truth. And about such study the sages say it is not for its sake, meaning that he does the commandments and studies and exerts himself in Torah, not for that thing itself, but rather for the sake of something else. And the sages warned us about this and said, (Avot 4:5), "Do not make it [the Torah] into a crown with which to aggrandize yourself, and not into a spade with which to dig into them." And they are hinting to that which I have explained to you; that there is no [ulterior] objective to wisdom - not to receive honor from people and not to earn money - and [so,] one should not be involved in the Torah of God, may He be blessed, to earn money, and there should not be an [ulterior] objective for him in the study of wisdom, except only to know it. And so [too,] there is no objective to the truth except that he knows it is the truth, and that the Torah is the truth; and the objective of its knowledge is to do [what is in] it. And it is forbidden for a whole person to say, "When I do these commandments, which are good character traits; and I distance myself form sins, which are bad character traits - that God, may He be blessed, commanded not to do - what is the reward that I will receive for it?" As this is like that which the child will say, "When I read this, what will they give to me?" And they will say, "Such and such a thing." As when we see the smallness of his intellect that he doesn't understand the size [of what he is involved in], and we see that he asks for another objective, we answer him according to his foolishness; as it is stated (Proverbs 26:5), "Answer a fool according to his foolishness." And the sages have already warned about this as well; that is to say that a person should not render any thing of the [various] things to be the objective of his service to God, may He be blessed, and the performance of the commandments. And this is what the whole man who grasped the truth of [these] things, Antigonos, the man of Sokho, said (Avot 1:3), "Do not be as servants who are serving the master in order to receive a reward, rather be as servants who are serving the master not in order to receive a reward." And indeed he wanted to say with this that one should believe in the truth for the sake of the truth; and this is the matter they call, 'one who serves from love.' And they said, may their memory be blessed (Avodah Zarah 19a), "'His commandments desire greatly' (Psalms 112:1) - Rabbi Eliezer said, 'His commandments; and not the reward of His commandments.'" And how lucid is this and it is a clear proof for that which we have [written] above in the essay. And even greater than this is what they said in the Sifrei on Deuteronomy 11:13, "Lest you say, 'Behold, I am learning Torah so that I will be rich; so that I will be called, rabbi; so that I will receive reward in the world to come'; [for this reason] does the statement teach, 'to love the Lord, your God' - everything that you do, only do it out of love." Behold, this matter has been clarified to you, and it has become clear that it is the intention of the Torah and the foundation of the intention of the sages, peace be upon them. And only a crazed fool will ignore this, because silly thoughts and bad ideas have corrupted him and mixed him up. And this is the level of Avraham, our father - peace be upon him (Sotah 31a) - as he served from love. And towards this path, it is fitting that there be arousal. And since the sages, may their memory be blessed, knew that this is a very difficult matter - and not every person can grasp it, and if he grasps it, he doesn't agree with it at the beginning of the matter, and reasons that it is not a clear belief - since a person will only do an act in order to achieve a goal or to prevent a loss, and if it is not so, that matter will be futile and empty for him; [if so] how can you say to one who follows the Torah, "Do these acts and don't do [other] ones," [but] not for the fear of punishment from God, may He be blessed, and not to inherit a goodly reward. This is a very difficult thing, since not all people grasp the truth, to the point that they [reach the understanding of] Avraham, our father - peace be upon him. And therefore they permitted the masses - so that their faith will sit well - to do the commandments with the hope of reward, and to separate from the sins from the fear of punishment. And we encourage them about this and strengthen their intentions [to do the commandments out of ulterior motives], until he grasps and knows what is the truth and the complete way; as we do with a child at the time that he studies, as we have brought in the parable. And they blamed Antigonos, the man of Sokho, about his explaining what he explained to the masses, and they said about this, "Be careful with your words," as is explained in Avot 1:11. And the masses do not lose everything by their doing the commandments out of fear of punishment and hope for reward, except that [their performance] will not be complete. And nonetheless it is good for them, so that they have the ability and habit and effort of fulfilling the Torah. And from this they will be aroused to know the truth, and they will turn into those that serve from love. And this is what they said, may their memory be blessed (Sanhedrin 105b), "Truly, a person should be involved in Torah and even not for its sake, as from 'not for its sake,' comes 'for its sake." And it is from that which you must know that [with regards] to the words of the sages, may their memory be blessed, people are divided into three groups: The first - and it is most of what I have seen and of the compositions that I have seen and of what I have heard about - believes them according to their simple meaning, and does not reason that they have any sort of esoteric meaning. And for them, the impossible things must correspond to reality. However they do this as a result of their not understanding wisdom; and they are far from the sciences and they do not have wholeness so that they be aroused on their own and they did not find someone to arouse them. [These people] hold that the sages, may their memory be blessed, only intended in all of their straight and sweet words what [this group] understood according to their intellect from them, and that they are according to their simple meaning - and even though that which appears in some of their words is repulsive and that which pushes the intellect away. To the point that if it would be recounted to the unlettered - and all the more so to the wise - they would wonder in their pondering over them and say, "How is it possible that there is someone in the world that thinks like this or believes that it is a correct belief - all the more so, that it is good in their eyes?" And one should be pained about the foolishness of this group of simple-minded ones. As according to their opinion, they are honoring and raising the sages; but they are [in fact] lowering them to the lowest depths - and they do not understand this. And as God, may He be blessed, lives, this group destroys the beauty of the Torah and darkens its splendor, and makes the Torah of God the opposite of its intention. As God, my He be blessed, said in the perfect Torah (Deuteronomy 4:6), "that they should observe all of these statutes and they shall say, 'This is certainly a wise and understanding people, this great nation.'" And this group recounts the simple words of the sages, may their memory be blessed, such that when the other nations hear it, they say, "This is certainly a foolish and silly people, this small nation." And the ones that do this the most are the preachers that explain inform the masses of the people about that which they [themselves] do not know. And were it only that since they did not know and understand, they would be quiet, as it is said (Job 13:5), "Were it only that you would be silent, and it will be considered wisdom for you"; or that they would say, "We do not understand the intention of the sages in this statement and not how it is to be explained." But [instead], they think that they understand it and attempt to inform [about] it, to explain to the people what they understood according to their weak intellects - not that which the sages said - and they preach at the heads of the people the homilies from Tractate Berakhot and from the chapter [entitled] Chelek and from others, according to their simple meanings, word for word. And the second group is also numerous, and they are the ones that saw the words of the sages or heard them, and understood them according to their simple meaning, and thought that the sages did not intend in them anything more than that which is indicated by the simple [understanding]. And they come to make them foolish and to disgrace them and to bring ill-repute to that which has no ill repute; and they mock the words of the sages. And [they believe that] they are more refined in their intellect than [the sages], and that they, peace be upon them, were stupid, simple-minded fools regarding all of existence; to the point that they did not grasp matters of wisdom in any way. And most of those that stumble in this error are those with pretense to the medical sciences and those that carry on about the laws of the constellations; since they are - according to the their thinking - understanding and wise in their [own] eyes and sharp and philosophers. And how far are they from humanity, according to those that are truly wise and philosophers. Rather, they are more foolish than the first group, and many of them are idiots. And it is an accursed group, since they question great and lofty people, whose wisdom was already made clear to the wise. And were these idiots to exert themselves in the sciences to the point that they would know how it is proper to organize and write things in the science of theology, and things which are similar to it, for the masses and for the wise, and they would understand applied philosophy; then they would understand if the sages, may their memory be blessed, were wise or not; and the matter of their words would be elucidated for them. And the third is, as God lives, very small to the point that is not fitting to call them a group except in the same way as one says about the sun that it is a species [even if] it is [in fact] unique. And these are the same people to whom the greatness of the sages, may they be blessed, and the quality of their intellect was made clear, from what was found among their words, [things] that indicate matters that are very true. And even though [these things] are few and scattered in different places in their compositions, they indicate their wholeness and that they grasped the truth; and that the impossibility of the impossible and the necessity of that which exists was also clear to them. And [the members of the third group] knew that [the sages], peace be upon them, were not saying jokes; and it became established for them that [the sages'] words have a revealed and a secret meaning, and that in everything they said about things that are impossible, they were speaking by way of a riddle and a parable - since this is the way of great wise men. And therefore the greatest of wise men opened his book by saying (Proverbs 1:6), "To understand a parable and a metaphor, the words of wise men and their riddles." And it is known to the linguist that a riddle is when the matter intended by it is hidden and not revealed by it, and as it said (Judges 14,12), "I will tell you a riddle, etc." Since the words of the sages are all about supernal matters of ultimacy, they must then be riddles and parables. And how can we blame them for writing wisdom in the way of parable and making it appear as lower things of the masses, when we see that the wisest of all men did this with the holy spirit - I mean Shlomo, in Proverbs and in the Song of Songs and in some of Ecclesiastes? And why should it be difficult for us to explain their words rationally and to take them out of their simple meaning in order that they fit reason and correspond to the truth. And even if they are holy writings, they themselves, explain verses of Scripture rationally and take them out of their simple meaning and make them into parables. And it is the truth, as we find that they said to explain the verse (I Chronicles 11:22), "he smote the two powerful lions of Moav," that it is all a parable; and so [too] that which is stated [further in the verse] "he descended and smote the lion in the pit" is a parable. And so [too] that which is stated (I Chronicles 11:17), "Who will give me water to drink from the well of Beit Lechem," and the entire story is all a parable (Bava Kamma 60b). And so [too] about the story of Iyov in its entirety, some of them said it was a parable (Bava Batra 15a), and they did not explain for what thing it was made a parable. And so [too], some of them said that the dead of Yechezkel was a parable (Sanhedrin 72b). And there are many [examples] like this. And if you, the reader, are from one of the first two groups, do not pay attention to my words and not to any matter of it; since no part of it will be fit for you, but [rather] it will hurt you and you will hate it. For how can light foods that are few in quantity but proper in quality be fit for a person who is accustomed to bad foods - rather, in truth, they will hurt him and he will hate them. Did you not know what the people that were accustomed to eating onions and garlic and fish said (Numbers 21:5), "and our souls are disgusted, etc."? But if you are from the third group, [so that] when you see one of their words that intelligence pushes off, you stop and reflect about it and know that it is a riddle and a parable, and you lay burdened in your heart and occupied by the meaning of the idea in the composition and in its rational meaning and think to find the intelligent intention and the straight faith, as is states (Ecclesiastes 12:10), "to find words of desire and written straightly, even words of truth" - and [if so], look into this book of mine and it will help you, with God's help. And now I will begin to speak about that which I intended: You should know that just like the blind man does not grasp appearance of colors and the deaf man does not grasp the sound of voices and the eunuch sexual desire, so too bodies do not grasp spiritual pleasures. And just like the fish do not know the element of fire, since they are in the element of water, which is its opposite; so too, in this physical world, pleasures of the spiritual world are not known. Rather we do not have among us any of this pleasure, but only pleasures of the body and that which is grasped by the senses [regrading] food and drink and sex. And anything besides these is non-existent for us and we do not recognize it. [Neither] do we grasp it at first thought, but only after great analysis. And it is fitting that it is like this, since we are in the physical world, and that is why we only grasp the lower temporary pleasures. But the spiritual pleasures are permanent, lasting forever, without end. And there is no connection or similarity in any way between these [two types] of pleasures. And it is not fit for us, the masters of Torah, and not for the Godly of the philosophers that we should say that the angels or the stars or the spheres do not have any pleasure; but rather they truly have great pleasure in that they know and grasp the truth of the Creator, may He be blessed. And so [too], when the one that will be purified is purified and he goes up to that level after his death, he does not grasp the physical pleasures and does not want them. But rather it is similar to if a king who is the top of the government would divest himself of his kingdom and his government and go back to playing ball with children, like he used to do before his kingdom. Since that was in his being small of years when he did not distinguish between the worth of these two things; just as we today praise and elevate the physical pleasures and not the spiritual pleasures. And when you reflect on the matter of these two pleasures, you will find the inferiority of the one and loftiness of the other - and even in this world. And that is because you will find that most people always tire themselves and their bodies in toil and exertion, that has no equal, in order that worth and honor come to him and that people elevate him. And this pleasure is not pleasure of food and drink. And likewise, many people will choose to take revenge on his enemies more than acquiring many physical pleasures. And [also] many people distance themselves from the greatest of the physical pleasures out of fear that disgrace and embarrassment from people come to him from this, or because he is seeking to have a good name. And if its matter is such in this physical world, all the more so is it in the spiritual world; and that is the world to come - that our souls will fathom there the knowledge of the Creator, may He be blessed, just like the supernal bodies fathom [Him] or more [so]. And this pleasure cannot be divided into sections and cannot be recounted; and you will not find a parable by which to compare this pleasure. But rather it is as the prophet, peace be upon him, said when the greatness of that good and its value were so wondrous in his eyes. He said (Psalms 31:20), "How great is Your good that You have hidden for those that fear You." And so [too], they, may their memory be blessed, said (Berakhot 17a), "In the world to come there is no eating and no drinking and no bathing and no anointing and no intercourse, but rather the righteous ones sit and their crowns are upon their heads and they derive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Presence." He wants to say by stating, "and their crowns are upon their heads," the permanence of their soul in the existence of that which is fathomed by them, and that is the Creator, may He be blessed; and in that He - meaning that which is fathomed (the active Intellect) - and he are one thing, as the philosophers have mentioned in ways that are [too] lengthy for here. And by their saying, "and they derive pleasure from the radiance of the Divine Presence," I would say that those souls derive pleasure in that which they grasp and know of the truth of the Creator, may He be blessed, like the holy creatures and the other levels of angels derive pleasure, in what they grasp and know of His existence. Behold, that the ultimate good and objective is to reach this supernal company and to be with this honor and the level mentioned, and the preservation of the soul - as we have explained - without an end, in the existence of the Creator, may He be blessed, Who is the cause of its existence, since [the soul] has grasped Him, as is explained by the first philosophers. And this is the great good, to which there is no good to equate to it and no pleasure to compare to it, since how can the eternal that has no end and no finish be compared to something finite. And this is what it stated (Kiddushin 39b), "'In order that it will be good for you and you will lengthen your days' (Deuteronomy 22:7) - in the world that is completely long." And the complete bad and great reprisal is that the soul be cut off and be destroyed and that it not be alive and existent. And this is the cutting off (karet) that is written in the Torah, as in (Numbers 15:31), "and that soul will surely be cut off (hikaret, yikaret)." And they, of blessed memory, said, "Hikaret - in this world, yikaret - in the world to come" (Sanhedrin 64b). And it is stated (I Samuel 25:29), "the soul of my master shall be bundled in the bundle of life." Behold, in all that he chose and accustomed himself to the pleasures of the body and disdained truth and loved falsehood, his soul was cut off from this level and it remained cut off matter [after his death]. And the prophet, peace be upon him, already elucidated that the world to come is not grasped by the physical senses and this is what is stated (Isaiah 64:3), "an eye has not seen, O Lord, except for You." And they said in explanation of this, "All of the prophets only prophesied about the days of the Messiah, but about the world to come, 'an eye has not seen, O Lord, except for You'" (Berakhot 34b). As for the matter of good outcomes and reprisals and bad (besides cutting off) that are written in the Torah, it is what I will explain to you. And it is that He says to you, "If you will do these commandments, I will help you with their performance and to be complete in them, and I will remove from you all of the obstacles and impediments." As it is impossible for a man to do the commandments for Him, when he is sick and hungry or thirsty and in a time of war and siege. And therefore He makes it come out that all of these matters will be removed, and that they be healthy and quiet until [their] knowledge is perfected and they merit life in the world to come. Behold that the objective of the reward of doing [the precepts of] the Torah is not in all of these things. And so too, if they violate the Torah, the punishment of these bad things that will befall them is [so that] they will not be able to do the commandments; and as it is stated (Deuteronomy 28:47), "Since you did not serve." And when you reflect upon this with complete reflection, you will find it is as if He says to you, "If you have done some of the commandments from love and with effort, I will help you to do them all, and I will remove from you the obstacles and impediments; and if you abandon one of them in the manner of disgracing [it], I will bring impediments to you that will impede you from them doing all of them, until you not have wholeness and existence in the world to come. And this is the matter that they said, of blessed memory (Avot 4:2), "The payment (reward) of a commandment is a commandment and the payment of a sin is sin." And the Garden of Eden, however, is a rich and fertile place - the choicest of lands. It has many rivers and fruit-bearing trees. God, may He be blessed, will reveal it to people in the future to come and show that way that leads to it, and they will enjoy it. And it is possible that they will find very wonderful plants that are very useful in it, besides the ones that are known and famous to us. And all of this is neither impossible nor unlikely, but rather it is likely - and even if had not been written in the Torah; all the more so, since it is elucidated and publicized in the Torah. Gehinnom, however, is the name for the pain and the punishment that will come to the evildoers, but the Talmud did not give a [definitive] description of this punishment. Rather, there are those that say that the sun will approach them and burn them, and their proof to this is from that which is stated (Malachi 3:19), "behold [the sun of] the day is coming, burning like a furnace." And there are some that say that a strange heating up will begin in their bodies and burn them, and their proof to this is from that which it states (Isaiah 33:11), "your spirit is fire, it shall consume you." And the revival of the dead is from the main fundamental principles of Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him. And there is no religion and no attachment to the Jewish religion for the one who does not believe [in] this. But it is [only] for the righteous, and so [too] is [this found in] the language of Bereishit Rabbah, "The power of rain is for the righteous and for the evildoers, but the revival of the dead is only for the righteous." And how should the evildoers be revived - as they are dead even in their lifetime? And so [too] did they say (Berakhot 18b), "Evildoers are called dead even in their lives, righteous people are called living even in their death." And you should know that man, per force, must die and decompose and return to what he is composed of. The days of the Messiah, however, is the time when rulership will return to Israrel and that they will go back to the land of Israel and that this king will be very great, and the seat of his rulership will be in Zion (Jerusalem). His fame will grow and his mention will be among all of the nations, [even] more than King Shlomo. And all of the peoples will make peace with him and all of the lands will serve him, due to his great righteousness and due to the wonders that will come about though him. And anyone that comes against him, God, may He be elevated, will deliver into his hand. And all of the [relevant] verses in Scripture testify to his success and our success with him. And nothing about existence will change from what it is now, except that rulership will return to Israel. And this is the language of the sages (Sanhedrin 91b), "There is no difference between this world and the days of the Messiah except for the subjugation by the nations alone." And there will be in his days rich and poor, strong and weak, in relation to each other. But it will be very easy in those days for people to find their sustenance; to the point that with a little effort that a person exerts, a great output will result. And this is what they said (Shabbat 30b), "In the future the land of Israel will produce loaves of bread and woolen garments"; since people say that when a person finds something prepared and ready, "So-and-so found baked bread and cooked food." And the proof to this is that which is stated (Isaiah 61:5), "and foreigners shall be your plowmen and your vintners," to show that there will [still] be planting and reaping. And therefore this sage who said this statement to his student got angry when [the latter] did not understand his words and thought that it was as its simple meaning. And he responded to him according to his understanding and that answer was not a true answer. And the proof that he did not respond to him with a true answer is that he brought a proof from (Proverbs 26:4-5), "Do not answer a fool according to his folly[... Answer a fool according to his folly]." And the great objective that will occur in those days is that we shall rest from the subjugation by the nations which prevents us from the performance of all of the commandments; and that wisdom will grow, as it is stated (Isaiah 11:9), "since the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord." And the wars will cease, as it is stated (Micah 4:3), "and nation will not lift up sword against nation." And great wholeness will be found in those days and we will merit through it to life in the world to come. But the Messiah will die and his son will reign in his place, and [likewise] his grandson. And the prophet has already elucidated his death: "He will not tire and will not be crushed until he puts justice in the world"(Isaiah 42:5). And his rulership will extend for very many days and the lives of people will also lengthen. Since when worries and troubles are removed, the days of a man are lengthened. And one should not wonder that his rulership will last for thousands of years, since the sages said about the gathering of good, that when it gathers, it will not quickly separate. And we do not desire and hope for the days of the Messiah because of the multitude of produce and wealth and not [since] we will ride on horses and not [since] we will drink wine accompanied by types of song, as ones of confused intellect imagine. But [rather] the prophets and pious ones desired the days of the Messiah - and their longing for it grew - because of what will be in it from the gathering of the righteous and the proper administration and wisdom, and from the righteousness of the king and his great uprightness, and the heft of his wisdom and closeness to God, as it is stated (Psalms 2:7), "the Lord said to me, 'You are my son, I conceived you today'"; and the performance of all of the commandments of the Torah of Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - without negligence and laziness and without duress. As it is stated (Jeremiah 31:33), "And they will not continue to teach a man [to his brother and a man to his fellow] saying, 'Know the Lord,' since they will all know me, from their small ones to their big ones"; "and I have placed my Torah in their hearts" (Jeremiah 31:32); "and I will remove your heart of stone from your flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). And there are many of these [types of] verses about this matter. And through these matters, they would strongly attain [life in] the world to come. And the objective is the world to come and towards it is the effort. And therefore this sage (the author of this mishnah), who is established in his knowledge of the truth, investigated [what is] the ultimate objective and left that which was other than it, and said, "All Jews have a share in the world to come." And [even] if it is the desired objective, it is not fitting for one who wants to be one who serves from love, that he should serve in order to reach the world to come, as we have elucidated in what came before. But [rather], one should serve in the way that I will say. And that is that if he believes that there is wisdom, and it is the Torah which came to the prophets from the Creator, may He be elevated, who informed them through it of the virtues and they are the commandments and the defects and they are the sins, [then] it is fitting for him from the angle of his being a man of proper disposition that he should do the good and go away from the bad. And when he does this, he achieves humanness and is distinguished from animals. And when a person is whole [like this], it is from the nature of the whole person that there not be an impediment for his soul to exist in the existence that is known for it, and that is the world to come, as we have said. And this is [the meaning of] what is stated (Psalms 32:9), "Do not be like a horse, like a mule that does not understand, with a bit and a bridle is his mouth restrained" [to be] like the impediments of animals from impulses, which is something external, like a bit and a bridle. And it is not fitting for a person to be like this, but [rather] his impediment should be from him and from his essence. I mean to say that the human form when it is complete is what impedes him from those things that wholeness prevents, and these are called the defects. And [his form] will energize him and push him towards that which will bring him to wholeness and that is the virtues. This is what has been clarified to me from all of their words about this lofty and weighty matter. And I will still write a composition in which I will gather all of the homilies that are found in the Talmud and in other [books] and I will elucidate them and analyze them such that they be fitting with the truth of [their] matters, and I will also give proofs [to this] from their words. And I will reveal which of the homilies are like their simple understanding and which are parables and which were dreams [even though] they are described in completely straightforward statements, as if they were in a waking state. And in that composition I will elucidate for you many beliefs and there I will elucidate all of the things of these principles that I have given to you a little [here, that you] extrapolate from them to the others. And one should not be exacting with me, that in this essay I have somewhat overlooked words and matters about which experts are exacting; since I have overlooked this exactitude to allow for understanding for the one that has no prior education in this lofty matter that not all people grasp. And [concerning others enumerated by the mishnah as not having a share in the world to come,] the word, "epikores," is Aramaic. Its meaning is one who abandons (mafkir) and denigrates the sages or a specific Torah scholar or denigrates his teacher. And they said that "outside books" are the books of those who err and so [too] the book of Ben Sira - and he composed books that included buffoonery about matters of facial recognition. They do not have reason or a point except for wasting time with vanities. For example, those books found by the Arabs of historical stories and the conduct of kings, the genealogy of the Arabs, songbooks and the like are from the books that do not have any wisdom or physical benefit, except for wasting time. "And one who whispers [an incantation] over a wound" [has no share in the world to come] - and provided that it is with spit - because this involves a denigration of God, may He be blessed. And [likewise], one who pronounces the name [of God] with its letters, yod, hay vav, hay - which is the explicit name (shem hameforash). And they have already mentioned things besides these, that if one does them, he has no share in the world to come: they said (Bava Metzia 59b), one who whitens the face of his fellow in public and one calls his fellow by his nickname and (Yerushalmi Chagigah 2:1) one who derives honor from his friend's disgrace. Since one would not do from these acts - and even though one might think them to be light sins - except for one with an inferior spirit that does not have wholeness and is not fitting for the world to come. And from that which is necessary that we mention here - and [here] is the most fitting of all places - is that the fundamental beliefs and the foundational principles of our religion are thirteen principles: The first principle To believe in the existence of the Creator, may He be blessed, and that is that there is a Being complete in all the ways of existence. He is the cause of the existence of all other things in existence. Through Him does their existence survive and from Him is their survival. And one cannot imagine the lack of His existence, since in the lack of His existence, the existence of all things dissolves and no thing's existence would survive. And if we were to imagine the lack of all other things in existence besides Him, the existence of God, may He be blessed, would not dissolve and not be diminished. Unity and Mastery only belong to God, may His name be blessed, since He suffices in His [own] existence. It is enough for Him to be by Himself and He doesn't need the existence of anything else. And everything besides Him of the angels and the bodies of the planets and what is in them and what is below them - all need Him for their existence. And this is the first principle, [and] it is indicated by the 'first commandment' - "I am the Lord, your God" (Exodus 20:2). The second principle The unity of God, may He be blessed, which is to say that we believe that He who is the cause of everything is one. And He is not like one of a pair and not like one of a group and not like one person that can be divided into many [smaller] units and not like a simple body which is numerically one [but] can be infinitely divided. Rather He - God, may He be blessed - is one in a unity that has no unity like it. And this is the second principle, [and] it is indicated by that which is stated, "Listen Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one." The third principle Denial of His physicality and that is that we believe that this Unity that we mentioned is not a body and not the power of a body and that actions of a body do not relate to Him, not in His essence and not in His doings. And hence the sages, may their memory be blessed, denied [the possibility of] His composition and dissolution and said (Chagigah 15a), "Above there is no sitting or standing, no backside (aoref) and no weariness (aipui)," which is to say say no dissolution, and that is aoref, and no composition, and that is aipui, as per the usage (Isaiah 11:14), "And they aifu on the shoulder of the Philistines," which is to say they pushed themselves onto [their] shoulder to connect to them. And the prophet said (Isaiah 40:25), "'And to whom do you compare Me and I be equated,' says the Holy."[But] were He a body, He would be comparable to [other] bodies. And everything that comes in the holy Scriptures that describes Him in physical ways, such as walking or standing or sitting or speaking, or similar to it, it is all by way of metaphor. And so did the rabbis say (Berakhot 31b), "The Torah speaks in the language of people." And the sages already spoke much about this matter. And this third principle is indicated by that which is stated (Deuteronomy 4:15), "for you did not see any image" - which is to say, you did not perceive Him as something with an image, because He is - as we mentioned - not a body and not the power of a body. The fourth principle Preexistence and that is that we believe that this Unity that we mentioned is absolutely preexisting, and that no other existing thing besides Him was preexisting in relation to Him. And the proofs to this in the holy Scriptures are many. And this fourth principle is indicated by that which is stated (Deuteronomy 33:27), "The abode of the preexisting God." The fifth principle That He is the One that is fitting to serve and to exalt and to make His greatness known and to do His commandments; and not to do this to that which is below Him in existence - from the angels and the stars and the spheres and the elements and what which is composed of them. As they are all designed and there is no judgement and no free choice in their actions - only to Him, may He be blessed. And so [too], it is not fitting to serve them in order that they be intermediaries to bring them closer to Him, but rather to Him alone should they direct their thoughts and leave everything besides Him. And this fifth principle is that idolatry (worship of others) is prohibited, and most of the Torah prohibits this. The sixth principle Prophecy and that is that a person should know that among the human species, there is found those that naturally have highly elevated character traits and great wholeness and their souls become fit until they receive the form of the intellect. Afterwards that human intellect clings to the Active Intellect and It emanates lofty emanation to him. And these are the prophets and this is prophecy and this is its understanding. And the full elucidation of this principle is very lengthy and it is not our intention to demonstrate all of its paradigms and to elucidate the nature of its attainment; as this is the understanding of wisdom, more generally. Rather, I am mentioning it only in passing. And the verses of the Torah testify to the prophecy of many prophets. The seventh principle The prophecy of Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - and that is that we believe that he was the father of all the prophets that were before him and that arose after him, [meaning] that all are below him in [loftiness] and that he is the chosen one from the entire human species. [This is so] since he grasped more of His knowledge than any man who lived and more than any man who will live, and he arrived at an elevation above man - until he reached the level of angels and was included in the domain of the angels. No barrier remained that he did not pierce and go through and no physical impediment impeded him and no defect - whether large or small - was a part of him. And the illusory and physical powers and their perceptions disappeared from him and the power of arousal and desire were separated from him and he remained only intellect. And about this matter, it is stated about him that he would speak with God, may He be blessed, without an angelic intermediary. My desire was to elucidate this amazing matter and to open the lock from the verses of the Torah and to explain the meaning of "Mouth to mouth" (Numbers 12:8) and the entire verse besides [this phrase] about this matter. However, I saw that these matters would require very many proofs and that we would have needed many propositions and introductions and parables, and that we first elucidate the existence of angels and the difference in their level from the Creator, God - may He be blessed - and that we elucidate the [nature of the] soul and all of its powers. And the circle would be so wide to the point that we would speak about the forms that the prophets spoke about, that are fitting for the Creator and for the angels. And we would enter into this with a full posture and in its context. And a hundred pages would not suffice just for this matter - and even if it was greatly shortened. And therefore I will leave it for its place, whether in the book of homilies that I have projected to write or in the books of prophecy that I am involved with or in the book that I will write to elucidate these principles. And I will return to the understanding of this seventh principle and I will say that the prophecy of Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - is distinct from the prophecy of all [other] prophets in four ways: The first one is that any prophet that existed was only spoken to by God, may He be blessed, through an intermediary. And Moshe was without an intermediary, as it states, "Mouth to mouth will I speak to him." And the second matter is that any [other] prophet would not get prophecy except when he was sleeping - as it is stated in many places, "in a dream at night," "in an apparition at night" and many like this - or during the day after falling into a trance in such a way that all of his feelings disappear from him and his [faculty of] thought becomes [fully] available, like in the matter of a dream. And this matter is called an apparition or a vision and about it, it is stated, "the vision of God." And the [divine] speech would come to Moshe during the day and he would be standing between the two cherubs (of the tabernacle), as God, may He be blessed, testified about it, "And I will meet you there" (Exodus 25:22). And God, may He be blessed, said (Numbers 12:6-8), "if you will have prophecies, etc. Not so is my servant, Moshe [...] Mouth to mouth I will speak to him, etc." And the third matter is that when a prophecy comes to [another] prophet - even though it is in a vision and through an angel - his powers weaken and his frame shrinks and a very great fear comes upon him; [so much so] that his spirit almost leaves him, as it is stated in Daniel 10:8-16, when [the angel,] Gavriel spoke with him, he said, "and there remained no strength in me and my expression changed upon me to destruction and I retained no strength," and he said, "and I was asleep on my face and my face was to the ground," and he said, "my pains have turned upon me." But Moshe, peace be upon him - was not like this; since the [divine] word would come upon him and fear and trembling would not come upon him in any way; as it is stated (Exodus 33:11), "And the Lord would speak to Moshe, face to face, as a man would speak to his fellow"; which is to say, just like the speech of his friend does not cause trembling to a person, so [too] was Moshe - peace be upon him - that he would not tremble from the [divine] word, and even though he was face to face. And this is because of the strength of his intellect's cleaving [to God], as we have mentioned. And the fourth matter is that the spirit of prophecy did not rest upon all of the [other] prophets according to their will, but only according to the will of God, may He be blessed. As behold, [it would happen that] a prophet would remain for days or years and not receive prophecy. And he would remain and request from the Creator, God - may He be blessed - that he inform him about something in prophecy and he would wait until he prophesied, for days or months, or He would not inform him in any regard. And there were among them groups that would prepare themselves and purify their thoughts - as Elisha did, as it is written (II Kings 3:15), "And now get me a musician" - and prophecy would come to him. But it was not necessarily [the case] that he would prophesy at the time that he prepared for it. But Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - [could receive prophecy] at any time that he wanted: He said (Numbers 9:8), "Wait and I will hear what the Lord commands for you"; and it is stated (Leviticus 16:2), "speak to your brother Aharon, that he should not come at any time to the Holy" - the sages, may their memory be blessed, said (Sifra on Leviticus 16:2), "Aharon is [in the category of] 'he should not come [at any time],' but Moshe is not [in the category of] 'he should not come.' The eighth principle That the Torah is from Heaven and that is that we believe that this Torah that is given to us through Moshe, our teacher - peace be upon him - is completely from the mouth of the Almighty; which is to say that it all came to him from God, may He be blessed, in a manner that is metaphorically called speech. And no one knows how it came to him except Moshe himself, peace be upon him - since it came to him. And [we believe] that he was like a scribe who is dictated to and writes down all of the events, the stories and the commandments. And therefore [Moshe] is called the engraver. And there is no difference between "And the sons of Cham were Kush and Mitsrayim" (Genesis 10:6), "and his wife's name was" Meheitabel" (Genesis 36:39), "And Timnah was his concubine" (Genesis 36:12) [ on the one hand] and "I am the Lord, your God" (Exodus 20:2) and "Hear Israel" (Deuteronomy 6:4) [on the other]; since they are all from the mouth of the Almighty and it is all the Torah of God - complete, pure and holy truth. And anyone who says, "These type of verses or stories were written by Moshe on his own," is for our sages and prophets a heretic, and one who reveals [incorrect] faces [of the Torah] more than all of the heretics; since he thinks that there is a heart and a peel to the Torah and that these chronicles and stories don't have a point to them and that they are from Moshe our teacher - peace be upon him. And this matter of one who holds that the Torah is not from Heaven, the sages said about it (Sanhedrin 99a), that it is one who believes the whole Torah is from the mouth of the Almighty except for this one verse, which the Holy One, blessed be He, did not say, but rather it was from Moshe himself. And this is "Since he disgraced the word of the Lord" (Numbers 13:31) - God, may He be blessed, is above the statements of the heretics. Rather every single word of the Torah contains wisdom and wonders for the one who understands them. And their ultimate wisdom is not [fully] grasped, as 'its measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea.' And a man should only walk in the footsteps of of David, the anointed of the God of Yaakov, who prayed (Psalms 119:18), "Uncover my eyes and I shall look upon the wonders of Your Torah." And so too, the accepted understanding of the Torah is also from the Almighty; and [so] that which we today make a [certain] form for the sukkah, the lulav, the shofar, the tsitsit, the tefilllin and other [such maters], it is the exact form that God, may He be blessed, said to Moshe, and which [Moshe] told to us - and he is reliable in his charge. And the statement that indicates this principle is that which is stated (Numbers 16:28), "with this shall you know that it is the Lord that sent me to do all of these acts, and it is not from my heart." The ninth principle Faithful transmission and that is that this Torah has faithfully been transmitted from the Creator, God - may He be blessed - and not from anyone else. And [so] it cannot be added to and it cannot be taken away from, as it is stated (Deuteronomy 13:1), "you shall not add to it and you shall not take away from it." And we have already elucidated this principle in the introduction to this composition. The tenth principle is that God, may He be blessed, knows the actions of people and does not ignore them. Not like the opinion of the one that said that 'the Lord abandoned the earth,' but rather as it is stated (Jeremiah 32:19), "Great of counsel and mighty of works, as Your eyes are open upon all the ways of people, etc."; "And the Lord saw that the evil of man was mighty upon the earth, etc." (Genesis 6:5); and it is stated (Genesis 18:2), "the yelling of Sodom and Ammorah, as it was mighty." And this is what indicates this tenth principle. The eleventh principle is that God, may He be blessed gives reward to the one who does the commandments of the Torah and punishes the one who transgresses its prohibitions and that the great reward is the world to come and that the strong punishment is being cut off. And we have already said about this matter that which will suffice. And the verse that indicates this principle is that which is stated (Exodus 32:32), "And now, if You will lift up their sin; but if not, erase me please," and God, may He be blessed, answered him (Exodus 32:33), "The one who sins against Me, I will erase from My book" - this is a proof that that He knows the servant and the sinner to give reward to this [one] and punishment to that [one]. The twelfth principle The Messianic era and that is to believe and to confirm that he will come and not to think that he is late. 'If the tarries, wait for him' and do not give him a [set] time and do not create analyses from the verses to extrapolate the time of his coming. And the sages said (Sanhedrin 97b), "The spirit of those that calculate the end should blow up." And [from this principle is] that he believes that [the Messiah] will have great advantage and stature and honor above all of the kings that ever were; according to that which all of the prophets prophesied about him; from Moshe, our teacher, - peace be upon him - to Malachi, peace be upon him. And one who doubts him or for whom his stature is diminished denies the Torah, as the Torah testifies about him in Parshat Bilaam and in Parshat Atem Netsavim. And included in this principle is that there should not be a king in Israel except from the House of David alone. And anyone who disputes [the status] of this family, denies the name of God, may He be blessed, and the words of His prophets. The thirteenth principle The Revival of the dead and we have already elucidated it. And when a person believes in all of these principles and his faith in them is clarified, he enters into the category of Israel; and it is [then] a commandment to love him and to have mercy upon him and to act with him according to everything which God, may He be blessed, commanded about the a man towards his fellow, regarding love and brotherhood. And even if he does what is in his ability from the sins, because of desire and the overpowering of his base nature, he is punished according to his sins, but he [still] has a share in the world to come, and is [only considered to be] from the sinners of Israel. But if one of these principles becomes compromised for a person, behold, he exits the category of Israel and denies a fundamental [dogma] and is called an apostate, a heretic and 'someone who cuts the plantings.' And it is a commandment to hate him and to destroy him, and about him it is stated (Psalms 139:21), "Do I not hate those that You hate, O Lord." And behold, I have written at great length about these things and I have gone on a tangent from the subject of my composition, but I have done this because I saw an [important] point to it about faith - as I have collected many useful things scattered in [various] great books. And you should know them and have success with them and review (these) [over them] many times and reflect on them with a proper reflection. And if your heart carries you away to think that you understand its content from one [reading] - or from ten - you will know that it has carried you away falsely. And therefore, do not haste in your reading of it; since I did not write it according to that which [just] came to me, but rather after great analysis and reflection. And after I saw clear and true opinions and [also] those not true, then I knew what was fitting to believe from them and brought proof in the claims and proofs on each and every matter. And it is from God, may He be blessed, to fulfill my wish and to guide me in the good path. And I will [now] return to the subject of the chapter [in the Mishnah].