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Is there an explicit mention of the afterlife in the Torah?

by Rabbi DovBer Pinson


Library » Life Cycle » Death » Afterlife | Subscribe | What is RSS?




This is one of the questions that is asked and re-asked continuously in medieval Jewish thought. This question has vexed the greatest minds throughout the ages, beginning with the 10th century Iraqi sage Rabbi Saddiah Gaon, to the present. One of the prominent Jewish thinkers of 15th century Spain, the Abarbanel, offers that the answer is quite simple.

He argues that the Torah does not mention the rewards of the World to Come because that is not what the Torah is about. The rewards that will be received in the future, after life on this realm has ceased, should not be a pertinent factor in one's behavior in the present life. What is relevant to the discourse of life, is life as it is now, life at this very moment.

The intention of performing Mitzvahs should not be for the attainment of rewards in the after life, nor, should one feel that life is being lived to rectify that which has been done in a previous incarnation. What occurred in previous lives is not important, nor is it important to know what will become of us in a future world, what is relevant is Today. Any diversion of one's attention into the future or the past is a stolen moment from the extraordinary opportunity to live life in the present, and to make it special and worthwhile.


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Posted by: Daniel S., Marietta, GA on Nov 09, 2005

I have spent countless hours searching for a good explanation of the afterlife. What the Abarbanel has revealed to me is priceless; why should it matter? While I have questioned what will happen in the future, the present lost precious time which can not be regained. I could have performed a mitzvah or done more important study than worry. Thank you Rabbi DovBer Pinson:)


Philosophy » Afterlife

Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.