(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Bais Medrash (c) Torah.Org
Date: Thu, 29 May 1997 21:51:57 -0400
From: email@example.com (Russell Hendel)
Subject: RE: Olam Habah In the Torah
I wish to unequivocally state that both olam habah and a complete
description of it exist in the Torah without any need for derash. Let me
review the situation to present.
Shoshana Lebovic in V3 n22 asks why Olam haba is not mentioned. I (V1 #1)
in turn replied that the Torah explicitly states that ARICUTH YAMIM is a
reward for mitzvoth and I suggest that the Bibles ARICUTH YAMIM = Olam Habah.
Lazer in the next issue pointed out that I may have found a REFERENCE to
Olam Haba (namely Aricuth Yamim) but I did NOT show a DESCRIPTION of it.
Lazer himself offered other REFERENCES to the Olam Haba concept (like its
opposite Kareth). The discussion continues with people like Daniel (V1 n5)
seeking other references.
I accept these criticisms that I only showed a REFERENCE but not a
DESCRIPTION to Olam Haba. But a DESCRIPTION does exist.
FIRST: We must establish the principle that words meaning "numerically
alot" can also mean "superior in quality". e.g.
- --GADOL = big (numerically more in inches) and it also means "important"
- --CAVOD = heavy(numerically more in pounds) and it means important
- --RVH = to reproduce (more in numbers) and to Teach(reproduce in quality)
The Radack, SEfer Hasharshim gives all these dual meanings.
NEXT: It would immediately follow that ARICUTH YAMIM "could" equally mean
(a) long life (increase in number of days) or (b) improved quality of life
In fact ARUCH can mean improving quality by"healing" as in Jer 30,17 or
even Neh 4:1("healing the walls of Jerusalem").
The Radack gives a beautiful insight: ORECH not only has 2 meanings but it
also has two forms: transitive and intransitive.
LONG LIFE (many days) is denoted by ARCH "FOR" (ARCHU LO (Gen 26:8).
QUALITY of LIFE is simply YAMEYCHAH YARICHUN(with no LAMED). Thus now we
can be certain that ARICUTH YAMIM in the mitzvoth refers to higher quality
of life (since the "no lamed" form is used).
What about Olam Habah? Well we have the following equations:
Olam Habah = Reward for Mitzvoth = Aricuth yamim (in Torah Language)
So to get our description of OLAM HABAH we simply LIST those 9 times we
are promised ARICUTH YAMIM(no lamed). We find that ARICUTH YAMIM comes from:
Doing all the mitzvoth---Dt 5:30,4:40/4:29,11:9
Learning-----------------Dt 17:20, 32:47, 6:2
Honoring ones parents----Dt 5:16 (and Dt 22:7 see Rav Hirsch)
Meticulousness in Honesty and Weights--Dt 25:15
Seeing G-ds miracles and doing mitzvoth---Dt 11:9
I believe this corresponds to the Talmudic conception of Olam Habah as a
place where one sits in G-ds presence and derives pleasure from Learning
and Doing mitzvoth. The inclusion of "honesty and weights" reminds me of
the Talmudic statement that in Olam Habah we sit with people of our own
profession(a similar concept can be made about parents).
I hope this suffices for now. My goal was to show that a simple Peshat
examination of the text without Derash shows us a concept of reward similar
to the Olam habah of the Talmud (except that it is called Aricuth yamim)
Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d. ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu