Volume 29 Number 64
                 Produced: Sat Aug 28 21:28:56 US/Eastern 1999

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

An Explicit Biblical Source for the Next World
         [Russell Hendel]
Fundamentals of Faith (5)
         [Stan Tenen, David and Toby Curwin, Ken G. Miller, Lee David
Medinets, Zvi Weiss]


From: Russell Hendel <rhendel@...>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 1999 22:42:18 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: An Explicit Biblical Source for the Next World

Joseph Adler asks in MJ V29n60
>if the concept of ... the after life is so
>important to Jewish faith, why then does one have to rely on a
>Midrashic-like analysis to prove that the concept of the Messiah is in
>fact Biblical in origin?

A simple answer to 'EXPLICIT statement of the next world' was given
by me in the email group Torah Forum in Apr 97(or 98). The bottom
line is that the Biblical phrase ORECH YAMIM (LONG DAYS) is identical
with the concept of the hereafter (OLAM HABAH) in Rabbinic literature.

Here is a brief synopsis of the argument:

1) The Bible in about a dozen places EXPLICITLY lists the reward
for observing the commandments as ORECH YAMIM.

2) RDQ points out that ORECH YAMIM does not mean (PHYSICALLY) LONG
DAYS but rather (QUALITATIVELY) LONG DAYS (Just as e.g. the word BIG
can refer to BIG size or IMPORTANCE so too can LONG refer to PHYSICAL
LENGTH (long life) or a GOOD LIFE).

3) If you go to a Konkordance and look up the places where ORECH YAMIM
occurs you will see that the reward for the commandments is EXACTLY
what Rabbinic literature describes as the next world. Indeed the Bible
describes this ORECH YAMIM reward as a world where
---we speak about God's wonders
---we find happiness in studying God's law
---we find happiness in honesty and our vocational teachers/peers

I hope this helps in appreciating this difficult but vast concept

Russell Hendel; PHd ASA; Moderator Rashi Is Simple;


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 10:13:48 -0400
Subject: Re: Fundamentals of Faith

In m-j Vol 29 #60, Joseph Adler asks why belief in Moshiach does not
appear in Torah, "when the Torah could have explicitly spelled out the
concept as it does with the various other Mitzvot."

In modern times, there's been a misunderstanding with regard to
Moshiach, which unfortunately we apparently picked up from Christians.
In the famous disputation under James I of Aragon, between Nachmanides
and Christian convert Pablo Christiani, Nachmanides tells us that
Moshiach is waiting in Gan Eden.

What we are not told these days is how to get to Gan Eden, and how to
draw down Moshiach.  This was the purpose of Rabbi Akiba and his three
companions.  If all four had successfully reached Gan Eden in the
"Pardes" meditation, those four would have formed the four-fingers of
the Hand of G-d in the form of Moshiach.  But only Akiba returned whole.

Moshiach as we now discuss the concept seems to have become an
anthropomorphization a la the Christian model.  But I don't believe this
was ever intended.  Instead, based on what we're taught, I believe it's
much more reasonable to presume (and in the face of such a mystery,
presume is all we can do, and we should be clear to label it
presumption) that Moshiach is the personal "greeter" we each meet at the
time of our death (or ego-death, in the Pardes meditation).  When we can
accomplish the Pardes meditation, and when we are as humble and free of
ego and willfullness as Moshe (or Akiba), then we can reach and
experience Moshiach in the deepest meditation.

Now, Moshiach is located at the Sabbath-point of the meditation.  That
may be why we are taught that Moshiach will come when we all keep
Shabbos for two Shabboses, because that would mean we, like Akiba and
his companions had hoped, could draw down Moshiach into the objective
world.  Short of that, we can each find Moshiach in Gan Eden, in Pardes.

But how do we get to Pardes?  It seems to me that there's only one
possible answer.  No observant Jew would look anywhere except in Torah
for spiritual guidance and practice.  The pattern of letters in Torah
specifies the Pardes meditation when we internalize it.  (That's why
there are codes in Torah.  They don't list prophecies, they empower
prophecy. Big difference.)

So, in a way, Moshiach is in Torah, because Moshiach, in a sense, is

This is an extraordinarily important issue, and it should be seriously
investigated by the best and brightest of our rabbinic authorities,
right now, today.  The science of consciousness in Torah can bring
Moshiach, and it can shine the light of Torah in the world.  I believe
Jewish survival depends on this.

Meru Foundation   http://www.meru.org   <meru1@...>

From: David and Toby Curwin <curwin@...>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 18:00:45 +0300
Subject: RE: Fundamentals of Faith

Joseph Adler <jadler@...>
> That is, if the concept of the Mashiach and the after life is so
> important to Jewish faith, why then does one have to rely on a
> Midrashic-like analysis to prove that the concept of the Messiah is in
> fact Biblical in origin?  

I think I you need to separate the concepts of Mashiach and afterlife
(olam ha'ba).

As far as the Mashiach goes, I don't think there is any question that
the idea of redemption is prominently featured in the Torah, and even
more so in the rest of the Tanach. And while redemption by an individual
-- Mashiach -- is central to the Rambam, and later almost all of Jewish
thought, that was not the only view. Look at Sefer HaIkkarim by R' Yosef
Albo for a view that redemption by Mashiach is not central to the faith
(sorry, but I don't have the location on me.)  So while the way
redemption would take place is definitely open to disagreement (even the
Rambam makes that clear in the end of Hilchot Malachim), the idea of
redemption itself is guaranteed, and therefore appears clearly in the

Olam Haba (the "after life") is more complicated. One explanation I read
(I think Rabbi Riskin) for the reason the Torah always promises physical
rewards in this world, instead of the spiritual reward of paradise, is
that paradise is easy to promise. Every religion does.  But to promise
physical reward is to indicate that God's will actually will be seen in
this world. Paradise is easy -- rain is hard.

My personal view is that while paradise very well might exist, it is not
the main goal. I translate Olam Haba as "the future" -- in this physical
world. If anyone is interested, I can explain the basis for this theory.

-David Curwin
Kvutzat Yavne, Israel

From: Ken G. Miller <kgmiller@...>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 09:16:07 -0400
Subject: re: Fundamentals of Faith

In MJ 29:60, Joseph Adler asked why the concepts of Mashiach and
afterlife are mentioned in the written so very vaguely, if they are such
important concepts.

In MJ 29:61, Cheryl Maryles responded, <<< As far as afterlife, the
Ramban points out that if there is a punishment of kares which implies
being cut off, there must be something to be cut off from.(more than
mere death) The messianic era is clearly foretold in the prophcy of
bilam, as well as the later parshiot in dvarim. Where it clearly states
that in the end of days Hashem will gather the exiles etc. >>>

While these points are true, I think they miss the intent of the
original question. Compare these two concepts to the other 11 items in
the Ani Maamin, and you'll find that the others are either quite
explicit in the text of the Torah, or are logical points without which
the religion cannot stand. They are NOT dependent on hints and exegesis.

#1: Hashem directs the world. --- Logical requirement. If He did not, he
wouldn't be all-powerful.
#2: Hashem is one. --- Explicit in the Sh'ma.
#3: Hashem has no body. --- Explicit when Moshe asked to see Him.
#4: Hashem is first and last. --- Being first is explicit in Bereshis; being
last is required because otherwise there'd be other gods as well.
#5: Don't pray to others. --- Explicit in Ten Commandments.
#6: All the prophets were true. (I have to admit that I don't understand
this one so well.)
#7: Moshe's leadership. --- Explicit in the last paragraphs of the Torah.
#8: Our Torah is authentic. --- Logical requirement. If it were not
authentic, authority would break down.
#9: The Torah will never be changed. --- I understand this to be an
extension of #7.
#10: Hashem knows our thoughts. --- Explicit in many stories, such as Sarah
laughing about the news of her pregnancy.
#11: Reward and punishment. --- Explicit in many places, such as 2nd
paragraph of Sh'ma, and Tochacha.

Now, I fully admit that I have oversimplified all of these. I also admit
that the authorites do not agree on exactly what is included in each of
these; i.e., exactly which disbeliefs would render a person to be an
apikores. There are also authorities who argue against the whole idea of
a creed such as these 13 items. So let's not waste Internet bandwidth
quibbling about such details.

The main point is that everyone agrees that Mashiach and Resurrection
are very important concepts. At least according to those who *do* hold
by a form of this list of 13, Mr. Adler's question still stands: How did
these get to be so *important* without being explicit in the Torah?

Or to phrase it another way: Suppose we would use a time machine and ask
someone in Joshua's time, what they thought about Resurrection. I think
they whole generation might have said something like, "Well, gee, it
doesn't say much about it in the Torah. I suppose it's possible, sure."
Does that meet the level of "I believe with perfect faith" ??? I don't
think so.

Akiva Miller

From: Lee David Medinets <LDMLaw@...>
Date: Wed, 25 Aug 1999 18:16:27 -0400
Subject: Fundamentals of Faith

Joseph Adler asked and important question:
. . . If the concept of the Mashiach and the after life is so important to 
Jewish faith, why then does one have to rely on a Midrashic-like analysis 
to prove that the concept of the Messiah is in fact Biblical in origin?

 Essentially, Mr. Adler is asking why the written Torah is so obscure in
its references to mashiach and life after death, although there is a
wealth of discussion in the oral Torah on these subjects (even if much
of it is misunderstood).
 First, are these issues really so different from other important issues
in the Torah?  There are many, many important laws that are only hinted
at in the written Torah.  For example, Rosh HaShanah is only called "Yom
HaZichoron" in the Torah, and only a tiny hint is given of its purpose
and laws.  Where is the possuk that lists the melochas of Shabbos?  Very
few tractates in Mishnayos are built on more than about a dozen psukim.
We routinely squeeze vast oceans of oral Torah from drops of ink in the
written Torah.  And this is how it is meant to be, because in this way,
the study of Torah becomes the search for fundamental truth, in all its
various perspectives, shades and particulars.  In this way, the Torah
includes both Bais Shamai and Bais Hillel, both Rava and Abbaya, and
maybe, both you and your chevrusa.  No document written in a simple,
straightforward manner could include all 70 facets of truth, each with
its own 70 sparks of light.
 For these and several other interesting reasons, most of the laws in
the Torah have to be drawn out painstakingly from rules of
interpretation, applied in conjunction with a clear vision of Torah as a
 What is true of the laws of the Torah applies a hundred fold to the
meaning and significance in the Torah.  The primary business of the
written Torah is to communicate laws. As Rashi points out at the start
of Bereishis, any digression from that purpose must be specifically
justified.  So what laws are there that relate to mashiach and life
after death.  I can't think of any of the 613 mitzvahs that directly
depend on mashiach or on life after death (although I may be missing
something).  What is important about these concepts is not doing
anything, but believing, according to the Rambam, fully accepting the
reality of the eventual coming of mashiach, which basically means, the
eventual perfection of the world, and eventual techias hamasim, which
means the raising of the dead.
 If it is not an express mitzvah in the Torah to believe these things,
how does the Rambam know that we are obliged to believe them at all?  I
think that the answer to this is that these concepts are indisputable
corollaries of the world picture given to us by the Torah.  In brief, it
comes to this:
 G-d conceived of the perfect world described at the beginning of
Bereishis.  But that perfect world cannot exist if man is less than the
perfect realization of his own initial potential.  Therefore, we are
banished from that world until either we achieve that potential or until
G-d imposes it upon us.  Either way, the initial intention of HaShem
will eventually be realized.  It is contrary to our conception of HaShem
to think that His intentions might never be realized.  Therefore, we
must anticipate the completion of His plan and the establishment of the
kingdom He has designed.  We also believe that it is the intention of
G-d to do good for us by giving us life.  And yet, what good is this
gift if it is only lent to us.  Once we are dead, our lives would have
done us no good.
 Therefore, it must be that this gift is at least potentially permanent.
 To think otherwise makes this world ultimately futile and worthless.
To lack belief in the coming of mashiach and in techias hamasim
constitutes a fatal blemish in understanding the goodness and greatness
of HaShem.  And yet having both beliefs can change nothing of our
fundamental job while we are here.  Therefore, it is unnecessary for the
written Torah to describe these issues at length.  Rather, it is the
intellectual inevitability of these concepts that gives them
significance to us.
 Dovid Medinets

From: Zvi Weiss <weissz@...>
Date: Sat, 21 Aug 1999 22:55:14 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: Fundamentals of Faith

> There are several Mitzvot that are enumerated in
> the Torah in very clear and understandable language; why then do we need
> to rely upon a Remez to prove our point in these cases?

 By having some of the Ikkarei Ha'Emunah ("Principles of Faith") based
upon the Oral Law, it is made exquisitely crystal clear that one cannot
hope to be a JEw -- even in terms of "basic principles" without
acceptance of the Oral Law.



End of Volume 29 Issue 64