Tuesday, November 07, 2017

The Talmud, the Messiah, and the World to Come

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Peeking Into the World to Come. In this week’s ‘Daf Yomi,’ Talmudic rabbis delve into the practical questions around the Jewish afterlife. Like: will it be here on Earth? Will the Messiah be there, or will we be led there by his arrival? And what does redemption look like? Also, is the food kosher there?
As we saw last week, the final chapter of Tractate Sanhedrin is concerned with the World to Come. But what exactly is the World to Come, olam haba? Is it heaven, or the afterlife, or the end of the world, or the resurrection of the dead, or the messianic era? Will we all get to see it, or does it require extraordinary spiritual merit? These are the kinds of questions the rabbis ask in Chapter 11 of Sanhedrin. At the center of their speculations is the figure of the Messiah, whom the rabbis refer to simply as the Son of David, ben David, since he will be a descendant of the biblical king. At some point in the future, the rabbis are sure, the Messiah will come to redeem the Jewish people. But what exactly will this involve, and when is it going to happen?

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

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