Question: How do we know that there is an olam haba – a World to Come?
Last week, we mentioned Jacob’s intention to reveal the End of Days to his children and Tractate Sanhedrin’s list of various verses (Numbers 18:28, Deuteronomy 11:21, Psalms 72:16) from which techi’at hameitim can be deduced.
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We find the following in Amos (9:9-15): “Ki hinei Anochi metzaveh vahanioti b’chol ha’goyim et Beit Yisrael ka’asher yinoa ba’kvora v’lo yipol tzror aretz – For behold, I decree that I will shake out the house of Israel among all the nations as grain is shaken through a sieve and all the pebbles fall to the ground. Ba’cherev yamutu kol chata’ai ami ha’omrim lo tagish v’takdim ba’adeinu ho’ro’oh – They will perish by the sword, all the sinners of My people, those who say, ‘Not because of us will the evil approach any sooner.’ Bayom ha’hu okim et sukat David ha’nofelet v’gadarti et pitzeihen va’harisotov akim u’vnisiaha kimei olam – On that I will raise up the fallen booth of David, I will repair their breaches and raise up its ruins, and I will build it up as in days of old.”
The prophecy continues: “L’ma’an yirshu et sh’erit Edom v’chol ha’goyim asher nikra Shmi aleihem n’eum Hashem oseh zot – So that they upon whom My Name is called may inherit the remnant of Edom and all the nations – the word of Hashem, who shall do this. Hineh yomim bo’im ne’um Hashem v’nigash choreish ba’kotzair v’doreich anavim b’mosheich hazorah v’hitifu he’harim asis v’chol ha’gevaot titmogag’nah – Behold days are coming, the word of Hashem, when plowman will meet the reaper and the trader of grapes will meet the one who carries the seed; the mountains will drip juice and the hills will melt. V’shavti et sh’vut ami Yisrael u’vanu orim n’shamot v’yashavu v’not’u kromim v’shatu et yeinam v’asu ganot v’ochlu et prihem – I will return the captivity of My people Israel, and they will rebuild desolate cities and settle them; they will plant vineyards and drink their wine, they will cultivate gardens and eat their fruits. U’netatem al admatom v’lo yinotshu od me’al admatom asher natati lahem amar Hashem – I will plant them upon their land and they will never again be uprooted from their land that I have given them, said Hashem, your G-d.”
How uplifting is this passage describing the wondrous Acharit Hayamim – End of Days – of our people in a manner consistent with what our patriarch Jacob might have revealed as he lay on his deathbed had the Shechina not departed from him.
The prophet Isaiah also gives us a glimpse of the End of Days that not only features the ascendancy of Israel and the Davidic royal dynasty by virtue of which everyone will recognize Hashem’s rule over the world, but even a peace that will reign among all living creatures. The adversarial relationship between predator and prey will end. “V’yatza choter mi’geza Yishai mi’shroshov yifreh – A staff will emerge from the stump of Jesse and a shoot will sprout from his roots” (Isaiah 11:1). These words allude to King Messiah, the scion of King David, who will rule over Hashem’s people.
Further on (11:6), Isaiah prophesies “V’gar ze’ev im keves v’namer im g’di yirbatz v’eigel u’kfir u’m’rie yachdav v’na’ar koton noheig bom. – The wolf will live with the sheep, and the leopard will lie down with the kid; and a calf, a lion whelp, and a young calf will walk together and a young child will lead them.”
As hard as it is to fathom, not only will the predatory nature of animals vanish, a young child will fearlessly lead them all. These words can surely also be interpreted allegorically to refer to Israel’s future ascendancy as leader of all the nations.
The prophet Ezekiel elaborates further on this theme (Ezekiel 37:24-28): “V’avdi Dovid melech Aleihem v’ro’eh echad yihyeh l’chulam u’b’mishpotai yeilchu v’chukosai yishm’ru v’asu otam – My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them; they will follow My ordinances and keep My decrees and fulfill them. V’yoshvu al ha’aretz asher natati l’avdi l’Yaakov asher yoshvu voh avoteichem v’yoshvu aleha heimah u’vneihem u’vnei v’neihem ad olam v’David avdi nasi lahem l’olam – They will dwell on the land that I gave to My servant Jacob within which your fathers dwelled [an allusion to Abraham, Isaac, and the 12 tribes as well], they and their children and their children’s children will dwell upon it forever, and my servant David will lead them forever.”
This last prophecy is a rather open allusion to te’chiat hameitim – the resurrection of the dead – as it speaks of the patriarchs and the tribes dwelling again in the land.
(To be continued)