There are a number of points in this Gemara that need clarification.
First, the Mishnah says that a person who denies Techiyas ha'Mesim has no
share in *Olam ha'Ba*, the *World to Come*. According to the Gemara's logic,
though, the Mishnah should have said that he will not have a share in
*Techiyas ha'Mesim*. How does Midah k'Neged Midah provide an explanation for
why he does not receive a share in Olam ha'Ba as a punishment for denying
If we suggest that the period of Techiyas ha'Mesim is synonymous with Olam
ha'Ba, then how are we to understand the verse that says that we will give
Terumah to Aharon at the time of Techiyas ha'Mesim? The Gemara in Berachos
(17a) tells us that in Olam ha'Ba there is no eating and no drinking, but
that the Tzadikim subsist on the "Ziv ha'Shechinah." Accordingly, how will
we be giving Terumah to Aharon in Olam ha'Ba? What will he do with the
Second, we find in the Gemara a description of the Se'udah of the Livyasan.
How can there be a Se'udah in Olam ha'Ba?
In order to understand these points and many others, it is necessary to
define what the different stages will be at the time of the final
redemption, as well as what are all the different rewards and punishments
that a person receives after his death.
The three different stages of the final redemption, the Ge'ulah, are "Yemos
ha'Mashi'ach," "Techiyas ha'Mesim," and "Olam ha'Ba." Besides these stages,
Chazal refer to "Gan Eden" and "Gehinom" as places of reward and punishment.
Here, we will attempt to summarize the opinions of the major Rishonim
regarding what each of these stages involve, and whether these stages apply
to the soul alone or to the body together with the soul.
(a) RAV SA'ADYAH GA'ON in EMUNOS V'DE'OS (7:9) explains that after Techiyas
ha'Mesim a significant period of time will pass. During this time (which
will come after the arrival of Mashi'ach), the Tzadikim who will be brought
back to life will live at the same time that the others who will be living
at the time that Techiyas ha'Mesim occurs. During this time, there will be
universal peace in the world, people will live long lives, and people will
still live normal lives with eating and drinking. Presumably, it is during
that period that Terumah will be given to Aharon and that the Se'udah of the
Livyasan will take place. People will give birth to children. He mentions
that the Tzadikim who come to life will not die again, as the Gemara says
(end of 92b). However, he writes that those who were alive at the time of
Techiyas ha'Mesim will die. At a certain point, Hashem will make a new world
called "Olam ha'Ba" (or "Gan Eden"). The Tzadikim who are worthy of it will
be transported to that world together with their bodies. The wicked of all
the generations will be sent at that time to Gehinom, with their bodies. The
point at which Olam ha'Ba starts is the "Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol," the Day of
Final Judgement, referred to at the end of Zecharyah.
The BE'ER SHEVA (end of DH Kol Yisrael) gives a similar description of the
sequence of events in the World to Come. He explains that according to this
sequence, when the Mishnah says that a person who denies Techiyas ha'Mesim
is punished with the loss of Olam ha'Ba, the words "Olam ha'Ba" refer not to
the final reward after the Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol, but rather to the period
that immediately follows Techiyas ha'Mesim, during which the Terumah will be
given to Aharon, and during which people have the same physical lives as
they have in the present world.
(b) The YAD RAMAH at the beginning of this chapter and the CHIDUSHEI HA'RAN
answer the question about Techiyas ha'Mesim by saying that when the dead
return to life, the life that they live *is* Olam ha'Ba. Therefore, Techiyas
ha'Mesim and Olam ha'Ba refer to the same period. When, though, is the
Terumah going to be given to Aharon, and when is the Se'udah of the Livyasan
in which the Tzadikim will partake, if there is no eating in Olam ha'Ba? The
Yad Ramah answers that there will be two different sets of Techiyas
ha'Mesim. The first Techiyas ha'Mesim occurs at the beginning of the period
of Yemos ha'Mashi'ach (see Sotah 48b, "until the dead come to life and
Mashi'ach comes," implying that Techiyas ha'Mesim is in the times of
Mashi'ach); this is similar to the Techiyas ha'Mesim described by Rav
Sa'adyah Ga'on. However, the Yad Ramah adds that not all of the dead come to
life at the same time during the times of Mashi'ach, but rather each one
comes to life according to what he deserves. During that period, some of the
wicked will also be brought back to life in order to be punished. At this
stage, people will still be eating and drinking as they do in the present
stage of the world.
The second Techiyas ha'Mesim will occur later, at the time of the Yom ha'Din
ha'Gadol, at which point all of the Tzadikim and Resha'im will come back to
life at once in order to receive their just rewards or punishments. They
will receive their rewards or punishments while in their bodies that they
occupy in the present world, but there will be no eating or drinking, but
only reward and punishment.
(Other Rishonim also mention the concept of two sets of Techiyas ha'Mesim.
See RITVA in Ta'anis 30b, and the RADVAZ 2:639, and 3:1069.)
(The reward and punishment of the Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol apparently is what
Chazal refer to as "Gan Eden" and Gehinom.")
(c) The RAMBAN in SHA'AR HA'GEMUL has perhaps the most extensive and
comprehensive discussion of the different stages of reward and punishment.
The Ramban does not mention the second Techiyas ha'Mesim that the Yad Ramah
discusses. However, the Ramban agrees to the Yad Ramah that Olam ha'Ba
immediately follows Techiyas ha'Mesim at the Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol.
When, then, according to the Ramban, does the Se'udah of the Livyasan take
place? The Ramban explains that immediately after coming to life, people
will still eat and drink, and the Se'udah of the Livyasan will take place,
and immediately after that they will be elevated to the level of Olam ha'Ba,
at which time there will be no eating and drinking (Sha'ar ha'Gemul,
sections 89 and 106, Sofer edition, 1998, Jerusalem; this edition is divided
into 122 short sections). The RASHBA also writes this explicitly in his
PERUSH HA'AGADOS to Bava Basra (74b). Olam ha'Ba will still involve the body
in both the person's reward and punishment. However, the body will be
elevated in such a manner that it will not need food or drink to survive.
The Ramban adds that in addition to the reward and punishment of Olam ha'Ba,
there is another set of reward and punishment which occurs immediately after
death. This is what Chazal refer to as "Gan Eden" and "Gehinom." The Ramban
proves (section 62) that the wicked is punished immediately after death from
a number of sources. The Mishnah in Eduyos (2:10) teaches that a Rasha
suffers only twelve months in Gehinom. The Gemara in Kidushin (31b) says
that for this reason, after twelve months after the death of one's father,
one does not have to say "Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo" (see Insights to Sukah
20:2), because if he needed punishment, his punishment happens immediately
and ends within twelve months. We see from there that the punishment starts
right away. In addition, the Gemara in Ta'anis (11a) says that at the time a
person passes from this world, Hashem shows him all of his actions, and the
Gemara concludes that the person acknowledges that he has been judged
correctly. Third, we find many Agados in the Gemara that discuss how it was
revealed to living people how people of previous generations are being
punished (see Bava Basra 74a, regarding the punishment of the congregation
of Korach, and Chagigah 15b, regarding the punishment of Elisha ben Avuyah).
We find other Midrashim which describe how the angels announce that the
souls of the wicked are to be given rest each week on Shabbos; they are
taken out of Gehinom for Shabbos. The same applies with regard to the reward
of a Tzadik -- immediately after a Tzadik dies, his Neshamah goes to Gan
Eden to receive reward even before the Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol.
The Ramban (section 117) writes that it is obvious that since this is
occurring before Techiyas ha'Mesim, the reward and punishment of Gan Eden
and Gehinom involve the Neshamah alone, and not the body. After Techiyas
ha'Mesim, a Tzadik receives a different type of reward together with his
body, in accordance with the analogy that the Gemara says (91a-b) with
regard to the lame man and the blind man (i.e. that the body also deserves
The punishment of the Rasha at that time is either that he will not
experience Olam ha'Ba at all, or that he will be brought back to life and
face the disgrace of not being together with the Tzadikim, or that he will
receive further punishment.
This also seems to be the intention of the BARTENURA here, and of TOSFOS in
Rosh Hashanah (16b, DH l'Yom ha'Din), who also mention an earlier stage of
Olam ha'Ba which affects only the Neshamah, and a later Yom ha'Din in which
the body and soul are rewarded together.
Even according to the Ramban, the words "Olam ha'Ba" are sometimes used to
refer to Yemos ha'Mashi'ach, as in the Agadah at the end of Kesuvos, where
the Gemara discusses the large size of fruits in "Olam ha'Ba" (BE'ER SHEVA).
(d) The RAMBAM in PERUSH HA'MISHNAYOS here and in his letter regarding
Techiyas ha'Mesim (and partially in Hilchos Teshuvah) does not acknowledge
that there is a future Yom ha'Din ha'Gadol at which point reward and
punishment will be administered. It is administered immediately upon death.
Furthermore, he does not acknowledge that there is reward and punishment for
the body. Rather, "Olam ha'Ba" and "Gehinom" refer to the reward or
punishment that a person's soul receives immediately after death and
thereafter. It is not related to Yemos ha'Mashi'ach or to Techiyas ha'Mesim
in any way.
What role does Techiyas ha'Mesim play? The Rambam explains that Techiyas
ha'Mesim is a miracle like any other miracle promised by the Navi. During
Techiyas ha'Mesim, certain Tzadikim will be brought back to life (during
Yemos ha'Mashi'ach) in order to give them the opportunity to perform more
The Yad Ramah questions the Rambam's interpretation from the Mishnah in Avos
(4:22). The Mishnah there says that "all who live will die, all who die will
be brought back to life, and all who are brought back to life will be
judged." The Mishnah clearly implies that there will be a final judgement
which will take place when the dead return to life. In addition, the Yad
Ramah questions the Rambam's interpretation from our Mishnah, which says
that a person who denies Techiyas ha'Mesim is not granted a share in Olam
ha'Ba, and the Gemara says that this is Midah k'Neged Midah, measure for
The SEFER HA'IKARIM (4:31) answers that, according to the Rambam, the words
"Techiyas ha'Mesim" can be used to refer to the judgement of the Neshamah
after it leaves the body, since the Neshamah was in the person who died, it
is now "coming back to life," so to speak, in order to be judged. This
explains why the Mishnah here and the Mishnah in Avos refer to Olam ha'Ba as
"Techiyas ha'Mesim," coming back to life.
The Be'er Sheva challenges this answer based on the Gemara here that says
that after Techiyas ha'Mesim, Aharon ha'Kohen will eat Terumah. This
obviously cannot apply to the world of the Neshamos after death, in which
there is no body.
Perhaps the Rambam will answer the question from our Mishnah in the
following manner. When a person denies Techiyas ha'Mesim, it is because he
believes that nothing remains after a person dies, since a person is an
entirely physical being. After the body disintegrates, nothing remains of
it, and thus even if the body would come back to life, it would be a new
body altogether and not the original body. A person who subscribes to such a
school of thought will obviously deny the existence of the world of the
Neshamos as well, since he does not accept that a Neshamah governs the body.
That is why he is punished with both the loss of Olam ha'Ba *and* Techiyas
ha'Mesim, measure for measure.
The Rambam bases his explanation of the afterlife on logical grounds. What
point is there, he writes, for Hashem to bring the body back to life if the
body will serve no purpose in the World to Come, since it will not need any
of its physical functions? Hashem certainly would not create something that
has no use. Hashem would not bring to life something that has no use.
The Rishonim offer a number of answers to this question.
1. The RAMBAN (Sha'ar ha'Gemul, section 106) explains that immediately after
coming back to life, the bodily organs will be used (see (c) above,
regarding the Se'udah of the Livyasan). Therefore, their creation is not
useless. (This certainly is true according to Rav Sa'adyah, who writes that
a long period of time passes between the time of Techiyas ha'Mesim and the
time of Olam ha'Ba, during which time the physical bodies will be used the
same way they are used in the present world.)
2. The Ramban adds that the body is not simply a collection of physical
functions and processes. There are many things in this world that involve
physical objects and that, at the same time, represent spiritual entities in
a higher realm. Therefore, the body will have a role even if it does not use
its physical processes, because it will have corresponding spiritual
entities. This is a theme discussed extensively by the Ramban (in Bereishis
3:22), the RASHBA (in Perush ha'Agados, Berachos 34b and Bava Basra 74b),
and RABEINU BACHYEI (in Kad ha'Kemach, in his discussion of "Ner Chanukah").
3. The YAD RAMAH gives the answer that Rebbi gave to Antoninus (91a): since
the body and soul sinned together, they deserve to be punished together.
(The Rambam might have learned that Rebbi answered Antoninus according to
Antoninus' line of reasoning, but not in accordance with his own view.)
The Yad Ramah questions this Gemara. Why should the body be any different
than a sword or an arrow? If the soul is the part of the person that decides
to sin and it uses the body to accomplish its goals, then it should be the
same as a sword or arrow that a person uses to sin. There is no point in
punishing the sword or arrow!
The Yad Ramah answers that the comparison of the body to an inanimate
instrument is not accurate for a number of reasons. It seems from his words
that his intention is to differentiate based on the fact that a body is
self-conscious and is aware of what it is doing, while a sword has no
awareness of what it is doing. In addition, the sword will not feel the
punishment, whereas the body will feel it.
It seems that the argument between the Yad Ramah and the Rambam is that the
Yad Ramah is defining the Neshamah as only the decision-making process of
thought and cognition. However, the vitality that a person shares with
animals, which enables a person to be aware of what his body is doing and to
feel with his senses, is part of the body. The Rambam, in contrast, defines
the body as only the material that comprises the physical body itself.
(See also MICHTAV ME'ELIYAHU, vol. 4, pp. 153-156, who discusses in depth
what role the body will have in the World to Come.)