Why Denying the Resurrection Warrants Loss of Olam ha-Ba, by Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank

The final chapter in Sanhedrin opens with the following Mishna:

Every Jew has a share in olam ha-ba, as it says, “And your people are all righteous; they will inherit the land forever; they are the branch of My planting, My handiwork, in which to take pride.” And the following people do not have a share in olam ha-ba: one who says that the resurrection is not stated in the Torah

Of all the heresies that warrant a loss of olam ha-ba why would the Mishna specify denial of the resurrection? While part of the answer may be historical — denial of the resurrection may have been pervasive at the time — the Gemara indicates that the answer alludes to a more fundamental principal.

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Doing G-d’s Work: Must We Take Action to Carry Out the Divine Plan? by Rabbi Netanel Wiederblank

On Pesach, we recall Egypt’s malicious persecution of the Jewish people and the suffering the Egyptians experienced, presumably as a punishment for their evil behavior. Significantly, both the persecution and the servitude were predicted at the Brit Bein ha-Betarim (Bereishit 15:13).

Rambam (Hilchot Teshuva 6:5) asked how the Egyptians could be punished for persecuting the Jewish people if G-d already told Avraham of the occurrence.1 Rambam explains that no particular Egyptian was forced to sin. While slavery was a certainty, each individual actor’s role remained undetermined and therefore free. Ra’avad rejects Rambam’s solution with the following question: “If G-d were to say to those who strayed, ‘Why did you stray; I did not designate you?’ they would respond, ‘Upon whom was Your decree made, on those that did not stray? If so, Your decree would not be fulfilled.’”2

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